Study One: An Introduction to the Book of Amos

Study One:  An Introduction to the Book of Amos

  1. AUTHOR: Amos
  2. Southerner of Tekoa (south of Jerusalem) (1:1)
  3. Traveled north to Israel (Bethel) to preach as one called of God (7:15)
  4. Occupation: sheep breeder, perhaps a master shepherd with others under him; not a prophet until called by the LORD (1:1; 7:14f) and a grower of sycamore figs (7:14)
  5. Spoke in Bethel (center for idol worship in Israel) and then in Judah under Jeroboam II’s resistance (7)
  6. May have returned to Judah to write his messages
  7. DATE: ca. 767-753 B.C.
  8. King of Judah is Uzziah (Azariah) (790-740)
  9. King of Israel is Jeroboam II (793-753)
  10. Within the period of the joint reigns of Uzziah and Jeroboam, possibly ca. 767-753 B.C.
  11. Two years before the earth quake (1:1 cf. Zech 14:5) it was spoken; it may have been written down later.
  12. King of Assyria–Adad Nirari III (810-753)
  13. King of Syria–Hazael

III. HISTORICAL SETTING:

  1. Judah is under the influence of Jeroboam II of Israel
  2. Israel appears to be outwardly at its zenith of power. Jeroboam had a successful reign (2 Ki.14:25-28 cf. Amos 6:14)
  3. Many of the evil characteristics described in Amos 1–2 might better be translated in the present tense of activities then being done.1 They describe Jeroboam II’s rule as painfully disrupted as His lines were breached and the enemies pressed into the territory. Israel was fighting a defensive war against the armies of Syria and Ammon. Both were true.
  4. Three periods of Israel from Jehu (841-814):
  5. 839-806 — Engaged in the East and rent by civil dissensions. Could not put pressure on Syria, suffered 30 years of humiliation during Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash2
  6. 806-782 — Assyria’s king Adad-Nirari III is ruler, and ruled over surrounding states, especially Syria. Israel was protected. Therefore Israel was able to restore some of its borders under Johoash and Jeroboam II. Syria was unable to fight on two borders.3 Israel and Judah restored their borders to almost that of David and Solomon (cf. 2 Ki. 14:25 for the prophecy by Jonah)
  7. 782-745 — the time when Amos spoke; Assyria was under duress from the northern kingdom of Urartu which pushed Assyria down from the north, northwest, and northeast.4 Syria was freed up to deal with Israel and entered into drawn-out battles to regain Gilead, and Bashan.5
  8. The people became arrogant during the northern nation’s period of prosperity resulting in injustice, greed, neglect of the poor, persecution of the poor, and formalistic religion.6
  9. AUDIENCE: Primarily northern Israel (1:1; 7:15), but there are some references to southern Judah as well (2:4-5; 3:1; 6:1).
  10. PURPOSES FOR THE BOOK:
  11. To describe how the Lord of the universe will not only come to judge the nations for their evil, but will also come to judge Israel for her breach of covenant
  12. To expose Israel’s breach of covenant through their social oppression of the people, empty religious ritual, and arrogant self-confidence
  13. To proclaim a time of restoration and blessing after judgment under a revitalized Davidic dynasty
READ ALSO  ANGELS IN THE EPISTLES

Issues:
Amos condemns them for a lifestyle of:

  1. Rejecting God, ignoring the prophets and defiling the Nazirites
  2. Unjust and excessive luxury
  3. Enslaving the poor and financially oppressing them
  4. Being incredibly greedy and predatory, cheating people in business
  5. Idolatry, the occult and false worship
  6. Being even worse that the surrounding Gentile nations
  7. Not knowing how to do right, having no fear or respect of God
  8. Substituting worship for ethical obedience

 

 

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