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THE PROPHETS (NEVI

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Title: THE PROPHETS (NEVI


1
THE PROPHETS (NEVIIM) II
  • Individual Spokespersons for God (Chapter 6 or 7)

2
See Textbook, pp. 190-229/165-206.
3
  • The Latter Prophets
  • Anthologies of oracles (oral pronouncements
    believed to be divinely inspired)
  • compiled in the name of 15 different prophets
  • span a period of more than 300 years from
    around the mid-eighth to the late fifth centuries
    BCE
  • the prophets reveal Gods will, especially when
    Assyria and Babylon threatened to destroy the
    communities of Israel and Judah

4
  • The Latter Prophets
  • The messages of the prophets typically involve
  • 1) warnings that foreign invasions and plagues
    are Gods punishment for covenant-breaking and
    social injustice
  • 2) appeals to avoid national catastrophes by
    returning to God
  • 3) visions of a distant future in which God
    reigns supreme from a restored Jerusalem.

5
  • The Latter Prophets
  • The prophets, whose oracles received canonical
    status, continued to be active for several
    generations after the return from Exile in
    Babylon in 539 BC
  • moreover, editorial additions and revisions of
    almost all the prophetic books continued well
    into the last centuries BC.

6
  • The Latter Prophets
  • The Three Major Prophets
  • - Isaiah
  • - Jeremiah
  • - Ezekiel
  • The Twelve
  • Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum
    Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi.

7
  • The Prophets (Neviim) felt Yahweh's presence
    and communicated it through oracles,
    pronouncements, revealing the divine will or
    purpose
  • Some early prophets were Moses, Samuel, Nathan,
    Elijah, and Elisha
  • Some were associated with shrines like Shiloh or
    Bethel (see Figure 3.12, p. 59/3.13, p. 53 in
    Textbook)
  • Most clustered at royal courts where they
    offered counsel or criticism to kings such as
    David, Solomon, etc.

8
The World of Elijah and Elisha.
9
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10
  • Hebrew prophecy flourished from the 10th to the
    6th centuries B.C.
  • It almost disappeared shortly after the end of
    the Babylonian Exile (ca. 5th century B.C.E.).

11
  • In Hebrew the word for Prophet is Navi while
    the plural is Neviim
  • One who is called
  • One who announces
  • Its Greek equivalent in prophetes
  • A person speaking for God, that is, one chosen
    to proclaim Gods message
  • it includes both men and women (e.g., Huldah and
    Deborah).
  • The Navi is said to be Israel's means of
    ascertaining the divine will
  • It is Yahweh who sends Israel the Neviim whose
    messages have the force of divine commands.

12
  • The Neviim were not primarily fortune-tellers
    or prognosticators of future history
  • Their function was to perceive and then announce
    Yahweh's will in an immediate circumstance
  • Their message had to be announced in terms that
    were comprehensible or at least relevant to their
    original audience
  • The Neviim endeavour to illuminate Yahweh's
    intentions in the present
  • They attempted to bring the people back into
    harmony with the Mosaic Law/Yahwehs will
  • However, little mention of the Mosaic Law and
    hardly any mention of Moses.

13
  • The Three Major Prophets
  • Isaiah
  • Jeremiah and
  • Ezekiel.
  • Ranking probably derives as much from the length
    of the book as from their theological influence.

14
  • The Twelve Minor Prophets
  • Hosea through Malachi
  • they are Minor only in length, not in religious
    significance
  • Amos is the earliest (8th Century B.C.)
  • Jonah (Late 6th or Early 5th Century B.C.)
  • The Twelve present a 300-year continuum of
    Yahwehs Oracles to Israel.

15
  • The Prophets appeared in response to political
    or ethical crises that troubled their people
  • The final editors of the Hebrew Bible placed
    these collections immediately after the
    Deuteronomistic History because they illustrate
    the reasons why Yahweh rejected his people
  • The prophets bear witness to Israel's failure to
    heed Yahweh's warnings sent through his chosen
    messengers.

