Bible Commentaries
Amos 4

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-3

The corruption of Samaria (3:9-4:3)

Amos tries to shame the people of Israel (capital: Samaria) by inviting their enemies to come and see how bad the nation is, with all its oppression, lawlessness, violence and greed (9-10). Israel will surely be conquered and plundered. The only things that will remain as a reminder of former luxury will be a few scraps of furniture. The remains of the nation will be like the remains of a sheep that has been attacked and eaten by wild animals (11-12). The altars of the Baal worshippers and the luxurious houses of the corrupt upper classes will be smashed to pieces (13-15).
The wealthy women, who have urged their husbands on to exploit the poor simply to increase their own extravagance, are likened to a lot of fat cows. When the enemy conquers Samaria, these women will be taken captive and led out, like cows, through the gaps in the broken city wall (4:1-3).

Verses 4-13

Religion without God (4:4-13)

In words of cutting irony, Amos calls the people to the places of worship, encouraging them to continue their zealous but unspiritual religious exercises. The more they do so, the more they will increase their sin. They are corrupt, immoral, ungodly, greedy, lawless and violent, yet they love to make a show of their religious zeal. Amos mocks them by urging them to offer their sacrifices daily (normally, private citizens did this yearly), to offer their tithes every three days (instead of every three years), to present their sacrifices with leaven (which was forbidden), and to advertise their free-will offerings (instead of offering them privately) (4-5).
God sent famine and drought, with the aim that the people would see these things as a punishment from him and so turn from their sins; but they did not (6-8). Mildew and locusts destroyed much of their crops; disease, war and an earthquake killed many of their people; but there was still no sign of repentance (9-11). God will therefore act in a more terrible judgment. It will be too late to repent and Israel will be forced to meet its God (12-13).

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Amos 4". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". 2005.