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Book of Amos Timeline

Book of Amos Timeline


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Summary of the Book of Amos

Author: Amos 1:1 identifies the author of the Book of Amos as the Prophet Amos.

Date of Writing: The Book of Amos was likely written between 760 and 753 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: Amos is a shepherd and a fruit picker from the Judean village of Tekoa when God calls him, even though he lacks an education or a priestly background. Amos' mission is directed to his neighbor to the north, Israel. His messages of impending doom and captivity for the nation because of her sins are largely unpopular and unheeded, however, because not since the days of Solomon have times been so good in Israel. Amos' ministry takes place while Jeroboam II reigns over Israel, and Uzziah reigns over Judah.

Amos 2:4, "This is what the LORD says: 'For three sins of Judah, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because they have rejected the law of the LORD and have not kept his decrees, because they have been led astray by false gods, the gods their ancestors followed."

Amos 3:7, "Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets."

Amos 9:14, "I will bring back my exiled people Israel they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine they will make gardens and eat their fruit."

Brief Summary: Amos can see that beneath Israel’s external prosperity and power, internally the nation is corrupt to the core. The sins for which Amos chastens the people are extensive: neglect of God’s Word, idolatry, pagan worship, greed, corrupted leadership, and oppression of the poor. Amos begins by pronouncing a judgment upon all the surrounding nations, then upon his own nation of Judah, and finally the harshest judgment is given to Israel. His visions from God reveal the same emphatic message: judgment is near. The book ends with God’s promise to Amos of future restoration of the remnant.

Foreshadowings: The Book of Amos ends with a glorious promise for the future. “’I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God” (9:15). The ultimate fulfillment of God’s land promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:7 15:7 17:8) will occur during Christ’s millennial reign on earth (see Joel 2:26,27). Revelation 20 describes the thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth, a time of peace and joy under the perfect government of the Savior Himself. At that time, believing Israel and the Gentile Christians will be combined in the Church and will live and reign with Christ.

Practical Application: Sometimes we think we are a "just-a"! We are just-a salesman, farmer, or housewife. Amos would be considered a "just-a." He wasn’t a prophet or priest or the son of either. He was just a shepherd, a small businessman in Judah. Who would listen to him? But instead of making excuses, Amos obeyed and became God’s powerful voice for change.

God has used ordinary people such as shepherds, carpenters, and fishermen all through the Bible. Whatever you are in this life, God can use you. Amos wasn’t much. He was a "just-a." "Just-a" servant for God. It is good to be God’s "just-a."


Trei Assar (Twelve Prophets): Book of Amos

Chapter 1

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.

1:2 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.

1:3 Thus saith the LORD For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron: 1:4 But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Benhadad.

1:5 I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the LORD.

1:6 Thus saith the LORD For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom: 1:7 But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof: 1:8 And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD.

1:9 Thus saith the LORD For three transgressions of Tyrus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant: 1:10 But I will send a fire on the wall of Tyrus, which shall devour the palaces thereof.

1:11 Thus saith the LORD For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever: 1:12 But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.

1:13 Thus saith the LORD For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border: 1:14 But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with shouting in the day of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind: 1:15 And their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together, saith the LORD.

Chapter 2

2:1 Thus saith the LORD For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime: 2:2 But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kirioth: and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet: 2:3 And I will cut off the judge from the midst thereof, and will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the LORD.

2:4 Thus saith the LORD For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked: 2:5 But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem.

2:6 Thus saith the LORD For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes 2:7 That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name: 2:8 And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god.

2:9 Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath.

2:10 Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.

2:11 And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the LORD.

2:12 But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not.

2:13 Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.

2:14 Therefore the flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty deliver himself: 2:15 Neither shall he stand that handleth the bow and he that is swift of foot shall not deliver himself: neither shall he that rideth the horse deliver himself.

2:16 And he that is courageous among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, saith the LORD.

Chapter 3

3:1 Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, 3:2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? 3:4 Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing? 3:5 Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him? shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all? 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

3:8 The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy? 3:9 Publish in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria, and behold the great tumults in the midst thereof, and the oppressed in the midst thereof.

