Bible studies: for individual or small group study
The early prophecies of Amos against the local nations
The prophet Amos, one of the earliest prophets whose prophecies were collated into an independent book in the Bible, lived and was active during the 8th century BC. At that time, the Israelites who lived in the southern kingdom of Judah were ruled by King Uzziah, and those in the northern kingdom of Israel were ruled by King Jeroboam, son of Joash. The early prophecies of Amos against the local nations are relevant even today, since they speak of crimes being committed in the locale nowadays. The material success of Amos’s time caused the moral corruption against which the prophet rails. The prophecies of Amos and his words to his people sound as if he is directing them to our ears. His call to fix the social injustices is relevant to the evils of our generation just as much as it was to the era of the prophet. Most of his reproach touches upon social classes, inequality, and the need to provide protection to the poor and the weak. The book Amos - The Prophet from Teko'a explains and illuminates Amos’s prophecies, his fascinating speech techniques and his messages, doing so while referencing old scholars, traditional commentators and modern biblical scholars, and suggesting many original solutions to the difficulties that rise from the text. The textual analysis and the solutions use modern logic. The author suggests that Amos’s prophecies are edited into an elegant literary structure that demonstrates a progression in the prophet’s rhetorical capabilities. On this basis, the author brings original explanations to the prophecies’ structure and meaning - explanations that solve many of the difficulties that were raised from modern Biblical scholarship. The conclusions are that the prophet Amos’s message is one of social justice only (“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” Amos 5:24), that the prophecies presented to us are original and are brought in the order they were spoken. The book opens in a general overview of the era and the beliefs of the time, based also on the books of three other contemporary prophets - Hosea, Isaiah and Micah - and on Biblical, historical and archaeological sources. It goes on to explain the prophet’s words chronologically. In addition, the book discusses additional topics, such as the question of the precision of the Masoretic text; the appearance and frequency of God’s names in the Bible and the meaning behind them; the place of the earthquake as part of God’s punishment policy; the meaning of the End of Times; and more. Even though these topics are not connected directly to the prophecies of Amos, they arise while studying the Biblical text and are important for understanding it, as well as contributing to our understanding of other Biblical books. This book is meant for Biblical scholars, students, people who want to know and understand Amos’s words and his messages, and to Bible fans in general. Rafael Levin, PhD, acquired his PhD from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in Physics. For many years he worked in research, development and management in the semiconductor industry. He served as the CEO of Tower Semiconductor LTD. Since his retirement he has been studying the Bible.