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Hear this word, you cows of Bashan

who are on Mount Samaria,

who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,

who say to their husbands, “Bring something to drink!”


The Lord G od has sworn by his holiness:

The time is surely coming upon you,

when they shall take you away with hooks,

even the last of you with fishhooks.


Through breaches in the wall you shall leave,

each one straight ahead;

and you shall be flung out into Harmon,

says the L ord.


Come to Bethel—and transgress;

to Gilgal—and multiply transgression;

bring your sacrifices every morning,

your tithes every three days;


bring a thank offering of leavened bread,

and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them;

for so you love to do, O people of Israel!

says the Lord G od.


Israel Rejects Correction


I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,

and lack of bread in all your places,

yet you did not return to me,

says the L ord.



And I also withheld the rain from you

when there were still three months to the harvest;

I would send rain on one city,

and send no rain on another city;

one field would be rained upon,

and the field on which it did not rain withered;


so two or three towns wandered to one town

to drink water, and were not satisfied;

yet you did not return to me,

says the L ord.



I struck you with blight and mildew;

I laid waste your gardens and your vineyards;

the locust devoured your fig trees and your olive trees;

yet you did not return to me,

says the L ord.



I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt;

I killed your young men with the sword;

I carried away your horses;

and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils;

yet you did not return to me,

says the L ord.



I overthrew some of you,

as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,

and you were like a brand snatched from the fire;

yet you did not return to me,

says the L ord.



Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;

because I will do this to you,

prepare to meet your God, O Israel!



For lo, the one who forms the mountains, creates the wind,

reveals his thoughts to mortals,

makes the morning darkness,

and treads on the heights of the earth—

the L ord, the God of hosts, is his name!


We have explained the last verse of the fourth chapter, except that there remains something to be said of the glorious representation given of God by the Prophet. He says first, that he had formed the mountains then that he had created the spirits, afterwards that he declares to man what is his thoughts, makes the morning and the darkness, and walks on the high places of the earth Such an accumulation of words might seem superfluous, only this main thing must be borne in mind, that it was necessary for men, whose minds were exceedingly torpid to be aroused that they might seriously consider what we have seen had been denounced on them. Hence the Prophet sought to shake off from the Israelites their thoughtlessness, by setting God before them in his greatness; for when his name only is announced, he is wholly neglected by the greatest part of men. It was therefore necessary that something should be added, that they who were asleep might be awakened, and understand how great and how fearful the power of God is. This is the design of all that we read here.

The word רוח, ruch, is interpreted in two ways. Some refer it to the wind, and others to the soul of man. If we take it for the wind, it will join suitably with the creation of mountains, for the winds emerge from them on account of their cavity. If you understand it of man’s soul, it will agree with the following clause. It appears to me more probable that the Prophet speaks of man’s soul; though one may possibly choose to connect both, so that there is an allusion to wind, and that yet Amos, about to speak of thought, first mentions the spirit.

But what the Prophet says, that God announces to men what their thought is — this is done in various ways. We indeed know that the end of teaching is, that men may confess their guilt, who before flattered themselves; we know also that the word of God is like a two-edged sword, which penetrates into the bones and marrow, and distinguishes between thoughts and feelings, (Hebrews 4:12) God then thus draws men out of their recesses into the light; and he also convinces them without the word; for we know how powerful are the secret movements (instinctus — influences) of the Spirit. But the Prophet meant only here, that the Israelites had to do with God, who is the searcher of hearts, and from whom nothing is hid, however concealed it may be. Each one is to himself the best witness of his own thoughts; but the Prophet ascribes to God a higher degree, for he understands whatever any one conceives in his mind, better than he who seems to have all his own thoughts well understood. 3030     This conjecture is fully borne out by the fact, that the copulative ו, vau, is found in more than twenty MSS., as given by Kennicott: it is also found in the Septuagint. — Ed. Since men therefore craftily hide themselves, the Prophet here reminds them that they cannot succeed, for God understands what they inwardly think better than they themselves. We now then perceive what he substantially means.

Some explain the words, that God makes the morning darkness, as if Amos had said, that he converts light into darkness; but we ought rather to consider a copulative to be understood; for he here declares the power of God, not only as displayed in once creating the world, but also in preserving the order of nature, and in minutely regulating the changes of times and seasons. Let us now proceed to the fifth chapter.

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