3:10 For they know not to do right, saith the LORD, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.

3:11 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD An adversary there shall be even round about the land and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled.

3:12 Thus saith the LORD As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus in a couch.

3:13 Hear ye, and testify in the house of Jacob, saith the Lord GOD, the God of hosts, 3:14 That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.

3:15 And I will smite the winter house with the summer house and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the LORD.

Chapter 4

4:1 Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink.

4:2 The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks.

4:3 And ye shall go out at the breaches, every cow at that which is before her and ye shall cast them into the palace, saith the LORD.

4:4 Come to Bethel, and transgress at Gilgal multiply transgression and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: 4:5 And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

4:6 And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

4:7 And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.

4:8 So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

4:9 I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

4:10 I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

4:11 I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

4:12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.

4:13 For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.

Chapter 5

5:1 Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel.

5:2 The virgin of Israel is fallen she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land there is none to raise her up.

5:3 For thus saith the Lord GOD The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.

5:4 For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: 5:5 But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought.

5:6 Seek the LORD, and ye shall live lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.

5:7 Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth, 5:8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name: 5:9 That strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress.

5:10 They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.

5:11 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.

5:12 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.

5:13 Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time for it is an evil time.

5:14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.

5:15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.

5:16 Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the LORD, saith thus Wailing shall be in all streets and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing.

5:17 And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD.

5:18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.

5:19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

5:20 Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? 5:21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.

5:22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.

5:23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.

5:24 But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.

5:25 Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? 5:26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.

5:27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.

Chapter 6

6:1 Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came! 6:2 Pass ye unto Calneh, and see and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border? 6:3 Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near 6:4 That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall 6:5 That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David 6:6 That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

6:7 Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.

6:8 The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein.

6:9 And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die.

6:10 And a man's uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is by the sides of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the LORD.

6:11 For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.

6:12 Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock: 6:13 Ye which rejoice in a thing of nought, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength? 6:14 But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the LORD the God of hosts and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness.

Chapter 7

7:1 Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings.

7:2 And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.

7:3 The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD.

7:4 Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and, behold, the Lord GOD called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part.

7:5 Then said I, O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.

7:6 The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.

7:7 Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the LORD stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand.

7:8 And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the LORD, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more: 7:9 And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.

7:10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.

7:11 For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.

7:12 Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: 7:13 But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court.

7:14 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: 7:15 And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.

7:16 Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac.

7:17 Therefore thus saith the LORD Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.

Chapter 8

8:1 Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit.

8:2 And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the LORD unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel I will not again pass by them any more.

8:3 And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord GOD: there shall be many dead bodies in every place they shall cast them forth with silence.

8:4 Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, 8:5 Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? 8:6 That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat? 8:7 The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works.

8:8 Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.

8:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day: 8:10 And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.

8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 8:12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

8:13 In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.

8:14 They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth and, The manner of Beersheba liveth even they shall fall, and never rise up again.

Chapter 9

9:1 I saw the LORD standing upon the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered.

9:2 Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: 9:3 And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them: 9:4 And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good.

9:5 And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.

9:6 It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name.

9:7 Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? 9:8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD.

9:9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.

9:10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.

9:11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: 9:12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.

9:13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.

9:14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.

9:15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.

Sources: Portions copyright © 1997 by Benyamin Pilant, All Rights Reserved
JPS Electronic Edition Copyright © 1998 by Larry Nelson, All Rights Reserved
Jewish Bible

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What Does Amos Mean To US?

Personally I see Amos everywhere. I think it’s an immensely applicable and down to earth book. What goes around comes around. Cause and effect. It shows us pretty clearly, especially in hindsight, what inequality and injustice have the power of doing. This is not a mystical Biblical book. I’ve not talked too much about God in Amos because you kind of don’t need to. God’s role in this was putting Amos in the position he found himself and opening his eyes. If you read close God doesn’t actually promise action – God promises lack of action. Israel, and later Judah, clearly slept in the bed they made. God did not intervene because any time God had in the past Israel took the credit. And it was not the credit God was concerned about – it was actions from the inflated ego that was the problem. If Israel took credit for God’s work they thought themselves more powerful than they were and got greedy. And Amos clearly says that if we don’t take care of everyone then ultimately everyone gets hurt. Even if the elite are happy for a short time. Amos is surprisingly uncomplicated. This is not a problem that has gone away. It is just as applicable today as it was then.


