The Run Down
Read Amos 1-2
Amos: Shepherd and farmer, prophesies during reigns of Uzziah in Southern Kingdom and Jeroboam II in the Northern Kingdom.
Nearly kingdom size as of Solomon’s.
Internal decay, idolatry, rich oppressing the poor, corruption, social injustice.
Contemporaries were Hosea (Israel and Judah) and Joel (Judah).
Syncretistic worship was happening… mixing Yahweh with idols.
Pagan high places existed on hills and mountaintops.
Amos will denounce their social concern very strongly.
Cult of Baal… a fertility cult,… with temple prostitutes… remember Hosea.
Amos is the author, lived and worked in Tekoa, 10 miles south of Jerusalem, mountains, east arid, west pastures, shepherd, also attended sycamore trees, and called to be a prophet.
Prophetic around 760BC.
Strong wilderness country boy. Shaped by hard work, rugged hills, simple living.
Not from a prophetic community (7:14).
Vs. 1 The words of Amos during his northern ministry.
Shepherd: breeder and supplier of sheep, cattle too.
Personally cared for the flocks.
“saw”…. Not necessarily all visual… but also mental apprehension.
Israel can mean the entirety of both kingdoms… probably means just the northern one.
There will come 7 denunciations of nations around Israel.. including Judah… but prophesy is for northern Israel.
Vs. 2 YHWH roars from Zion.
Roars or Thunders.
Presage a mighty act of God… usually in natural phenomena.
A withering draught here on green hills of Mt. Carmel, which is in the northern kingdom on the Mediterranean Sea 24 miles long towards the southeast.
This parallels Amos prophetic mission from Jerusalem to Israel. Not pleasant for the northern kingdom since they had God “with them” in the North.
Syria (Aram, the Arameans)…. Capital city was Damascus. Constant hostilities existed between Israel and Syria. Many battles recorded in 1 Kings.
The numerical motif is frequently used… in Job, in Proverbs, Eccles, and Micah.
They had threshed Gilead with iron sledges.
Gilead, east of the Jordan River,…. On the frontier of Israel… lush forests… frequent raids by others.
Referred to incident probably in 2 Kings 13:1-9 during the reign of Jehoahaz army made like “dust at the threshing time”.
Threshing sledge… 2 wood boards together with iron spikes.
“Fire” is metaphorical. He uses that in the other judgments also, except on Israel.
The Fire = judgment of God.
Hazael rule Syria about 841-806BC. 2 Kings 8:12-13.
Ben-Hadad. “son of Hadad”, an ancient storm god. Is the name of 3 Syrian kings.
A family dynasty name.
Each of these kings warred with Israel, taking lands and lives.
I will break the “gate-gar” of Damascus.
Literally… giant wooden doors would have a bar of iron or bronze to hold it.
Once the bars are broken… the city is all but undone…
The “Valley of Aven”. Not identified. Valley of Evil.
“Beth Eden”. Not identified. House of delight. Maybe Damascus.
“Kir” is difficult to id. Place of the origin of Syria, 9:7. Happens when Assyria took people of Damascus captive back to Kir, 2 Kings 16:9.
Now to the Philistines. Gaza.
Regular enemies of Israel.
Constantly sending raiding parties to Israel.
Pentapolis. 5 main cities. All ruled by separate city rulers.
Asdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza. 4 of the 5 are mentioned here.
Gath had been beaten by Sargon in 711 BC… and Uzziah in 750ish 2 Chron. 26:6, and probably never fully recovered by Amos’ prophesy. In the Bible it’s never listed again as one of the main Cities after Amos.
Denounced for their enslavement of Israel, and selling them to Edom.
Moving closer and closer to Israel. Started at Damascus. Then to Gaza. Now to the city of Phoenicia.
Crime: enslaving whole communities.
Generally had a historically good relationship with Israel… Solomon had made a pact with Hiram King of Tyre 1 Kings 5:12, 9:13 “brother”).
Mountainous region southeast at the southern tip of the Dead Sea. On the Transjordon… of 3 Kingdoms there… with Ammon and Moab.
Edom another name for Esau.
Jacob and Esau. His descendants.
Where Petra is. An ancient Edomite City.
In wilderness journey with Moses in the Exodus.. they sought passage through Edom… they said no… Numb. 20:14-21.
They became enemies of Saul, David.
Teman and Bozrah were cities of Edom to be destroyed.
James 4:11, 1 John 2:9… love your brother.
Ammon northeast of the Dead Sea and north of Moab.
Sought to increase their territory. Largely desert.
Invaded Israel numerous times… Judges 10:6-9.
Fought Saul and David.
Gen. 19:30-38. Ammonites and Moabites from incestual relationship of Lot with 2 daughters.
Ripped open preg women of Gilead.
Rabbah was the capital city of Ammon. Today… it’s Amman.
The king would go into exile with his officials.
Ammon ended after king Nebuchadnezzar sacked it… later to be overtaken by Arab invaders.
Moab to the east of the Dead Sea. Ammon to the north… Edom to the south.
Hebrews not allowed to use king’s highway… Judg. 11:17. Thus excluded from the assembly of Israel Deut. 23:3-4.
King of Moab engaged Balaam to curse the Hebrews Numb. 22:4-6.
Joined with others to attach Israel.
Burned King of Edom’s bones. Not specifically mentioned in the OT… but probably during pact of Israel, Edom, Judah. To suppress Moabites.
Kerioth a major city of Moab would be destroyed.
Of note here… is the only punishment for crimes against others than Israel.
From the Pagan nations… now to God’s covenant people.
Israel would have welcomed hearing this… for the hostilities that existed after the splitting of the kingdoms…. And their religious pride having the temple.
Rejected the law of God. They had the light. The other nations had the moral compass they were held accountable to.
Judah had the testimony of YHWH in the covenant.
They knew better.
“Led astray”… by false gods… to wander around… walked after them… like straying animals or intoxicated people.
This punishment comes when the Babylonians destroy the temple in 100 years.
He has circled around from the Pagans… to Judah… and now for Israel.
This won’t be received quite as well.
Vs. 6 The powerful making more even off small things like sandals as they oppressed the ‘righteous’ or ‘needy’ or ‘innocent’. Meaning the weak and poor.
Vs. 7 Man and father have intimate relations with same woman. Maybe temple prostitution here. Maybe breaking laws of incest.
Vs. 8 You could offer garment as collateral… but must give back at night.
They weren’t obeying. Drinking in the house of God.
Vs. 9 Amorites used for the Canaanites in the land before conquering.
Vs. 10 God gracious lead them.
Vs. 11 Graciously God raised and spoke to them through Prophets and Nazirites Numbers 6:1-12.
Vs. 12 Nazirites don’t drink alcohol, cut hair, or touch dead bodies.
The people reject God’s godly influence from these 2 parties.
Vs. 13-16 Punishment, crushed by cart (agricultural cart), swift runner, strong man, and a warrior.
Israel’s inability to escape the judgment of God.
God’s judgment is sure.