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Women of Bashan
Bible Passage Amos 4: 1-13
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & books 1 Timothy, Amos, Genesis, Jeremiah, Micah, Psalm.

Women of Bashan

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached June 27, 2023

1 “Listen to this message, you fat cows from Bashan, who live on the Samaritan mountains, who oppress the poor, who rob the needy, and who constantly ask your husbands for one more drink!”

2 The Lord GOD has taken a sacred oath: “The day is coming when they will take you away on fishhooks, every last one of you on fishhooks.

3 Each of you will go out through the breaches of the walls straight to Mt. Hermon,” declares the LORD.

4 “Come to Bethel and sin, to Gilgal and sin even more! Bring along your morning sacrifices, and pay your tithes every other day.

5 While you’re at it, present a thank offering with leaven, and publicize your freewill offerings, letting everyone hear about it, because this is what you really love to do, you Israelis,” declares the Lord GOD.

6 “I also have scheduled food shortages for you in all of your cities, and lack of bread in all of your settlements, but you haven’t returned to me,” declares the LORD.

7 “I therefore have withheld the rain from you three months before the harvest, causing rain to come upon one city, but not upon another, and upon one field but not upon another, so that it would wither.

8 So the people of two or three cities staggered away to another city in order to obtain drinking water, but you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.

9 “I afflicted you with blight and fungus; and the locust swarm devoured the harvest of your gardens, your vineyards, your fig trees, and your olive trees, but you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.

10 “I sent plagues among you as I did with Egypt. I killed your choicest young men with the sword. I took your horses away from you. I filled your noses with the stench of your encampments, but you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.

11 “I overthrew your cities, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You’ve become like a burning ember, snatched from the fire, but you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.

12 “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel. Because I am about to do this, prepare to be summoned to your God, Israel!”

13 Look! The one who crafts mountains, who creates the wind, who reveals what he is thinking to mankind, who darkens the morning light, who tramples down the high places of the land— the LORD, the God of the Heavenly Armies is his name.


Many people knew about the cows of Bashan. The cows were big there (Psalm 22:12), and they ate good grass (Micah 7:14; Jeremiah 50:19 ). They were probably the best cows in Israel. Amos compares these cows to the rich women. This is an insult. These women did not care about poor people. Also, they had too much power in their homes (see 1 Timothy 3:11). They were not responsible.

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 (verse 1-3).

From verse 4, Amos now uses a special way to say something. He says the opposite of what they should do. The people will know that he did not mean these words. Both Bethel and Gilgal were important places. Jacob made Bethel a special place (Genesis 28:17-22) and Samuel gave judgements there (1 Samuel 7:16). Saul became king at Gilgal (1 Samuel 11). The Israelites did not worship in the proper way. They made sacrifices and they brought money to the place of worship. But even if they brought more sacrifices and money, this would not be enough. God hated the ways in which they tried to please Him. He hated the way that rich people behaved towards the poor people.

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) (verse 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 (verse 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 (verse 9-11).

God will therefore act in a more terrible judgement. It will be too late to repent and Israel will be forced to meet its God (verse 12-13).

🔷 The poor are part of God’s people and plan. No one can suppress them and be a friend to God

🔷 God will neither accept not reward sacrifices, offerings, prayers of people who perpetuate injustice to the poor and the needy

💥 Ask God to pardon your sins
💥 Pray that you’re able to support the poor

If we refuse to heed to listen to God’s consistent advice and counsel and enjoy the world and what we gain from the world, God’s final option will be to summon us, and we shall be caught up on His fishhooks.

In series Bright Morning Reflections