Amos 4: A Litany of Punishments without Repentance


(13 verses, 2:20 to read)

What I am about to READ

  • In this chapter the prophets preaches against the faithless women of Samaria, and recounts the chastisements of the Lord that should have resulted in repentance, but did not.


  • Here’s the outline:
    • 4:1-5, Chastisement of the  women of Samaria, whom Amos calls the “cows of Bashan.” Note that verses 4-5, where God hands the people over to their idolatry, indicates the people’s hardness of heart and God’s plan to escalate His punishments.
    • 6-13, A list of the punishments that should have resulted in repentance, but did not.
      • 6, Cleanness of teeth, i.e. famine
      • 7-8, Drought in some locations
      • 9, Blight, mildew, and locusts
      • 10, Plague and wars
      • 11, Destruction of cities
      • 12-13, Even great wrath is coming, “Prepare to meet your God.”


  • The picture of the faithless woman as the “cows of Bashan” will stick with you. They simply waddle around looking for something to devour. Instead of loving their neighbor they are interested in drunkenness, excess of every kind, and idolatry.
  • Verse 4 mentions Bethel. This is the place where Jeroboam established the false temple with a golden calf so that the people in the northern kingdom would not go to Jerusalem to worship (see 1 Kings 12:25-33, Jeroboam also established an altar in the north, in Dan). Bethel, then, it the ongoing theological blight of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and the constant object of the prophets denunciation.
  • Deuteronomy 29 outlines the four stages of increasing trouble that the people would face if they did not obey God’s Law: (1) deprivation, (2) devastation, (3) deportation, and then (4) destruction. In verses 6-10 we see the Lord testifying to this work of bringing trouble on the people. The last two verses of the chapter are a fearful warning.


  • The prophets could connect the lines between the bad things that were happening and God’s will to punish the people. They could say, “Remember how it didn’t rain for two years, that’s because God was punishing you.” We don’t have prophets anymore, and it is not for us to connect the dots between the bad things that happen and our sins. BUT, Jesus tells us that every disaster is a reminder to repent. Luke 13:4-5, “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” When we see the trouble around us, we repent, and trust in Christ as the Savior an forgiver of our sins.

Thoughts? Questions? Join the conversation on our facebook page here.

Lord’s Blessings,
Pr Bryan Wolfmueller


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