Hitchcock's Bible NamesAmos
Smith's Bible DictionaryAmos
(burden), native of Tekoa in Judah, about six miles south of Bethlehem, originally a shepherd and dresser of sycamore trees, who was called by God s Spirit to be a prophet, although not trained in any of the regular prophetic schools. (Amos 1:1; 7:14,15) He travelled from Judah into the northern kingdom of Israel or Ephraim, and there exercised his ministry, apparently not for any long time. (His date cannot be later than B.C. 808 for he lived in the reigns of Uzziah king of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel; but his ministry probably took place at an earlier date, perhaps about the middle of Jeroboam's reign Nothing is known of the time or manner of his death.--ED.)
ATS Bible DictionaryAmos
1. The fourth of the minor prophets, was a herdsman of Tekoah, a small town of Judah, about twelve miles south of Jerusalem. He prophesied, however, concerning Israel, at Bethel, in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and Jeroboam II, king of Israel, about B. C. 787, and was thus a contemporary of Hosea, Joel, and Isaiah. The first two chapters contain predictions against the surrounding nations, enemies of the people of God. But the ten tribes of Israel were the chief subjects of his prophecies. Their temporary prosperity under Jeroboam led to gross idolatry, injustice, and corruption; for which sins he denounces the judgments of God upon them: but he closes with cheering words of consolation. His holy boldness in reproving sin drew on him the wrath of the priests, who labored to procure his banishment, Am 7:10-17. In regard to style, Amos takes a high rank among the prophets. He is full of imagery, concise, and yet simple and perspicuous.
2. One of the ancestors of our Lord, Luke 3:25.
International Standard Bible EncyclopediaAMOS (1)
a'-mos (`amoc, "burdensome" or "burden-bearer"; Amos):
I. THE PROPHET
2. Native Place
3. Personal History
4. His Preparation
(1) Knowledge of God
(2) Acquaintance with History of His People
(3) Personal Travel
(4) Scenery of His Home
5. His Mission
II. THE BOOK
1. Its Divisions
2. Its Outlook
3. Value of the Book
(1) As a Picture of the Social Condition
(2) As Picture of the Religious Condition
(3) Testimony to History
(4) Testimony to the Law
(a) The Ritual
(b) Ethical Teaching
(5) The Prophetic Order
(6) The Prophetic Religion
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 Luke 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 Chronicles 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" (Jeremiah 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 Palestine, "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 Samuel 14). There are traces in the Book of Amos 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 (Amos 7:14), i.e. he did not belong to the professional class which frequented the so-called schools of the prophets. He was "among the herdsmen of Tekoa" (1:1), the word here used being found only once in another place (2 Kings 3:4) and applied to Mesha, king of Moab. It seems to refer to a special breed of sheep, somewhat ungainly in appearance but producing, an abundant fleece. In Amos 7:14 the word rendered "herdman" is different, and denotes an owner of cattle, though some, from the Septuagint rendering, think that the word should be the same as in Amos 1:1. He was also "a dresser of sycomore-trees" (Amos 7:14). The word rendered "dresser" (Revised Version) or "gatherer" (the King James Version) occurs only here, and from the rendering of the Septuagint (knizon) it is conjectured that there is reference to a squeezing or nipping of the sycamore fig to make it more palatable or to accelerate its ripening, though such a usage is not known in Palestine at the present day.
4. His Preparation:
Nothing is said as to any special preparation of the prophet for his work: "The Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel" (Amos 7:15, the English Revised Version). In these words he puts himself in line with all the prophets who, in various modes of expression, claim a direct revelation from God. But the mention of the prophetic call in association with the mention of his worldly calling is significant. There was no period interposed between the one and the other, no cessation of husbandry to prepare for the work of prophesying. The husbandman was prepared for this task, and when God's time came he took it up. What was that preparation? Even if we suppose that the call was a momentary event, the man must have been ready to receive it, equipped for its performance. And, looking at the way in which he accomplished it, as exhibited in his book, we can see that there was a preparation, both internal and external, of a very thorough and effective character.
(1) Knowledge of God.
