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Amos

Amos

Amos (active 8th century B.C.), the first of the literary prophets of ancient Israel, was the author of the biblical book bearing his name.

Amos was born in the Judean town of Tekoa, near modern Bethlehem, Israel. His activities probably took place during the reign of Uzziah, also called Azariah, King of Judah (reigned 783-742 B.C.), and Jeroboam II, King of Israel (reigned 786-745).

In his youth Amos was a shepherd. As a young man he tells of having received a divine commandment to go to the Israelite shrine at Bethel. Once there, he proceeded to fulminate against the popular errors of his day and was ousted by the head priest, Amaziah. Apparently, Amos was a prophet for only a short time, and he did not write down his prophetic messages and utterances. At that time, oracles such as those of Amos were preserved in an oral tradition; that is, they were transmitted by spoken word among Temple circles at Jerusalem. Amos's prophecies were probably written down before the kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians in 721 B.C.

His oracles are preserved in the biblical book of Amos, which is traditionally placed at the beginning of the Twelve Minor Prophets. Chronologically Amos is the earliest of these prophets, and his book offered a pattern for later prophetic books. The nine chapters are written in a poetic style with a prose introduction. They contain three kinds of composition: oracles telling of impending doom against Judah, Israel, and the neighboring peoples; a brief description of the life of the prophet; and a few verses that scholars generally agree are later additions.

Amos was particularly preoccupied with the moral corruption of his generation and their theological misconceptions. He denounced the corrupt aristocracy and its total neglect of the poor. He criticized those who made sacrifices to God but hypocritically neglected the moral law. He inveighed against those who presumed that they need give no accounting to God for their actions because they were His Chosen People. Above all, Amos shocked his contemporaries by dissociating his message and work from the prophets of his day and by foretelling doom and destruction for Israel. As a counterbalance to this apocalyptic message, Amos also predicted the restoration of the Davidic kingdom and the return of the Exiles. It is at this point that one can find a universalism in Amos which appears again for the first time in vivid form in the writings of Deutero-Isaiah. The God of Amos was not limited to one nation.

Amos has always been important in both Jewish and Christian theology and beliefs. The Talmud (Makkot 24a) states that all 613 commandments of Judaism are contained in one admonition of Amos: "Seek Me and live." Amos is quoted in the New Testament and by the early Christian Church Fathers, who interpreted him as prophesying the doom of Judaism and the rise of Christianity.

Further Reading

Discussions of Amos include R. S. Cripps, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Amos (1929; 2d ed. 1955); Julian Morgenstern, Amos Studies, vol. 1 (1941); Arvid S. Kapelrud, Central Ideas in Amos (1956); Norman H. Snaith, Amos, Hosea, and Micah (1956); John D. W. Watts, Vision and Prophecy in Amos (1958); and James M. Ward, Amos and Isaiah: Prophets of the Word of God (1969). Abraham J. Heschel, The Prophets (1962), devotes a chapter to Amos. Background information is in Bernhard W. Anderson, Understanding the Old Testament (1957; 2d ed. 1966). □

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Amos

Amos (ā´məs), prophetic book of the Bible. The majority of its oracles are chronologically earlier than those of the Bible's other prophetic books. His activity is dated c.760 BC The prophet was a shepherd of Tekoa in the southern kingdom of Judah, but he preached in the northern kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam II (c.786–746 BC). Israel was at the peak of its political power but was ridden with social injustices. Amos preached especially against hypocritical worship, oppression of the poor, and immorality. Not surprisingly, he was ordered to cease his preaching. The book falls into three parts: God's judgment on various neighboring Gentile nations climaxing with oracles against Judah and Israel, an indictment of Israel, and visions of destruction. The final oracle, an oracle of salvation, is usually regarded as an addition since it presupposes the destruction prophesied in the rest of the book and the restoration of the Jewish state after the exile in the 6th cent. BC The chief thought of Amos is that worship of God necessarily entails protection of the poor and the weak in society. Not even God's people can hope to escape the wrath of God if the social responsibilities that go with election are neglected.

See studies by J. L. Mays (1969) and H. W. Wolff (1977); F. I. Andersen, Amos (1989).

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Amos

Amos (8th cent. BCE). A prophet of the northern kingdom. The biblical book of his prophecy is considered to be the earliest of the prophetic books.

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Amos

Amos (active c.750 bc) Old Testament prophet. He was named as the author of the Book of Amos, the third of the 12 books of the Minor Prophets.

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Amos

Amos a Hebrew minor prophet (c.760 bc), a shepherd of Tekoa, near Jerusalem; also, a book of the Bible containing his prophecies.

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Amos

Amosacross, boss, Bros, cos, cross, crosse, doss, dross, emboss, en brosse, floss, fosse, gloss, Goss, joss, Kos, lacrosse, loss, moss, MS-DOS, Ross, toss •LaosÁyios Nikólaos, chaos •Eos • Helios •Chios, Khíos •Lesbos • straw boss • Phobos • rooibos •extrados • kudos • reredos • intrados •Calvados • Argos • Lagos • logos •Marcos • telos •Delos, Melos •Byblos • candyfloss •tholos, Vólos •bugloss • omphalos • Pátmos •Amos, Deimos, Sámos •Demos • peatmoss • cosmos • Los Alamos • Lemnos • Hypnos • Minos •Mykonos • tripos • topos • Atropos •Ballesteros, pharos, Saros •Imbros • criss-cross • rallycross • Eros •albatross • monopteros • Dos Passos •Náxos • Hyksos • Knossos • Santos •benthos •bathos, pathos •ethos • Kórinthos

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AMOS

AMOS automatic meteorological observing station

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