Bible 911-Amos 

Amos 911 has been a great Bible study for me. The “minor prophets”, only because of length, have amazing stuff in them. I took this time to learn more about Amos and his place in history. Because of a visit to a Bible Museum, I am reminded that chapters and verses were not in many early Bibles. With that said 9:11 starts as a promise to David and his fallen sakkut. 

Amos was a shepherd and grew figs for a living; he was sent to the northern kingdom to prophecy. He is from Tekoa and the region of Carmel, which is below Bethlehem and Hebron by the Dead Sea. This is not Mount Carmel in northern Israel where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal. He is from the tribe of Judah but is a distant relative of David. His family line goes from Perez to Hezron, to Ashhur, then to Tekoa (1 Chronicles 2:24). 

Carmel-There are two places with this name in the Bible. Amos 1:2 may be referring to the area that overlooks the Dead Sea. I think it is referring to Amos and why he went to Israel, the northern kingdom, his pastureland was in drought. 9: 3 is in the section that promises Israel to be destroyed, so it seems like that should be Mount Carmel. In the NIV the second line refers to “hunting them down and seizing them”, just like Elijah did to the false prophets. 

Tekoa and the men and women of the region are mentioned in other places in the history of Judah.  

  • 2 Samuel 14:22-Joab sends for a wise woman. 
  • 1 Chronicles 11:28-one of David’s mighty men. 
  • 1 Chronicles 27:9-a division of David’s army. 
  • 2 Chronicles 11:6-fortified by King Rehoboam. 
  • 2 Chronicles 20:20-King Jehoshaphat blessed the people before leaving to go there. 
  • Jeremiah 6:1-said to sound the trumpet there. 
  • AMOS 
  • Nehemiah 3: 5 and 27-the men of the area rebuilt two sections of the wall of Jerusalem (not the leaders).  

The conflict in Nehemiah between the people and the leaders opened up a few questions. Ezra does not specify men from that region coming back (good maps to compare cities are few, I may be wrong). Did this region get exported? Were the leaders opposed because they sided with Sanballat? 


Amos 1:1 uses an earthquake as part of the timestamp for his ministry. The king of Judah was Uzziah, and the king of Israel (where he ministered) was Jeroboam (the second one). This earthquake may be referenced in Isaiah 29:6. It is definitely talked about in Zechariah 14:5, which is several hundred years later. It must have been quite a quake. 

Fellow Prophets 

To find Amos’s contemporaries you must use the kings of Judah and Israel. The king of Israel is Jeroboam (II), the grandson of Jehu. Look at 2 Kings 13:1 and 10:30; he was the fourth generation if you start with Jehu, the wild driver. The other prophet with Amos in the north was Jonah, who got a ride in a fish. Uzziah or Azariah is king in Judah, so using the introduction in Isaiah and Hosea makes Amos at the same time. Isaiah shares the warning of “the day” with Amos, and Hosea has a lot to say about Israel/Ephraim. Based on similar topics Joel could have been ministering at the same time.  

The Day 

The day (of God’s judgment) is mentioned 11 times in Amos (2:16; 3:14; 5:18,20; 6:3; 8:3,9,10,11,13; 9:11 NIV). Chapter 8 is the metaphor of Israel being a ripe basket of figs, whose time has come. “Day of the Lord” is found in 5:18 and 20. The “day” in Isaiah covers more “territory”, but 61:2 is clear about a day of vengeance and a year of favor. 2 Kings 17 and 25 are (the first) days of fulfillment for the north and the south kingdoms. 

For three sins of…, even for four, I will not relent. 

