Amos 4:4-13

Amos 4:4-8 - Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: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 the Lord GOD. 6  And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.7  And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.  8  So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 9  I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 10  I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 11  I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 12  Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. 13  For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.


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

A.    Come to Bethel, and transgress - Bethel is the place where the false god (the golden calf was placed) which was built by Jeroboam I.

1.      In Gen. 28:19, Bethel (which means “House of God”) started out as a pure city, dedicated by Jacob when he was traveling to Haran to escape Esau.

2.      Gen. 35:1-15 - When Jacob returned to Canaan from Haran, God commanded him to stop by Bethel to offer a sacrifice and to rededicate himself to God.

3.      Judges 20:26 - Israel when up to the “house of God” (Bethel) to seek counsel from God because the ark of the covenant was kept here in the house of Phinehas.

4.      I Kings 12:26-33 - Jeroboam made the golden calves and ordained feast days and priests contrary to the command of God, which he placed in Bethel and Dan.

5.      Hosea 4:15 - Hosea calls the city of Bethel, “Bethaven” meaning “house of nothingness”, because it has become a house of idols instead of the house of God.

6.      It is the “mixing and mingling” of true worship and false worship that God hates.  He hasn’t changed!

7.      II Kings 17:24-34 - After the Assyrian captivity, God send lions among the people the king of Assyria has transplanted to the land.  The king of Assyria believed the lions were caused by the people not understanding the ways of the God of the land.  Verse 28 states that one of the priests which was carried away into Assyrian captivity went to Bethel, where he taught the Word of God.  The people, however, not only served God, they also served their own personal idols.  This is the beginning of the people called “Samaritans” who were despised by the Pharisees.

8.      About 100 years later (II Kings 23:15), Josiah destroyed the golden calves which Jeroboam I had made, purifying the land of iniquity.

9.      Amazing as it may seem, Bethel didn’t remain pure.  When Amos wrote about the year 800 B. C., Israel had again polluted the city.

B.    at Gilgal multiply transgression -

C.    bring your sacrifices every morning -

1.      Exodus 29:38,30 commanded the Israelites to bring an offering each morning and evening to the most high God.

2.      They have added to the commandments of God and are not only bring an offering to God, they are also bringing an offering to their false gods.

D.  and your tithes after three years -

1.      There were three different tithes required from the Israelites.

a.      Numbers 18:20-32 provides a tithe for the support of the priests and Levites.

b.      Deut. 14:22-27 provides a tithe for a family celebration at a place of God’s choosing where the family would worship God for the abundance of his provision.

c.      Deut. 14:28-29 provides a tithe for the support of widows, strangers, and orphans.

2.      Some scholars think the differences in legislation reflect different uses of the tithe at various stages of Israel's history.[1]

3.      The rabbis of the New Testament period, however, understood the laws as referring to three separate tithes: a Levitical tithe, a tithe spent celebrating in Jerusalem, and a charity tithe.[2]

E.     God is mocking Israel by commanding them to observe these things, when He knows they will give to the support of false gods, and false worship.

1.      The whole point of God commanding Israel in these verses is that He knows (and they know) they have taken the Word of God, the very commandments of God, and perverted those holy commandments to suit themselves

2.      They have taken the holy commandments of God and “converted” them to use in false worship.

3.      They have taken the commandments of false worship systems and “converted” them to use in the true worship of God.


Verse 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 the Lord GOD.

A.    And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven   According to Leviticus 2:11, a sacrifice of thanksgiving was to be offered with no leaven.

1.      Leviticus 7:13 gives some additional information about the thanksgiving offering.

2.      Verse 11-21 gives the law of the three types of peace offerings.

a.      Verse 11-15 - A thanksgiving peace offering.

b.      Verse 16-21 - Peace offering as a (1) vow or (2) voluntary offering.

c.      Verse 13 - Leavened bread - The only time leaven (a type of sin) is accepted in any offering to God.  Even when we're thankful to God and at peace with Him, we still have sin.  There is no such thing as sinless perfection.

d.      The point God is making in Amos 4:5 is that Israel is polluting the sacrifice of thanksgiving by mixing it with leaven (Lev. 2:11).  It  was acceptable to make cakes with leaven that accompanied the sacrifice of thanksgiving (Lev. 7:13), but it was unacceptable to make the sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven.

e.      Israelites would use leaven because (I suppose) the priests would rather eat bread made with leaven than to eat bread made without leaven.