First of all, he has no doubt or uncertainty as to the character of the God in whose name he is called to speak. The God of Amos is one whose sway is boundless (Amos 9:2), whose power is infinite (Amos 8:9 f), not only controlling the forces of Nature (Amos 4; Amos 5:8 f) but guiding the movements and destinies of nations (Amos 6:1, 14; Amos 9:7). Moreover, He is righteous in all His ways, dealing with nations on moral principles (Amos 1:3; Amos 2:1); and, though particularly favorable to Israel, yet making that very choice of them as a people a ground for visiting them with sterner retribution for their sins (Amos 3:2). In common with all the prophets, Amos gives no explanation of how he came to know God and to form this conception of His character. It was not by searching that they found out God. It is assumed that God is and that He is such a Being; and this knowledge, as it could come only from God, is regarded as undisputed and undisputable. The call to speak in God's name may have come suddenly, but the prophet's conception of the character of the God who called him is no new or sudden revelation but a firm and well-established conviction.
(2) Acquaintance with History of His People.
Then his book shows not only that he was well acquainted with the history and traditions of his nation, which he takes for granted as well known to his hearers, but that he had reflected upon these things and realized their significance. We infer that he had breathed an atmosphere of religion, as there is nothing to indicate that, in his acquaintance with the religious facts of his nation, he differed from those among whom he dwelt, although the call to go forth and enforce them came to him in a special way.
(3) Personal Travel.
It has been conjectured that Amos had acquired by personal travel the accurate acquaintance which he shows in his graphic delineations of contemporary life and conditions; and it may have been the case that, as a wool-merchant or flock-master, he had visited the towns mentioned and frequented the various markets to which the people were attracted.
(4) Scenery of His Home.
Nor must we overlook another factor in his preparation: the scenery in which he had his home and the occupations of his daily life. The landscape was one to make a solemn impression on a reflective mind: the extensive desert, the shimmering waters of the Dead Sea, the high wall of the distant hills of Moab, over all which were thrown the varying light and shade. The silent life of the desert, as with such scenes ever before him, he tended his flock or defended them from the ravages of wild beasts, would to one whose thoughts were full of God nourish that exalted view of the Divine Majesty which we find in his book, and furnish the imagery in which his thoughts are set (Amos 1:2; Amos 3:4; 4:13; 5:08; 9:5 f). As he is taken from following the flock, he comes before us using the language and figures of his daily life (Amos 3:12), but there runs through all the note of one who has seen God's working in all Nature and His presence in every phenomenon. Rustic he may be, but there is no rudeness or rusticity in his style, which is one of natural and impassioned eloquence, ordered and regular as coming from a mind which was responsive to the orderly working of God in Nature around him. There is an aroma of the free air of the desert about his words; but the prophet lives in an ampler ether and breathes a purer air; all things in Nature and on the field of history are seen in a Divine light and measured by a Divine standard.
5. His Mission:
Thus, prepared in the solitudes of the extreme south of Judah, he was called to go and prophesy unto the people of Israel, and appears at Bethel the capital of the Northern Kingdom. It may be that, in the prosecution of his worldly calling, he had seen and been impressed by the conditions of life and religion in those parts. No reason is given for his mission to the northern capital, but the reason is not far to seek. It is the manner of the prophets to appear where they are most needed; and the Northern Kingdom about that time had come victorious out of war, and had reached its culmination of wealth and power, with the attendant results of luxury and excess, while the Southern Kingdom had been enjoying a period of outward tranquillity and domestic content.
The date of the prophet Amos can approximately be fixed from the statement in the first verse that his activity fell "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." Both these monarchs had long reigns, that of Uzziah extending from 779 to 740 B.C. and that of Jeroboam II from 783 to 743 B.C. If we look at the years when they were concurrently reigning, and bear in mind that, toward the end of Uzziah's reign, Jotham acted as co-regent, we may safely place the date of Amos at about the year 760 B.C. In a country in which earthquakes are not uncommon the one here mentioned must have been of unusual severity, for the memory of it was long preserved (Zechariah 14:5). How long he exercised his ministry we are not told. In all probability the book is the deposit of a series of addresses delivered from time to time till his plain speaking drew upon him the resentment of the authorities, and he was ordered to leave the country (Amos 7:10). We can only conjecture that, some time afterward, he withdrew to his native place and put down in writing a condensed record of the discourses he had delivered.
