The Message Of The Book Of Amos -- By: George Stibitz
BSac 68:270 (April 1911) p. 308
The Message Of The Book Of Amos
In the study of the Old Testament prophets, as of any other composition that on the surface makes pretensions to unity, the problem is to get the most reasonable logically connected message that accounts for all the material of the book. The question should be, What is the message of this particular book as it lies before us? And only when we have exhausted every effort and have failed to, get a rational and likely message should we relegate the book to the limbo of scrap-iron. It seems that the author of the book of Amos had a message for his day and generation, and that he saw or felt some sort of logical connection between all its parts. The following article is an attempt to understand the book as a connected whole and to point out its one aim.
The main argument of the prophecy will appear from the outline of the book, but a brief survey of the man and his times will help to understand his aim better.
The man Amos was a native of Tekoa, a small town twelve miles south of Jerusalem, on the very edge of the desert. In so small a place all were familiarly known to each other, and to their own acquaintances none seemed great. Of these, mostly if not exclusively shepherds and farmers, was Amos, just an ordinary man (1:1; 7:14). He was familiar with the desert — its beasts, its poverty, and its sternness. In nature around him all was meager and austere, but rich and
BSac 68:270 (April 1911) p. 309
vigorous were the thoughts and feelings within him. Great men in barren places grow, “as a root out of dry ground.” The few events whose reports reach their ears find a keen mental appetite, are well digested, make a deep impression on the feelings, and mightily move and mold the lonely dweller. Thus Amos was deeply stirred by the news of the Syrian threshing-sledge in Gilead (1:3), the Philistine slave-trade (1:6), the ribald songs and drunken filth of Israel’s feasts (6:21–24), the greed and lust of Israel’s great ones (2:7–8), the oppression of his fellow-poor (2:6), and the reports of luxuriant silk and ivory couches in homes where wine was drunk by the bucketful with stolid indifference regarding the national calamities (6:4–7). These reports, reaching him in his comparative solitude, were ruminated until his soul within him “burned with rage and pity for Israel.
Like his great compatriot David, Amos spent...
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