1 Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink.

Kine - (Feminine [cow] fatted cows ready for slaughter)...suggesting the princes had become effeminate as well as lazy and self indulgent.

They oppressed the poor, and crushed the needy. How did they do this? The answer is quite instructive for us, because they did it quite legally and piously and self-justifyingly. Was it their fault or concern that others were less fortunate or less provident or had less ability? Were they their brother's keeper?

The Law of Moses was a divine, compassionate, spiritual dispensation with many provisions and safeguards for the comfort and care of the less fortunate or the less able. Under the Law, everyone was his brother's keeper, though not in the foolish modern way of burdening some so as to encourage others to be indolent. Today men do not give: they pass taxes to make others give.

Under the Law, they were not allowed to harvest their fruits efficiently, or reap their fields efficiently. They must deliberately leave some for the poor to glean (Lev. 23:22). They had to forgive debts every seven years, and completely reapportion all real estate every fifty years (Deut. 15:1; Lev. 25:10). They could not charge the poor interest, nor refuse to lend to them. Every bankrupt, every failure-after six years bond - service to a successful man to teach him wisdom and industry - had to be set up again on his own, and liberally supplied with all the material necessities of success so he could try again (Lev. 25:36; Deut. 15:14).

The Law of Moses was all designed to teach that all things are of God, and given for the good of all - to teach the fundamental lesson that true living is loving, and true loving is giving. All were commanded to be liberal and open-handed; and to share their blessings freely.

Could it be possible that the Law of Christ requires less? When the people asked John the Baptist what they should do, he gave them the essence of Moses' Law -

"He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none: and he that hath meat, let him do likewise" (Lk. 3:11).

Very little is recorded of what this "burning light" preached: do we realize the revolutionary significance of what is recorded? And when Christ himself came, he preached the same heavenly gospel-

"Sell what thou hast, and give alms . . . Give, and it shall be given unto you: with the same measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you" (Lk. 12:33; 6:30-38).

All this was the very opposite of the flesh, but it was and is God's required Way of Life. Doubtless the Israelites to whom Amos preached did everything legally according to man's laws, for they were very pious and proud of themselves. But to God, their way of life was selfishness and wickedness and oppression and greed.

At the same time, there was a tremendous display of religious observance and activity-

Bro Growcott - Seek the Lord, and Ye Shall Live

4 Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years:

With Leaven (v5)

The law of Moses commanded that "no leaven nor any honey should be burned in any offering of Yahweh made by fire." Unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, of fine flour, and fried, were offered with the thanksgiving sacrifices; and besides the cakes, unleavened bread. These were to be offered in Jerusalem; therefore Amos ironically exhorts the ten tribes, saying,

"Come to Bethel and transgress, and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven."

On the day of Pentecost the law prescribed the offering of a new meat-offering, consisting of two loaves of fine flour baken with leaven, which were to be brought out of their habitations, and delivered to the priest as the bread of the first-fruits, which, with a kid for a sin-offering, and two lambs for peace-offerings, he was to wave before the Lord.

Leaven in itself is distasteful, though its effect upon fine flour, if the leaven be new and duly apportioned, is to render it light and palatable. The blood of Yahweh's sacrifice was not to be offered with leaven, because this would be to introduce a principle of levity and impurity into the sin-offerings; for, however good it might be in itself, yet in fine flour, not being flour, it is an impurity; and all sin-offerings were to be pure, or without spot or blemish.

But the absence of leaven was not only representative of purity-the sinlessness of the Anointed Sinner, the great antitypical sacrifice for sins not his own-it was also memorial of the thrusting out of the twelve tribes of Israel from Egypt with such haste, that they had no time to prepare leavened bread as in times of peace and quietness.

Hence, the absence of leaven was indicative of tribulation and affection; and its presence in an offering of peace and ground for thanksgiving: so that the Mosaic law inculcated that

"Besides the cakes, the worshipper shall offer for his offering leavened bread, with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace-offerings."

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1855

5 And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith Adonai Yahweh.

Note...a leavened offering

"For this liketh you." Or, margin: "For so ye love."

Make a big show and boast of all the extra, unrequired sacrifices you bring.

They loved to glory in what they thought they were doing for God. It is the same story today: a tremendous show of religion and charity, but an individual self-pleasing and self-glorification, and an ignoring of the holy commandments of God and the welfare of others.

Doubtless it was so in Noah's day, and in Sodom and Gomorrah: very religious, and meticulous in worship. We know it was so in Christ's day, and he said they were worse than Sodom and Gomorrah (Matt. 11:23).

The point for us is that these hypocritical things are not far from any of us. We all have the selfish, wicked, self-justifying heart of the flesh to contend with. Only the daily, prayerful, meditative study of God's Word can save any of us from our subtle self-deceit.

Bro Growcott - Seek the Lord, and Ye Shall Live

11 I have overthrown some of you, as Elohim overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith Yahweh.

But they were blind and deaf in their self-delusion. We must not make the same fatal error. We must consider every incident in our lives as lessons and disciplines from God: the blessings as tests, the evils as warnings. We must be alert and awake to everything that could teach us something.

Having disciplined them with restrained and limited severity many times, God is at last about to cast them off ...

12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy Elohim, O Israel.

This is another of Amos' sayings that has become proverbial. "Prepare to meet thy God !" This should be the over-riding and ever-present thought in the minds of every one of us. This alone, in all the world, is real. All else is passing shadows.

It should be joyful, eager anticipation. Surely, what could be more exciting and desirable? "Prepare to meet thy God." It is what the righteous have longed for for ages. It is the promise to the pure in heart.

But Israel, like poor stupid animals, took no heed of the glory of the invitation, nor the dreadfulness of the warning: so it has ever been.

Bro Growcott - Seek the Lord, and Ye Shall Live