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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Amos

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A´mos (borne), one of the twelve minor prophets and a contemporary of Isaiah and Hosea. He was a native of Tekoah, about six miles south of Bethlehem, inhabited chiefly by shepherds to which class he belonged, being also a dresser of sycamore-trees. The period during which he filled the prophetic office was of short duration, unless we suppose that he uttered other predictions which are not recorded. It is stated expressly that he prophesied in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake (Amos 1:1). As Uzziah and Jeroboam were contemporaries for about fourteen years, from B.C. 798 to 784, the latter of these dates will mark the period when Amos prophesied.

When Amos received his commission, the kingdom of Israel, which had been 'cut short' by Hazael (2 Kings 10:32) towards the close of Jehu's reign, was restored to its ancient limits and splendor by Jeroboam the Second (2 Kings 14:25). But the restoration of national prosperity was followed by the prevalence of luxury, licentiousness, and oppression, to an extent that again provoked the divine displeasure, and Amos was called from the sheep-folds to be the harbinger of the coming judgments. Not that his commission was limited entirely to Israel. The thunder-storm (as Ruckert poetically expresses it) rolls over all the surrounding kingdoms, touches Judah in its progress, and at length settles upon Israel. Amos 1; Amos 2:1-5, form a solemn prelude to the main subject; nation after nation is summoned to judgment. Israel is then addressed in the same style, and in Amos 3 (after a brief rebuke of the twelve tribes collectively) its degenerate state is strikingly portrayed, and the denunciations of divine justice are intermingled, like repeated thunderclaps, to the end of Amos 6. The seventh and eighth chapters contain various symbolical visions, with a brief historical episode (Amos 7:10-17). In Amos 9 the majesty of Jehovah and the terrors of his justice are set forth with a sublimity of diction which rivals and partly copies that of the royal Psalmist (comp. Amos 9:2-3, with Psalms 109, and Amos 9:6 with Psalms 104). Towards the close the scene brightens, and from the eleventh verse to the end the promises of the divine mercy and returning favor to the chosen race are exhibited in imagery of great beauty taken from rural life.

The writings of this prophet afford clear evidence that the existing religious institutions both of Judah and Israel (with the exception of the corruptions introduced by Jeroboam) were framed according to the rules prescribed in the Pentateuch, a fact which furnishes a conclusive argument for the genuineness of the Mosaic records.

The canonicity of the book of Amos is amply supported both by Jewish and Christian authorities. Philo, Josephus, and the Talmud include it among the minor prophets. It is also in the catalogues of Melito, Jerome, and the 60th canon of the Council of Laodicea. Justin Martyr, quotes a considerable part of Amos 5-6, which he introduces by saying,—'Hear how he speaks concerning these by Amos, one of the twelve.' There are two quotations from it in the New Testament: the first (Amos 5:25-26) by the proto-martyr Stephen, Acts 7:42; the second (Amos 9:11) by the apostle James, Acts 15:16.

 

 

 

 

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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Amos'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/a/amos.html.

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