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Listen to this message, you well-fed cows of Bashan* who live on Mount Samaria, who oppress the poor and crush the needy, and who order your husbands,Bring us drinks!” The Lord God has sworn by his holiness: Watch out! For the time is coming when they will drag you away with hooks, each one of you will be like a fish on a hook. You will leave through breaches in the city walls, thrown out in the direction of Mount Hermon.
Why don't you go to Bethel and sin? Go to Gilgal and add to your sins even more? Offer your sacrifices in the morning, bring your tithes after three days. Burn a thank offering of bread made with yeast,§ and announce what you're giving as freewill offerings so everyone will know. This is what you love to do! declares the Lord God.
It was I who made sure you had nothing to eat* in all your cities, and a lack of food wherever you lived, but still you wouldn't return to me, says the Lord. It was I who kept the rain from falling when there was still three months before harvest. One city would have rain, while another would not. One field would have rain, another would dry up from lack of rain. People wandered from town to town looking for water, yet were still thirsty. But still you did not return to me, declares the Lord. I struck your many farms and vineyards with blight and mildew; locusts devoured your fig trees and olive trees. But still you did not return to me, declares the Lord. 10 I sent a plague on you like I did in Egypt. I killed your young men in battle; I took away your horses; I made you smell the stench of dead bodies in your camps. But still you did not return to me, declares the Lord. 11 Some of you I destroyed as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick pulled out of a fire. But still you did not return to me, declares the Lord.
12 Therefore, this is what I am going to do to you, Israel. Because I am going to do this, Israel, prepare to meet your God! 13 Watch! The One who made the mountains, who created the winds, who reveals his thoughts to humankind, who turns the sunlight into darkness, who walks on the high places of the earththe Lord God of power is his name!
* 4:1 It is thought that this refers to the high society women of Samaria who lived well. The reference to the cows of Bashan is that they were fattened cattle (see Ez. 39:18). 4:1 The word used for husbands is not the usual term, but one meaning “lord” or “master.” It is used here to show that the wives are reversing roles in that “masters” are acting as servants. 4:4 Clearly the tone is sarcastic. § 4:5 This was expressly forbidden: Leviticus 6:17; Leviticus 7:12. * 4:6 Literally, “cleanness of teeth.” 4:7 This was the critical time in order to ensure a good harvest. No rain at this time would mean the crops would fail.