Amos came from a time when several prophetic figures would arise. His ministry occurred during the reign of Jeroboam II (c. 776-763 B.C.), who was the son of King Jehoash of the Jehu dynasty. During the reign of these kings, the Northern Kingdom of Israel enjoyed
a time of great prosperity. The threat of war was removed, and a great cultural, social, and economic revival took place. People moved from the country to the city, and this prosperity led to nearly unprecedented social corruption. Drunkenness, violence, moral corruption, and idolatry were rampant. As a result, Jewish society collapsed. Amos came upon this scene and his words brought a stern denunciation to the people.—Amos 2:4-16
Through Amos, the Lord foretold of a coming time of trouble and retribution upon Judah, Israel, and the adjoining nations. These nations, Moab, Syria, Philistia, etc., had been subjugated by and incorporated into Israel under David and Solomon. Because of their close identity with Israel, they were made subjects of this prophecy. (Amos 1:2-15) The principle burden of the prophecy, however, concerns Israel, the ten tribes, and Judah, the two tribes. They
were the Lord’s covenanted people, the seed of Abraham.—Gen. 12:7; Ex. 19:5
Although Amos warned the people, he was not an inhabitant of the Northern Kingdom. He came from a small mountain village, Tekoa, which lay to the south of Jerusalem. (Amos 1:1,2) He was a herdsman of goats. (Amos 7:14,15) Amos protested against the luxurious and careless living of Samaria, and the elaborate offerings made at the shrines of Beersheba, and Gilgal. He asserted the moral jurisdiction of God over all nations and warned the Israelites that they should repent. He instructed them to renew their spiritual relationship to God, or they would fall victim to an invader from the east.
Rather than God’s favor making Israel’s heart loyal to him, they continually resisted his favor, and were unfaithful to him. Therefore, the Lord foretold the troubles he would bring upon Israel because of their sins and sought to make them understand that their judgments
of the future were matters of divine providence.—Amos 3:1,2; 6:11-14