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Mentioned in Amos 4:1 "cow of Bashan who are on the hill of Bashan" Searched https://www.gotquestions.org and got no answer.


Note: this is a different question from the one regarding Ps. 22. Amos' meaning is not at all like what the psalm speaks of.

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  • I voted to reopen this because the meaning of the cows of Bashan in Amos is very different from the Psalmist's meaning of the bulls of Bashan in Psalm 22 Commented Feb 9 at 19:03

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Amos 4:1 (KJV)

  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.

It's not a bull, but a heifer - a female cow (KJV uses the archaic "kine" for a female cow).

Bashan is fertile region in Northern Israel/Syria1 so there is a contrast between the wealth and power (symbolized by a fat cow) and the "needy" who are being crushed. Between an irrigated region and the needy who are need of drink.

The fertile area of upper Transjordan east of the Sea of Galilee and mainly north of the Yarmuk river. The ancient boundaries of Bashan, although impossible to determine exactly, appear to be the area north of Gilead, west of Salecah and the Jebel Druze Mountains (though some biblical texts appear to include Jebel Druze; see GB, 222), south of Mount Hermon, and east of the Jordan and the Sea of Galilee. Its southern boundary was apparently not far from the present border of Syria and Jordan which coincides with the lower Yarmuk River. One of Bashan’s early capitals, Edrei (Num 21:33, Deut 3:10), was situated on a tributary of the Yarmuk. Other cities located in Bashan included Karnaim, Ashtaroth (Deut 1:4, Josh 9:10), and Salecah (Deut 3:10) in the regions of Argob (Deut 3:4), Golan (Deut 4:43), and Hauran. The ancient capital of Bashan was Ashtaroth, replaced later by Karnaim. Bashan always appears with the definite article as “the Bashan,” meaning “smooth” or “stoneless plain,” or “fertile, fruitful.” It was a broad, fertile plateau surrounded by basaltic, volcanic mountains, and hills. The plateau, at an altitude of 2000 feet above sea level, was perfectly suited for agriculture and cattle. The area was well known for its cattle (Ps 22:12; Amos 4:1–3) and timber (Isa 2:13; Ezek 27:6). Because of its fertility and productivity, Bashan was the prize in wars between Syria and Israel.[...] All of Bashan’s cities were defeated by Moses at Edrei (Num 21:33–35; Deut 3:1–9). After the area was subdued, Moses assigned it to the half-tribe of Manasseh and even set aside Golan to be one of the cities of refuge east of the Jordan. Some of the families of Gad settled in Bashan (1 Chr 5:11–12). Ultimately, Israel was removed from Bashan by Tilgath-pileser III (745–727 B.C.) of Assyria.

From the WBC commentary2:

Samaria’s leading women are likened metaphorically to fat cows (הבשן פרות). The large Transjordan region of Bashan was known for the size of its cattle (Deut 32:14; Ezek 39:18; Ps 22:12) and its rich pasturage (Mic 7:14; Jer 50:19). It is probably on the allegory beginning in Deut 32:13 that the present oracle is based: the fattened animal rebels against its master and must be punished by deprivation and destruction (i.e., curse type 12, with type 12b being applied ironically here metaphorically rather than literally). Such women are guilty of irresponsibility in two social directions: toward inferiors and toward superiors. The poor and needy (דלים … אביונים, a standard parallel pair for society’s dependent people) they oppress/crush, i.e., abuse and misuse for their own personal profit and power. Then, from their masters (אדניהם) i.e., husbands, they demand the household service that, according to normal practice, they themselves should be providing. They are, in effect, arrogantly dominating their families (cf. 1 Tim 3:11, which speaks of the same sort of domineering on the part of women). The reference to “drink” (ונשתה, cf. 2:8; Prov 4:17; 31:4–5) adds to an impression of irresponsibility and callousness on the part of these women.


  1. Slayton, Joel C. “Bashan (Place).” Edited by David Noel Freedman. The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

  2. Stuart, Douglas. Hosea–Jonah. Vol. 31. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1987.

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