B.    proclaim and publish the free offerings

1.      According to Deut.12:6,7 the free will offerings should be eaten before the Lord in the place He has chosen.

2.      Deut. 12:17,18 confirms this by stating that the free will offerings shouldn’t be eaten within thy gates, but shall be eaten before the Lord in the place He has chosen.

3.      I imagine the Israelites have perverted this commandment also by calling their friends and neighbors to the place they have chosen and having a feast and calling it a feast of thanksgiving.

4.      Matthew 6:2 states, “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”


II.    Verse 6-11 records five chastisements God has placed upon Israel, yet they haven’t listened.  The key words are “…yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD”  This phrase explains the result of all God’s chastisements upon Israel.  None of them had any effect upon Israel.  May God help us to see and understand the chastisements of God and to change whatever needs to be changed, not just so the chastisements will stop, but that we might be pleasing to God.  In this United States of America, God has given many of these same chastisements, but they are having no effect on the people.  Instead of people crying out to God for forgiveness, people are calling for more government aid to help them get their lives back to “normal”.  If the chastisements against Israel were progressive, that is, occurring one after another, it would seem people would soon get the idea that God was telling them something.  But it wasn’t so with Israel, and it isn’t so with the United States.

A.    Verse 6 - A famine, as described in II Kings 8:1.  Elisha told the woman whose son he restored to life to sojourn somewhere except Israel because there was going to be a seven year famine.

B.    Verse 7,8 - A drought, but not exactly like that “nation wide” drought.

1.      This drought occurred in some of the cities, some crops receiving no rain at all.  There were many travelers going from one city to another in search of water.  There was always hope somewhere else.

2.      What harvest is God speaking of?  Is he speaking about barley and wheat harvest, which occurs in the spring, or about bean and corn harvest, which occurs in the fall?

B.    Verse 9 - disease and insects.  If the plant grew because there was rain, God would send diseases upon the plants and they wouldn’t produce.  If the plants did produce, God would send insects to eat the fruit before the Israelites could harvest it.

C.    Verse 10 - This is a four fold plague.

1.      Pestilence after the manner that came upon Egypt.  This seems to be self-explanatory.

2.      War has taken the young men.

3.      Taken away your horses, or removed the mode of transportation and labor saving.  It also refers to the joy that comes with help or to the joy of everyday life.

4.      Stink from unsanitary conditions.  Their young men were killed in wars, and the horses (labor saving animals) have been taken away, therefore, everything must be done with human labor, which takes much longer without any help.

D.    Verse 11 - Destruction from heaven.  It was obvious that God had destroyed some of the Israelites, yet the remaining Israelite didn’t return to God, but continued in their Satan following ways.  It is likely they received warning from God as Lot also warned the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. The warning did nothing, just like the chastisement did nothing.


III.  Verse 12-13

A.    “Therefore” - Before God does anything to Israel, He will give them all the reasons why He is doing what He is doing.

B.    God doesn’t state what He will do, but what He does will be just and right.

1.      It seems to me whatever God does will be worse than all the previous chastisements, because they didn’t do any good.

2.      It may be that God will repeat the above chastisements until Israel is almost completely destroyed.

3.      I don’t believe God will completely destroy Israel, because He has promised that a remnant will always remain to receive the promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

C.    “Prepare to meet thy God” - This statement informs me that God will judge Israel in a very strict and hostile way.

D.    Verse 13 -

1.      God speaks to Israel as creator, not as Saviour, or as their King.

2.      They haven’t accepted Him as Saviour, or as King, perhaps only as creator, but there is no definite assurance of that.

3.      This verse show us how far Israel is from knowing who God is.

4.      A nation is very far away from God when they don’t even recognize Him as creator, as in believing in evolution and “mother nature” as the source and power of life.

[1] Holiman Bible Dictionary.  Article “tithe”

[2] Holiman Bible Dictionary.  Article “tithe”