Minor prophets i

Minor Prophets I Amos, Hosea, Micah



Transcript of Minor prophets i

Page 1: Minor prophets i

Minor Prophets I

Amos, Hosea, Micah

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Amos, Hosea, Micah

• Active in the 8th century BC• Focus is on sins of their own

people– Social Sin– Cultic Sin (Idolatry, religious

abuses)• Contemporaries of Isaiah

– Hosea is in the northern kingdom– Micah is in the southern kingdom– Amos is from the south, but

working in the north

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Hosea• Images of marital infidelity are

tied to Israel’s disloyalty– Unfaithful wife who becomes a

prostitute• Hosea’s personal experience

with his wife, Gomer, is a metaphor for God’s relationship with Israel– Unfaithful wife who becomes a


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Hosea• Part I: Hosea’s faithless wife

– Chapters 1-3

• Part II: Collection of prophetic speeches– Condemns Israel’s behavior– Predicts God’s punishment– Express Hope for renewal

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• Part One– Gomer – not just a harlot, but a

cult prostitute serving the god Baal, making Hosea’s choice even more dramatic.• Covenant

– God and the people are bound by the covenant

• Idolatry and Infidelity– Baal is the fertility god, responsible for

crops, herds, and people– Hosea says you cannot choose when to

serve the Lord: it’s a package deal

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• Part One• Understanding God

– God is all that best about human nature• Land and Desert

– The land is filled with milk and honey; worshipping Baal will lead to a desert

– In the desert, though, God may court his people and renew the covenant

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Hosea’s children

• Jezreel– Jehu had royal family executed

and heads sent to Jezreel. God will punish Jehu and destroy his family ruling in Israel

• Lo-ruhama (unpitied)– God no longer pities Israel

• Lo-ammi (not my people)– Yahweh will not consider Israel

his people any longer

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Hosea 11:1-4• When Israel was a child I loved him,a

• out of Egypt* I called my son.b

• 2The more I called them,• the farther they went from me,• Sacrificing to the Baals• and burning incense to idols.• 3Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to

walk,• who took them in my arms;c

• but they did not know that I cared for them.

• 4I drew them with human cords,• with bands of love;*

• I fostered them like those• who raise an infant to their cheeks;• I bent down to feed them.d

How do these images apply to our world?

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• One way of knowing God is through human experience. How is God like a faithful spouse, a loving parent, a friend seeking a lasting relationship?

• God’s judgment and punishment is always directed toward restoring relationship.

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Amos• Priest of Bethel• Shepherd, “dresser of

sycamores”• Religion requires more than

ritual observances; it requires a moral life.

• Harsh critic of Israelite society; 25 years after Amos, Samaria falls to Assyria.

• Prophet of Doom

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• Concern for justice is passionate– Demands in all areas of life:

political, economic, judicial– The fall of Israel is inevitable

because of corruption and injustice.

• Structure of two sentence pronouncements of sins, judgment

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• Independent; southerner who proclaims in the north

• Does not rely on priests or kings for support

• Prophecies against the king make the priests nervous

• Independence leads to blunt and somewhat offensive style– Cows of Bashan (4:1) to refer

to women of Samaria

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“words” and “woes”

• Hear this word… (3)• Hear this word… (4)• Hear this word… (5)

• Woe (5:7)• Woe (5: 18)• Woe (6:1)

• Followed by Visions for renewal

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Amos• Amos was the conscience of the

nation and spoke for the powerless.– Who are the powerless in our time?– Who speaks for them?

• Take away from me• your noisy songs;• The melodies of your harps,• I will not listen to them.• 24Rather let justice surge like waters,• and righteousness like an unfailing

stream. (5:23-24)– How is acting justly linked to

prayer and worship?

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• Anthology of short speeches– Judgment speeches– Salvation speeches

• Concern about the impending Assyrian invasion and social justice– Accuses ruling elite of corruption– Impatience with false prophets

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• Similar to Jeremiah in tone and in terms of acceptance

• He was a poor peasant – farmer/shepherd class

• Impending Judgment– God is coming to judge– The rich have taken from the

poor; the Assyrians will take from the rich

– Virtue requires justice and facing reality

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• Uses the Hebrew word hesed for covenant, which refers to the steadfast love that binds two parties together.

• Punishment is deserved, but Micah still mourns for his people.

• Zion is a plowed field

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• Prophecies of Restoration– Probably added after Babylonian

exile– Hope after destruction– Prophecy for Bethlehem

• Indictment of Israel– Israel’s failure to respond to

God’s faithfulness– True religion is based on acting

justly, walking humbly, loving tenderly

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• Concluding Indictment and Prayer– Only solution to the

corruption of the society is repentance and reliance on the Lord

– God will forgive a repentant people and restore them to favor.

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• Prophets who point out the problems in society are not popular. – What true prophets do we

have in our time?– What “professional”

prophets in our time mislead people in our time?

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Micah• But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathahleast among the clans of Judah,From you shall come forth for meone who is to be ruler in Israel;Whose origin is from of old,from ancient times.

• What does this section from Micah mean for you? Why is it significant that Jesus will come from Bethlehem?