The Northern Tribes of Israel, whose capital was Damascus in Samaria, had become totally involved with false religion and idolatry. Her kings grew increasingly wicked to the point of blaspheming the Holy name of God. Continuously we read that the reigning king “did evil in the sight of the LORD.” They refused to accept or listen to God’s watchmen the prophets, but would rather believe the false prophecies and teachings of the false prophets that had risen up.
The people had become extremely wealthy and believed that their property was a blessing from God, but it was in fact a curse that drove them further away from God and His word. While so many lived in great luxury they paid no attention to those who were less fortunate amongst them. Instead of assisting the poor they dispossessed them of the little they owned. For such injustice they could not go unpunished.
The pagan shrines in Bethal and Gilgal were filled with the rich and wealthy. The priests and the prophets (some of whom had converted to heathen religions) also benefited from the huge donations. They were not therefore inclined to say or do anything that would remove this from them. The religious leaders loved their positions too much to voice any negative opinion about the monarchy or the nation. When AMOS came with a message of doom they expelled him from the country as quickly as possible.
Regardless of how much they opposed God and His word, no matter how often they tried to shut out His voice, His judgements would come upon them as promised. Their own wickedness was eating the heart out of the nation while they believed that positive confession, and health and wealth would bring them victory and even more prosperity.
When it was obvious that they would indeed fall into the enemies hand, instead of turning to God they tried to buy protection from Assyria. Hose stood up and warned them of the uselessness of this. When Assyria’s friendship turned sour King Hoshea counted upon help from Egypt. Once again there was no thought about turning to the Lord. They sought after graven images before they would turn to God in prayer.
The century before Israel’s captivity was one of sin, idolatry, injustice, rejection of God and His prophets, prosperity, assassinations, and moral and spiritual decay. The word of the one true God was not acceptable in a multi-faith community.