Amos – Chapter 4

Some People Can't Take a Hint

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d now speaks to the women of Samaria, who are called “cows of Bashan” here. This is because cows graze and become fat and Bashan was known for its cows. The wealthy women of the northern kingdom likewise indulged themselves all day long. The women are accessories to their husbands’ oppression of the poor. For example, they make demands of their husbands, knowing that they will have to oppress the needy in order to fulfill those desires. Days are coming, G-d says, when they and their daughters will be carried off by the enemy. They will try to escape through the holes in the walls and they won’t be so high and mighty any more.

Go to Beth-El and Gilgal to worship those idols you love so much. G-d has taken away your bread and your meat, but you still haven’t turned back to Him! He held back the rains, causing a drought. People from several cities would go to where it did rain, but there was nowhere near enough water to accommodate them – and they still didn’t turn to G-d! Crops were destroyed by blight and locusts, but they don’t return to G-d! A plague, like the pestilence in Egypt, killed man and beast, as did the sword of their enemies, but they didn’t turn to G-d. Finally, G-d overthrew some of them like Sodom and Gemorrah, but they still don’t return to Him! (The some who were overthrown may refer to the Tribe of Naftali, which was exiled before the rest of the nation, in II Kings 15.)

Because the people absolutely refuse to turn to G-d, He will do all these things, so get ready. G-d made the mountains and the wind (a steady, very visible object and a powerful, invisible force). G-d knows everything a person does and He will relate it all to them (Rashi says at the time of a person’s death). He makes it dawn (for the righteous) and turns it dark (for the evil). G-d is the highest, above all.

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