- Meaning of Amos: burden or burden-bearer
- do not confuse Amos with Amoz, the father’s of Isaiah (Is 1:1)
- From Tekoa (1:1), a small village about 10 miles south of Jerusalem
- A shepherd (1:1). The Hebrew word is not the common word for shepherd, it was used only one other time in OT in 2 Kings 3:4 where Mesha, king of Moab, is said to have engaged in sheep-breeding on such a scale that he was able to supply the king of Israel with 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. Thus Amos may have owned or managed large herds of sheep and goats. Amos used another Hebrew word in 7:14 to describe him as shepherd. The later word is only used once in OT. It means a “herdsman” or “cattleman”
- took care of sycamore-fig tree (7:14)
- His contemporaries are
- Jonah (2 King 14:25) (northern kingdom)
- Hosea (Hos 1:1) (northern kingdom)
- Isaiah (Is 1:1) (southern kingdom)
- Micah (southern kingdom)
- Date of writing: two years before the earthquake during the reigns of Uzziah (790-739BC), king of Judah and Jeroboam II (793BC-753BC), king of Israel (1:1). According to Josephus, the earthquake occurred at the time when Uzziah was struck by leprosy ( 2 Chro 26:16-21), thus place this writing in approximately 750 BC
- Amos was called by God to be a prophet (7:15). A prophet is not by inheritance. One cannot be a prophet just because his father is a prophet.
Background of The Spiritual Condition of Northern Kingdom
- After King Solomon’s death, ten tribes of Israel make Jeroboam, an official for King Solomon the first King for the northern kingdom (1 King 12:1) at Shechem.
- Jeroboam I setup two golden calves, one at Bethe and one at Dan and told the Israelites that these are the gods who brought you up out of Egypt (1 King 12:28)
- Jeroboam I built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. He instituted a festival on the 15th of the 8th month, a month of his own choosing (1 King 12:31-33)
- God had already sent the prophets Elijah, Elisha and Jonah. Israel did not repent. Some 200 years after the beginning of the northern kingdom, God sent Amos and Hosea in a final effort to stop the nation’s mad dash toward death.
Spiritual Condition at the time of Amos
- Amos was a shepherd at the southern kingdom, God called him to prophesy to the northern kingdom (7:15)
- Politically, Israel was strong and prosperous under Jeroboam II, who restored the territory of Israel (2 King 14:25).
- Spiritually, a time of rampant corruption and moral decay
- women oppressed the poor and crushed the needed (4:1)
- brag and boast about their sacrifices, tithes, thank offering and freewill offering (4:4-5)
- turned justice into bitterness (5:7)
- casted righteousness to the ground (5:7)
- trample on the poor and force the poor to give them grain (5:11)
- oppressed the righteous and take bribes and deprived the poor of justice in the courts (5:12)
- Jeroboam II
- was a bad king, the did evil in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam I (2 King 14:24)
Amos and Hosea
- Amos was not alone as Yahweh’s prophet. Hosea was prophesying at the same time frame in northern kingdom as well.
- Hosea’s message overall tone was love of God, but complimented with God’s judgement if Israel did not repent.
- Amos’s message overall tone was judgement of God, but complimented with God’s delivery at the end (9:14-15)
Historical and Theological Themes
- Amos addresses Israel’s two primary sins
- an absence of true worship
- a lack of justice
- Israel had ritualistic worship, mainly at Bethel and Gilgal (5:5), but they were not pursuing the Lord with their hearts (4:4, 5:4-6, 5:21-24)
- Because of Israel’s continuous willful rejection of the call of repentance from God through Amos and Hosea, God prophesied that they would receive punishment (3:14) from God. They would be exiled beyond Damascus (5:27)
- Because of God’s covenant, He will not abandon Israel altogether, but will bring future restoration to the righteous remnant (9:7-15)
- 9:11 “In the day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be” was quoted by James in the Jerusalem Council at Acts 15:16. Because of this, some think this verse was fulfilled on Jesus’s first coming. However others think that this verse will be fulfilled by Jesus on His second coming. The Lord Jesus will sit upon the throne of David during the millennium kingdom.
Chapter 1 and 2
- “For three transgressions and for four”, this verse was repeated many times throughput chapter 1 and 2. It means to things
- God is patience, He didn’t punish the nations immediately, instead He waited for them to repent
- The nations and Israel were living sinful lifestyle and did not want to repent
- “I will not revoke its punishment”, this verse always follow the previous verse. It mean God is righteous, He is sovereign over the nations. He will judge and punish the nations based on their sins
- The sins of the nations can be categories into two categories. First is their sinful lifestyle, second is their attack against God’s people, the Jews.
- It seems that in today’s world. The wicked is not always punished, and righteous is not always rewarded. But the scriptures remind us over and over again that God will just the wicked and reward the righteous. Of course in the eyes of God, no one is truly righteous, except His Son Jesus Christ. That is why God sent His Son to redeem us.
- In Matthew 25:31-46, the Lord Jesus talked about the judgment of the nations at end time. It is commonly known as the judgment of the sheep and goats. The sheep were symbol of those who protected and helped even the least of the brothers of Jesus (Matt 25:41). The goats were symbol of those who did NOT help to brothers of our Lord. The brothers of our Lord can be interpreted as as the Jews, or Christians. The sheep will inherit the kingdom was prepared for them since the foundation of the world. The goats will be go away into eternal punishment. This seems to mean salvation by works. How do we reconcile with the gospel, which is we are saved by grace through faith, not by works so that no one can boast (Eph 2:9-10). I believe that the sheep symbolized christians and the goats symbolized non-christians. True believers will not only profess their faith, but they will provide and help other Christians. True christians would not see the others of other Christians and not care for them.