Amos was the first prophet in the Bible whose message was recorded at length. Although he came from a town in Judah, he preached to the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, about the middle of the eighth century b.c. It was a time of great prosperity, notable religious piety, and apparent security. But Amos saw that prosperity was limited to the wealthy, and that it fed on injustice and on oppression of the poor. Religious observance was insincere, and security more apparent than real. With passion and courage he preached that God would punish the nation. He called for justice to “flow like a stream,” and said, “Perhaps the Lord will be merciful to the people of this nation who are still left alive” (5.15).
Outline of Contents
Judgment on Israel's neighbors (1.1—2.5)
Judgment on Israel (2.6—6.14)
Five visions (7.1—9.15)
During an era of prosperity, Amos, a humble sheep farmer from Judah, preached judgment against the rich leaders of Israel's northern kingdom. Amos urged them to consider the poor and oppressed rather than their own self-satisfaction.