Sunday, Mar 12, 2006: “The Book Of Twelve (The Minor Prophets: Amos): Session 2”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
“THE BOOK OF TWELVE (The Minor Prophets: Amos)”
Group Leader / Handouts: Mike Kreutzer, Rector
Session 2
Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Book of the Twelve — Adult Forum Notes


“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like and ever-flowing stream.” (5:24)

from Tekoa in Judah; “career” probably between 760-750, certainly during the reign of Jeroboam II; he was expelled from the sanctuary at Bethel and told never to preach there again; probably returned to Judah to write down his experiences

He describes the Lord’s message to him as the roaring of a lion. (1:2, “The lion roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem”); his encounter with God is like meeting a lion (3:4,8); Israel’s encounter with God is like meeting a lion (3:12 and 5:19).

Chapters 1 & 2: series of seven condemnations, with the seventh (and strongest) reserved for Judah and Israel because of their mistreatment of the poor and powerless in their midst.

Chapters 3-6: Warnings to Israel. They are content with their apparent security and affluence and outward show of religion, but negligent toward the poor. Amos’ call is to “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (5:24).

“First the people are reminded who they are, and the prophet sets forth his own credentials (3:1-6). Next are sayings directed against a people who feel secure with their strategic defense systems (3:9-11), who revel in the perks which accompany affluence (3:15; 6:1-6), who busy themselves with religion (4:4-5; 5:21-23), but who are not heartbroken at what is happening to their nation (6:6). In Israel there is affluence and power, but there is also indifference to the poor. This is why the Lord has roared, and this is why the prophet calls for justice and for righteousness (5:24).” (James Limberg, Hosea-Micah, page 80)

3:1-2 Israel has been chosen but, like Abraham (Gn 18:19), chosen, not for iniquity, but for justice and righteousness (Gn 18:19, “I have chosen him [Abraham], that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice.”)

Chapters 7-9: Visions of Israel’s coming doom

editing of the book: cf. Limberg, page 81, first two paragraphs

Chapters 1 & 2: series of seven condemnations, building up to the seventh

Chapter 3:1-8: “Who do you think you are?” seven rhetorical questions, followed (vs. 8) with the answer

3:1 “Here this”; also in 4:1, 5:1 and 8:4, as an introduction to a series of sayings


Chapter 4

vs. 1 three charges

vs. 3 “Hermon”: the direction of Bashan, on toward Assyria

vss. 1-3 same charges (and introduction) made against men in 8:4-8

vss. 4-5 compare with Psalm 95:6-7

vss. 6-11 six things that God has done to Israel (yet they did not repent)

12 the seventh is yet to come


Chapter 5

vss. 18-20 “the day of the Lord”

vss. 21-24 the central part of the prophet’s teaching, and the central verses of the book;

21-23, “I hate, I despise” followed by seven worship elements

24, what God does want; not just worship for worship’s sake, but symbolizing the rest of life; addresses the other six days of the week


Chapter 6

vss 1 & 4: “Alas” to…

vs 7: what will happen to them (1-7: “the first”)

entire chapter: a denouncement of arrogance and of personal affluence coupled with social indifference


Chapter 7

vss. 1-9 possibly Amos’ inaugural vision; twice he intercedes successfully for Israel; the third time, the Lord measures them, and Amos has to remain silent (cf. 8:1-3)

vss. 10-17 Amos’ rejection and expulsion from Israel


Chapter 8

vs. 2 play on words

vss 4-8 same charges as made against the women of Israel in 4:1-3; business abuses like those described here also appear in Hosea 12:7 and Micah 6:9-11; the businessmen have compartmentalized their lives, separated religion and business, faith and life (Limberg, p. 122)


Chapter 9

vss. 1-4 Amos’ final vision; seven acts of judgment and destruction

vss. 5-6 a hymn of praise to God; within 8:11 – 9:15, this hymn serves as a centerpiece, joining together the images of the God of creation and the God of history

vs. 7 rejection of Israel’s claim to a special status; God has also delivered these other nations

vss. 9-10 parallel 1-4 with the same message: none of them will escape

vss 11-15 Amos ends with a message of hope; God will raise up his people Israel to a new beginning; the God of creation and the God of history bring new life