Condemnation of Samaria (Amos 4:1-5)

Condemnation of Samaria (Amos 4:1-5)


  • Frequency does not equal favor. We do not offer two services because we think it will bring us more people, more money, more blessings from God. We do it because we are convinced that God has already blessed this day and set it apart from morning to evening as a day for the saints to rest in him.
  • When Israel began to worship for the wrong reasons, the object of their worship shifted, and their corruption increased.
  • The covenant lawsuit against Israel continues.
  • Remember the scene, Amos has called Ashdod and Egypt to observe, announce, and testify to the corruption of God’s people. The people of Israel and their religion had become powerless because the Lord had become their enemy. Their strongholds would provide no defense, and their altar would provide no refuge.

Read Amos 4:1-5

  1. Condemnation of Samaria’s Women (1-3)
  2. Condemnation of Samaria’s Worship (4-5)

Condemnation of Samaria’s Women (1-3)

  • v.1 “Hear this word” – Amos, once again, hushing the grumbling crowd.
  • “Cows of Bashan”
    • Possibly a reference to fertility cult worship. Jeroboam set up a golden calf at Dan and Bethel (v.4).
    • Probably refers to wealthy women. Bashan known for fertile land and prize cattle. Their wealth is not the problem, but how they obtained it.
  • v.2 The first “you” is masculine. Men were not excluded from the punishment.
  • They will become captives led away with hooks on their lips. Fat cows would be drawn out of the city like fish caught on a hook. Their wealth provides no protection.
  • The Assyrians would literally do this. They would take their captives, bind them together with rope that was threaded through hooks fastened to the captive’s nose or lip. Then they would parade their captives back home.
  • It was belittling. They treated them as animals. And that was the point. These women had treated the poor, needy, and even their husbands as animals. So they would also be treated as animals.
  • v.3 The walls of the city will be breached from which the captives will be led off into exile in a painful and humiliating fashion.
  • The cruelty with which these women treated everyone around them will lead to their own cruel judgment.
  • The Lord’s oath is a weighty one based upon his holiness (v.2).
  • Motyer When human self-sufficiency takes the stage, the Lord God vents a great oath for its destruction.

  • Where do we place our hope and dependence? Do we look to money?
    • Warnings: Rev. 3:17; 1 Tim. 6:9, 17.
    • Blessings: Deut. 8:6-9, 17-18.
  • It is the women who bare the blame of this judgment. But what does this say about the men who have relinquished their responsibilities to be the spiritual leaders of their homes to their wives?
  • Are you modeling godly stewardship?

Amos transitions from the condemnation of Samaria’s women to the…

Condemnation of Samaria’s Worship (4-5)

  • Clearly poetic in structure and style. Formatted like the call to worship. Amos’ sarcasm would have been evident to everyone.
  • Rather than repent, they continue to offer their hypocritical worship which is compounding their guilt.
  • The frequency of their sacrifices and offerings have gone beyond what the law required. But, rather than pointing to hearts full of overflowing gratitude, it merely reveals a legalistic trust in outward acts of piety. Their hearts were far from God.
  • They go to the temple only to sin further. They are not changed by their false worship, but hardened more and more.
  • Their “worship” was void of genuine fellowship with God.
  • Corinthian communion left the people in worse spiritual condition than before participating.
  • Hyperbole (v.4) indicates the absurd nature of their worship. False worship, every day, won’t change hearts.
  • They don’t love God, they love their legalistic worship. Remove the outward show from their practice and their worship would be dead.
  • They assumed that they were earning God’s favor by their accumulation of deeds, but their worship was self-centered.
  • Luther I was much in fasting, watching, praying, saying of masses, and the like. Yet under the cloak of my outward respectability I continually mistrusted, doubted, feared, hated, and blasphemed God. My righteousness was a filthy puddle. Satan loves such saints.

  • Our own liturgies and rituals can become just as lifeless and condemning as Samaria’s.
  • Worship is never neutral. Either we are worshipping God on his terms, or we are in sin.
    • Just because a church has a “worship service” doesn’t mean worship is happening.
    • Just because you attend a worship service, doesn’t mean you are worshipping.
  • We should not assuage our consciences by suggesting these ebbs and flows are essentially harmless. It’s sin! We don’t sugarcoated-coat it, minimize it, or defend it. We repent of it!
  • Do we worship in order to be seen? Is worship more about maintaining my reputation than magnifying God’s reputation?

Has your heart grown cold toward God?


  • Analyze that. Take your coldness seriously. That is no trivial matter. You must deal with your heart as if your life depended upon it! Duh…
  • True worship…
    • Values the object more than the act.
    • Reflects a heart that yearns for God.
    • Results in holy living.
    • Does not attempt to earn something from God, but it is the response of a heart that has been transformed by God.
  • We do not worship God in order to be saved. Rather, we worship God because we have been saved.
  • When the Gospel grips our hearts, the response will always be true worship.