Amos: A Critical Study -- By: James L. Kelso

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 085:337 (Jan 1928)
Article: Amos: A Critical Study
Author: James L. Kelso


Amos: A Critical Study

James L. Kelso

To ACQUAINT one’s self with the prophecy of Amos is a three-fold study: (1) the personality of the prophet, (2) the manner of life of his audience, (3) the message of Jehovah which the prophet brought to that audience.

First then to the prophet. He was a called man (7:15), whose warring was not of his own charge. God had found him a faithful shepherd of the nokedh flock (1:1) and God called him up higher to shepherd men. He lacked the training of the prophetic guilds (7:14), but God Himself had been his teacher in the lone watches of the Judean wilderness. Here beneath the Pleadies and Orion (5:8) he had learned to think God’s thoughts after him. And here in the wilderness of Tekoa where he shepherded his flock, he was himself shepherded of Jehovah.

By nature then Amos was only a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores (7:14); but by super-nature he was a prophet (7:15), God’s spokesman. This dual nature of his work is reflected in his writings, for he speaks in the vocabulary of the shepherd but his thoughts are of the mind of God (7:15), and his authority is the voice of the Almighty. But the divine nature of his message must wait for a time until one has first studied the prophet as a common man.

Amos comes upon the stage of human history as a prophet in the days when Jeroboam the Second ruled in Israel and Uzziah was King of Judah (1:1). To make the date more specific he adds “Two years before the earthquake”; but history has forgotten that exact year, though she has remembered that event well as Zechariah1 witnesses. The two great plagues of 765 B. C. and 759 B. C. which Assyrian history records,2 may be the chastening mentioned by the prophet:

“I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt—yet ye have not returned unto Me, saith Jehovah” 4:10.

The eclipse of the sun on June 15th, 763 B. C, which Assyrian astronomy knows,3 may be the fulfillment or the familiar source of the prediction of the “dark day.”

“And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord Je...

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