We see Amos working during the time of Jeroboam II in Israel. He hails from Tekoa and is a herdsman and vinedresser. It may be that he traveled as a businessman to Samaria in the north. (see verse 7:14). He becomes a nuisance to the northerners, as he prophecies at the height of prosperity (probably around 760 BC).
Note that Jonah worked for Jeroboam, and imagine his story going on in the background of this fiery work of Amos. We had surmised that Jonah’s worked happened around 763 BC in Nineveh. Might it be that the eclipse recorded in those days happened along with an earthquake, as mentioned in the beginning of this book of Amos? Fascinating to think of the signs and terror accompanying these things.
Divisions of the book:
For three transgressions and for four…
We have Amos (whose name needs ‘to be burdened’) laying burdens on 8 nations – coming to rest at last upon Israel.
Hear this Word…
Three forms of sins and judgement (therefore…) occur on into chapter 5. We end this section of three pronouncements (each bearing a different aspect of separation) with imagery concerning the coming day of the Lord.
Woe unto them…
Two forms of this predicted Woe follow
A highly evocative section begins at 5:18 concerning misguided piety.
The false security of the prosperous is condemned.
The Story of Amos and the North…
Amaziah the priest resents the words of Amos. This reminds us of the time of Ahab in 1 Kings 22, 2 Chronicles 18 and the controversy of the prophets.
Draco, apparently reacting to outrages perpetrated by land owners against the working people and vice versa, institutes harsh laws know even to this day as ‘Draconian’.
Plutarch from Life of Solon- on Solon’s founding of new laws following the rule of Draco:
First, then, he repealed all Draco’s laws, except those concerning homicide, because they were too severe, and the punishment too great; for death was appointed for almost all offences, insomuch that those that were convicted of idleness were to die, and those that stole a cabbage or an apple to suffer even as villains that committed sacrilege or murder. So that Demades, in after time, was thought to have said very happily, that Draco’s laws were written not with ink but blood; and he himself, being once asked why be made death the punishment of most offences, replied, “Small ones deserve that, and I have no higher for the greater crimes.”
The Government of Solon
Aristotle – Part 7 of the ‘Constitution of Athens’
Next Solon drew up a constitution and enacted new laws; and the ordinances of Draco ceased to be used, with the exception of those relating to murder. The laws were inscribed on the wooden stands, and set up in the King’s Porch, and all swore to obey them; and the nine Archons made oath upon the stone, declaring that they would dedicate a golden statue if they should transgress any of them. This is the origin of the oath to that effect which they take to the present day. Solon ratified his laws for a hundred years; and the following was the fashion in which he organized the constitution. He divided the population according to property into four classes, just as it had been divided before, namely, Pentacosiomedimni, Knights, Zeugitae, and Thetes. The various magistracies, namely, the nine Archons, the Treasurers, the Commissioners for Public Contracts (Poletae), the Eleven, and Clerks (Colacretae), he assigned to the Pentacosiomedimni, the Knights, and the Zeugitae, giving offices to each class in proportion to the value of their rateable property. To who ranked among the Thetes he gave nothing but a place in the Assembly and in the juries. A man had to rank as a Pentacosiomedimnus if he made, from his own land, five hundred measures, whether liquid or solid. Those ranked as Knights who made three hundred measures, or, as some say, those who were able to maintain a horse. In support of the latter definition they adduce the name of the class, which may be supposed to be derived from this fact, and also some votive offerings of early times; for in the Acropolis there is a votive offering, a statue of Diphilus, bearing this inscription:
The son of Diphilus, Athenion hight, Raised from the Thetes and become a knight, Did to the gods this sculptured charger bring, For his promotion a thank-offering.
And a horse stands in evidence beside the man, implying that this was what was meant by belonging to the rank of Knight. At the same time it seems reasonable to suppose that this class, like the Pentacosiomedimni, was defined by the possession of an income of a certain number of measures. Those ranked as Zeugitae who made two hundred measures, liquid or solid; and the rest ranked as Thetes, and were not eligible for any office. Hence it is that even at the present day, when a candidate for any office is asked to what class he belongs, no one would think of saying that he belonged to the Thetes.
The Tyranny of the Pisitratids
Pisistratus and his sons (Hippias and Hipparchus) over numerous attempts eventually gain control of the government of Athens, reigning as autocrats after disarming the population of Athens. The Alcmeonids, an opposing family, eventually prevail upon Cleomenes, a king of Sparta, to intervene and banish the tyranny. Hippias flees to the Troad.
