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Amos was a farmer from Tekoa in Judah. He was a shepherd, herdsman, and a "dresser of sycamore trees". He prophesied during the time of Uzziah, king of Judah, and Jeroboam II, king of Israel - about 800 BC. Israel were relatively prosperous but luxury and idolatry had turned the people away from God and they were being threatened by Assyrian and Babylonian invasions.

Amos predicted God's judgements on the nations of Syria, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab. But he also foretold of God's judgements on His own people, first on Israel and then on Judah.

Israel and Judah had to bear greater blame for their wickedness because they had received so many privileges from God (3:2). Violence, oppression of the poor, false worship, and idolatry were the main causes of God's anger towards His people.

God had given them many warnings and lesser punishments to give them a chance to change their ways. Now the complete overthrow of Israel is foretold in chapters 5 and 6.

Amos saw 4 visions about the coming troubles on Israel:

- Locusts (7:1-3). These were a symbol of invasion, as in Joel's prophecy.

- Fire (7:4-6). This showed that the punishment would be severe and complete.

- Plumbline (7:7-9). This showed that by God's standards Israel were far from upright or correct.

- A Basket of Summer Fruit (8:1-3). the fruit was ripe - and the time for Israel's judgement was also ripe!

But something worse than a famine of bread was to come on Isarel. Israel had ignored God's Word. Soon they would no longer be able to turn to God when in trouble. There would be "a famine of hearing the words of the Lord" (8:11).


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