God raised up certain "prophets" who were His mouthpieces.
They would speak out against their sin and idolatry and would
continually warn of God's judgment. Some of the prophets spoke
out in the North and some in the South, but God was faithfully
warning them of certain catastrophe if they would not turn to
The Book of Amos is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. Amos
was the first biblical prophet whose words were recorded in a
book, an older contemporary of Hosea and Isaiah. He was
active c. 750 BCE during the reign of Jeroboam II. He lived
in the kingdom of Judah but preached in the northern kingdom
of Israel. His major themes of social justice, God's
omnipotence, and divine judgment became staples of
Without dispute, the Book of Amos has been accepted as
canonical by Jews, the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and
borne; a burden, one of the twelve minor prophets. He was a
native of Tekota, the modern Tekua, a town about 12
south-east of Bethlehem. He was a man of humble
birth, neither a
"prophet nor a prophet's son," but "an herdman and a
sycomore trees," R.V. He prophesied in the days of
of Judah, and was contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea
7:14, 15; Zech. 14:5), who survived him a few years.
Jeroboam II. the kingdom of Israel rose to the
zenith of its
prosperity; but that was followed by the prevalence
and vice and idolatry. At this period Amos was
called from his
obscurity to remind the people of the law of God's
justice, and to call them to repentance.
The Book of Amos consists of three parts:
(1.) The nations around are summoned to judgment
their sins (1:1-2:3). He quotes Joel 3:16.
(2.) The spiritual condition of Judah, and
Israel, is described (2:4-6:14).
(3.) In 7:1-9:10 are recorded five prophetic
visions. (a) The
first two (7:1-6) refer to judgments against the
(b) The next two (7:7-9; 8:1-3) point out the
ripeness of the
people for the threatened judgements. 7:10-17
consists of a
conversation between the prophet and the priest of
The fifth describes the overthrow and ruin of Israel
to which is added the promise of the restoration of
and its final glory in the Messiah's kingdom.
The style is peculiar in the number of the allusions
natural objects and to agricultural occupations.
show also that Amos was a student of the law as well
as a "child
of nature." These phrases are peculiar to him:
teeth" [i.e., want of bread] (4:6); "The excellency
(6:8; 8:7); "The high places of Isaac" (7:9); "The
Isaac" (7:16); "He that createth the wind" (4:13).
("a burden".) Of Tekoah, in Judah, six miles S.E. of
Bethlehem. A shepherd (probably owning flocks) and dresser
of sycamore fig trees; specially called of the Lord to
prophesy, though not educated in the prophets' schools (Amos
1:1; Amos 7:14-15). These personal notices occur only as
connected with the discharge of his prophetic function; so
entirely is self put in the shade by the inspired men of
God, and God is made the one all-absorbing theme. Though of
Judah, he exercised his ministry in the northern kingdom,
Israel; not later than the 15th year of Uzziah of Judah,
when Jeroboam II. (son of Joash) of Israel died (compare 1
Kings 14:23 with 1 Kings 15:1), in whose reign it is written
he prophesied "two years before the earthquake"; compare
Zechariah 14:5. Allusions to the earthquake appear in Amos
5:8; Amos 6:11; Amos 8:8; Amos 9:1; Amos 9:5.
The divine sign in his view confirmed his words,
which were uttered before, and which now after the
earthquake were committed to writing in an orderly summary.
The natural world, being from and under the same God, shows
a mysterious sympathy with the spiritual world; compare
Matthew 24:7; Matthew 27:50-54. Probably Amos prophesied
about the middle of Jeroboam's reign, when his conquests had
been achieved (Amos 6:13-14; compare 2 Kings 14:25-27), just
before Assyria's first attack on Israel, for he does not
definitely name that power: Amos 1:5; Amos 5:27 (Hosea 10:6;
Hosea 11:5). The two forces from God acted simultaneously by
His appointment, the invading hosts from without arresting
Israel's attention for the prophet's message from God within
the land, and the prophets showing the spiritual meaning of
those invasions, as designed to lead Israel to repentance.
This accounts for the outburst of prophetic fire in
Uzziah's and his successors' reigns. The golden calves, the
forbidden representation of Jehovah, not Baal, were the
object of worship in Jeroboam's reign, as being the great
grandson of Jehu, who had purged out Baal worship, but
retained the calves. Israel, as abounding in impostors,
needed the more true prophets of God from Judah to warn her.
Her prophets often fled to Judah from fear of her kings.
Oppression, luxury, weariness of religious ordinances as
interrupting worldly pursuits, were rife: Amos 8:4-5; Amos
3:15. The king's sanctuary and summer palace were at Bethel
(Amos 7:13); here Amos was opposed by Amaziah for his
faithful reproofs, and informed against to Jeroboam. (See
AMAZIAH.) Like the prophet in 1 Kings 13, Amos went up from
Judah to Bethel to denounce the idol calf at the risk of his
I. The Prophet.
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...
The book of the prophecies of Amos seems to be divided into
four principal portions closely connected together. (1) From
1:1 to 2:3 he denounces the sins of the nations bordering on
Israel and Judah. (2) From 2:4 to 6:14 he describes the state
of those two kingdoms, especially, the former. (3) From 7:1 to
9:10 he relates his visit to Bethel, and sketches the
impending punishment of Israel. At last he promises blessings.
The chief peculiarity of the style consists in the number of
allusions to natural objects and agricultural occupations, as
might be expected from the early life of the author.