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Amos

Date: 8th century BC

Contents

Amos prophesies during the time of King Uzziah (Judah, 767-739 BC) and Jeroboam II (Israel, 782-753 BC). Just 30 years after Amos's preaching, the Assyrians will destroy the kingdom of Israel. 50 years for Amos is a relatively peaceful and prosperous period for the two empires. Trade is flourishing, prosperity is increasing and there is peace. Prosperity shows the signs of an internal disease. The poor are oppressed, the weak are intimidated and justice is ignored. Religion is no more than a formal service and corruption has become an attitude to life. Then Amos comes. He is not a prophet like the others or member of a prophetic family. God calls him away from his profession as a sheep breeder. to make known His will in Israel. He comes from the village of Tekoa and has no education. That makes his mission to the North (Israel) difficult. He is expelled from the land when he pointed out that God is not satisfied with pious play without any moral content. Amos exemplifies determination in the way he holds on to his calling in the midst of adversity.

Theological Themes

Amos portrays God as ruler over history (past, present and future).

He says: God is patient, long-suffering, impartial and just. He seeks bond with His people and asks that his righteous life on their part. Throughout his book, Amos makes an effort to show that God has been merciful to Israel and how they go beyond it. God chooses Israel for His special blessing. He gives them the law, the temple as a place of worship and sacrifice. He fights with them in their wars and performs miracles. He leads them through the wilderness and gives them the land of Canaan. He sends them prophets and leaders (Nazireans). He gives them prosperity, food, clothing and housing. He ensures that the trade flourishes. GOD gives them His word.

Amos lists the sins of Israel:

  • Cheating,

  • Theft,

  • Violence,

  • Greed,

  • Dishonesty,

  • Injustice,

  • Desecration of the dead,

  • Sexual excesses,

  • Pride,

  • Rejection of prophets,

  • Genocide,

  • Lawlessness,

  • Fury,

  • Cruelty,

  • Selfishness.

Amos warns that such behavior leads to self-destruction. Sin goes against the will of GOD and He will take it seriously. Amos points to the coming judgment: The LORD will roar out of Zion, and the people will cower. He weeps for the sin of His people and takes no joy in His judgment. God offers repentance, if they will choose it. But He is not optimistic about that will. Amos makes clear to Israel what God expects of them. God wants them to stop bringing offerings and gifts in the temples. He wants them to seek justice, to live a good and honest life, and to take to heart the welfare of all the people. Justice should flow like water, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream (5:24).

Main features

1. Judgment on the nations (1:1-2:16),
2. Three prophetic sermons (3:1-6:14),
3. The visions of Amos (7:1-8:8),
4. Epilogue (8:9-9:15).