The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah…
Though a native of the kingdom of Judah, Amos was sent with a message to the ten tribes. The unity of the two kingdoms was not the less real that their histories were divergent. In its origin, idea, and ultimate aim, the theocracy was one. The division which took place after the death of Solomon was a departure from the original conception, and the fruit of human sin. Yet, like many other events in which the Divine purpose seems to fail, it was so overruled as to promote the very end which it apparently frustrated. Not only were the two kingdoms a source of moral discipline — a mutual check to each other — but a richer, fuller illustration of God's dealings with His people was rendered possible than would .otherwise have been attainable. This unity in diversity, and diversity in unity, this double development, which is yet one, must not be overlooked if we would understand aright the history of God's covenant people. Whatever the two kingdoms were to their own thoughts, they were one in the eyes of God. During the vigorous reign of Jeroboam II., the kingdom of the ten tribes attained to a high pitch of prosperity and power. As this resulted from energy in the administration, rather than in any deeper moral principle, it only hastened the progress of inward decay. Luxury, oppression of the poor, lewdness, and profligacy in its many varied forms, followed in the train. It was thus to a people at the crisis of their destiny, in the height of apparent, but delusive prosperity, that Amos, the humble herdman of Tekoa, and gatherer of sycamore fruit, was sent. The circumstances of his mission gave occasion to a new step being taken in advance in the development of the prophetic testimony. Joel, Amos's immediate predecessor, prophesied to those who were chargeable, indeed, with much formality and shallowness of profession, and were therefore justly liable to severe chastisement, but who were yet free from gross and open vice. Hence, in unveiling the great movements of the future, he still identifies generally the covenant people with the friends of God and the objects of Divine deliverance; and "the nations" generally with the enemies of God, and the objects of His righteous vengeance. In reading the Book of Amos, we find ourselves breathing another atmosphere. The prophet no doubt first proclaims exterminating judgment against the surrounding nations, but this is only the prelude to the announcement of a similar doom on the chosen people themselves, who were eagerly following in the footsteps of the heathen. The prospect is held out, indeed, of blessing in the end, but not in a form that could convey the slightest comfort or hope to that ungodly generation. To them at least it was made abundantly plain that, like their rebellious fathers of old, they should spend their days in a wilderness of tribulation, and should not be permitted to see the promised rest. The book consists of a somewhat lengthened introduction, chaps, 1. 2. — followed by two chief divisions. The first, chaps. 3.-6., in the simple form of prophetic addresses. The second, chaps, 7.-9., in a series of visions. The whole being concluded with a promise of future deliverance and blessing.
(Robert Smith, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
WEB: The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.