AMOS: GOD'S URGENT CALL TO REPENT
IV: God's Punishment Of Israel's Depraved Women
A. When God needed a messenger to the wicked Northern Kingdom of Israel as it was at the height of its spiritual rebellion against Him, the Lord sent a layman from Judah named Amos to travel north into Israel to pronounce sharp judgment as a great warning to that nation.
B. Not only the men, but even the women of Israel had become rebellious against the Lord, so God led Amos to address the sin of Israel's women in Amos 4:1-3. We view the passage for our insight and application:
II. God's Punishment Of Israel's Depraved Women, Amos 4:1-3.
A. In Amos 4:1a NIV, ESV, the prophet Amos directed his message to the "cows" (parah, B. D. B., A Heb. and Eng. Lex. of the O. T., p. 831) of "Bashan."
B. Bashan was the fertile country east of the upper Jordan River area (Zon. Pict. Ency. of the Bib., vol. One, p. 485) that was known "for its fat cattle" (Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Amos 4:1), but the "cows" in Amos 4:1a lived in Samaria west of the Jordan (Amos 4:1b), so Amos figuratively addressed the "well-fed women of Samaria" (Ibid., Ryrie) who were "pampered" like cows of Bashan, B. K. C., O. T., p. 1435.
C. These women were guilty of a several dreadful sins (as follows), Amos 4:1b NIV:
1. They "oppressed" the poor and "crushed" the needy for the goods they desired to gratify their lusts.
2. The women committed such evils by insubordinately pressuring their husbands to abuse the poor for them:
a. The word for "masters" in referring to their husbands is 'adon, "lord, master" (Kittel, Biblia Hebraica, p. 920; Ibid., B. D. B., p. 10-11), an unusual word for "husband." (Ibid., Bible Know. Com., O. T.)
b. Thus, instead of submitting to their husbands as their "masters" as the Lord Biblically required of them (cf. Genesis 2:20-23 where Eve was created to be subject to Adam by the way God led him to name her as her head, and Ephesians 5:22-33 where women are to submit to their husbands in the Lord), these women were domineering their husbands so that to "support their wives' expensive tastes," the husbands were being pressured by their wives to exploit the poor and needy with cruelty, Ibid.
c. The Hebrew words that are rendered "oppress" and "crush" respectively "describe threats and physical harassments used to squeeze money from the helpless," Ibid. These women were pressuring their husbands to abuse other needy people to obtain goods for the women to use for indulging their lusts.
D. Consequently, the Lord God had taken an oath by His holiness that these women would be forcibly removed from the city "either to captivity or to death," Ibid.; Amos 4:2. An enemy army would invade the city and take these women away fastened to ropes with hooks "for a single-file march into Assyrian exile," Ibid.
E. Indeed, the "destruction would be so thorough and the breaks in the wall so numerous that each woman, rather than going with others toward an exit gate, would simply be pushed straight out of the city. Once outside they would be fastened with ropes with hooks for a single-file march into Assyrian exile. Those who balked or refused to be led away would be forcibly snagged with large harpoons or fishhooks, much like fish pierced together and jerked over one's shoulder to be carried to market. Yanked in such a manner, they eventually would be cast out as corpses as the march neared Harmon," Ibid.; Amos 4:3.
Lesson: The women of Samaria were guilty of domineering their husbands to whom they were to submit in the Lord, pressuring them to acquire material goods by oppressing the poor and needy for these wives to indulge their sinful lusts. Accordingly, God took an oath by His holiness, His separation from such wickedness, to render severe punishment on these women by causing them to go into cruel Assyrian captivity and death.
Application: (1) May each wife recall her God-ordained role to submit to her own husband in the Lord rather than to pressure him by domineering him into gratifying her lusts. (2) May each wife recall her duty before the Lord to treat the poor and needy with kindness and provide them goods and services as they have opportunity to do so, cf. Galatians 6:10. (3) May we husbands realize our responsibility before God not to yield to the domineering efforts of our wives or of women in general, but to assume responsible headship of women in alignment with God's order of creation, cf. 1 Timothy 2:12-15. (4) May we husbands not oppress poor and needy people to provide a livelihood for our wives or our children but recognize the need to have our methods of earning a livelihood align with God's righteous standard, cf. 2 Timothy 2:5. (5) May we husbands and wives both avoid becoming self-centered to where we indulge our lusts at the unjust cost of other people but be considerate of the welfare of others around us.