by Wayne Blank
Amos was a shepherd from Tekoa, a town in Judea between Bethlehem and Hebron. In describing his calling, he said, "I am no prophet, nor a prophet's son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and The Lord took me from following the flock, and The Lord said to me, 'Go, prophesy to My people Israel.'" (Amos 7:14-15 RSV)
Amos was a prophet of the southern kingdom of Judah with a prophetic message that moreover included the northern kingdom of Israel (see Jews At War With Israel). He was active during the reigns of King Uzziah of Judah and King Jeroboam II of Israel (see Kings of Israel and Judah), around the same time as the prophets Isaiah and Hosea.
Under Jeroboam II the kingdom of Israel reached its peak of power and wealth, but as has always been the case with great nations and empires through human history (see also Daniel's Statue), all of whom eventually were either conquered by foreign invaders (e.g. Nazi Germany during the Second World War), or collapsed into chaos from within (e.g. the Soviet Union, a former world "superpower"), their human-centered arrogant pride and self-perceived greatness that ignored the God that made it all possible, made them a very violent, idolatrous and immoral society, to which God said, "I abhor the pride of Jacob, and hate his strongholds; and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it." (Amos 6:8 RSV)
Amos was sent by God to warn them to repent before it was too late. They didn't listen.
The Book of Amos consists of three parts:
Fact Finder: What was the purpose of God's prophets?