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“Listen to this word, you cows of Bashan
who are on the mountain of Samaria,
who oppress the poor,
who crush the needy,
who tell their husbands,
‘Bring us drinks!’ Bible

“cows of Bashan.” Bashan was an area east and north of the Sea of Galilee that was known for its cattle. The cows of Bashan were the fattest and sassiest cows in all Israel, and so here the prophet Amos refers to the fat and sassy rich and powerful women of Israel, who live in the capital city of Samaria, as “you cows of Bashan.” Referring to a woman as a “cow” was not necessarily an insult in biblical times. Cows were expensive and well cared for. Samson referred to his young wife as a heifer (Judg. 14:18). Nevertheless, calling the ruling women of Samaria, “cows of Bashan” was an insult in this context.


Commentary for: Amos 4:1