The Book of Amos

Sections of the book
The justification for these sections is provided below, these links lead to an overview of each section.

Introduction 1:1-2
Oracles against the nations 1:3-2:16
The prophet and his message I 3:1-15
Warnings ignored 4:1-13
The turning point 5:1-17
If God is against you... 5:21-6:14
The prophet and his message II 7:1-8:3
God has rejected you! 8:4-9:4
Conclusion 9:7-15

Structure of the book

Genres used in the book

What sort of book is Amos?

Structure of the book

There are several ways to approach reading a book like Amos, and these can produce different understandings of how it is structured.

Many scholars start by noticing the different genres of material used. They tend to find sections like this:

This is quite neat, and in many ways feels "right". Yet, others pay more attention to the formulae that (sometimes) introduce sections. So, 3:1; 4:1; & 5:1 beginning "Hear this..." would mark new sections (In that case is 8:4 a new section too?). Perhaps הוֹי hoy "alas" that introduces speeches at 5:18 & 6:1 also introduces sections. This would give a book that looks something like this:

These two approaches are seldom followed in such a pure way, and actually produce similar results, the main difference being where 7:1-8:3 is placed.

However, once a reader notices that what seem to be fragments of hymn (most of which might come from the same longer hymn) interspersed throughout the book (at 1:2; 4:13; 5:8-9 & 9:5-6) it seems natural to assume that they play a significant role in organising the book. The first two in particular fit with both divisions proposed above.

This then gives the book this structure (for which I argue in more detail here):

1:1    Title
1:2    Adonai's Day Hymn
1:3-4:12  1:3-2:16
  3:1-15  Prophet & message
  4:1-12
4:13    Adonai's Day Hymn
5:1-17    "The turning point"
5:18-20    Adonai's Day Text
5:21-9:4    5:21-6:14
  7:1-8:3  Prophet & message
  8:4-9:4
9:5-6    Adonai's Day Hymn
9:7-15    Conclusion

 


 

This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.