II. The Book.
We can distinguish with more than ordinary certainty the outlines of the individual addresses, and the arrangement of the book is clear and simple. The text, also, has been on the whole faithfully preserved; and though in a few places critics profess to find the traces of later editorial hands, these conclusions rest mainly on subjective grounds, and will be estimated differently by different minds.
1. Its Divisions:
The book falls naturally into three parts, recognizable by certain recurring formulas and general literary features.
(1) The first section, which is clearly recognizable, embraces Amos 1 and 2. Here, after the title and designation of the prophet in Amos 1:1, there is a solemn proclamation of Divine authority for the prophet's words. "Yahweh will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem" (verse 2). This is notable in one who throughout the book recognizes God's power as world-wide and His operation as extensive as creation; and it should be a caution in view, on the one hand, of the assertion that the temple at Jerusalem was not more sacred than any of the numerous "high places" throughout the land, and, on the other hand, the superficial manner in which some writers speak of the Hebrew notion of a Deity whose dwelling-place was restricted to one locality beyond which His influence was not felt. For this God, who has His dwelling-place in Zion, now through the mouth of the prophet denounces in succession the surrounding nations, and this mainly not for offenses committed against the chosen people but for moral offenses against one another and for breaches of a law binding on humanity. It will be observed that the nations denounced are not named in geographical order, and the prophet exhibits remarkable rhetorical skill in the order of selection. The interest and sympathy of the hearers is secured by the fixing of the attention on the enormities of guilt in their neighbors, and curiosity is kept awake by the uncertainty as to where the next stroke of the prophetic whip will fall. Beginning with the more distant and alien peoples of Damascus, Gaza and Tyre, he wheels round to the nearer and kindred peoples of Edom, Ammon and Moab, till he rests for a moment on the brother tribe of Judah, and thus, having relentlessly drawn the net around Israel by the enumeration of seven peoples, he swoops down upon the Northern Kingdom to which his message is to be particularly addressed.
(2) The second section embraces Amos 3 to 6, and consists apparently of a series of discourses, each introduced by the formula: "Hear this word" (Amos 3:1; Amos 4:1; Amos 5:1), and another introduced by a comprehensive: "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and to them that are secure in the mountain of Samaria" (Amos 6:1). The divisions here are not so clearly marked. It will be observed e.g. that there is another "Woe" at Amos 5:18; and in chapter 4, though the address at the outset is directed to the luxurious women of Samaria, from 4:4 onward the words have a wider reference. Accordingly some would divide this section into a larger number of subsections; and some, indeed, have described the whole book as a collection of ill-arranged fragments. But, while it is not necessary to suppose that the written book is an exact reproduction of the spoken addresses, and while the division into chapters has no authority, yet we must allow for some latitude in the details which an impassioned speaker would introduce into his discourses, and for transitions and connections of thought which may not be apparent on the surface.
(3) The third section has some well-marked characteristics, although it is even less uniform than the preceding. The outstanding feature is the phrase, "Thus the Lord Yahweh showed me" (Amos 7:1, 4, 7; Amos 8:1) varied at Amos 9:1 by the words, "I saw the Lord standing beside the altar." We have thus a series of "visions" bearing upon, and interpreted as applying to, the condition of Israel. It is in the course of one of these, when the prophet comes to the words, "I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword" (Amos 7:9) that the interposition of Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, is recorded, with the prophet's noble reply as to his Divine call, and his rebuke and denunciation of the priest, ending with a prophetic announcement of the downfall and captivity of Israel (Amos 7:14-17).