THE CONTEXT OF THE 8th CENTURY B.C.E. PROPHECY: THE PROPHET AMOS.

The Religious Context
Under Jeroboam II and Uzziah, the temple of Jerusalem in Judah and the sanctuary of Bethel in Israel were prominent religious centers, places for sacrifices and other offerings. Some of the wealth accumulated, such as gold and ivory, furnished these sanctuaries. For the prophets, nevertheless, justice was more important than cultic sacrifices.
Under Assyrian vassalage, the Assyrian policy toward local religious cults was ambiguous (Joseph Blenkinsopp, A History of Prophecy in Israel. p. 83). Sometimes, the Assyrian cult was imposed and supported by vassal annual tribute. Local cults were destroyed and/or restored, like in 2 kings 17:24-28. And the Assyrian military campaigns were conducted in the name of Ashur –Assyrian god and the treaties of vassalage, called “yoke of Ashur”, were signed in the name of Ashur, the “lord of all lands”.
For Israel, however, the fall of Samaria was not only a human disaster, but also a theological challenge. Since war between human nations involved war between their respective deities, could Yahweh be defeated by Ashur? Also, the loss of the land questioned the relevance of the covenant with Yahweh. For the prophets Amos and Hosea, the fall of Samaria was a logical consequence of the religious and social discrepancies of under Jeroboam II. Hosea, particularly, denounced the religious syncretism that the international trades brought in Israel, advocating for the purity of faith. This syncretism was also observed after 722 BCE as new people were brought in Samaria and mixed with the Israelite remnants. In Jesus’ time, the Jews reproached the Samaritans for the syncretistic religion.
In Judah, the fall of Samaria was not without religious and theological impacts. We should not forget that king Hezekiah initiated series of religious reforms that Josiah would finish after discovering the Book of the Law from the northern kingdom. He fortified the walls of Jerusalem, secured the water supply by building the tunnel of Siloam, and conducted the purification of the Temple (Isaiah 22:9-11). These reforms not only enhanced the importance of the temple, but also became the reason of the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the siege of Sennacherib (2 kings 19:35-37). This confidence on the temple and the city would be challenged by the Babylonian invasion in 597 and 586 BCE.

