Many of the greatest Bible lessons from the Old Testament came to us from a quartet of prophets from the northern half of the holy land. Amos thundered at us. Hosea pleaded with us. Elijah and Elisha dramatized God’s greatness.
To reap the full benefit of their words we need a clear view of the stage they moved on. They prophesied in the northern kingdom of Israel, which had a life separate from the kingdom of Judah from 930 to 722 B.C.
In 930 B.C. at the death of Solomon, his son Rehoboam foolishly increased the taxes on the ten of the twelve tribes that had settled in the north. With that, those ten tribes broke away, choosing their own king, calling themselves the Kingdom of Israel.
Having separated themselves from Jerusalem’s temple and from the temple worship so central to their religious life, they repeatedly let themselves be seduced by priests of insidious religions. And that had God sending them Amos and Hosea, Elijah and Elisha, to plead with them to return to him.