Pietro Bovati – Roland Meynet, Il libro del profeta Amos. Seconda edizione rivista, RBSem 21, Peeters, Leuven 2019 (490 p.)
Amos is one of the twelve “minor prophets”; the first prophet of Israel whose oracles, dated to the eighth century B.C., were put in writing. His book has only nine chapters; however, it is of paramount importance because it contains all the major themes taken up later by the “major prophets,” Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel.
The central and unifying motif of the entire book is that of justice; and for this reason its message is extraordinarily topical. Amos criticizes the injustice that hides behind the appearances of a strict legality, blames the perversion of a religion that takes pleasure in sumptuous cultic practices, while forgetting the duty to provide for the poor and to act according to equity.
An authentic prophet, Amos is the bearer of a word that the children of Israel have rejected. His cry is like the roar of a lion announcing the end of Israel, the collapse of the political and religious institutions of the kingdom of Samaria. The verdict of justice pronounced by the Lord against his people will open the way, paradoxically, to a time of grace and renewed life.
The genre of this commentary is new. For the first time the method of rhetorical analysis is applied to a prophetic book. Whatever the editorial history of the text may have been, it is clear that the work of Amos that has come down to us presents an extremely refined composition. And this has allowed for an organic, structured and profoundly renewed interpretation of the words of the “shepherd of Tekoa”.