As Amos continued his message from God, he pronounced a woe upon those who were “at ease in Zion, And trust in Mount Samaria.” They considered themselves to be invincible to other kingdoms. He further stated a woe against those who were living in vast luxury and ignoring the warnings of impeding destruction. They would be afflicted completely from Hamath in the north to the Valley of the Arabah in the south.
Amos was a native of Judah—a sheep breeder and tender of sycamore fruit by occupation. Tending sycamore fruit was a job for the poor. None of his ancestors had been prophets. It was probably during his call from God that he had been confronted with a series of visions. In the first two, he saw a swarm of locusts devouring Israel’s late crop and later a great consuming fire from God. He was successful in persuading God to relent from the destruction that he had seen in those visions. However, the third vision was more serious in which Israel had failed the test of God’s plumb line. The message from that third vision was the impending destruction about which Amos was warning Israel.
Many times it is tempting to “shoot the messenger.” The messenger, Amos was confronted by Amaziah, the idolatrous priest of Bethel. Bethel was one of the chief places of worship that Jeroboam had set up at the beginning of the division of Israel and Judah.
The message was too harsh for the priest. “Go, you seer! Flee to the land of Judah…never again prophesy at Bethel…it is the royal residence.”
Amos reminded Amaziah that the Lord had called him to prophesy and that the message was from the Lord. He concluded by stating the fate of the priest’s own family and that “Israel shall surely be led away captive From his own land.”