Amos – An Introduction, pt.2

Please remember that this evening we are gathering to begin our study of Amos by looking at the nature of Old Testament prophecy and the historical background of Amos.  If you have time, please read one of the attached overviews of Amos before this evening.


We generally know that Amos prophesied during the time of King Uzziah of Judah and King Jeroboam II of Israel and two years before the “earthquake”. Amos 1:1. Archeologists generally date the earthquake during the reign of these two kings as occurring in about 760 B.C. Within the history of Israel, David’s kingdom became a divided kingdom between Rehoboam of Judah and Jeroboam I of Israel at the death of Solomon in 922 B.C. 1 Kings 12. In 722 B.C., about 40 years after Amos, Israel fell to Assyria (based in modern-day northern Iraq) and Assyria resettled the Israelites in other parts of their empire. 2 Kings 17. Amos prophesized around the same time as Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah were prophesying in Judah.


During the reign of King Jeroboam II, the great powers of Egypt to the south and Assyria to the north were quiet.  Jeroboam II expanded Israel’s northern border back to where it was during the height of Solomon’s reign more than 150 years earlier. 2 Kings 14:25.


Israel sits at the crossroads of the north-south trade routes in the ancient Near East. For some, economic times were good. Amos recounts that many in Israel had summer and winter houses (Amos 3:15), ivory beds, and plenty of meat, wine, oil, and music (Amos 6:4-7). However, much of this gain was due to trading in Israelite slaves (Amos 2:6), engaging in dishonest commercial practices (Amos 8:4-6), and bribing judges (Amos 5:12).


Israelite worship was centered at Beth-El (literally “House of God”).  This is where Jacob had his vision of ascending and descending angels in Genesis 28:10-19. Amos presents a picture of a vibrant worshipping community that gathers daily for the sacrifices and offers a tithe every three days (Amos 4:4-5) with solemn assemblies of burnt offerings, grain offerings, and peace offerings accompanied by great songs (Amos 5:23-24).  However, the people also worshipped foreign gods as well. Amos 5:26, 1 Kings 12:14-18.


Amos is not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture. He says he was from Tekoa, which is a small village in the southern kingdom of Judah near Jerusalem. Amos 1:1. Amos denies that he is a prophet and says his true profession is that of a herdsman and dress of sycamore trees. Amos 7:14-15. Most of the commentaries say that Amos was probably not a field hand but the landowner of flocks of sheep and groves of sycamores.  

Dinner is at 6. The menu for this week is cashew chicken with fried rice.  Discussion at 6:45.  Hope to see you here.

The lion has roared;
    who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken;
    who can but prophesy?

Amos 3:8

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