The Government of Cleisthenes
Aristotle – Part 21 of ‘The Constitution of Athens’
The people, therefore, had good reason to place confidence in Cleisthenes. Accordingly, now that he was the popular leader, three years after the expulsion of the tyrants, in the archonship of Isagoras, his first step was to distribute the whole population into ten tribes in place of the existing four, with the object of intermixing the members of the different tribes, and so securing that more persons might have a share in the franchise. From this arose the saying ‘Do not look at the tribes’, addressed to those who wished to scrutinize the lists of the old families. Next he made the Council to consist of five hundred members instead of four hundred, each tribe now contributing fifty, whereas formerly each had sent a hundred. The reason why he did not organize the people into twelve tribes was that he might not have to use the existing division into trittyes; for the four tribes had twelve trittyes, so that he would not have achieved his object of redistributing the population in fresh combinations. Further, he divided the country into thirty groups of demes, ten from the districts about the city, ten from the coast, and ten from the interior. These he called trittyes; and he assigned three of them by lot to each tribe, in such a way that each should have one portion in each of these three localities. All who lived in any given deme he declared fellow-demesmen, to the end that the new citizens might not be exposed by the habitual use of family names, but that men might be officially described by the names of their demes; and accordingly it is by the names of their demes that the Athenians speak of one another. He also instituted Demarchs, who had the same duties as the previously existing Naucrari,–the demes being made to take the place of the naucraries. He gave names to the demes, some from the localities to which they belonged, some from the persons who founded them, since some of the areas no longer corresponded to localities possessing names. On the other hand he allowed every one to retain his family and clan and religious rites according to ancestral custom. The names given to the tribes were the ten which the Pythia appointed out of the hundred selected national heroes.
The Rule of the 400 and the new Oligarchy (411 BC)
The Surrender to Sparta and the institution of the 30 (404BC)
Lysander and Pausanias or the Spartans require the long walls and the Piraeus to be dismantled, and a council of thirty upper class Athenians to take control. The Athenian citizens are disarmed. Kritias and Theramenes quarrel over the assassination of prominent citizens, and Theramenes is eventually executed as a threat to the thirty. Recorded by Xenophon here.
What does it not share with the rest of its genus?
What was it in the past?
What might it be in the future?
What is its opposite in kind?
What is it analogous to?
Similitude: The current situation is like one that we’ve seen before, i.e., the search for resemblances.
How is an X different from something/someone else
To what degree?
How does it compare to its normal version?
How does it differ from things that resemble it?
How is it different from precedents and parallel versions?
What is its range of variation?
Is its opposite or contrary better or worse
Is X better worse than Y? more/less
How can it be evaluated?
What is the standard of evaluation?
Grammar includes the metaphor and simile. Judgements of quality relate to beauty, goodness and truth. Art is imitation.
Logic of comparison deals with the concrete and poesy, compared to the analytic mode of reason that subtracts from essence. “my love is like a red red rose” “God is Love”. Poetic reasoning is more compact and comprehensive than analytic.
Rhetoric of comparison is a formational discipline. The ethical consideration determines what is best regarding choice. The aesthetic consideration determines what is best regarding desirability. Classical Christian Education is emphatically committed to the ‘best’.
Aliquis definiverit vinciet – the act of apprehension whereby a term is commonly understood
The first of the 5 Common Topics – Aliquis definit vincit.
Associated with the first act of reason, or simple apprehension. A perception proceeds to form a thought, which in turn is abstracted into an idea, and finally denoted by a term. Terms are the subjects of definition — De-finitio – a ‘bounded’ idea.
Who or What is X?
What kind of thing is X?
Formal or logical cause (Comprehension, Connotation)
Greece may be understood as the land of the Greeks, a history that breaks from the initial migration of an indo-european people into the Mycenean and Cretan world, later into Doric, Ionic, and Attic components.
Beginning in the eighth century BC, Greece organizes around the city states. Politics coalesces around systems of Tyranny, Oligarchy, and Democracy. Ultimately, the Greek world expanded to Ionia in what is now western Turkey, Thrace and Macedonia, Thessaly, Attica and the Peloponnese. Following the war with Persia in the early fifth century, political and military power centered in Sparta and Athens. We read the history of these times primarily in Herodotus and Thucydides, also in the Lives of Plutarch.
Following the campaigns of Alexander the Great, the old Persian Empire was supplanted by the control of the Seleucids, the Antigonids, and the Ptolemies. These all devolved from the Macedonian Empire, all giving way eventually to the domination of Rome.
