22 Nov. Amos 1:1-15,2:1-2

22 Nov. Introduction to the prophets of the Old Testament

“These are the words of Amos, one of the shepherds from the town of Tekoa. He saw this vision of Israel two years before the earthquake. It was at the time Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam was king of Israel.”

“Amos said, ‘The LORD will roar from Jerusalem; he will send his voice from Jerusalem. The pastures of the shepherds will become dry, and even the top of Mount Carmel will dry up.’”

“The people of Aram – This is what the LORD says: For the many crimes of Damascus, I will punish them. They drove over the people of Gilead with threshing boards that had iron teeth. So I will send fire upon the house of Hazael that will destroy the strong towers of Ben-Hadad…”

“The people of Philistia – This is what the LORD says: For the many crimes of Gaza, I will punish them. They sold all the people of one area as slaves to Edom. So I will send a fire on the walls of Gaza that will destroy the city’s strong buildings. I will destroy the king of the city of Ashdod, as well as the leader of Ashkelon…”

“The people of Phoenicia – This is what the LORD says: For the many crimes of Tyre, I will punish them. They sold all the people of one area as slaves to Edom, and they forgot the agreement among relatives they had made with Israel. So I will send fire on the walls of Tyre that will destroy the city’s strong buildings.”

“The people of Edom – This is what the LORD says: For the many crimes of Edom, I will punish them. They hunted down their relatives, the Israelites, with the sword, showing them no mercy… So I will send fire on the city of Teman that will even destroy the strong buildings of Bozrah.”

“The people of Ammon – This is what the LORD says: For the many crimes of Ammon, I will punish them. They ripped open the pregnant women in Gilead so they could take over that land and make their own country larger. So I will send fire on the city wall of Rabbah that will destroy its strong buildings…”

“The people of Moab – This is what the LORD says: For the many crimes of Moab, I will punish them. They burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime. So I will send fire on Moab that will destroy the strong buildings of the city of Kerioth…”

          (Amos 1:1-15, 2:1-2)



Why are we beginning our review of the Old Testament prophets with a passage from the Book of Amos?

The Old Testament books of the prophets don’t appear in the Bible in the correct chronological order; instead, they are featured in order of size. Prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah come first in the Bible and are often called 'major prophets' as they are longer; 'minor prophets' such as Haggai and Malachi come last because they are shorter.

This system of Biblical ordering doesn't help the reader to appreciate the historical and geographical context in which the prophets wrote their messages.

Here, we’re going to look at the Old Testament prophets in chronological order – not the order in which they appear in the Bible. Some prophets overlapped each other chronologically, and some prophesied over long periods of time; but the order in which we’ll feature them is roughly the chronological order in which their messages were delivered.

The map shows the world of the Old Testament prophets, and the people to whom they prophesied:

1. The United Monarchy of Israel and Judah

Samuel acted as a prophet to Israel and Judah in the 11th century BC, anointing Saul in c.1012BC and later anointing David as king of Israel and Judah.

2. The Northern Kingdom of Israel (Samaria)

Elijah prophesied to King Ahab of Israel between c.870 and c.853BC.

Elisha continued Elijah’s prophetic ministry from c.852 to c.842BC.

Amos and Hosea denounced social injustice in Israel between c.760 and c.725BC.

3. Assyria (Nineveh)

Jonah preached a message of judgement to Nineveh before the defeat of Israel in 722BC.

Nahum celebrated the destruction of Nineveh by the Babylonians in 612BC.

4. The Southern Kingdom of Judah (Jerusalem)

Micah spoke against both Israel and Judah between c.747 and c.722BC.

Isaiah, son of Amoz, spoke between c.737 and c.716BC, predicting the fall of Israel and Judah. The second part of the Book of Isaiah contains words of comfort to the exiles in Babylonia following the fall of Jerusalem in 587BC (Chapters 40-55), then encourages the exiles who have returned to Jerusalem after 537BC to be faithful in their worship of the LORD (Chapters 56-66).

Jeremiah and Zephaniah warned the people of Jerusalem before its fall in 587BC that they would be judged for their unfaithfulness to God.

5. Babylon

Habbakuk, speaking before the fall of Jerusalem in 587BC, asked why God allowed the cruel Babylonians to succeed.

Ezekiel, exiled to Babylon in 598 BC, predicted the fall of Jerusalem in 587BC and, later, spoke about the return of the exiles to Israel.

Daniel was in exile in Babylon at the same time as Ezekiel. He was persecuted for his faith during the period between 598 and 539BC.

6. Edom 

Obadiah foretold the punishment of Edom after the country took advantage of Jerusalem's fall in 587BC.

7. Post-exile Judah (Jerusalem)

Haggai and Zechariah spurred on the returned exiles to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem in c.520BC.

Malachi, writing after the completion of the Temple in 516BC, urged Israel to be faithful as God's people.

Joel, writing after the exile in the 5th or 4th century BC, promised hope after a plague of locusts.

Amos, the author of today’s passage, was a shepherd from the town of Tekoa (Tuqu, 5 miles / 8 km south of Bethlehem in Judah). He prophesied “two years before the earthquake” (Amos 1:1) when Uzziah (Azariah) was king of Judah (767-737BC) and Jeroboam II was king of Israel (782-741BC). This places his ministry between 767 and 741BC, one of the earliest of the Old Testament prophets.

At the beginning of his prophesy, Amos predicted a drought in Israel (see Amos 1:2), then went on to condemn the enemies of Israel – Aram, Philistia, Phoenicia, Edom, Ammon and Moab – for their crimes against the Jewish people.

You can read more about Amos @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/38-amos-hosea-amp-micah-pan-israel-amp-judah/introduction-to-the-book-of-amos/

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