The prophet Amos ministered during the overlapping reigns of Jeroboam II in Israel (793-753) and Uzziah in Judah (792-740). His ministry occurred sometime between 760 and 755 B.C. Amos prophesied at a unique time in the history of the divided kingdom. From approximately 780 to 750, Egypt, Syria, and Assyria did not pose a serious threat to Israel.
During this time, Jeroboam II was able to expand the borders of Israel, and his successes created economic prosperity for many and a sense of security as well. During these years, Israel prospered and a powerful and wealthy upper class emerged who exploited the poor and perverted justice. Although a native of Judah, Amos prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel.
He preached to an affluent society that was deeply involved in false worship and in the mistreatment of the poor. These wealthy and powerful Israelites were confident and secure. Into the midst of this complacent society comes Amos, declaring that Israel has broken God’s covenant. There are a number of very good commentaries on Amos, and the following are five of the best.
1. Douglas Stuart — Hosea-Jonah (Word Biblical Commentary, 1987).
2. Thomas E. McComiskey — The Minor Prophets (2009 ).
3. Shalom M. Paul — Amos (Hermeneia, 1990).
4. David Allan Hubbard — Joel & Amos (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 1989).
5. Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman — Amos (Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries, 1989).
You might not think it possible to write an almost 1000 page commentary on a book of the Bible that generally takes up less than 10 pages. You would be wrong. The introduction to the commentary by itself is 178 pages. This commentary is not for the faint of heart. It is technical and detailed almost beyond belief, but for those doing in-depth study of Amos, it is a must.