Amos (1) in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

LITERATURE I. The Prophet. 1. Name: Amos is the prophet whose book stands third among the "Twelve" in the Hebrew canon. No other person bearing the same name is mentioned in the Old Testament, the name of the father of the prophet Isaiah being written differently ('amots). There is an Amos mentioned in the genealogical series Lk 3:25, but he is otherwise unknown, and we do not know how his name would have been written in Hebrew. Of the signification of the prophet's name all that can be said is that a verb with the same root letters, in the sense of to load or to carry a load, is not uncommon in the language. 2. Native Place: Tekoa, the native place of Amos, was situated at a distance of 5 miles South from Bethlehem, from which it is visible, and 10 miles from Jerusalem, on a hill 2,700 ft. high, overlooking the wilderness of Judah. It was made a "city for defense" by Rehoboam (2 Ch 11:6), and may have in fact received its name from its remote and exposed position, for the stem of which the word is a derivative is of frequent occurrence in the sense of sounding an alarm with the trumpet: e.g. "Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Beth-haccerem" (Jer 6:1 the King James Version). The same word is also used to signify the setting up of a tent by striking in the tent-pegs; and Jerome states that there was no village beyond Tekoa in his time. The name has survived, and the neighborhood is at the present day the pasture-ground for large flocks of sheep and goats. From the high ground on which the modern village stands one looks down on the bare undulating hills of one of the bleakest districts of Israel, "the waste howling wilderness," which must have suggested some of the startling imagery of the prophet's addresses. The place may have had--as is not seldom the case with towns or villages--a reputation for a special quality of its inhabitants; for it was from Tekoa that Joab fetched the "wise woman" who by a feigned story effected the reconciliation of David with his banished son Absalom (2 Sam 14). There are traces in the Book of Am of a shrewdness and mother-wit which are not so conspicuous in other prophetical books. 3. Personal History: The particulars of a personal kind which are noted in the book are few but suggestive. Amos was not a prophet or the son of a prophet, he tells us (Am 7:14), i.e. he did not belong to the professional class which frequented...

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