LECTURES ON THE BOOK OF AMOS
The historical background
The prophet Amos is the first on the list of classical prophets, who included Hosea, Isaiah as well as Jeremiah. He is the first among the prophets whose oracles have come down to us in the form of a whole book, according to M.L. Barre, the New Jerome Biblical Commentary. It goes without saying that Amos inaugurated a movement which left an indelible mark on Israelite religious land scape, as seen in the new dimensions of the 8thcentury prophetic movement, where ecstasy, which has been cited by many scholars as illustrating the borrowed phenomenon, has been replaced or fundamentally undermined by a more rationalistic approach to problems bedevilling Israel. Amos, it can be argued,…show more content… In this text, Amos cites the existence of beds of ivory…singing of idle songs…drinking wine in bowls…anointing themselves with the finest oils. All these are believed to be signs of wealthy and these coupled many feasts during Amos’ time (5:21), it can hardly be doubted that Amos prophesied during a time of ‘economic prosperity’ even though it was not national in the strict sense of the word.
According to G. Von Rad, the era of Jeroboam II should be seen as the era in which Amos prophesied, especially towards the end of the era. Jeroboam II the fourth descendant of Jehu benefited from the political and economic motions introduced by Omri. It is noted here that Omri was responsible for inviting the Phoenicians to run the Israelite economy and it is assumed that their policies started bearing fruit and continued to do so during the reign of Jeroboam II. It is in this light that we can appreciate the capitalistic tendencies that could be detected in Israelite economy during the time of Amos.
National ideology in Israel
It appears that Israel was not a doctrinaire nation like Judah, which was guided by the Davidic Royal Ideology. The openness in Israel was introduced by Jeroboam I and from the time of the division of the monarchy Israel was steadily moving toward becoming one and the same with her ANE neighbours. One area where the lack of national