For one thing, the very type of the prophet . . . in this case--one who is called out from ordinary vocation (sheepherder/tree tender). . . versus the "professional prophets" who were all about, pandering and earning their money from "professional" propheteering/profiteering. . . .
We have many such "professional" "prophets" today. . . .
Israel was powerful, prosperous and smug (approx. 786–746 BC) . . . materially and spiritually. The elite were oppressing the poor, living in luxury, becoming soft, indulgent . . . while "the people" suffered under increasing burden to support the powerful in their opulent lifestyles. . . . Sound familiar?
As is so typical . . . the chief religious leaders denounced the prophet. They--and the people who they held in thrall--did not want to hear the dire warnings, the "doom and gloom", the "paranoia" from Amos. They wanted to keep on in their revelries, their religious festivals, their entertainment and indulgences in the "good life." Amos was "sent home packing", so-to-speak . . . or so it would appear.
Amos returned south to the Jerusalem area . . . where his oracles were the first of the prophets' to be written down . . . and, as the wider targeted population would not hear him, he shared his words with a relatively small group of friends and followers.
Amos is the great "social justice" prophet pointing out the debauched, materialistic, vain, elitist sins of the ruling class.
1"Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria,
you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy
and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!”
2 The Sovereign Lord has sworn by his holiness:
“The time will surely come
when you will be taken away with hooks,
the last of you with fishhooks.
3 You will each go straight out
through breaches in the wall,"
and you will be cast out toward Harmon,"
declares the Lord.
Injustice, sexual perversion and rampant lust abounds. . . .
7 " They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed. Father and son use the same girl and so profane my holy name."
No, God is not "cruel" . . . but He is severe and deals harshly with sin. His mercy is so great and striking BECAUSE of His severity. If He were the "all benevolent" . . . "it's all good" . . . post-modern "free love" hippy-Jesus that so many imagine Him to be . . . His mercy would have little to no meaning. But it is because He HATES sin . . . and even "HATES . . . a proud look, a lying tongue . . . the hands that shed innocent blood" that His mercy toward sinners is shown to be so meaningful and profound.
"God hath upon him terrible majesty." --Job
I believe we are in for it just like Judea in the time of Amos. Soon. How many cities will be hit? Five? I wrote about what I expected prior to the present regime. A string of "hits", riots, martial law and the swing to the so-called "hard right". . . . I suspect it is just over the horizon. The good will be called evil--blamed. A theatrical setup to top even the WTC event. . . .