This is an Amos-only statement. There are eight of these in chapters 1 and 2. The first seven are for Israel’s neighbors and the last one is for Israel. God calls out: 

  1. Damascus 
  1. Gaza-selling slaves from Israel to Edom. 
  1. Tyre-selling slaves from Israel to Edom. 
  1. Edom-Judah’s neighbor to the south and “family” members. They were not very friendly. 
  1. Ammon 
  1. Moab 
  1. Judah 
  1. Israel  

For numbers 1-7 there is only one sin listed. Okay, this is probably why I have not read Amos very much; what are the first three? Israel*, the northern kingdom, however, seems to have four listed (2:6-12): 1. selling the righteous and needy; 2. trampling the poor and denying justice, while profaning God’s name; 3. lying down by every altar of foreign gods; 4. making Nazirites drink wine and silencing prophets. (*In Amos 3:1 and 2:10, it talks to ALL of the children of Jacob. Most of the time Israel refers to the north.)   

Chapters 3 through 9:10 

3:2 states that you cannot walk together if can agree, and 3:7 states that God uses His prophets to speak His intentions. For the most part that is a summary of this section. Except for 7:10-17 which is a narrative between Amaziah the priest of Bethel and Amos, and Amos tells him what will happen to him and his family. This section is directed, mostly, at the northern kingdom (Israel), but the Father does call out the southern kingdom also. Please see Psalm 89: 30-37, it is a reference to David and his sons but could be extended to all of Jacob’s children. Psalm 89:20-51 are Messianic in nature and describes Jesus’ time on earth quite well. 

God says what He has done to get their attention, how they have ignored Him, and what will happen to them if they continue to ignore Him. Chapter 8 shifts into visions and conversations with/from God. The words, that we tend to skip over, about how God is telling His people may be a study in the future (you will need a concordance like the Zondervan Exhaustive Concordance, that has says/said, declares, etc.). 

To take a study of Amos to another level, may I suggest that you use the alternate meanings and metaphors of the names: David (2x) = beloved, Judah (4x) = praise, Jacob (6x) = deceiver, Israel (30+ times) = struggles with God (in the NIV). Israel is the most interesting, frequently it means the north, but at times it may be all of the descendants of the man Jacob, *both north and south (see 6:1). Using “struggles with God” does put a different light on some of these passages. This concept carries both positive and negative connotations.  

 My Points of Interest 

  1. What we call Chapter 4 starts with a rebuke of the “cows of Bashan” (the east bank of the Jordan River) “on the Mount of Samaria” (the west bank). The end of the chapter (12 +13) is an introduction to Chapter 5; verse thirteen is a reminder to a nation who has forsaken God, who He is, and His abilities. 
  1. Chapter 5 has two “seek and live” verses-6 and 14. The Father is offering them a chance to be saved from the wrath that is coming. 
  1. Justice and righteousness (God loves these) are in 5: 7, 12, 24, and 6:12. 
  1. The poor are mentioned six times in Amos (NIV), especially in 5:11+12. They have been trampled, bought and sold, and oppressed. 
  1. 6:1 has a reference to the south (Zion or Jerusalem) and the north (Mount Samaria).  
  1. 6:8 and 8:7 use the term “pride of Jacob”. The first one references the attitude of the people, while the second one is talking about God. Thank God for translators and the work they do, the word pride is the same in both verses. 
  1. How God interacts with Amos is also worth some time in your study. The words used will vary with the translation you use, but say/said, declares, spoken, sworn, showed and asked, hear and I will, are terms that show changes in how God deals with the message(s) He gives to Amos to deliver to the people. 

Extra study- How many minor prophets were divided into nine or more chapters? Find a reference to when the land was divided into two kingdoms?

Because of the length of this post, I placed Amos 9:11-15 in a second post. 

Chazon, Ouai, and Oy 

If chazon, ouai, and oy are strange words to you, don’t feel bad. They were to me. Their English translations are frequently used in the church. Chazon (Hebrew) or vision is the one that set this study into motion. “Without a vision”, Proverbs 29:18 in the KJV has been the key verse in many sermons. Well, this weekend I looked into seeing a vision. Doing a New Testament word search left me empty. So, I changed to the word dream and found no help from the biblical context. To be fair, vision and dream often get run together in the same sermon, but in the New Testament, those words and our English ideas hit a rough spot. Vision and dreams are supernatural acts that instruct people on a topic. They do not support the idea of your desires and goals and where YOU want to be in life.

