A Biblical prophet is a man that must speak the truth, and speak in the name of
God. The Book of Amos is an essential Book of the latter prophets. The Book of Jonah,
in contrast, proves to be a parody of the typical prophetic book. Herman Melville, author
of Moby Dick, understood the parody, and showed this in Father Mapple’s sermon.
sermon contrasts with the rest of Moby Dick to become a parable asking the riddle:
What is the true nature of God?
The Bible is composed of a number of prophetic books. According to
, a man who is a prophet must:
Speak the truth.
Speak in the name of the Lord.
Without both of these characteristics, a man cannot be a true prophet. Furthermore,
prophets are compelled by God to speak. The Hebrew word for vision is “massa,” which
literally means “weight.” When someone is told to deliver a message, he is compelled by
the weight, or “massa” of God’s instructions to deliver them.
The Book of Amos is an essential book of the latter prophets. Chronologically
speaking, Amos was the first prophet of whom scholars have a significant collection of
sayings. The Book of Amos set a precedence for all books in the latter prophets. In Amos
5:21-24, Amos declares that sacrifices, worship, and offerings will do no good if a people
have not established a community of justice. God tells Amos to say, “Even though you
offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them” (Amos 5:22).
People must “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing
stream” (Amos 5:24). This passage establishes a primacy of justice in the Bible by
All biblical references taken from: Metzger, Bruce M., Roland E. Murphy.
The New Oxford Annotated
Bible, with the Apocrypha.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1989