The Prophet Amos and his Book

The Book of Amos
According to Ceresko (Anthony R. Ceresko, Introduction to the Old Testament, p.198-199), the book of Amos might have been edited in three stages. The main part was collected by Amos or his disciples from Amos' preaching in Israel around 760s BCE. After 722 BCE, a rework expanded the book to meet the context of mid-7th century BCE Judah (2:4-5). The credibility of the prophet was justified by the fall of Samaria. At this stage, we may identify some deutoronomic elements (2:4c). A final editor in the 6th century BCE, late exilic or postexilic, revised the book in order to address the Exiles or the newly returned from exile and introduced a messianic perspective (9:8c-15).
Moreover, the book of Amos may be divided into three parts. After the prologue (1:1), Amos begins by proclaiming the sins and the consequent judgments of each of the Syro-Palestinian nations (1:2-2:16). The second part contains woes against Israel (3:1-6:14). And the third part of the book reports of visions about Israel (7:1-9:8b) and an autobiographic note at the confrontation with the priest Amaziah (7:10-17). The book ends with a messianic epilogue (9:8c-15).
To the gentile nations, Amos reproaches their numerous crimes –“for three crimes of …, and for four”- against humanity. The justice of God is universal, and not limited to Israel only. Concerning Israel, the crimes are not only humanistic, but also touch the covenant with Yahweh that requires justice and righteousness. But scholars discuss if the covenant was already codified like the actual book of Deuteronomy or was still kept as a collection of traditions (Collins, p.290).
Also, Amos criticized the religious cult of Bethel and the way exodus was understood in Israel. For him, the celebration of the experience of exodus should call forth responsibility instead of overconfidence and indifference to justice. Amos does question the real significance of the election of Israel. Yahweh is the savior of Israel as well as of all nations. In that sense, Amos continues in denouncing the social injustice, and particularly the luxury and extravagant consumerism of the ruling class (4:1-3 6:4-7). To disregard the covenant can bring only disaster, a punishment from God who is the master of history and acts in history. Therefore, according to Collins, Amos may be a “strict monotheist” who cannot resist prophesying when Yahweh speaks (Collins, p.291)
Concerning the religious cult in Bethel, Amos has nothing to say. For Amos the true religion consists in practicing justice. Religion is not about a sophisticated liturgy, nor about expensive offerings. Amos rejects liturgical music as well as animal sacrifices. “The service of God is about justice.” (Collins, p.293) Amos, hence, does not ask for a liturgical renewal, but a moral renewal. The commitment to God has to be practiced not in the sanctuary, but rather in the marketplace, where the rich cheat and exploit the poor.
Therefore, Amos sees the advent of the Lord as a day of judgment. His visions culminate in the total destruction of Israel (9:1-8b). The kingdom will be destroyed, along with its population. While, the visions are pronounced against the rich, the poor also will perish as well. Even the sanctuary of Bethel cannot not stand, since its cult is not worthy. For the postexilic editor, however, the last word of God is hope for his people. Observing the return from the Babylonian exile, the prophet projects a messianic ending and the restoration of Davidic kingship.


Haggai, Zechariah & Malachi

The last group within the Twelve Prophets is Haggai, Zechariah (especially chapters 1-8), and Malachi, all of whom prophesy after the Babylonian exile. (The history of this period, when the second Temple was being rebuilt,is described in the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah.) Each of the three was preoccupied with a different issue. Haggai encouraged the people to rebuild the Temple, despite their grinding poverty. Zechariah (in chapters 1-8) focused on the theme of God choosing and desiring Israel: &ldquoSing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, behold I come and I will dwell within you, says the Lord&rdquo (Zechariah 2:14). Malachi spoke about the social and religious problems of the return to Zion: neglect of sacrifices (Malachi 1:6-14) and intermarriage (Malachi 2:11-12).

The historical setting of several passages in the Twelve Prophets are debated: Scholars argue about the dating of Habakkuk 3 and Zechariah 9-14, and it is quite probable that Zechariah 9-14 were written earlier than the time of Zechariah.

The dating of the entire book of Joel is also uncertain. Joel chapters 1-2 prophesy about a plague of locusts that would come upon the land, and urge the people to pray and repent. It is not clear if this refers to an actual plague or is a metaphor for an anticipated invasion of Judah.

Jonah

One of the Twelve Prophets stands out as unconnected to any historical event. This is the book of Jonah, also the only one to deal solely with universal themes, rather than with Israel&rsquos particular relationship with God. In chapters 1-2, Jonah attempts to escape from God&rsquos Presence through his interactions with the sailors in chapter 1, he comes to see God as the source of life, and to long for God. In chapters 3-4, Jonah confronts God&rsquos policy of reward and punishment, and is forced to undergo the experience of losing something he needs. Through this lesson, God teaches Jonah that His love for humans is overarching and that God is therefore inclined to be merciful and to prefer repentance to punishment.


Israelite Prophets Date Chart

This chart includes only the major prophetic figures of the Old Testament period. The period following 750 BC, beginning with Hosea and Amos, is often referred to as the classical period of prophecy and those prophets as writing prophets. Both names are somewhat inaccurate. There is not nearly as radical a break between prophets before the beginning of the "classical" period and those after as the name might imply. Also, not all of the prophets were necessarily writers. In some cases the books are a combination of the prophet's words along with later stories about the prophet as well as much later application of the prophetic message to new historical contexts. Amos is a good example of such a composite book. On the other hand, some prophetic books, such as Ezekiel, are relatively coherent indicating a great deal of unity of composition. Yet in other cases, such as the Book of Jonah, the prophet whose name appears as the title of a book had little to do with the authorship of the book, since it is a writing about the prophet, his life, and message.

