Author: Amos of Tekoa, shepherd and cultivator of sycamore trees
Date Written: 750 BC
Amos is sent by God from the southern
The book begins with a short prologue giving historical context and a thematic introduction. Then the Oracles, or prophetic sayings, Against the Nations begin (1:3-2:16). Next Amos launches into judgment oracles against the nation of
There are few key pieces of information to keep in mind while reading Amos. First, Amos is sent to the northern kingdom of
In the Oracles Against the Nations, Amos lists the sins of surrounding nations and declares God's punishment on them. Amos calls for a destruction of Israelite worship and the reuniting of the kingdom. He denounces unjust social practices and calls for a return to true worship of the Lord. He announces the end of the Jeroboamite dynasty (7:9). He prophesies of a day when the "booth of David" will be repaired and rebuilt, when all the people will dwell in peace and harmony under a true king who is a descendant of David. Amos' harsh message eventually gets him banished from the northern kingdom (7:12-14).
A few theological themes for meditation in this book are God's love for the poor and his desire for a just society. Also, the holiness of God's law is so great that it demands a great punishment on those who break it. In our times, as in Amos' there is a famine "of hearing the word of the Lord" (8:11). God does not desire to punish his people, but in many cases suffering is a necessary precursor to restoration.
By Mark Giszczak