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Getting to know the prophet Amos

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The book of Amos the prophet, is found third in the list of 12 minor prophets in the Old Testament, after Hosea and Joel. Then following him there nine others, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. These prophets are referred to as the 12 minor prophets, not because they are of less value, in any way, than the others but because of the brevity of their message. They are aligned in our present Bible following the four major prophets writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.

Although Amos is listed third in the in the minor prophets of the Old Testament, he was actually the first one of them. He lived during the eighth century BC in the Northern Kingdom of Israel while Jeroboam reigned. He lived just prior to Hosea and his writings ran parallel to that of First Kings.

Jeroboam's reign was generally peaceful and prosperous although it was known for much social injustice. Amos did not fail to chastise them for their maltreatment of the poor, read this scolding:

"Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes; That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name: And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god." (Amos 2:6-8 KJV)

When we stop to consider, those circumstances are much like today's social injustice. Consider how the poor are treated, not only in other countries but in our very own. In chapter one, Amos begins his book depicting the coming of an earthquake and then in the final chapter, he again tells of the harm from an earthquake. And, it is known that a severe earthquake did occur in 760 BC. (Chapter 1) and (Chapter 9).

The book of Amos has been shown to be worthy of being in the biblical canon. The Apostle James quoted Amos 9:11-12 in his remarks to the meeting of the apostles and elders in Acts 15:15-18 and interprets it in a Messianic sense.

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