Return to Front Page

Introduction to the Books of the Bible

Return to

Contents Page





BOOK : Amos

Description : Mostly announcements of God's judgment on the northern kingdom

Author: Amos a ‘farm worker'

Date written : probably about 750BC

Chapters : 9


Brief Synopsis:


•  Amos the shepherd-vinedresser brings words of rebuke and judgment on neighbouring nations AND Judah and Israel .
•  He focuses on Israel spelling out their sins, what the Lord has done to try to get them to repent, and what the Lord will now do because they have not repented.
•  Finally he spells out the hope of God's restoration of His people.

Outline :


1:1,2 Introduction
Ch.1-2 Judgments on the Nations
Ch.1. Judgment on Aram , Philistia , Phoenicia , Edom & Ammon
Ch.2 .Judgment on Moab , Judah & Israel
Ch.3-5 Oracles against Israel
Ch.3 Judgment on the Chosen People
Ch.4 Judgment on an Unrepentant People
Ch.5 Judgment on an Unjust People
Ch.5-6 Announcements of Exile
Ch.7-9 Visions of Divine Retribution
7:1-6 Judgment Relented - A swarm of locusts & a consuming fire
7:7- 9:10 Judgment Unrelented
Ch.7 The plumb line

Ch.8 The basket of ripe fruit

Ch.9 The Lord by the altar

9:11-15 Restored Israel 's Blessed Future



Key Verses:


Amos' Background

1:1 The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa--what he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel .
7:14,15 Amos answered Amaziah, "I was neither a prophet nor a prophet's son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, `Go, prophesy to my people Israel


The classic formula of ch.1 & 2

1:3-4 This is what the LORD says: "For three sins of Damascus , even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. Because she threshed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth, I will send fire upon the house of Hazael that will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.
Note the formula:
“For three sins… even four” – a common expression meaning “For as many sins as this…”
“Because she threshed…” – their sin noted
“I will send fire….” – the judgment declared .


A key principle in respect of judgments

3:7 Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan t o his servants the prophets.


Condemnation of Israel for not taking notice of His discipline

4:6 "I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,"
Again note the formula
•  God had brought discipline
•  But they had not responded
•  Also in v.8,9,10 & 11

Israel 's sins spelled out

5:7,10,11,12,26 You who turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground …. you hate the one who reproves in court and despise him who tells the truth. You trample on the poor and force him to give you grain….. You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts…… You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god-- which you made for yourselves.

Yet the positive is spelled out as well

5:14,15 Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.

At the end, there is hope in God's mercy and grace

9:11- "In that day I will restore David's fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be,


Concluding Comments


•  Amos is remarkable in its clarity – the simplicity may go with the nature of the man, a shepherd / vinedresser.
•  In chapters 1 & 2 he spells out the sins of each nation and brings the warning of a judgment.
•  Thereafter he focuses mostly on Israel , the northern kingdom and again spells out

•  Their sins

•  What the Lord has done to discipline and warn them, and

•  What the Lord will do in terms of judgment.

•  At the end we find that judgment is not all there is on God's heart for His people – He always desires to restore them and bring them back into a living relationship with Himself.