The Berean Expositor
Volume 50 - Page 105 of 185
Index | Zoom
But when they seek the Lord:
their future position.
pitied, perhaps we may say this is the new Christian name, for God's
mercy will be once more fully extended to them when they accept their
Messiah, the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Hosea, the man with a curious call! but a call which outlined and emphasized God's
dealings with faithless Israel, until the time when "all Israel shall be saved". How great is
God's faithfulness; "He cannot deny Himself", "if we are unbelieving, yet He abideth
pp. 226 - 230
Very little is known of this prophet, Amos. The whole of his known history is to be
found in the book which bears his name. He was "among the herdmen of Tekoa" (1: 1).
Tekoa was in Judah, and while Amos prophesied against Judah and the surrounding
nations, the main thrust of his ministry was against Israel, the northern kingdom. It is
clear that some of his prophecies were delivered in Israel itself, as is plain from
Amaziah's words to him, "O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and
there eat thy bread, and prophesy there" (Amos 7: 12).
Who, or what, was Amos? Chapter 1: 1 tells us he was a herdman. The Companion
Bible note tells us this means "shepherd", the word being derived from a particular breed
of sheep. In response to Amaziah, Amos says, "I was an herdman, and a gatherer of
sycomore fruit" (7: 14). Here the word translated "herdman" derives from a word for
"ox", and hence could be rendered "cattleman". He was a preparer of sycomore fruit
rather than a "gatherer": in order for the fruit to ripen properly, it had to be pinched at a
certain stage of its growth, and this was part of the work undertaken by Amos. Amos,
then was a shepherd, cattleman, and possibly also a ploughman and a tender of fruit. The
inference is that he was what today might be termed a general farm labourer. He had no
claim to high birth, as Isaiah and Jeremiah; he had no special preparation as Moses or
Paul, nor was he marked out as specially righteous as Noah. In this case we are not even
told the name of his father. We know where he was working when the Lord took him:
"and the Lord took me as I followed the flock" (7: 15). We know nothing of his birth,
and we know nothing of his death. Did Amaziah succeed in driving him back to Judah
where he died in obscurity? or did he remain in Israel and die in the earthquake he
foretold? We simply do not know.
Amos was a `nobody': yet the Lord took him, and used him. Yet by reason of his
occupation the illustrations he uses are particularly vivid, and are taken from his country
life. He speaks of the `habitations (or better pastures) of the shepherd', and of threshing
"Gilead with threshing instruments of iron" (1: 2, 3).  In chapter 2: 13 he uses the