The dates reflect the active ministry of the prophets as determined from datable portions of the biblical accounts. Except for the Isaiah traditions, there is no attempt here to sort out the different time periods that are reflected in the prophetic books themselves (see The Unity and Authorship of Isaiah). For example, it is clear that the collection of sermons and stories from Amos underwent editing (redaction) in the Southern Kingdom after the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC, some 150 years after the ministry of Amos in the Northern Kingdom (Amos 9:11-15).

This simply reminds us that there is a difference between the immediate historical context of prophetic figures of the Old Testament and the historical context of the books that bear their name. The books are the products of the community of faith sometimes over many centuries as they collected, reflected upon, and used the messages brought by the prophets themselves (for a graphic of the different time frames of biblical material, see The Three Triads of Biblical Interpretation and the accompanying article, Guidelines for Interpreting Biblical Narrative). The books often bear clear evidence of this dynamic use of the prophetic traditions over a period of time, which also speaks of the ongoing vitality of the writings as God's living word to the people.

Daniel is not included here because the book is not normally considered a prophetic book, but rather part of The Writings, the reflective and devotional literature of Israel. There is little historical evidence to date the book of Joel, and it could fall anywhere between 500 BC to as late as 300 BC. The historical setting of Jonah is the Assyrian era of the 8th century BC, but many scholars place the actual writing of the book in the middle fifth century BC, shortly after Nehemiah's reforms. This suggests that the book uses much older traditions from the Assyrian era as a means to address a different set of problems in the post-exilic community.


Fact-checking the Book of Amos: There Was a Huge Quake in Eighth Century B.C.E.

It is rare to find evidence supporting the biblical narrative. Thousands of years after the event, the causes of destruction can be hard to pinpoint. War or quake are just two possibilities that spring to mind when evidence of heavy destruction is found.

While earthquakes in the Middle East and Levant are as common as flies, the ancient annals did not tend to mention them – with one glaring exception. The books of Amos, Zechariah and Ezekiel explicitly note an earthquake, which scholars agree would have been in roughly 760 B.C.E. Much later, the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus wrote in his typical hair-raising style about the same temblor and its supposed origin in the prideful King Uzziah.

Indeed, support for the biblical narrative had been found in archaeological discoveries of catastrophic destruction throughout ancient northern Israel, dating to the eighth century B.C.E. (these discoveries were made over decades by a host of researchers).

No question about it, much damage was caused by the Assyrians conquering the land and quashing fractious locals. But Israeli scientists report detecting paleo-geological signals clearly supporting the archaeological evidence.

Their conclusion is that the descriptions of earthquake in Amos and Zechariah, and elsewhere in the Bible, were true. Geology, however, had a surprise in store.

Amos speaks

"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” (Amos 1:1).

The book of Amos, which is believed to have been written in the eighth century B.C.E. with some later additions, begins with God delivering a mighty blast from Jerusalem that would wither the top of Mount Carmel 100 kilometers (62 miles) to the east and continue onto Syria, whose unhappy people “shall go into captivity unto Kir.”

Gaza was also wrecked by the deity’s wrath, said the herdsman-prophet. So was everyone else in the vicinity, including the Moabites, the Philistines, not least in Gath, and the Kingdom of Judah, punished for its usual faithlessness:

“Because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after which their fathers have walked: But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem” (Amos 2:4-5).

And Israel fared no better: “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities” (Amos 3:2).

Thus the wrath of the Lord was felt up and down the land, and to its left and right too – which in and of itself supports the postulation that if some hell befell the region, it was a major earthquake. Or, in fact, two.

Ancient Gath Philippe Bohstrom

King Uzziah waxes proud

The Bible isn’t taken literally by most people anymore, certainly not in the case of far-out tales like Jonah being swallowed whole by a sea-creature and surviving the trauma.

But parts of the biblical narrative seem to be based on memories of traumatic events. Amos was written contemporarily with the events. Zechariah was written later, somewhere between the sixth to fourth centuries B.C.E. He also mentions a temblor in the time of King Uzziah, who is thought to have ruled from 787 to 736 B.C.E.

While Amos and Zechariah focused on aspects of evil, as usual Josephus delved into startling detail, starting with Uzziah waxing extremely successful, which made him cocky. One day the king went to the Temple – the first one, Solomon’s Temple – and insisted on offering incense to God himself, rather than via the priests, who begged him to desist. He threatened to kill them, and then:

a great earthquake shook the ground, and a rent was made in the temple, and the bright rays of the sun shone through it and fell upon the King’s face insomuch that the leprosy seized upon him immediately. And before the city, at a place called Eroge, half the mountain broke off from the rest on the west” – Josephus, “Antiquities of the Jews, Book IX 10:4

OK. Prof. Wolfgang Zwickel of the University of Mainz helpfully points out a key archaeological clue to quake versus enemy action. In the case of war, Zwickel says, destruction layers wouldn’t necessarily be everywhere. Cities that submissively opened their gates to the marauder would be spared. But if all the cities in a large area evince destruction levels, the likelihood is quake.

Evidence of catastrophe in eighth-century B.C.E. northern Israel is legion. A destruction layer at Hazor was dated by Israel Finkelstein and Yigal Yadin to 760 B.C.E., the right time frame for Amos. At Lachish, David Ussishkin found a destruction level from the same time. Acre also has a similar layer dating to the mid-eighth century B.C.E. that, Zwickel points out, could have been courtesy of the Assyrians or quake.

Assyrian relief depicting warriors on horses, 8th century B.C.E. From Ashurbanipal's palace at Nineveh De Agostini / Getty Images

Moving onto Megiddo (which the Christians call Armageddon), the archaeologists describe “tilted walls and pillars, bent and warped walls, fractured building stones, dipping floors, liquefied sand, mudbrick collapse and burnt remains” (Shmuel Marco and Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University, with Amotz Agnon of Hebrew University and Ussishkin).

Tel Abu Hawam, in Haifa Bay, had been settled from the Bronze Age, if not earlier, and a powerful town had arisen there some 3,000 years ago. But it was destroyed after the quake and not rebuilt. Damage found at Tel Dan also fits the timeline of the biblical quake.

What about the Assyrians? Hebrew University’s Agnon explains that some of the damage the archaeologists found could not possibly have been achieved with the primitive tools of the Bronze Age or even the early Iron Age.

Tel Shafi, for instance (formerly the Philistine city of Gath), had a 4-meter-thick (13-foot) wall that fell onto its side in the eighth century B.C.E. It would have taken a hand of god, not a donkey with headgear, to push that thing over. “That damage couldn’t have been man-made,” Agnon says.

Haifa Bay, a center of industry and residence too, which could be vulnerable to soil liquefaction during a major earthquake Rami Shllush

In fact, geological analyses of archaeological evidence by Kate Raphael and Agnon, constrained by Agnon's revision of student work on Dead Sea sediments, found 11 quakes in the Bronze and Iron ages in Israel.

The fact that geologists found two quakes in the eighth century B.C.E., not one, doesn’t seem to bother today’s scientists. Zwickel for one suggests that memories can get foggy after centuries, or that Amos was referring to the stronger quake.

At the bottom of the Dead Sea

Where the quakes originated, we do not know. Israel is riddled with faults, but there’s one major one – the Dead Sea Transform – which is the source of catastrophic quakes. The seabed is like a tape recorder of geological events in the land: Deposits falling to the floor of the Dead Sea lie in flat layers, unless disrupted and deformed by quakes.

By radio-carbon dating organic matter in the layers, science can roughly time the disturbances to the layers. To validate the method, geologists identified known major quakes, like in 1927 and 1834/7, by deformations in the Dead Sea cores.

Publishing in Tectonophysics, Marco and Agnon,, and Elisa Kagan, present paleoseismic evidence from the Dead Sea area: Cores taken at Ein Gedi and evidence from layered sediment at Ein Feshkha and Nahal Tze’elim (next to Masada).