The words purpose and calling, which are God-ordained concepts, should be used instead. The way ministers preach most sermons, the concepts of purpose and calling, get mixed with visions and dreams. 

Okay, let’s look at chazon. It is true we need a vision or things will fall apart. In the early part of Matthew, John the Baptist and Jesus are preaching the good news of the kingdom. What they taught was repent, for the kingdom of God is near. The kingdom being near is the chazon they gave the people. They preached that to give the masses hope. Jesus did miracles to prove just how near the kingdom had come to them. The mindset of the disciples and the crowds seemed to be that the Messiah would lead an army and conquer Rome. Psalm 110 and 45 are just a few places where that idea came from. Israel had battle-fighting messiahs, but they did not heal the sick and feed thousands or preach repentance. When these messiahs died, their movements faded away and stopped (Acts 5:35).

A chazon from God leads you to your purpose in life and opens the door to your calling. A dream from God may lead your thinking in this process.
Now to add in the words ouai, and oyouai is Greek for woe and oy/hoy is Hebrew for woe. How does woe connect with vision? The Father and Son are protective of their kingdom. Because the Father has a purpose for His kingdom, I believe He will defend the people He has called to fulfill that purpose. The post –God’s Love and Let God Arise talk about this topic. While studying for a new series called The Sermons on the Mounts, I read Matthew 23. That passage contains the seven woes for the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees. The way we translate woe and the context people use for that word seemed strange to me. Oy and hoy in Isaiah and the other prophets and ouai in the Book of Revelation do not fit what many try to put in Jesus’ warnings. In these warnings, the weight of woe is not a statement of you may be sorry, or too bad you did your actions. They imply a judgment is going to fall on you. For some reason, a large part of Christianity has grown away from the idea that Jesus is a king that leads an army. The world definitely does not like a strong, in command, conquering Jesus. To answer my question -you will receive woe (in this life) if you come against God’s vision or plan for His Church.

On Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus made these pronouncements-He cursed the fig tree (man’s works to be acceptable before God), the seven woes of Matthew 23, and prophesied that the Temple would come down. While in the Temple, He also told (through parable) the leaders of the nation they had to change or they would get thrown out of the Kingdom of God. Matthew 11 has the message of woe to several cities in Galilee and Luke 11 has a similar list of woes to Matthew 23. These woes added to the leaders’ anger at Jesus.

Did Jesus speak these woes twice, maybe? I feel Luke put together the stories he heard into something that Theophilus needed to read. Luke 11 to 18 has many of the same teachings as Matthew 21 to 26. That is not a statement against the book from Luke, rather, it shows his ability to communicate to his audience. Matthew and Mark had been eyewitnesses, so I tend to follow their timeline.  

Chazonouai, and oy are powerful words. Please use the reference websites I listed below for more details. I have no associations with any of those sites; they are references. So, reader beware.



Midian – Enemy and Instrument

Midian – Enemy and Instrument

Midian was a son of Abraham by his third wife Keturah (Genesis 25).  His descendants played an important role in the Exodus story and into the Judges’ time period.   Some experts think that Midian was several groups of people and or a geographic area and not just a single nation.  They start their part in the story of Israel when Joseph’s brother sold him into Egypt (Genesis 37).  This is also where Moses fled when he ran away from Pharaoh; his wife, father-in-law, and children were Midianites.

In Numbers 22 the story of Moab and Midian working together to stop Israel by bringing in Balaam is told.  It seems that Balak, king of Moab, takes the lead and even in Numbers 25 it first mentions Moabite women as being the lure to get Israel to sin.  A Midianite woman is killed in verse 8 and it stops a plague; in verse 16 the Lord says to treat Midian as enemies and kill them because of the deception with the Baal of Peor.  In Numbers 31 Moses is to lead a campaign against them and then he will die.  It must have been quite an attack because many important people including kings and Balaam were killed.

