John J. Collins
Amos is the earliest of the prophets who have books in their names. In fact, his oracles were transmitted orally and were only collected in book form much later. The opening verse mentions the kings Uzziah of Judah and Jeroboam II of Israel, who are the earliest kings mentioned in Hosea 1, 1 . The later kings listed in connection with Hosea are not mentioned in Amos. The historical background of the two prophets is very much the same. The dominant factor is the threat of destruction by Assyria. Nonetheless, the problems on which the two prophets focus are quite different. Hosea paid great attention to idolatry and cultic behavior, which symbolized the deeper problems of the society. Amos also comments on the cult but scarcely hints that idolatry is a problem. Instead he speaks directly to the issue of social justice, with a vigor unparalleled anywhere in the Bible.