The text of Amos moves from the general to the specific. It begins with Israel’s neighbors. It has a word for each of nation-state that borders Israel and Judah, but in the same list moves to Judah and then finally Israel (Amos 1:3-2:16). This is the first major section of Amos.
The text then moves to address Israel specifically through three prophetic oracles or sermons (3:1-5:17). Each one begins with “Hear this word…” (3:; 4:1; 5:1). The sermons reason with Israel about their circumstance and their coming judgment.
The third major section (5:18-6:14) offers two judgment announcements in the form of two woe oracles. The woe oracles also contain a rationale for the woes that are coming upon Israel.
In the last major section (7:1-9:10) the text reports five visions about the immediate future of Israel. The visions are divine assurances of that future.
The text of Amos moves from the nations to prophetic sermons to woes and finally to visions. He addresses the nations and then focuses on Israel through his oracles. But this is followed by woes and visions concerning Israel’s future which is not pretty.
However, the text of Amos abruptly switches in the postscript (9:11-15). The text announces hope and anticipates a time when the dwelling of God will not only return to Israel but include the nations as well. Amos ends with hope though the critique of Israel’s social injustice and idolatry is deadly serious.
Superscription (1:1-2) — A Prophet from Judah
I. Eight Oracles Against the Nations (1-2)
A. Damascus (1:3-5)
B. Gaza (1:6-8).
C. Tyre (1:9-10).
D. Edom (1:11-12).
E. Ammon (1:13-15).
F. Moab (2:1-3).
G. Judah (2:4-5).
F. Israel (2:6-16).
II. Three Oracles Delivered to Israel (3:1-5:17).
A. “Hear This Word” — Divine Punishment (3:1-15).
B. ”Hear This Word” — The Sins of Israel (4:1-12).
C. ”Hear This Word” — Lament and Admonition (5:1-17).
III. Two Woe Oracles — Judgment Announced (5:18-6:14).
A. First Woe — The Day of the Lord (5:18-27).
B. Second Woe — A Message for the “Secure” (6:1-14).
IV. Five Visions (7:1-9:10).
A. First Vision — Locust (7:1-3).
B. Second Vision — Fire (7:4-6).
C. Third Vision — The Plumb Line (7:7-9).
D. Interlude: Response to Opposition (7:10-17).
E. Fourth Vision — Summer Fruit (8:1-3).
F. Interlude: Judgment for the Nations (8:4-14).
G. Fifth Vision — the Pillars (9:1).
H. Conclusion to Visions — There is No Escape (9:2-10).
Postscript (9:11-15) — A Future Hope