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What’s in the Book: the Twelve Prophets – Amos

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Amos was a herdsman of Tekoa, who prophesied during the reign of Kings Jeroboam II of Israel and Uzziah of Judea.

Amos’ initial prophecies declared that the neighboring city-states (Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab) would be destroyed for their various sins, that Judea would be destroyed because they rejected God’s law and did not keep His statutes(2:4), and, finally, that the Kingdom of Israel would also come to an inglorious end for its improper treatment of the poor and righteous, for offenses against the code of sexual conduct and inappropriate behavior at a shrine.

Through Amos, God warned the people, and reminded them of God’s greatness (sending rain to one town but not its neighbor, instead sending pestilence), but the warnings went unheeded. He warned the leaders of Israel, the so-called “great” people, that those who feel most secure will be the first to suffer.

Amos’ visions often take on a pattern in which God appears unwilling to allow for repentance, suggesting that the Israelites are too far gone to change their way. However, the Book of Amos concludes with memorable words of consolation: “I will turn the captivity of My people Israel… they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall make gardens, and eat their fruit. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them…” (9:14-15)

The Book of Amos also contains the narrative of Amaziah the priest of Beth-el who notified Jeroboam II that Amos was conspiring against him (predicting Jeroboam II’s death). Amaziah ordered Amos to stop prophesying. In response, Amos stated that God had chosen him as a prophet, and that he could not withhold God’s message.

Copyright © 2011 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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