The Book of Amos
Amos 1:1 - The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. And he said, The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither.
Amos 5:11-12 - Forasmuch therefore as your treading [is] upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them. For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate [from their right].
The Old Testament - A Brief Overview
Bible Survey - Amos
Hebrew Name - Ahmos "burden"
Greek Name - Amos (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Amos (According to Tradition)
Date - 787 BC Approximately
Theme - The Kingdom of David
Types and Shadows - In Amos Jesus is the One who sees the great sins
Amos prophesied during "the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel" (Amos 1:1). The prophet Amos was from the city of Tekoa which was high in the hill country 5 miles north of Bethlehem overlooking the wilderness of Judah. It was a place of flocks and herds, and sheep and goats. Amos was perhaps the most unexpected of all the prophets, he had no background among the prophets, nor was he a son of a prophet. Amos was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore trees when he received his call from God "the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me 'go, prophesy to my people Israel' " (Amos 7:15).
Because Amos prophesied during the time of King Uzziah of Judah there was no doubt much prosperity in the land. In fact even the northern kingdom had gained great prosperity during the reign of Jeroboam according to the book of Kings (2 Kings 14:23-29). The prophet Amos focused his message of the chief cities in the northern kingdom, Bethel, the residence of the king and Samaria, the capital city. These cities were greatly prosperous, they had been enlarged and were on the main trade routes. Amos directed his message on the wealthy who were robbing the poor, they were living in luxury in their sumptuous houses (Amos 3:15). He likened their materialistic wives as "cows of Bashan" (Amos 4:1). They were gloating in all of their lusts and pomp and yet God saw what they were doing, for they were lacking justice, they had lost mercy, and they disregarded the poor. They were careful to groom their shrines and altars, yet they had forgotten the Lord and were given over to the most grotesque sorts of immorality, abuse, fornication, and drunkenness especially at the places of worship. God would not tolerate their ways and the prophet Amos came to announce the wrath of God.
The contents of the book may be analyzed further as follows :
Outline of the Book of Amos
The message of Amos, except for the last chapter, is one of pure condemnation and judgment. In the first two chapters, he announces that the whole area of the northern kingdom of Israel was going to suffer punishment for its evil. He also named some of the most heinous crimes of the eight nations around Israel as he lamented who were also guilty. The depravity of these nations are spoken against and clearly described. The Ammonites are condemned "because they have ripped up women with child in Gilead that they might enlarge their border" (Amos 1:13); doom is promised to the Moabites because their taste for revenge was so strong that they burned to lime the bones of the king of Edom (Amos 2:1).
After condemning the neighboring nations, Amos turns his attention to Israel. He scorns them for the wealth they have gained at the expense of the poor (Amos 2:6-7) and for the same excesses that he mentioned about the nations around them. In Amos 4 he reminds them of the punishments which God had formerly used to recall his people from sin and warns them that this generation shall not escape a like trial - "therefore this will I do unto thee, O Israel and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel" (Amos 4:12). The Israelites were warned that the only course which they can follow to avert the imminent disaster is to seek the Lord and to "let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream" (Amos 5:24).
The coming destruction is pictured in Amos 7 by the visions of a plague of locusts, a fire and a plumb line used for measuring the people for destruction. Israel is pictured as a basket of summer fruit (Amos 8:1), a graphic figure of the short lifespan of the northern kingdom of Israel.
The closing verses of Amos' prophecy ring hope as he speaks of the restoration of the Davidic line, referring no doubt to the Messiah.
The influence of Amos' rugged herdsman background is seen in his use of the many agricultural metaphors which he uses, as well as in the rough manner that he delivers his message, not caring who was trying to silence him (Amos 7:10-17).
Throughout the prophecy of Amos it is easy to see his unswerving message that God sees the greatest sins and they will not go unpunished, and the righteousness of God will ultimately triumph.
The Book of Amos