Amos, one of the earliest of the Hebrew prophets, flourished during the reign of Uzziah, about 790 B.C., and was consequently a contemporary of Hosea and Joel. In his youth he lived at Tekoa, about six miles south of Bethlehem, in Judaea, and was a herdsman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit (Amos i, i; vii, 14). This occupation he gave up for that of prophet (vii, 15), and he came forward to denounce the idolatry then prevalent in Judah, Israel, and the surrounding kingdoms.
The first six chapters of his book contain his denunciations of idolatry; the other three, his symbolical vision of the overthrow of the people of Israel, and a promise of their restoration. The style is remarkable for clearness and strength, and for its picturesque use of images drawn from the rural and pastoral life which the prophet had led in his youth.