16
Most of the Latter Prophets belong to one of
three critical periods 1. The Assyrian Crisis
(Amos and Hosea in the north and Isaiah and Micah
in the south) 2. The Babylonian Crisis
(Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Jeremiah) and
3. The Post-Exilic Adjustment (e.g., Obadiah,
Ezekiel, Second Isaiah, Haggai, Zechariah). (See
Table 3.1 Some Major Events ., pp.
42-44/40-42 in Textbook.)
17
Order of the Prophets appearances The Eighth
Century the Assyrian Crisis Amos, Hosea (in the
north) and First Isaiah and Micah (in the
south) The Seventh Century the decline of
Assyria and the rise of Babylon Zephaniah,
Nahum, and Habakkuk
18
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19
The Sixth Century the Babylonian Exile and the
Partial Restoration of Judah Jeremiah, Obadiah,
Ezekiel, Second Isaiah, Haggai, Zechariah. The
Late Sixth or Fifth Century The Post-Exilic
Adjustment Third Isaiah, Joel, Malachi, and
Jonah.
20
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21
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22
  • Amos
  • (the earliest of the written prophets 8th
    Century B.C.)
  • Outline of the Book
  • Oracles condemning Israel's neighbours
    (1.2-2.3)
  • Amos threatens the Northern Kingdom with
    destruction (2.4-16)
  • Three warnings of judgment (Chs. 3-6)
  • Five visions of disaster (Chs. 7-9)
  • Epilogue, promising restoration and peace
    (9.9-15) - an addition.

23
  • Amos
  • The person
  • First Prophet to have his words recorded in book
    form
  • Active about 750 B.C.E.
  • An older contemporary of Hosea and Isaiah of
    Jerusalem
  • A native of Tekoa in Judah (1.1)
  • However, active in the north rather than in his
    own area
  • A shepherd/herdsman and dresser of sycamore
    trees (7.14)
  • Not a professional prophet (Amos 7.14-15).

24
Tekoa in Judah the village of Amos the prophet.
25
Sycamore tree
26
Sycamore tree
27
  • Amos
  • His message Yahweh demands economic justice
  • Oracles of doom
  • Against Israel's various neighbors (1.2-2.16)
  • Against Israel (2.5-16)
  • A higher standard demanded of Israel (3.1-2)
  • Israel exploited the poor (2.7 4.1 5.11)
  • Israel was indifferent to human rights
  • Social justice is vital to religion (5.7, 15,
    21-27).

28
  • Amos
  • He reminds Israel that Yahweh causes everything
    that happens
  • he predicts the destruction of Bethels popular
    sanctuary and the ruin of magnificent palaces
    (5.5 1.3-2.3)
  • no fruit of the harvest to those who cheat the
    poor and the defenseless (5.11)
  • More is needed than ceremonial religion
  • Ethical behaviour is more important than ritual
    observances (5.21-27).

29
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30
  • Amos
  • Visions of Judgment (5 visions 7.1-3 7.4-6
    7.7-9 8.1-3 9.1-6)
  • The prophet declared that contrary to popular
    expectations the Day of Yahweh to be a Day of
    Judgment (5.18-20)
  • As a result of his preaching, Amos was expelled
    from the sanctuary of Bethel (7.10-17)
  • He continued his pronouncements of doom (8.1-4)
  • He saw Yahweh as directing the fate of all
    nations, not Israel alone
  • He anticipated Assyrias destruction of the
    Northern Kingdom of Israel (see Isaiah 10.5-11).

31
Amos - Frequent references to exile (3.11 6.7
7.17).
32
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33
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34
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35
  • Amos
  • Epilogue
  • Amos preaching was pessimistic
  • Thus, a later hand added a prediction of
    Israel's future restoration and prosperity
    (9.11-15).
  • Nevertheless, Amos set the tone for many later
    prophets, e.g., Jeremiah.

36
The Book of Hosea Divisions of the
book Chapters 1-3 describe Hoseas
marriage Chapters 4-13 enumerate Israels
crimes and punishments Chapter 14 an epilogue
promising future repentance and reconciliation.
37
  • Hosea
  • Active during the last turbulent years of the
    northern kingdom
  • the only native prophet of the northern kingdom
    whose oracles have been recorded in book form
  • he uses the metaphor of an unhappy marriage to
    illustrate Yahwehs relationship with Israel
  • he compares the people to an unfaithful mate
  • he urges a return to Yahwehs loving embrace
  • this alone can save Israel from disaster.

38
  • Hoseas Marriage
  • Hoseas domestic situation exactly paralleled
    his view of Yahwehs relationship to Israel
  • both he and Yahweh were loving husbands who had
    suffered betrayal by their wives
  • see 1.2 Hosea and Gomer
  • however, Yahweh will not permanently abandon his
    disloyal consort
  • Yahwehs steadfast love will eventually
    reconcile him to his errant people, as Hosea is
    reunited with his faithless wife.