2. Its Outlook:
If the discourses are put down in chronological order of their delivery, it would appear that Amos did not immediately take his departure, since more visions follow this episode, and there is a special appropriateness in the intervention of Amaziah just at the point where it is recorded. As to the closing passage of this section (Amos 9:11-15) which gives a bright prospect of the future, there is a class of critics who are inclined to reject it just on this account as inconsistent with the severe denunciatory tone of the rest of the book. It is quite possible, however, that the prophet himself (and no succeeding later editor) may have added the passage when he came to write down his addresses. There is no reason to believe that any of the prophets-harsh though their words were-believed that the God of Israel would make a full end of His people in captivity: on the contrary, their assurance of God's faithfulness to His promise, and the deep-seated conviction that right would ultimately prevail, lead us to expect even in the sternest or earliest of the prophets the hope of a future glory-that hope which grew brighter and brighter as the nation's outlook grew darker, and attained intensity and clearness in the Messianic hope which sustained them in the darkest days of exile. It is difficult to believe that any of the prophets were prophets of despair, or to conceive how they could have prophesied at all unless they had a firm faith in the ultimate triumph of the good.
3. Value of the Book:
The Book of Amos is particularly valuable from the fact that he is certainly one of the earliest prophets whose writings have come down to us. It is, like the Book of Hosea which belongs to about the same time, a contemporaneous document of a period of great significance in the history of Israel, and not only gives graphic sketches or illuminating hints of the life and religious condition of the people, but furnishes a trustworthy standard for estimating the value of some other books whose dates are not so precisely determined, a definite starting-point for tracing the course of Israel's history.
(1) As a Picture of the Social Condition.
The book is valuable as embodying a contemporary picture of society and the condition of religion. From the abuses which the prophet denounces and the lifelike sketches he draws of the scenes amid which he moved, taken along with what we know otherwise of the historical movements of the period, we are able to form a fairly adequate estimate of the condition of the age and the country. During the reign of Jeroboam II the kingdom of Israel, after having been greatly reduced during preceding reigns, rose to a degree of extent and influence unexampled since the days of Solomon (2 Kings 14:25); and we are not astonished to read in the Book of Amos the haughty words which he puts into the mouth of the people of his time when they spoke of Israel as the "chief of the nations" a first-class power in modern language, and boasted of the "horns" by which they had attained that eminence (Amos 6:1, 13).
But success in war, if it encouraged this boastful spirit, brought also inevitable evils in its train. Victory, as we know from the Assyrian monuments, meant plunder; for king after king recounts how much spoil he had taken, how many prisoners he had carried away; and we must assume that wars among smaller states would be conducted on the same methods. In such wars, success meant an extension of territory and increase of wealth, while defeat entailed the reverse. But it is to be remembered that, in an agricultural country and in a society constituted as that of Israel was, the result of war to one class of the population was to a great extent disastrous, whatever was the issue, and success, when it was achieved, brought evils in its train which even aggravated their condition. The peasant, required to take up arms for offense or defense, was taken away from the labors of the field which, in the best event, were for a time neglected, and, in the worst, were wasted and rendered unproductive. And then, when victory was secured, the spoils were liable to fall into the hands of the nobles and leaders, those "called with a name" (Amos 6:1), while the peasant returned to his wasted or neglected fields without much substantial resource with which to begin life again. The wealth secured by the men of strong hand led to the increase of luxury in its possessors, and became actually the means of still further adding to the embarrassment of the poor, who were dependent on the rich for the means of earning their livelihood. The situation would be aggravated under a feeble or corrupt government, such as was certainly that of Jeroboam's successors. The condition prevails in modern eastern countries, even under comparatively wise and just administration; and that it was the state of matters prevailing in the time of Amos is abundantly clear from his book.
The opening denunciation of Israel for oppression of the poor and for earth-hunger (Amos 2:6, 7) is re-echoed and amplified in the succeeding chapters (Amos 3:9, 10; Amos 4:1; Amos 5:11, 12; 8:4-6); and the luxury of the rich, who battened on the misfortune of their poorer brethren, is castigated in biting irony in such passages as Amos 6:3-6. Specially noticeable in this connection is the contemptuous reference to the luxurious women, the "kine of Bashan" (Amos 4:1), whose extravagances are maintained by the oppression of the poor. The situation, in short, was one that has found striking parallels in modern despotic countries in the East, where the people are divided into two classes, the powerful rich, rich because powerful and powerful because rich, and, the poor oppressed, men who have no helper, no "back" in the common eastern phrase, dependent on the rich and influential and tending to greater poverty under greedy patrons.
(2) As a Picture of the Religious Condition.
