Read 168.) II Kings 14:17 thru 15:4, and Amos 1:1 thru 3:15. Amos 1:1 tells us that he was not one of the prophets, originally, but had been a shepherd! We learn that he prophesied during the overlap of the reigns of Azariah (Uzziah) in Judah to the south, and Jeroboam II in Israel to the north. We can identify this period as most likely being between 767 and 741 BC. And, so, we place him at the time of Jonah; and as we shall soon see, Hosea as well, at right around 750 BC. His is a fascinating read.
He begins with the most withering and bitter denouncements of all Israel’s surrounding enemy neighbors, and the judgment that God was going to bring down upon them. With that understanding, you could fairly hear the Israelites approvingly cheer and love this prophet of theirs! He pronounces God’s judgment, wrath and destruction upon all their enemies; Damascus to the northeast, Gaza to the southwest, upon Tyre to the northwest, then Edom to the southeast. He doesn’t stop at those 4 points of the compass, but then rails against Ammon to the due east, Moab between Ammon and Edom; all of which are modern-day Jordan. And, finally, upon Judah, her own brothers, directly to Israel’s south. The people probably could not have been more elated with Amos! But then, we come to chapter 2, and verse 6…
Now, the judgments previously announced were all going to be fulfilled in one more generation by Assyria; except upon Judah, which would happen in 586 BC by Babylon. But, with 2:6, Amos turns his words upon the very people of Israel to whom he had been sent. Their cheers would have stopped, and their faces dropped. Whereas, his previous pronouncements were 2 or 3 verses each; with Israel, he goes on and on. With it, we read of Israel’s social injustice, with 2:6-8; then of what God had done for them, in 2:9-11. But, then, with one last condemnation in verse 12, the Lord then tells them what will befall them. With 2:13-16, Israel will know utter military defeat. Then, in chapter 3, we learn of the specifics, as to what God will do to Israel. He doesn’t hold back, and He does not mince words. Verse 11, “An enemy will overrun the land.” That will be Assyria, and it will be 722 BC, about 30 years from this time of Amos. Yet, a few will be spared, so verse 12 says. He’s far from finished with them. There’s plenty more. Some 6 chapters more. The specifics will be of great interest, as we’ll see, and it is all very instructive, as will be explained. It all has to do with God’s promises, faithfulness, and, yes, even His boundless love and mercy, as we shall see. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell