Nipping fig trees hasten the ripening and improve the size and sweetness of the fruit that the poor can afford. With the nature of his work, he became aware of the political, social and religious conditions of the society surrounding him.
Amos is considered to be one of the so-called 12 Minor Prophets and his book, Amos, is third among the 12. His mission is to prophesy to the northern kingdom of Israel in the days of King Uzziah of Judah (792-740 B.C.E.), while Jeroboam II the son of Joash, was king of Israel, two years before the great earthquake occurred (Amos 1:1). Amos carried messages loaded with affliction to Israel (Amos 2:6-16) and Judah (Amos 2:4-5). Many of Israel's neighbors would also suffer, such as Damascus (Amos 1:3-5), Gaza (Amos 1:6-8), Tyre (Amos 1:9-10), Edom (Amos 1:11-12), Ammon(Amos 1:13-15), and Moab (Amos 2:1-3).
God had originally favored the Israelites. He even made a covenant with them. He was especially saddened with Israel that he needed send a prophet to prophesy their impending doom. There was every reason for pronouncing misery in Israel. Prosperity, lavish living, and extravagance were the order of the day. There was a decline in moral standards. Their celebrated peace and prosperity blinded them of the sacred things. They were likened to an overripe fruit that is in the process of decay leading to destruction. Furthermore, they were performing rites that were not commanded of them to do. These are ceremonies with pagan origins. Some turned to some local gods such as Baal in seeking for blessing and fertility, an act that is extremely detestable to their God. They have totally forgotten the Law of Yahweh.
The Political Condition
Politically, the kingdom was secure. Samaria, its capital and primary center of urban power, was considered unconquerable. About the time of Amos prophesying act, the Northern Kingdom of Israel had been triumphant out of war, and had reached its peak of wealth and power, with overflowing luxury and excess. It enjoyed remarkable cultural, social and economic revival. It reached the culmination of prosperity made distinct by artistic and commercial development. The Kingdom enjoyed a substantial period of peace and security under the leadership of King Jeroboam II. During this reign, Israel reached the largest geographical size.
The king has restored Israel's traditional borders, ending almost a century of sporadic seesaw conflict between Israel itself and Damascus. Soon after Israel had triumphed, she began to gloat over her newfound power. Because she was relieved of foreign pressures-relief that had come in accordance with encouraging words from the prophets Elisha and Jonah-she felt jealously complacent about her favored status with God. The hopes and expectations of the people were lifted to the highest heights. They looked forward with great anticipation to even greater success and declared a great "Day of the Lord" when God Himself would take the battlefield against their enemies. And the king kept conquering nations even extending its territory into modern day Syria. He took advantage of the Syria's weakness after a recent defeat from the Assyrians. Assyria is the major threat to Israel's power. However, the Assyrians had withdrawn itself temporarily due to internal strife. There was an inside rebellion that they needed to manage. This allows Israel to flourish