In such a social atmosphere, which poisoned the elementary virtues, religion of a vital kind could not flourish; and there are plain indications in the words of Amos of the low condition to which it had sunk. There was, indeed, as we gather from ins addresses, no lack of outward attention to the forms of worship; but these forms were of so corrupted a character and associated with so much practical godlessness and even immorality, that instead of raising the national character it tended to its greater degradation. The people prided themselves in what they regarded the worship of the national God, thinking that so long as they honored Him with costly offerings and a gorgeous ritual, they were pleasing Him and secure in His protection. Bethel, Dan, Gilgal, Beersheba, and we know not how many other places were resorted to in pilgrimage by crowds of worshippers. With all the accompaniments of ceremonious ritual which the newly found wealth put in their power, with offerings more than the legally prescribed or customary (Amos 4:4, 5) the service of these sanctuaries was maintained; but even these offerings were made at the expense of the poor (Amos 5:11), the prevailing luxury forced its way even to the precincts of the altars (Amos 2:8), and justice and mercy were conspicuously absent from the religious life. The people seemed to have settled down to a complacent optimism, nourished no doubt by national prosperity, and, though there had not been wanting reminders of the sovereignty of a righteous God, in convulsions of Nature-drought, famine, pestilence and earthquake (Amos 4:6-11)-these had been of no avail to awaken the sleeping conscience. They put the evil day far from them (Amos 6:3), for Yahweh was their national God and "the day of the Lord," the good time coming (Amos 5:18), when God would come to their help, was more in their mind than the imperative duty of returning to Him (Amos 4:6, 8, etc.).
(3) Testimony to History.
The book is valuable for the confirmation it gives of the historical statements of other books, particularly for the references it contains to the earlier history contained in the Pentateuch. And here we must distinguish between references to, or quotations from, books, and statements or hints or indications of historical events which may or may not have been written in books or accessible to the prophet and his hearers. Opinions differ as to the date of composition of the books which record the earlier history, and the oldest Biblical writers are not in the habit of saying from what sources they drew their information or whether they are quoting from books. We can hardly believe that in the time of Amos copies of existing books or writings would be in the hands of the mass of the people, even if the power to read them was general. In such circumstances, if we find a prophet like Amos in the compass of a small book referring to outstanding events and stages of the past history as matters known to all his hearers and unquestionable, our confidence in the veracity of the books in which these facts are recorded is greatly increased, and it becomes a matter of comparatively less importance at what date these books were composed.
Now it is remarkable how many allusions, more or less precise, to antecedent history are found in the compass of this small book; and the significance of them lies not in the actual number of references, but in the kind of reference and the implications involved in the individual references. That is to say, each reference is not to be taken as an isolated testimony to some single event in question, but involves a great deal more than is expressed, and is intelligible only when other facts or incidents are taken into consideration. Thus e.g. the reference to the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah (Amos 4:11) is only intelligible on the supposition that the story of that catastrophe was a matter of common knowledge; and it would be a carping criticism to argue that the destruction of other cities of the plain at the same time and the whole story of Lot were unknown in the days of Amos because they are not mentioned here in detail. So, when we have in one passage a reference to the house of Isaac (Amos 7:16), in another to the house of Jacob (Amos 3:13), in another to the house of Joseph (Amos 5:6) and in another to the enmity between Jacob and Esau (Amos 1:11), we cannot take these as detached notices, but must supply the links which the prophet's words would suggest to his hearers. In other words, such slight notices, just because they are incidental and brief, imply a familiarity with a connected patriarchal history such as is found in the Book of Gen. Again, the prophet's references to the "whole family" of the "children of Israel" whom the Lord "brought up out of the land of Egypt" (Amos 3:1), to the Divine leading of the people "forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite" (Amos 2:10) are not odds and ends of popular story but links in a chain of national history. It seems to be on the strength of these and similar references in the books of Amos and Hosea, whose dates are known, that critics have agreed to fix the date of the earliest historical portions of the Pentateuch as they understand them, namely, the parts designated as Jahwist and Elohist, in the 8th and 9th centuries B.C., i.e. at or shortly before the time of these prophets. It may be left to the unbiased judgment of the reader to say whether the references look like references to a newly composed document, or whether it is not more probable that, in an age when written documents were necessarily few and not accessible to the multitude, these references are appeals to things well fixed in the national memory, a memory extending back to the things themselves. Or, if the prophet's words are to be taken as sufficient proof of the existence of written sources, the fact that the matters are assumed as well known would rather encourage the conclusion that the written sources in question go back to a much earlier period, since the matters contained in them had by this time become matters of universal knowledge.
