The Book of Amos




Background of Amos
Time:  8th Century BCE
Place: Israel (North)
            Born in Tekoa, Judah; Prophesied in Bethel, Israel
Kings: Uzziah (Judah); Jeroboam II (Israel)


Political Backdrop:
·       Jeroboam II enjoyed wealth and military success.
o   HOWEVER: Idolatry and abuse of the poor.

·       Bethel (where Amos prophesied) = one of the Northern temples with the golden calves, built by Jeroboam I.

·       When was Amos written? Scholars disagree, but likely an early work.
o   Arguments for Amos being later are centred around the prophecies of monarchy falling come true (Amos 9:11-15).


Primary Themes of Amos:

·       Classic prophetic outline: Sin – Punishment – Redemption

·       Morality > Sacrifices

·       The relationship between idol worship and social injustice

·       Expectations of Israelites and Others
o   Israel is unique: 3:2; Israel is just like the other nations: 9:7

·       God’s justice and mercy







Structure of Amos


Content
Verses
Section 1: Nations and Israel

Chapters 1-2
Against neighbouring nations
1:3-2:3
Against Israel – longer
     Wealthy ignoring the poor
     How can we do this, after Egypt?
2:4/5-end of chapter




Section 2: Poetic Message to Israel

Chapters 3-6
God chose Israel,
which is why Israel will be punished more harshly
3:1-2
Listen to the prophet – bad stuff is coming!
     More lion imagery
     Temples will be destroyed
3:3-15
3:4; 3:8; 3:12
3:13-15
Giving sacrifices while ignoring the poor
Increasing calamity – ‘yet you did not turn back to Me’
Prepare to meet your God!
4
4:6; 4:8; 4:9; 4:10; 4:11

4:12-13
Cycles of:
Bad stuff coming
What we must do: seek God/goodness


5:4; 5:14; 5:24?
Day of the Lord is coming – and you won’t like it
5:18-20
God hates religion without justice
     Idolatry and injustice
5:21-27


Section 3: Five Visions

7-9
Three visions:
1.    Locusts – won’t come to pass
2.    Fire – won’t come to pass
3.    Plumb line – will come to pass


7:1-3
7:4-6
7:7-9
Narrative: Amos and Amaziah
     Takes place in Bethel
     Amos claims that he isn’t a prophet
7:10-17
4.    Summer fruits
     Mention of the earthquake
Chapter 8
8:8
5.    Earthquake
God at an altar – but which?
Israel is not special!
9:1-6

9:7
Happy ending: messianic prophesy
9:8-15







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