September 11, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Amos 1-4
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Author: Amos, a prophet of the Lord
Date: Between 783 BC - 746 BC
Context: Following Amos’ introduction, he begins pronouncing judgment on Israel’s neighbors: Syria for cruelty (3-5), Philistia for making slaves (6-8), Phoenicia for breaking treaties (9-10), Edom for revengeful spirit (11-12), Ammon for violent crimes (13-15), and Moab for injustices (2:1-3). Judgement is then pronounced on Judah for rejecting the law (4-5) and Israel for blasphemy and immorality (6-16). These were not the only sins committed by each nation. Each nation had committed sin upon sin upon sin, repeating the sins of the past. In chapter 3, both nations are addressed as one. Amos, using his background as a shepherd shows how actions are linked to other actions, just as the refusal of the nation of Israel, all 12 tribes, to follow the Lord will inevitably lead to their judgment. In chapter 4, we see that Israel has been punished for past iniquities. Amos condemns the actions of the self-serving women (1-3), condemns Israel’s worship (4-5), and condemns Israel’s stubbornness (6-13).
World History: Amos was born in the southern kingdom of Judah, although he was prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel. Amos was from a small, out-of-the-way, practically unknown area in the wilderness. When he became a prophet, he went to Bethel, the former capital of Israel. Bethel was a large, trend-setting city. Amos was the “country boy” in the big city.