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AMOS (ca. 750 B.C.E.).

Third of the Minor Prophets in the Bible; first of the prophets known to have recorded their visions. Amos was a shepherd in the village of Tekoa nestling in the hills of the kingdom of Judah. He came to nearby Bethel, the principal religious center of the northern kingdom of Israel, to sell his sheep and fruits. There, Amos cried out against the injustice and poverty of the masses under Jeroboam II. In pity and sorrow, he predicted the punishment of Israel and its destruction by Assyria. Turning to Samaria, the political center of Israel, he accused the wrongdoers and warned them of the ruin they would bring on their nation. The main idea of Amos was justice for all humanity, not only for his own nation. He was the first to see God as the universal Lord of all the nations, not only of Israel. Israel must live up to a unique standard of righteousness, being the home of God’s chosen people. Amos taught also that God required not sacrifices, but justice, purity, and truth. He dreamed of a future golden age of peace, when “the exiles of my people Israel” will return home, rebuild the wasted cities, replant the vineyards, and never be uprooted again.

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