Outline of Amos

It is our hope that this outline of Amos will assist you in your study of God’s Word.

Amos was a herdsman from Tekoa (1:1; 7:14), a city about five miles south of Bethlehem, about 10 miles south of Jerusalem, in the hill country of Judah. God took him from being a herdsman to being one of the early prophets sent to Israel. He prophesied approximately 752 B.C., about 50 years after Elisha, just a little after Jonah, about the time Hosea began to prophesy, and about 10 years before Isaiah and Micah. We are told precisely when his prophecy occurred but we do not know with precision what year the great earthquake was. It was a great earthquake, as it was still the standard 240 years later (Zechariah 14:5). One half of a mountain broke off from the rest and rolled one half-mile to the east. Josephus tells us that this occurred during the confrontation between the priests and Uzziah the king. Assuming that this confrontation coincided with the assent of Jotham to the throne (2 Chronicles 26:21), and given that I date Jotham’s assent to 750 B.C., then Amos should be dated at 752 B.C., two years before the earthquake.

As with Hosea, Amos prophesied against a very prosperous nation. The splendor of Israel was unparalleled. She controlled the Eastern Mediterranean. You will see signs of her prosperity in this book. You will see winter and summer houses, houses of ivory, great houses (3:15), houses of hewn stone and desirable vineyards (5:11), singing and music (5:23), beds of ivory and luxury, inventions of pleasure, fine wine, and the best ointments (6:4-7). It was a prosperous time, her enemies were subdued and they paid tribute to her.

It was a religious time (3:14; 4:4-5; 5:21-23; 7:9) but not a righteous time. God saw rottenness within. He sent a herdsman from Tekoa to Bethel (7:13), a town about 10 miles north of Jerusalem, 20 miles from Tekoa. It was the southern cult center of Israel, and very prosperous.

In ways, he depicted his prophecy. He stated that the LORD roars from Zion; he was a prophet from Judah.

Then he begins this lengthy section of the threes and fours. There is a difference in opinion as to what this phrase means. Some see it as a grammatical emphatic device, like we would say “Wow.” Others see it as emphasizing the fourth element of what follows. Others say it’s a way to refer to seven items (Job 5:19; Psalm 62:11-12; Proverbs 30:15-16, 18-19, 21-23, 29-31). Whatever its use elsewhere, it is given for emphasis.

This is the lion zeroing on his prey. Damascus, the capital of Syria, is first. The lion roars and the prey is destroyed. The lion next roars against Gaza, the most important city of the Philistines. It is gone. The lion next roars against Tyre and it is destroyed. The lion roars against Edom and it is demolished. The lion roars against Ammon, then against Moab, then against Judah, and finally against Israel. The judgment against a very prosperous Israel is almost unthinkable. But it came to pass within 40 years.

The sins:

  • Damascus — cruelty (1:3)
  • Gaza — conspiracy to deliver to Edom (1:6)
  • Tyre — conspiracy to deliver to Edom in violation of their covenant (1:9)
  • Edom — slaughter without pity motivated by anger (1:11)
  • Ammon — slaughter motivated by greed (1:13)
  • Moab — spiteful vengeance against Edom (2:1)
  • Judah — despised God’s law and did not keep His commands (2:4)
  • Israel — mistreated the righteous and the poor, committed abominable fornication, reveled on the pledge taken from others, spoiled the houses of the condemned, caused the Nazarites to defile themselves, and didn’t like to listen to God’s prophets (2:6-8, 12)

The punishments:

  • Damascus — captivity of the people (1:5) happened 732 B.C. when Assyria took them captive to Kir
  • Gaza — total destruction (1:8) happened 734 when Assyria subjugated it and then the Maccabees destroyed it 168-134 B.C.
  • Tyre — destruction of its government (1:10) happened 332 when Alexander the Great besieged the city for seven months, killed 6,000, crucified 2,000, and sold 30,000 as slaves
  • Edom — destruction of its government (1:12) happened when Assyria subjugated it then it became a desolate wasteland by the 5th century
  • Ammon — captivity of the government (1:15) happened 734 B.C. when Assyria took control
  • Moab — destruction of its government (2:2-3) happened 734 B.C. when Assyria took control
  • Judah — destruction of its government (2:5) happened in 586 B.C. when Babylon took control
  • Israel — destruction and terror (2:14-16) happened in 722 B.C. when Assyria took control

The book begins with a list of sins and destruction but ends with hope.

Date: 762 B.C. (?)
Uzziah 790-739
Jeroboam 793-753

Outline

  1. Destruction on the Nations 1-2
  2. The Prophetic Call 3:1-8
  3. The Judgment of Israel 3:9-9:10
    1. Samaria Shall be Judged 3:9-4:5
    2. God’s Past Judgments 4:6-13
    3. Lament for Israel 5
    4. Woe to the wealthy who are at ease 6
    5. The visions 7-9:10
      1. The locusts 7:1-3 famine (it shall not be)
      2. The fire 7:4-6 consumed by fire (no)
      3. The plumb line 7:7-9 they do not measure up
      4. The summer fruit 8 The time is ripe for judgment
      5. The Lord 9:1-10 The Lord will personally oversee the judgment.
  4. The Restoration 9:11-15

Key Idea: Repeated transgressions lead to divine judgment.

Key Passage:
Amos 3:12-13; see also 3:3; 5:4, 14-15, 18; 24; 8:11; also the teaching of the hand of God in calamity (4:6-7, 9, 10; 3:6; 9:4)

Key Lesson: Relationship requires agreement

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