Listen here, you fat cow! (12/11/13)

Read: Amos 4:1-6:14, Revelation 2:18-3:6, Psalm 130:1-8, Proverbs 29:21-22

Listen to me, you fat cows living in Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy, and who are always calling to your husbands, “Bring us another drink!” (Amos 4:1)


Relate: Every now and then I come across something in scripture and wonder, “How on earth did that make it in here?” I will find myself thinking, “That cannot possibly mean what it looks like it means.” Sometimes, like when Jesus calls his mom, “woman”, it doesn’t. He is being far more respectful than the way we tend to use the word in conversational English. There is no “Woman, bring me another beer!” mentality in his words. The opening verse in Amos 4 is, however, meant to be just as offensive as it sounds. He isn’t talking to the cattle that graze on the hills of Bashan. He is talking to the rich, lazy women married to the elite in Israel. He is just as mad at them as Samson was at the Philistines when he accused them of “plowing with his heifer.” (And yes, that accusation is exactly what you think it is)

This might come as a shocker but God isn’t concerned with being politically correct. He doesn’t always tiptoe around those verbal and cultural sensitivities we have set up as sacred cows. Jesus is the physical revelation of God to man and, when looking at His life, it is clear that it is possible to get God mad… real mad. More than once the Pharisees saw the rough side of his tongue and at least once he started kicking over tables and chasing people out with a whip.

React: So my question is, what makes Jesus mad? Every instance I can think of falls into one of three categories: 1) hypocrisy (the fig tree) 2) interfering with true worship (clearing the Temple) 3) oppressing the poor/weak/needy (most parables of heaven and hell) It is this third category That God is dealing with here in Amos 4. He is serious enough with what he has to say, that he comes right out with a very offensive address. He wants to make sure he has their attention. Do I have a message that needs to be heard? Am I willing to offend to get it across? Has my desire to be culturally sensitive or politically correct kept my voice from ringing out?


God, help me to be more like You. I recognize that if I am always being offensive I will never be heard. Help me to also understand that if I am always over sensitive, my voice might not carry the weight it needs to have. Help me to become offended by the things that offend You. Help me to have the moral courage to speak out offensively if that is what it takes to be heard. Help those that listen become offended enough to change. 

22 thoughts on “Listen here, you fat cow! (12/11/13)

  1. Our pastor/ teacher used to say, “If I haven’t offended someone today (Sunday sermon) than I haven’t done my job”. So true. The Truth is offensive to those who can’t bear to hear it. God bless the Truth.

  2. Well that got my attention – enough to wander around a few commentaries! And to come back with a thank you and a thought: Amos had worked with cattle. This written picture came from his heart and his world. As a cattle (and Amos) virgin it only offends. Now, my little scout around gives meaning. And to cattle-ers it would have already carried meaning. What we do with these pictures is us. Offence is us spitting out the literal rather than be moo-ved by the meaning?

  3. Hi B.J Thanks for visiting, it is appreciated but I’m sorry in regard to your message, I cannot find the Scripture you are referring to, as we can see below in most Translations Amos 4-1, does not say what you claim.

    Kine means….Domesticated bovine animals as a group regardless of sex or age, in the context below it is speaking about all those regardless of sex or age that act like wild animals and have no compassion for those in need but focus on only what they want.

    Amos 4-1 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.

    But like many words in the old Hebrew, their meaning is determined by the context it is used in, as you used fat, than as an example it can also be something good (see below ) the same as fear, we do not have to have fleshy fear of God when we are His Redeemed Children, but yes have respect and awe for Him but if we do walk in the flesh, we will have fear and it will cripple us.

    Psalm 92:13-15 Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

    Proverbs 13: 4-5 . The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

    But yes I agree with you BJ God does have righteous anger but He is also is long suffering and very patient with us, He knows those who are His and not one of us will be lost.

    Those who continue to do evil, will reap what they sow, this is what it means in the Hebrew, when God says… I will bring on them suffering for the wrong they do, He created us to suffer as a warning to stop doing evil but also to be rewarded for the good we do.

    Lamentations 3: 33 For God doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

    Christian Love from both of us – Anne

    • Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!” (NIV)

      “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are in the mountain of Samar′ia, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to their husbands, ‘Bring, that we may drink!’ (RSV)

      Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria, Who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, Who say to your husbands, “Bring now, that we may drink!” (NASB)

      Listen to me, you fat cows living in Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy, and who are always calling to your husbands, “Bring us another drink!” (NLT)

      You women of Samaria are fat cows! You mistreat and abuse the poor and needy, then you say to your husbands, “Bring us more drinks!” (CEV)

      Amos is speaking specifically to wealthy wives. He is speaking a harsh word. Look at the context of the chapter this verse leads off. He is speaking a harsh word of judgment. The Hebrew word used (Parah) is a feminine word meaning specifically cow. Even in the KJV you quoted, cow is used two verses later speaking in the same context of the same “kine”.

