Bible passage: Amos 1:3-5
Written: About 750 BC
In Amos 1:3-5, the prophet said that destruction would befall Damascus, which was the capital of the kingdom of Aram (Syria).
Aram had often been at odds with the people of Israel.
One example can be found in 2 Samuel 10:6-19, where King David fought against Aramaeans in southern Syria in the 10th century BC. That was about 200 years before the time of Amos.
Another example of the animosity between Israel and Aram can be found in 2 Kings 13:3, when King Hazael invaded and ruled over the northern kingdom of Israel, during the reign of King Jehoahaz. Jehoahaz was the eleventh king of the northern kingdom of Israel. He reigned for 17 years (814-798 BC), and was based in Samaria.
Amos' prophecy mentions the names of Hazael and Ben-Hadad. In 2 Kings 8:15, Hazael murders his father, Ben-Hadad, and assumes the throne. Hazael's son also was known as Ben-Hadad, in 2 Kings 13:3. Some Bible scholars have suggested that Ben-Hadad might have been a name commonly given to the kings of Aram.
Amos prophesied against the "house" or lineage of Hazael, that fire would be sent upon the house of Hazael and that the fire would consume whatever protected Ben-Hadad.
The line of kings that arose from Hazael's family came to an end during the rise of the Assyrian Empire.
Damascus and the kingdom of Aram fell to King Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria in 734 B.C. This would have been a few years after the time of Amos' prophecy. Aram as a kingdom never recovered from the defeat.
Amos is one of the 12 minor prophets of the Old Testament: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Each has a book named after them in the Old Testament. They are called minor prophets because their books are smaller than those of the so-called major prophets, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Jeremiah.
Some links to learn more about Amos:
- Research and commentary by Ray Konig, author of the book 100 Prophecies.
Here is Amos 1:3-5:
3 This is what the Lord says: "For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not relent. Because she threshed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth,
4 I will send fire on the house of Hazael that will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.
5 I will break down the gate of Damascus; I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven and the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden. The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir," says the Lord.
(New International Version translation)