At the heart of this chapter, vv.6-11 contain a series of claims that God has sent disaster after disaster as warnings which have been ignored. The series probably closes (4:12) with a somewhat mysterious verse (at least translators find it difficult to render!) which seems to conclude this series with a warning that at last God will intervene personally since these indirect warnings have been ignored.
4:1-5 seem to fit with chapter 4 rather than as the close of chapter 3. Not least the formula "Hear this message", the change of subject and general lack of connection with chapter 3. Read this way these two units confirm, first (4:1-3) that the women among the Israelite elite are as guilty as the men, and that not even the religious life of the nation is acceptable to God (4:4-5).
Thus the chapter as a whole builds on the introduction (1:2-2:16) and the prophet's defense of his message (3:1-15) the solemn declaration that God's patience is at (near?) its end and a decisive divine intervention should be expected. In this way these first three major sections of the book have set out the basis and content of Amos' message.
This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos , if you have reached it as a standalone page, to view it in context, go to www.bible.gen.nz © Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.