39
  • Hosea
  • Chapter 11 contains one of the Bibles most
    moving expression of divine love
  • Yahwehs love is stronger than divine vengeance
  • 12.9-11 Yahweh waits to effect a
    reconciliation
  • Chapter 14 a final call for Israels return and
    a promise of future happiness.

40
The Book of Isaiah Division of the Book of
Isaiah Chs. 1-39 refer mostly to events of the
8th century, the Assyrian crisis and the fall of
Israel First Isaiah Chs. 40-55 from the
conclusion of the Babylonian exile Second
Isaiah cannot be earlier than the 6th century
reflect the fall of Jerusalem and the deportation
to Babylon Chs. 56-66 from the early Persian
period after the return from Babylonian Exile,
that is, to the period after 538 BCE Third
Isaiah. Thus First, Second, and Third Isaiah.
41
  • The Background of Isaiah
  • Four Pivotal Moments
  • The Syro-Ephraimite War of the mid-730s BCE and
    its aftermath
  • The Assyrain Invasion (721 BCE)
  • The Conquest of Jerusalem (587 BCE) and the Exile
    (587-538 BCE)
  • The Return (538 BCE).

42
  • The Book of Jeremiah
  • The Prophet Jeremiah
  • 627 B.C. as the time of his birth rather than
    the time of the beginning of his preaching?
  • he died sometime after 586 B.C., presumably in
    Egypt

43
  • Jeremiah
  • - Spoke in the last years of the existence of
    Judah
  • the final years of 7th century and first decades
    of the 6th century
  • following the destruction of Jerusalem in
    587/586, Jeremiah was taken protesting into Egypt

44
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45
  • Book of Jeremiah
  • A collection of oracles against Judah and
    Jerusalem
  • these Jeremiah dictated to his aide Baruch
  • from the time of Kings Josiah (640-609 BCE),
    Jehoiakim (609-598/597 BCE), and Zedekiah
    (597-587 BCE).
  • (See Table 6.1, pp. 178-79/Table 5.1, pp. 154-55
    Events and Rulers in the Divided Kingdom.)

46
Some Extra-Biblical Evidence for the Events
Described Above.
47
Sennacherib V (726-722 BCE) Cuneiform
Inscription proclaims victories over
Palestinian states and their Egyptian allies.
48
Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BCE) Babylon at the
time of Judahs Exile.
49
The Cyrus Cylinder Cyrus the Great (ca. 600 or
576-530 BCE) Cyrus the Persian captured Babylon
Second Isaiah views Cyrus as Yahwehs national
deliver (Isa. 45.1-3).
50
See pp. 195-97/172-74 for a recap of the Order
of the Prophets Appearances the Assyrian
Crisis (8th century) the Decline of Assyria and
the Rise of Babylon (7th century) the Babylonian
Exile and the Partial Restoration of Judah (6th
century) and the Postexilic Adjustment (late 6th
or 5th century ). See also Photo Essay, pp.
230-31/ p. 207.
51
Questions 1. List the Latter Prophets (Neviim)
of the Hebrew Bible. 2. Discuss the Prophets of
the Hebrew Bible under the headings (a) what did
they see their function as being? (b) with what
places were they usually associated? (c) in what
periods did they flourish in ancient Israel? and
(d) the manner of their message. 3. What are
the Hebrew and Greek words for prophet? What
do these words mean?
52
4. Why did the final editors of the Hebrew Bible
place the Latter Prophets immediately after the
Deuteronomistic History? 5. What are the three
critical periods to which most of the Latter
Prophets belong? 6. Describe clearly the order
of the Latter Prophets appearances. 7. Discuss
Amos under the headings a) the outline of the
book b) the person c) his message d) what does
Amos see as the consequence of Israel's actions?
e) the relationship between ethical behaviour and
ritual observances f) visions of judgment and
g) the place of the epilogue.
53
  • Describe clearly the main divisions of the Book
    of Isaiah. What main events are necessary to
    understand the historical context in which these
    divisions are located?
  • a) Who was Jeremiah? b) At what period in
    history did he appear? c) What was the essence
    of his oracles? d) By whom were his
    pronouncements put down?
  • Shalom/Salem/Peace!
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