Following the Blue Letter Bible, I am pausing after Isaiah 8 (as well as after II Kings 16 and II Chronicles 28) and reading all 9 chapters in Amos. The shift is from Judah back to Israel and the rule of Jeroboam II.
Ryrie Study Bible Book Intro
Date: 755 B.C.
Amos was a "southerner" from a village about 10 miles south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was one of the most northern cities in Judah (with Jericho being right on the northern border)
Amos traveled to Bethel to preach.
- Bethel is one of the most southern cities in Israel.
- Even though he was going from northern Judah to southern Israel, it was a foreign country. Often at odds with one another, Judah and Israel had diverged in very important ways.
- Bethel was center of idol worship.
- Bethel was a residence of the current king, Jeroboam II.
- A layman; not a priest
- He had a direct call from God.
- He was a sheep breeder (perhaps a master shepherd)
- His writing shows that he wasn't a backwoods podunk, but educated and literate.
In Judah, Uzziah was king; but was influenced by Jeroboam II. Jeroboam (and Uzziah) benefited from blessing and prosperity from God, but both became to see it as their own doing and became prideful. Jeroboam became very corrupt.
The theme is repentance to avoid imminent judgement.
Be Concerned, Warren Wiersbe Commentary on the Minor Prophets
This commentary covers the minor prophets of Amos, Obadiah, Micah, and Zephaniah.
Ken Baugh often does the introductions to these books and in this one he shares his worst sin- promiscuity that led to being complicit in an abortion. Ken is the pastor of a major church in California, so it was surprising to read his confession in the opening of a commentary. None of his other intros have ever been so personal.
He uses the story to tell of God knowing our worst sins and how He sent prophets to tell Israel (and Judah) that He saw their sin and there would be consequences. However, there was also forgiveness if they repented and turned back.
- his name means "burden bearer"
- he was a herdsmen and cultivated sycamore trees
- he was a member of the Jewish or political establishment
The MacArthur Bible Commentary
Amos was the only prophet to announce his profession before his commission.
He was a contemporary of Jonah, Hosea, and Isaiah.
The commentary theorizes one possible explanation for this time of peace and prosperity was that the Assyrian threat was less due to the repentance of Nineveh at the preaching of Jonah. I thought that was an interesting theory- since some of the secular commentaries claim their is no support for Jonah's stories.
All of the introductions have focused on two sins of Israel (and Judah): lacking true worship and injustice (from the courts and from the rich).
NIV Chronological Study Bible
This chronological ordering places Amos immediately following Jonah, which makes sense because they are contemporaries and both focus more on Israel.
It also makes sense to focus on Jeroboam while he is being referenced in II Kings and II Chronicles.
However, choices have to be made and it seems like the Blue Letter Bible chose a different focus.
Both Hosea and Amos focused their message on the northern kingdom and both saw the tremendous growing threat of Assyria; but could not cause the prosperous kingdom to shake its complacency.
As a reminder, Jeroboam II ruled 793-753 B.C.