Using carbon-14 dating of organic matter in the deformed layers, Kagan dated one quake to 861-705 B.C.E. and the second to 824-667 B.C.E.

Agnon explains why the margin of error seems so enormous. “The organic material [Kagan] dated using C14 didn’t die in the quake. It came from plants that stopped living before the quake and reached the site through flooding,” Agnon says. That widened the margin.

At the end of the day, what we have is evidence of two strong quakes in the eighth century B.C.E., which support the biblical account in Amos, and Zechariah too. Not that he knew of what he spake, writing so long after the event, but still.

One final thing. Some scholars believe they can locate the epicenter of the “Amos quake” to Lebanon and estimate that its magnitude was a hellish 8. Agnon shrugs: There just isn’t enough evidence to reach any such determinations, he says.

In any case, despite the evidence of divine displeasure, the locals seem to have set about briskly rebuilding, Zwickel says: “Even more interesting than destroyed sites are sites evidently built up directly after the earthquake/s. Evidently, King Jeroboam II used the troubles in the destroyed area to establish new trade connections to the north and to strengthen the infrastructure for trade connections in Israel.”


What does the Bible teach us in the book of Amos?

The book of Amos is named after the prophet whose words are collected in this book. He was a shepherd and farmer, but had the special commission to proclaim God’s message to the people of Israel – more precisely, to the northern kingdom of Israel, since the people of Israel had split into two kingdoms some 150 years before Amos’ days. The book dates about 750 BC.

Amos lived during the reign of Jeroboam II, who was a successful king economically and politically. But instead of fearing God, he worshiped idols and tolerated social injustice.

Judgment of neighboring countries

In a series of short poems, Israel’s neighbors are accused of violence and injustice. God announces that He will judge them. See for example Amos 1:6-7:

For three transgressions of Gaza,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because they carried into exile a whole people
to deliver them up to Edom.
So I will send a fire upon the wall of Gaza,
and it shall devour her strongholds.

Amos is addressing people groups around Israel – and his audience probably did fully agree that these nations needed judgment.

Judgment of Israel

But Amos goes on. In a poem three times as long as the others, he accuses Israel itself of social injustice and idolatry:

because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of sandals –
those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth
and turn aside the way of the afflicted

a man and his father go in to the same girl,
so that My holy name is profaned
(Amos 2:6-7).

God takes this all the more seriously because He has treated Israel so well, and because they are fully aware of God’s law.

You only have I known
of all the families of the earth
therefore I will punish you
for all your iniquities
(Amos 3:2).

Since Israel had a great calling and a great responsibility, the consequences of their rebellion were also tremendous.

Poems and visions

In the rest of Amos’ books, there are many poems about Israel’s religious hypocrisy. God doesn’t like their sacrifices and their religious gatherings, because they are accompanied by great injustice. A real relationship with God should lead to righteous relationships with other people as well.

Moreover, the Israelites worshiped idols and tried to serve God on their own terms, which God clearly condemns. In vivid imagery, Amos describes how He will destroy the kingdom of Israel.

The day of the Lord

The Israelites were hoping for “the day of the Lord”, a moment when God would intercede in world history. They thought that God would then judge the nations, and make Israel rule over the world. They expected a glorious future. But Amos radically corrects this view (Amos 5:18):

Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!
Why would you have the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, and not light

It is true that “the day of the Lord” is a day of judgment over the nations (see for example Isaiah 13:6-9, Jeremiah 46:10, Obadiah 1:15). But Israel is just as sinful, and will therefore be judged like the other nations. This happened indeed – some 40 years after Amos’ prophecies, Israel was captured and led into exile by the Assyrian army.

God remains gracious

And yet, God does not fully destroy his people. When Amos intercedes for the people, God promises that their total destruction, depicted as a scorching fire and a locust swarm, “shall not be” (Amos 7:1-6). Even though the Israelites had not taken Amos’ warnings to heart and thus were indeed led into exile, God promises their restoration.