      Over and over again in Amos God is speaking judgment on Israel’s rich for the injustices they perpetuate on the poor. If there is a prophetic book that is speaking to America today… this is it.

      • Who says BJ that Amos is speaking to wealthy wives, the K.J.V does not say this at all in the verse you quoted, or does Parah mean female in Hebrew, there was neither male or female in the old Hebrew, names were used, he and she were added later, it would also be helpful for you to do some study in regard to what is meant by feminine of ‘par in Translating.

        Parah can mean a heifer a young cow, it is also a place Palestine or can mean to cause to be or make fruitful, to grow and increase, it all depends on the context when it is used.

        As I shared BJ, Kine is neither male or female in the Hebrew, just as cows are both, it means …domesticated bovine animals as a group regardless of sex or age, in this context it is speaking about all in Israel, regardless of sex or age that act like wild animals and have no compassion for those in need but focus on only what they want.

        The Translations you used come from the same source and were written many years after the K.JV which was written in the 1600’s and has less of man ‘s errors or their own understanding.

        We are to Trust in The Lord only, through the empowering of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all Truth, having asked for and received His wisdom and He also shows us man’s errors too. We are not to trust in man’s fleshy wisdom, they have distorted many Truths in Scripture but not always to deceive, like the Cults and wolves have, meaning the false teaches but just because of trusting in themselves and not The Holy Spirit- 1Corinthians2:9-16

        Thanks for letting me share, it’s appreciated, Blessings – Anne

        • Another “beefy” debate about the “kined” of stuff we all love to hate. Slice and dice. Go forensic. Find a verse to fit. Scare those like me who cannot even speak their mother tongue eloquently. The headline got my attention. And I got me searching for god. Does that make this piece a mustard seed or a heifer? Or just worth reading and thinking? (because I do wonder if this kind of debate scares God off and Christian Love in) Bless you all – obviously.

    • Let’s investigate what is the perspective of the Jews, whose history this is and whose have studied this in the greatest depth ( –
      “…the most insightful assessment of the mood and pulse of this period may be gleaned by reading the incredible writings of the prophet Amos,[3] who prophesized during the reign of Yerav’am.[4] The book of Amos reveals a society of enormous wealth, complacency, and security and yet bearing startling inequalities of income, and outrageous exploitation of the poor by the rich. Amos addresses the wealthy upper-class of Samaria with their lavish homes, expensive ivory furniture, and a decadent preoccupation with food, drinks, and entertainment:

      They lie on ivory beds;
      lolling on their couches,
      Feasting on lambs from the flock
      And on calves from the stalls.
      They listen to song to the tune of the lute –
      They account themselves musicians like David
      They drink straight from wine bowls
      And anoint themselves with the choicest oils. (Amos 6:4-6)

      In an awful state of affairs, this luxury is financed by the exploitation of the poor:

      Hear this word, you cows of Bashan
      On the hill of Samaria –
      Who defraud the poor,
      Who rob the needy,
      Who say to their husbands,
      “Bring, and let’s party.” (Amos 4:1)”

  4. paulfg in answer to your comment that you refereed to me and I received in my Inbox , if we don’t stand for something and with me it is God’s Truth, we will fall for everything. God tells us to correct error, warn those who sin and to test the spirit of those who seek to teach us, this does not scare Him off, it’s obedience and we obey Him because we Love Him not because we have too and because we Love Him, we Love others too, even our enemies, enough to speak God’s Truth when needed to them even if they hate and reject us which Jesus tells us they will do.

    Paul had great respect for the woman who helped him in his Ministry, sadly today male chauvinism and woman’s Lib have caused great damage to how some men value a woman and a woman’s submission. Husbands are to cherish their wives and sacrificially Love them as Christ Loves The Church and woman are to submit willingly and in Love to their husbands. All men and woman in the body of Christ are to value each other enough to put them first above themselves.

    paulfg if you can find in Scripture where God is deliberately rude to anyone especially woman please share it with me , even when Jesus called the Pharisees a brood of vipers He qualified it with Love.

    Christian Love from us both – Anne

    • OK. This is me being, not deliberately rude, but offensive. You’re wrong. You’re wrong in your understanding of Amos 4:1. You’re wrong in your views of the KJV over and above other translations. And you’re wrong in equating being rude and being offensive. If you would like to continue a dialogue on any of these issues (or anything else) please feel free to email me at
      I am cutting further discussion on this here because it is not the right forum for it. I know your heart and Paulfg’s heart are in the right place and I trust that you see mine is too but I’ve seen all too often how these things can spiral downward and those looking from the outside in see only the debate and not the love we have for each other. I love you both in Christ. You’re wrong. But I love you anyways. 😉

  5. I gained weight and thought of these verses, sparking me to ask myself and God, “Have I become complacent?” I had. Thanks for finding the “address” as I could not.

Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s