The Prophet Amos
[Amos was] one of the minor Prophets, a native of Tekoa in Judah, possibly the father of the prophet Isaiah. He told Amaziah, "I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: and the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said to me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel." Amos 7: 14, 15. His language indicates an acquaintance with things that would be familiar to one leading an agricultural life: cf. Amos 2: 13; Amos 3: 12; Amos 4: 9; Amos 5: 8; Amos 6: 12; Amos 7: 1, 2. He tells us that his prophecy was given in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and of Jeroboam II, son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake; or at least began at that time. Amos 1: 1. For about 25 years these two kings were contemporaneous: B.C. 810-785.
Amos, Book of
Though Amos and Hosea were prophets at the same time, and both prophesied of the sins of Israel, there is much difference in the style of the two. Hosea is more fervent, stirred with righteous indignation at the sins of the people; whereas with Amos there is great calmness in declaring God's judgements. Hosea's prophecy is confined to the sins of Judah and Israel, whereas Amos tells of the judgements that should fall upon some of the surroundingnations that had molested Israel, especially upon those that retained any part of the land that had been promised to Abraham; and then he recounts the sins, not only of Judah to which he himself belonged, but also of Israel, indeed there is more concerning the latter than the former. In the heading we have the words, "The Lord will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem;" which are also in Joel 3: 16; thus, as it were, taking up the theme where Joel leaves off.
In the first two chapters there are eight short denunciations of judgements, introduced by the words "for three transgressions and for four." Three witnesses were adequate testimony; four is the cup running over, of which the four quarters of the earth can testify. The judgements are against:
- Syria under its chief city Damascus.
- The Philistines under Gaza.
speaks of both Judah and Israel, "the whole family," thus counting it as one, though division had come in: then follows the momentous statement that this family was the only one God had known - had taken into relationship - therefore God would punish them for their iniquities: showing that responsibilities are measured by the privileges enjoyed. Though judgements would come there would be a remnant left, as when a shepherd recovers from a lion "two legs or a piece of an ear" - a small remnant indeed! Amos 3: 12.
is against Israel, and especially because they had oppressed the poor. God had brought minor judgements upon them, such as:
1. Scarcity, "cleanness of teeth."
2. Want of rain, which was sent on one city but not on another.
3. Blasting and mildew.
4. Pestilence and a stink, their young men being slain with the sword.
5. They were overthrown as Sodom and Gomorrah, some being saved, as firebrands out of the burning. After each judgement is added the result, "Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord:" ending with "Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel, . . . . the Lord, the God of hosts is his name."
Israel is still denounced, but is exhorted to seek the Lord. Some desired the day of the Lord, but that will be very dark and with judgement. Such was their wickedness that God hated and despised their assemblies and their offerings: indeed they had turned to Idolatry.
denounces those that are at ease in Zion, living in luxury and pleasure, in a false self-confidence notwithstanding all the warnings that had been given.
Amos 7, 8, and 9 are visions, and their applications:
exhibits the patience of Jehovah. The prophet interceded for Jacob, and Jehovah repented of the evil he was bringing on them; still judgement must follow. The declaration of the doom of the high places was distasteful to Amaziah the priest of the king's false religion at Bethel, who was dwelling at ease. He bade Amos flee to Judah. But Amos replied that he had been no prophet, nor prophet's son, but only a herdman, and Jehovah had sent him. Judgements should fall upon Amaziah and Israel should go into captivity.
again denounces Israel especially for self-ease and oppression of the poor.
None could escape the eye and judgement of God. He would destroy them from off the face of the earth, but not utterly: a remnant should be saved, Amos 9: 9. Amos 9: 11-15 speak of restoration and blessing.
The plowman shall overtake the reaper; the mountains shall drop wine. The captives shall return. God will plant them upon their land and they shall no more be pulled up. Promises still to be fulfilled, for no such things have yet been. May God hasten them in His own time!