Amos

The book of Amos contains a number of short prophecies against Gentile nations, Judah, and Israel. It ends, however, with a promise that one day, in spite of the coming destruction, the Lord will restore the fullest blessings to Israel.

Author and Date

Amos was a shepherd and a keeper of fig trees when the Lord brought these visions to him. He was from Judah though he primarily preached against Israel. His messages were delivered during the time of Uzziah and Jeroboam which dates them about 760-750 B.C.

Outline

  1. Worldwide Lack of Justice and Love (1-2)
  2. Israel’s Lack of Justice (3-6)
  3. Visions of Coming Destruction (7-9:10)
  4. Future Hope for Israel (9:11-15)

Theme(s)

The theme of justice wends its way throughout the book of Amos. In the Old Testament imbalanced scales represent injustice. The buyer used weights that were supposed to be one shekel, but really weighed more, so that the buyer could cheat the seller. Conversely, the seller had a bag that was supposed to be one ephah, but it actually contained less. In Israel’s case, this was not a mere metaphor—it was Israel’s behavior (8:4-6).

In contrast to the injustice of the people is the justice of God. Though God will judge his people, his actions are justified: “For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals” (2:6). He does not desire empty ritual from Israel, but justice, “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (5:24).

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