The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah…
This was the earliest of four prophets, who all appeared during the time when Assyria was the .greatest world power, the other three being Hosea, Micah, and Isaiah. It was probably during the latter half of Jeroboam's reign that the prophet Amos appeared. It was the age of Israel's greatest splendour; but prosperity, as is so often the case, brought the saddest evils in its train. Although the Book of Kings passes quickly over the reign of Jeroboam, and gives the briefest details, yet the pages of Amos and Hosea abound with descriptions of the fearful evils which had crept in along with the renewed prosperity of the nation. The simplicity which had once characterised the national life had completely gone. In defiance of the Mosaic law, a class of nobles had arisen, who possessed large estates, into which they swept the smaller holdings, and "misused their power to oppress the masses, who had sunk into a condition of poverty, and in some cases even actual slavery." Notwithstanding the terrible social evils, a show of worship was kept up. The people sedulously attended the sanctuaries, and brought in abundance their sacrifices and burnt-offerings. It would have seemed most unlikely that the luxurious Israelite nobles and this humble man, Amos, would ever have anything to do with each other. Yet this was the man whose voice was to ring throughout the nation in unsparing condemnation of its many vices. Amos may be pictured as a lonely man, whose spirit was deeply stirred within him by the blow-ledge of the sins which were being committed by the people: a man with a heart completely given to God, his whole being consecrated to Jehovah's service. In the silence of his native fields Amos was spoken to by Jehovah, and received the commission to be His prophet. He responded to the call. Like so many others, he forsook all to obey the Divine summons. He journeyed into the territory of Israel, and made Bethel, Samaria, and other places his headquarters. The average observer would have seen in the northern kingdom a nation at the zenith of its prosperity, and would not have thought of its fall. But the keen eye of the prophet pierced through the glittering cover which wealth had thrown over the foulest corruption... There are two truths of vast importance on which Amos especially insists. He "starts from the thought of the universal sovereignty of God." That is the one truth. The other is the need for righteousness. If the words which, more than any others, describe the nature of his prophecies had to be given, we could find none more appropriate than these: "Let judgment roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty (or overflowing) stream" (Amos 7:7-17). The prophet taught persistently that God is ever closely watching the doings of nations and of men, and that He will reward or punish them in accordance with the eternal law of righteousness. The great lesson he has emphasised is, that every sinful nation, no matter how great and prosperous it may seem, will assuredly perish; that the real strength of a people consists in righteousness.
Parallel VersesKJV: The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
WEB: The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.