Amos was contemporary with Isaiah. His main message was that those who abuse their power make their sacrifices unacceptable to God.
Amos was the first classical prophet in the sense that he was independent of schools of prophets and the court. He pronounced against abuse of wealth and power and its effect on the acceptability of sacrifices. This shows that he was speaking before conditions in Israel became so bad that wealth and sacrifices were mere memories. He made the curious claim to be "not a prophet nor the son of a prophet" distancing himself from the schools and their hereditary roles, though the way he is mentioned to the king as a conspiratorial nuisance (Amos 7:10) implies that he was well known and not alone, suggesting that he may have been an "official" prophet who resigned and went independent. His prophecies became increasingly grim. In Amos 7:2 he was able to change God's mind by asking forgiveness; in Amos 7:5 he had to plead for Israel to be spared; but then God made it clear he would punish regardless. There are some passages offering light relief from the "doom and gloom" but some scholars consider these later additions.
The text of Amos follows on from the end of Joel, in that Joel 3:16 leads into Amos 1:2, and also Amos 9:11 leads into Obadiah 1:1–12.[1 p.38]
© David Billin 2002–2021