Who Was Amos In The Bible

Amos was a prophet in the Old Testament and considered a minor prophet in the Christian tradition. No one really knows who he really was, but his identification as “the son of a stranger” tells us he wasn’t from Israel. His words have been preserved from his messages in an 8th century B.C. book called Amos. The early church interpreted that this Amos was the same as the prophet from Tekoa mentioned in 2 Chronicles 20:13 .

Amos was a prophet who lived during the 8th century BC in the northern kingdom of Israel. His writing is recorded in the Old Testament book of Amos and he is credited with writing one book. Some scholars believe Amos wrote two books. The content of his message was primarily prophetic in nature and focused on the sins of Israel and Judah, most notably criticizing their religious practices, social injustice, and oppression among other things.

Amos was a man of God who was passionate about his people, the nation of Israel and spreading the word of God among his people. Though little is written about Amos in the Bible, we learn a lot about his character by studying what he preached to his people.

Amos became famous for his “word of the Lord” in the Bible. Amos’s prophesying about social justice has led to him being nicknamed “The Social Prophet.”

Who Was Amos In The Bible

Amos, (flourished 8th century BC), the first Hebrew prophet to have a biblical book named for him. He accurately foretold the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel (although he did not specify Assyria as the cause) and, as a prophet of doom, anticipated later Old Testament prophets.

The little that is known about Amos’ life has been gleaned from his book, which was, in all likelihood, partly or wholly compiled by other hands. A native of Tekoa (now a ruin), 12 miles (19 km) south of Jerusalem, Amos flourished during the reigns of King Uzziah (c. 783–742 BC) of Judah (the southern kingdom) and King Jeroboam II (c. 786–746 BC) of Israel. By occupation, he was a shepherd; whether he was merely that or a man of some means is not certain. He actually preached for only a short time.

Under the impact of powerful visions of divine destruction of the Hebrews in such natural disasters as a swarm of locusts and fire, Amos traveled from Judah to the neighbouring richer, more powerful kingdom of Israel, where he began to preach. The time is uncertain, but the Book of Amos puts the date as two years before an earthquake that may have occurred in 750 BC. Amos fiercely castigated corruption and social injustice among Israel’s pagan neighbours, Israel itself, and Judah; he asserted God’s absolute sovereignty over man; and he predicted the imminent destruction of Israel and Judah. After preaching at Bethel, a famous shrine under the special protection of Jeroboam II, Amos was ordered to leave the country by Jeroboam’s priest Amaziah. Thereafter his fate is unknown.

From his book, Amos emerges as a thoughtful, probably well-traveled man of fierce integrity, who possessed a poet’s gift for homely but forceful imagery and rhythmic language. So distinctive is his style of expression that in many instances the reader can distinguish those portions genuinely by Amos from parts probably invented by others, such as the concluding, optimistic section foretelling the restoration of the Davidic kingdom.

As a theologian, Amos believed that God’s absolute sovereignty over man compelled social justice for all men, rich and poor alike. Not even God’s chosen people were exempt from this fiat, and even they had to pay the penalty for breaking it; hence, Amos also believed in a moral order transcending nationalistic interests.

Who Was Amos In The Bible

Amos was a shepherd and farmer from the Judean village of Tekoa, about five miles south of Bethlehem, who had a vision and became a prophet for the Lord. Amos prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II in Israel and Uzziah in Judah (Amos 1:1). This would have been around 760 BC, making him a contemporary of Hosea, Joel, and Isaiah. Amos recorded his prophecies in a book bearing his name. He dates his book to “two years before the earthquake” (Amos 1:1).

Amos was distinctive as a prophet for a couple reasons. First, by his own testimony he was “neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet” when the Lord called him into service (Amos 7:14). That is, he had not been trained as a prophet, nor was he seeking the office. The Lord simply decided to use him. Also, most prophets proclaimed their message to their own nation. Amos was called from the southern kingdom of Judah to proclaim God’s word in the northern kingdom of Israel. In fact, the idolatrous priest of Bethel told Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there” (Amos 7:12).

Amos did prophesy against Israel’s neighbors (Amos 1—2), but most of his message was aimed at Israel itself. It was not a popular message in Israel, as Amos boldly pointed out sin and God’s righteous judgment. Many sentences in the book of Amos begin with something similar to this: “This is what the Lord says: ‘For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent’” (Amos 2:6).

Although a simple shepherd and fruit picker, Amos prophesied with confidence that it was God’s message, not his, that the nations needed to hear. Amos 3:7 reflects his conviction that “surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.” His book is filled with down-to-earth symbols—bird traps, fishhooks, plumb lines, fruit baskets—that help convey the meaning and importance of his prophecies.

We are not told much about his private life or anything about how Amos died, but an apocryphal work called The Lives of the Prophets says that Amos was killed by Amaziah, the priest of Bethel. Amos 7 records the interaction between Amaziah and Amos; Amaziah told the king of Israel that Amos was raising a conspiracy against him, and Amaziah told Amos to leave Bethel and prophesy in Judah instead. Amos obeyed God’s word to continue prophesying in Israel. Part of that prophecy was a personal message of tragedy for Amaziah (Amos 7:17).

Amos is not mentioned by name in any other books of the Bible, but his work is quoted twice in the New Testament, once by Stephen (Acts 7:42–43) and once by James (Acts 15:15–17).

God’s words to Israel in Amos 5:4 are also God’s message to every human being: “Seek me and live.” Although angry with His own people, Israel and Judah, and ready to punish the pagan nations around them, God’s deepest desire was that they would turn from their sins and repent. He desires that for us, too (Matthew 3:2; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 2:5, 21). When we repent, God offers forgiveness and cleansing through His Son, Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 1:9).

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