On Amos, Hosea, First Isaiah and Micah;
But these four prophets assume always that men have consciences and that they have the power to choose their path. If they are beyond the reach of messages of sweetness and light, then violent, indeed terrifying, threats and warnings must be used to crack their dreadful complacency.
These men were not in the least concerned to make their messages ‘acceptable’. They were not out to placate the people in power or to conciliate the clever; their whole purpose was to speak ‘the word of the Lord’. Such voices of integrity, despite all the obscurities and difficulties of the text, still sound like a trumpet down the centuries.
It seems to me (and Heaven knows any honest man can observe this in his own spirit) that human beings are forever trying to evade moral responsibility, while God is eternally trying to make them accept it, and thus grow up into being his sons. Because of this human tendency the world of the Bible is bound to be an uncomfortable world. For here God, not man, is master. Here God speaks and man, if he is wise, will listen.
Phillips, J.B., Four Prophets; A Modern Translation from the Hebrew, London: Geoffrey Bles, 1963, xix.