(4) Testimony to the Law.
(a) The Ritual.
And what about those other elements of the Pentateuch of a legal and ritual character which bulk so prominently in those books? The question whether the Book of Amos indicates an acquaintance with these or not is important because it is to a great extent on the silence of prophetical and historical writers that critics of a certain school relegate these legalistic portions of the Pentateuch to a late date. Now at the outset it is obvious to ask what we have a reasonable right to expect. We have to bear in mind what was the condition of the people whom Amos addressed, and the purpose and aim of his mission to the Northern Kingdom. It is to be remembered that, as we are told in the Book of Kings (1 Kings 12:25), Jeroboam I deliberately sought to make a breach between the worship of Jerusalem and that of his own kingdom, while persuading his people that the worship of Yahweh was being maintained. The schism occurred some 170 years before the time of Amos and it is not probable that the worship and ritual of the Northern Kingdom tended in that interval to greater purity or greater conformity to what had been the authoritative practice of the undivided kingdom at the temple of Jerusalem. When, therefore, Amos, in face of the corrupt worship combined with elaborate ritual which prevailed around him, declares that God hates and despises their feasts and takes no delight in their solemn assemblies (Amos 5:21), we are not justified in pressing his words, as is sometimes done, into a sweeping condemnation of all ritual. On the contrary, seeing that, in the very same connection (Amos 5:22), he specifies burnt offerings and meal offerings and peace offerings, and, in another passage (Amos 4:4, 5), daily sacrifices and tithes, sacrifices of thanksgiving and free-will offerings, it is natural to infer that by these terms which are familiar in the Pentateuch he is referring to those statutory observances which were part of the national worship of united Israel, but had been overlaid with corruption and become destitute of spiritual value as practiced in the Northern Kingdom.
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a'-mos (Amos): An ancestor of Jesus in Luke's genealogy, the eighth before Joseph, the husband of Mary (Luke 3:25).
Easton's Bible Dictionary
Borne; a burden, one of the twelve minor prophets. He was a native of Tekota, the modern Tekua, a town about 12 miles south-east of Bethlehem. He was a man of humble birth, neither a "prophet nor a prophet's son," but "an herdman and a dresser of sycomore trees," R.V. He prophesied in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and was contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea (Amos 1:1
, 15; Zechariah 14:5
), who survived him a few years. Under Jeroboam II. the kingdom of Israel rose to the zenith of its prosperity; but that was followed by the prevalence of luxury and vice and idolatry. At this period Amos was called from his obscurity to remind the people of the law of God's retributive justice, and to call them to repentance.
The Book of Amos consists of three parts:
(1.) The nations around are summoned to judgment because of their sins (1:1-2:3). He quotes Joel 3:16.
(2.) The spiritual condition of Judah, and especially of 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 guilty people. (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 Bethel. (c) The fifth describes the overthrow and ruin of Israel (9:1-10); to which is added the promise of the restoration of the kingdom and its final glory in the Messiah's kingdom.
The style is peculiar in the number of the allusions made to natural objects and to agricultural occupations. Other allusions show also that Amos was a student of the law as well as a "child of nature." These phrases are peculiar to him: "Cleanness of teeth" [i.e., want of bread] (4:6); "The excellency of Jacob" (6:8; 8:7); "The high places of Isaac" (7:9); "The house of Isaac" (7:16); "He that createth the wind" (4:13). Quoted, Acts 7:42.
Strong's Hebrew5986. Amos -- an Israelite prophet...
<< 5985, 5986. Amos
. 5987 >>. an Israelite prophet. Transliteration: Amos
Spelling: (aw-moce') Short Definition: Amos
prophet NASB Word Usage Amos
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