Bible Fiber #11: Amos 6—9

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Welcome to Bible Fiber where we are encountering the textures and shades of the prophetic tapestry in a year-long study of the twelve minor prophets, one prophet each month. I am Shelley Neese, president of The Jerusalem Connection, a Christian organization devoted to sharing the story of the people of Israel.

So far, in our reading challenge for November, we have worked our way through Amos’s biography in verse one, his Oracles Against the Nations in chapters 1 and 2, and his judgement speeches in chapters 3, 4 and 5. This week we will close out the last judgement speech and launch into the final portion of Amos which is a sequence of five visions. All five visions point to the nearness and severity of Israel’s judgement. Between the second and third vision, Amos gives a brief narrative of an important moment in his own prophetic ministry.

Amos 6 is a continuation of the judgement oracles from the preceding three chapters. Amos is trying to shatter the delusional thinking of the first-class citizens of Israel who assume that their wealth and success reflects God’s favor on them. Their faulty self-conception was only perpetuating the systems of injustice propping up their lavish lifestyle. Amos paints a scathing picture of the ruling class, reclining on their beds of Phoenician ivory, drinking bowls of wine and anointing themselves with oils. To note, beds in any form would have been a luxury. Most people slept on floor mats. And the imported wine and oil is especially indulgent since we know from the woe speeches that the country had recently been through a drought and struggled with crop failure (4:9-10).

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