Amos was a Judean who believed he was commissioned by Yahweh to address his words to Israel, However Hosea was a native Israelite. With these two men was the custom of recording oracles which appear to have begun, for if the words of their prophetic predecessors were preserved in a written form, then they would have long since been lost to us all. Within a few years, prophets sharing similar concerns with Amos and Hosea began to be active in Judah and their words too, were preserved. II Kings 15 and Amos 1-9
Amos stood in judgment of moral and ethical evil but, unlike them, he did not limit himself to single issues or to individual situations, but dealt with the decline of Yahwism and human behavior in all levels of society. Cities he mentions), patterns of cause and effect (3:3 ff.), and Israelite cult practices. His vivid imagery, drawn from nature, suggests an intelligent observer capable of relating his insights and experiences in powerful terminology. Perhaps the very simplicity of his life caused him to be shocked at the extravagances of the rich and the terrible poverty and helplessness of those who were the prey of the powerful.
The luxury of summer and winter palaces as opposed to the hovels of the poor, the greedy demand of the very rich contrasted with the cry for justice and equity of the underprivileged drove him to harsh pronouncements against powerful, smug, content men and women, priests and king. The thrust of Amos’ condemnation is against the division of life into compartments.
He argues for unity. What a man does in the market place, in the Court of law or, in his dealings with others cannot be walled off from worship. Yahweh is a God of all people; therefore the dealings of man with man are directly related to the dealings of God with man. His is a cry for the recognition of man’s moral responsibility before God. “But let justice roll down like waters
and righteousness like an Overflowing stream.” Amos 5:24
AMOS’ RELIGIOUS CONCEPTS
Amos’ beliefs concerning Yahweh and divine-human relationships were similar. Yahweh the creator, the “God of hosts” Amos never speaks of Yahweh as “God of Israel”), or possessed power over nature and nations. Despite the unrealistic emphasis, Yahweh’s particular concern was Israel, the chosen or elected people, Amos emphasized Yahweh’s action in history in bringing the Hebrews to nationhood and greatness, and pointed out that the continuance of power and security rested in Yahweh.