Bible Study: Amos

The Prophet

His Career

Amos was a herdsman following the flock (1:1; 7:14), who was neither a prophet nor from a prophetic line (7:14), nor had training as a son of the prophets. There was nothing particularly impressive about where he was from – Tekoa; he was obscure and insignificant. God brought His man from relative obscurity to testify for Him.

His Call

The Lord took him as he followed the flock and said, “Go, prophesy …” (7:15). We know nothing of his preparation for the call or events prior to this. Likely he was one of the few who grieved over the spiritual condition of Israel.

His Credentials

His only credentials for his ministry were the authority and command of the Lord to go and prophesy on behalf of the Lord to Israel (7:15).

His Concern

He was concerned for the spiritual condition of the nation of Israel and the moral condition of the people.

The People

Despite his upbringing in Judah, Amos’ main ministry was directed to the northern kingdom of Israel. Bethel, in particular, was a scene of his labors (7:13), the place where one of the golden calves was located, and a royal retreat.

“A man of God out of Judah” confronted Jeroboam of Israel at Bethel; now there is a re-enactment of circumstances involving the original Jeroboam (1Ki 13:1).

Amos was a man of humble background from an unremarkable village, and yet he was selected by God to be His spokesman in a prosperous nation guilty of a multitude of social evils. Jonah preceded him by a few years. Hosea was roughly the same time but a few years later.

The Place

His home territory was Tekoa, some 12 miles south of Jerusalem. Joab used a “wise woman” from that district to shame David into bringing his estranged son Absalom back to Jerusalem (2Sa 14:1-24). Tekoa was fortified by Rehoboam as part of his defense policy (2Ch 11:5-10).

The Period

The first verse of the prophecy roughly dates his ministry to when Uzziah was on the throne of Judah, and Jeroboam the son of Joash was ruling in Israel. He prophesied during two of the longest reigns. Consequently, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah covered more area then than at any time since the days of Solomon’s reign (2Ki 14:23-29).

They were likely days of prosperity in both nations (3:15; 5:11; 6:4-8). This suggests privileges abused and prosperity taken for granted.

“Two years before the earthquake” (1:1) is mentioned. Why? Was this a sign to the nation? Or was it simply something so memorable that it would help future generations date the event?

The Pronouncements

  1. The Righteous Judgment of God on the Nations (1:1-2:16)
  2. The Revelation of Israel’s Sins (3:1-6:14)
  3. Revelation through Visions (7:1-9:10)
  4. Restoration and Promises (9:11-15)

Trace the occurrence of divine titles in the book: “God,” “Lord,” “Lord God” (23x), “Lord God of Hosts” (9x).

Link the five judgments in chapter 4 and the phrase “yet have ye not returned” with Leviticus 26 and possibly Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8.

God touched on their materialism, morality, mercantile dishonesty, spirituality.