A thought that should disturb the people of God is that sex was used as a weapon in the name of religion to defeat God’s people.  The devil crossed and confused the lines then and is still doing it today.

The other big reference to Midianites is with Gideon in Judges 6, 7, and 8.  This story also ends with the Midianites being beaten severely.    There are references in Psalm 83, Isaiah 9, and 10 that talk about how badly Midian was beaten.  They don’t say if it was Moses or Gideon but the context makes it sounds like the beatings were bad and that a similar beating was wished on the current enemy.

Living in the “now” of troubles and testing compared to analyzing them later will produce two very different views.  This is a “later” point of view; God used the Midianites to push Israel to a deeper walk and expose things that still they needed to deal with.  One example is the army killing the men and keeping the women who were the instrument that got them into trouble.  Even later the Israelites were still dealing with the troubles of Peor, possibly, the girl slaves and the children born from them.  Midianite DNA and mindset were spread into every tribe of Israel, including Levi.  Be careful what you choose to live with no matter how you got it.

Salem or Sodom – Bera, King of Sodom

Bera may be the most audacious person in the Bible! He is also a type and shadow of the devil. First, he is a king who allowed and possibly encouraged his people to sin. He then takes part in a rebellion against his overlord with the other rulers of the Valley of Siddium. They lose to the coalition lead by Kedorlaomer. The kings with the armies go hide in the hills while their families and towns are looted. The rout and panic of his army were so bad they were falling in tar pits. Then he expects to get his stuff/people given back to him! (Genesis 14)

Abram and his friends come in and save the day, and are traveling back toward Salem probably heading to his village. Out of the hills/hiding come Bera and meets Abram in the Valley of Shaveh or king’s valley, which is identified as the valley near Jerusalem. (The only other mention of a king’s valley in the Bible is in 2 Samuel 18:18 in a reference to Absalom.) I am sure there are a lot of ways to look at the goods Abram recovered, but it is possible that not all of it belonged to the Jordan River valley kings. So Abram could have made claim to everything he had just won and really who was going to take it from him, the kings who had just lost it! So Abram honors the Lord and gives a tithe to Melchizedek. I think the wicked king was getting nervous about losing so much stuff with no chance of getting it back. To curb the flow of goods Bera asks/claims the people, so Abram tells him what is going to happen and why. The nerve of that guy to be asking or claiming anything is unbelievable. But one thing is for sure, Salem brought the party and Sodom brought nothing.

Bera, just like the devil, knows people are more valuable than goods. The riches could have been a distraction for Abram because once you have all of that stuff you have to fight to keep it and Bera would have had more people.

The lesson to be learned here is what Bera/the devil does to a Christian in a fight. Abram had gotten a victory and probably was just hoping for some quiet time. But out comes someone to congratulate you on the victory. Many times that person will be a distraction from what you need, which is what Melchizedek brought, something to refresh and strengthen you. We Christians usually equate the bread and wine with communion but the truth is Melchizedek was throwing a party (feeding) for the victor because they were tired. Abram wisely discerned that Bera and the goods were not the reason he went to battle, that was to get his family back and that mission was accomplished. Bera lost everything, hid while someone else got the job done, and still claimed he was owed something.

Wisdom of Joash – Defending a god

Defending a god.

Joash is the father of Gideon (Judges 6:29 – 32).  His son, Gideon, had just tore down Baal’s alter and cut up the town’s Asherah pole and the townspeople were mad.  They wanted to defend Baal’s honor, who supposedly was a powerful god.  Joash replied to the cries for his son death by asking several questions (vs. 31) the most important one basically was “Are you trying to save your god?”  Josah then makes an inspired statement,”If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself.”

The people must have realized the wisdom in that statement because they eventually followed Gideon into battle and defeated the enemies of Israel.  It must have become apparent that the god they were defending would/could not punish Gideon.Gideon004