Herodotus is known as the original Historian, attempting to relate causes in the aftermath of the victory and ascendence of the Athenians over the Persian Empire and the Aegean sea.
The History, a work of the ancient world, is remarkable for its scope, naturalistic explanations, and multiple viewpoints. Herodotus is known as the original Historian, attempting to relate causes in the aftermath of the victory and ascendence of the Athenians over the Persian Empire and the Aegean sea.
We read of the Greco/Persian War here, and the entire book is written as an explanation of historical events that led to that point.
Herodotus concerns himself with the origin of the conflict between Persia and Greece which began with King Croessus of Lydia, who was overcome by the Persian king Cyrus. Meanwhile, in Athens a democracy forms against the rise of Pisistratus, and in Sparta a strict order of state gathers control of the Peloponnesus. Cyrus, who overcomes the Medes and Scythia/Cimmeria alliance that overthrew the Assyrian Empire, captures Babylon and campaigns in Scythia against the Massagetae, where he is killed in battle.
Cambyses comes to power and plans to enlarge the Persian empire in Egypt. Herodotus provides a description of Egyptian history, customs and geography.
Cambyses defeats the son of Amasis in Egypt, continuing his campaign of conquest against the Ethiopians and Ammon. He loses a large army in the desert west of Egypt, and goes mad in Egypt where he kills his brother and leaves Persia in confusion under the rule of the Magi (false Smerdis) at his death. The Spartans interfere with the Island of Samos under Polycrates. Herodotus, following the adventures of Darius who overthrows the Magi, meditates on the far east (India). Darius, now firmly in command, conquers and subdues Samos, and reconquers Babylon which had revolted in the Persian chaotic interregnum.
Darius begins an attack on the Scythians to the north of the Black Sea. Herodotus explains the history of the Scythians, and speculates on Geography. Darius, forced to retreat from Scythia, leaves his general Megabazus in Thrace, while he campaigns in Libya and against Cyrene.
While Megabazus subdues Thrace, a revolt, lead by Aristagoras breaks out against Otanes in Ionia. Aristagoras seeks aid first from Cleomenes in Sparta (refused), and then in Athens. Athens sends ships to aid the Ionians in their failed insurrection, angering Darius against the Athenians.
Securing the Chersonese (Hellespont), the Persians gather the Greek cities and the Island of Aegina preparing for an assault on Athens. Darius places Datis and Artaphernes in command, bringing Hippias back to reassume control of Athens. Miltiades at the command of an Athenian and Plataean army routes the Persians at Marathon.
Darius’ death means he will never get his vengeance against the Greeks. Xerxes, succeeding to the throne, organizes a massive campaign against his father’s enemies. The Persians face a naval disaster at Sepias, and march through Thrace and Macedon to face king Leonidas of the Spartans in the Battle of Thermopylae.
Beginning with the naval battle of Artemisium, the Greeks retreat toward Athens, deciding between the Isthmus (Corinth) and the bay of Salamis. The battle of Salamis results in a defeat for Xerxes. Alexander of Macedon is sent by the Persian king to bargain for the surrender of Athens, and we read of the heritage of Alexander the Great.
The finale of Herodotus is mostly concerned with Mardonius (the Persian general) and the Battle of Plataea (1st battle). The Persians are defeated and also driven from the Chersonese.
Hosea cannot bear to speak of judgement without speaking of redemption. For this reason, we think of Hosea as the prophet with the biggest heart.
Continuing a theme detected in Amos, Hosea expounds on the ripening evil of the Kingdom of Israel, and is commanded to take a harlot as his wife, to illustrate with his life amidst his countrymen the pain of estrangement that exists between God and his people.
We encounter the three children: Scattered, Unpitied, and Stranger.
In Chapters 1 and 2 we see fine examples of Chiasm, Chapter 3 clarifies and specifies the situation in Hosea’s immediate future.
The Chapters 4 through 10 are meditations on the events of Hosea’s day.
The Minor Prophets are only minor in their length. Considered in their transcendent number of ’12’, they are witnesses, like the apostles, in history short enough to be contained on one scroll. We have been thinking a lot about the Assyrian power, so here is a way of arranging the prophets by the Gentile powers under which they appeared:
1. Assyrian Period (9th through 7th century BC): Obadiah, Joel, Jonah, Hosea, Amos, (Isaiah), Micah, Nahum.
2. Babylonian Period: (612 through 549 BC): Zephaniah, (Jeremiah), Habakkuk, (Daniel), (Ezekiel)
3. Persian Period: (549 BC through 433 BC): Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi