Background of Amos
The Book of Amos is the oldest of the four books that come to us from prophets who were active during the eighth century B.C.E. (the others are Prophet to the northern kingdom who married a prostitute to show God's relationship to a faithless Israel, Micah, and Isaiah, son of Amoz, who prophesied in Jerusalem, is included among the prophets of the eighth century B.C.E. (along with Amos, Hosea, and Micah)--preachers who boldly proclaimed God's word of judgment against the economic, social, and religious disorders of their time.). This does not mean that there were not other prophets active during that time or before. Rather, these are the only prophets whose words survived to reach us.
Amos most likely had a very short prophetic ministry, perhaps as short as a year. This probably occurred around the year 760 B.C.E., when The king of Israel (786-746) during a time when Israel increased in prosperity and power. Although Jeroboam's policies brought prosperity to some in Israel, especially those who dwelt in the cities, the suffering of the poor also increased. Tthe prophet Amos criticized Jeroboam for lack... was king of Israel. During this time, the people of Israel were divided into two kingdoms. The The Northern Kingdom consisted of ten of the twelve tribes of Israel and lasted for 200 years until it was destroyed by Assyria in 721 B.C.E. In the northern kingdom the kings were evil. Prophets like Elijah and Amos railed against them and their evildoing. was known as Israel (also poetically as Ephraim, The son of Isaac and Rebekah, renamed Israel, became the father of the twelve tribal families, and Son born to Abraham and Sarah in fulfillment of God's promise); its capital was Samaria. The The Southern Kingdom consisted of two tribes of Israel, Judah and Benjamin. Jerusalem was its capital, and the kingdom lasted from 931-586 B.C.E. As with the Northern Kingdom many of the kings were wicked, and prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel spoke their often judgmental... was known as Judah was the name of Jacob's fourth son and one of the 12 tribes. (also poetically as Zion originally referred to a mountain near Jerusalem where David conquered a Jebusite stronghold. Later the term came to mean a number of other things like the Temple, Jerusalem, and even the Promised Land.); its capital was Jerusalem.
Amos was a prophet from Tekoa, a town in the southern kingdom of Judah. He was not a professional prophet or a member of a prophetic guild, but a farmer (“herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees,” 7:14). God called him and sent him north to prophesy in what to him would have been the foreign country of Israel. Other details about Amos, including his fate, are unknown.
The time during which Amos prophesied was a time of relative peace and prosperity for the kingdom of Israel and her neighbors. During that time, the small countries such as Israel and Judah experienced no threat from the major empires of the region such as Egypt or Assyria, although that would soon change (see Assyria, Tiglath-Pileser III). Amos contended that the prosperity of the wealthy of that society was built upon the backs of the poor.
Amos announced God’s condemnation of both Israel and the surrounding nations for their greed, injustice, brutality, and particularly for the oppression of the poor by the wealthy. Amos did not announce a new morality. Like the other prophets, his message was fundamentally conservative in that he called people to obey the laws of Prophet who led Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land and received the law at Sinai. Amos also condemned the rote worship life of the people, proclaiming that ritual observance alone does not mask injustice. God wants justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowing stream. The people’s injustice is seen as a sign of their rejection of the Lord. One cannot worship the Lord and lead a life of injustice; to do so is to reject the Lord.
Nevertheless, a promised restoration concludes the book, giving hope to readers.