In our study of Amos chapter four, we will look at the importance of remembering what God has done in the past. They say that history is the best teacher and, at least with God, we can say that it is true. He does not change and so we can study the past to understand the future. We will also see what happens when a nation ignores the hand of God.
"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 translation
Bashan refers to an area that is what is called the Golan Heights today. It is one of the most beautiful parts of Israel. It was known for its fat cows because of the lush green grass that was plentiful for them to eat. It was also known for its oak trees as we see in Isaiah 2.
Mount Samaria refers to Mt. Gerizim near Nablus. This was the site of the ancient city of Samaria which was named after Shemer who sold it to Omri the king of Israel (see 1 Kings 16:24). Amos goes on to explain that his words are for the wealthy women of Israel who were well taken care of just like the cows of Bashan. His charge against them is that they neglected the poor while they lived it up.
In this, we are reminded that the women of a country are a kind of barometer of the health of any nation. As we see, in Ephesians 5, it is the husband's duty to lead a Christian family and the wife is a reflection of the spiritual health of that family.
In the case of Israel, the men (especially the kings) had led the nation into idolatry. The people mistook their economic prosperity (the fat cows) as a sign of God's blessing upon them. The same type of thing is happening in many countries (especially America) today.
"The Sovereign Lord has sworn by his holiness: 'The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks.'" NIV translation
Amos tells the leading women of Israel that God's judgment is certain because of His holiness. They will be led away captives as it was common at the time to put hooks in the noses or lower lips of prisoners and lead them away with a rope.