In that day I will raise up
the booth of David that is fallen
and repair its breaches,
and raise up its ruins
and rebuild it as in the days of old,
that they may possess the remnant of Edom
and all the nations who are called by My name,
declares the Lord Who does this
(Amos 9:11-12).

Lessons for us

The main themes of Amos and lessons that we learn from this book are:

  • A real relationship with God should show in social justice and righteousness. The Lord is not pleased with hypocritical worship.
  • The Israelites had a unique and privileged relationship with God. Their great calling was accompanied by a great responsibility. Think about your position and the responsibility this brings!
  • God is just. He has judged sinful neighboring countries. He has sent the Israelites into exile. He will also judge us, if we are neglecting his will.
  • God is gracious. Even for the unjust and idolatrous Israelites, He provided a glimmer of hope for the future. His goal with humanity is not to destroy it, but to offer a way of salvation.

Want to know more?

If you are interested in learning more about the book of Amos, the best thing to do, of course, is to read it for yourself. Moreover, you could watch an introductory video of The Bible Project:

In our five Read Scripture courses, we offer introductions on every single Bible book. The courses are totally free, and after completing a course you will receive a certificate. Feel free to sign up and try for yourself!

How does this Bible teaching speak to you? Please share your thoughts down below!

Get a good introduction about the Bible in What is the Bible?

Grietje Commelin

Grietje studied theology and mastered in Bible Translation. Next to being a mother, she supports GlobalRize by writing bible reflections and other content for GlobalRize.


What Makes a “Great” History Novel?

Many criteria go into determining if or not a history book is good. Some of them include:

Accuracy: One of the most crucial things that you need to look for when assessing a background book is whether it is true. Did the writer perform adequate research on the topic to deliver details, not only their remarks, during the writing?

Cites information: Likewise, you need to search for publications that have footnotes and a comprehensive collection of these resources used when writing the book. Start looking for the post mentioning these resources across the text to reveal how they can tie the data from several resources to help you realize the concepts or ideas introduced in the book.

Well-Written and Engaging: Great books also need to be engaging. The writer should be able to gather the parts of this narrative’ in a distinct and straightforward to comprehend format. As the reader, you ought to be the book and want to continue reading to understand the events that the writer is talking about. One way that lots of writers can produce a history engaging is via using primary sources. Primary sources may consist of photos, artifacts at the moment, and letters, journals, papers, speeches, and other written reports.

Why should I read history books?

Reading the best history books and learning history, in general, are significant for several distinct reasons. Whenever you’ve got a fantastic comprehension of the last, you can realize the gift. Seeing the link between the way things once were and how they’re now can permit you to see how we got where we are and what we can do to continue to proceed.

Studying history may also highlight mistakes that different people, leaders, or even groups of individuals made. Learning about these errors and their effects can keep them from occurring again and producing precisely the same negative impacts. Without history, we would not understand that, and we, as a people, will be prone to repeat the same mistakes repeatedly.

Learning the background of your ethnic group, town, or nation may also help you know more about who you are as an individual and how you came to be. You’ll have the ability to find out about your ancestors and the various events that influenced their everyday lives.

Besides learning about ourselves and our legacy, history is also an essential bit of understanding about other cultures and heritages. This might help us create a feeling of empathy, knowledge, and appreciation for people who are different from us.

Which kind of history book when I read?

The reply to this query will indeed differ for everybody. There are many distinct sorts of history books, so you are going to wish to consider your interests, needs, and preferences when picking a book. If you’re seeking to learn about a particular motion or time interval, decide on a novel centered around that.

Are historical novels intriguing?

When a background novel is well-written and factual, it can be extremely intriguing. Just because it occurred before, it does not imply that history is dull. Many historical writers are specialists at joining different occasions with each other to make an extremely engaging ” narrative,” which may have you on the edge of your chair.

Each of those historical world history books does a fantastic job providing an exceptional outlook towards the depths of the world and human history. There’s so much to pay, but the extraordinary thing about history is always a different perspective to check at.

History did not just happen from 1 standpoint, there were countless occasions offering thousands of unique viewpoints, and that’s an important issue to bear in mind when studying one of these novels.


Watch the video: Overview: Amos (May 2022).