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What are the two categories of the books of the prophets?
- Major Prophets
- Minor Prophets
What are the books of the Major Prophets (4, plus 2 'extras')?
What are the books of the Minor Prophets (12 books)?
Why are the books of the Major Prophets called "major"?
- They are the longest books of the prophets.
- They concern famous prophets by vocation.
Why are the books of the Minor Prophets called "minor"?
They are shorter than the books of the Major Prophets.
What is the Hebrew word for "prophet"?
What does navi or "prophet" mean?
- one who has been called
- one who proclaims
Where does the English word "prophet" come from?
It comes from the Greek word prophetes, meaning "one who speaks for" another, or "an interpreter" of the will of God.
What are the roles of the prophets? In other words, who are the prophets to the Israelites?
- God's spokesmen
- the conscience of Israel
- the spiritual guides of their people
What is the simple message of the prophets?
Keep up your end of the covenant, and God will keep up his end of the covenant.
What kingdom did Amos and Hosea come from?
Northern Kingdom (Israel)
What kingdom did Isaiah and Micah come from?
Southern Kingdom (Judah)
What are the three periods of Israelite prophecy?
- Early Prophecy
- Classical Prophecy
- Post-Exilic Prophecy
Describe the period of Early Prophecy
- Moses is called a "prophet," but he is more like the pattern and model of all prophets.
- Samuel is typically seen as the last judge and the first prophet, who inaugurates the time of the prophets.
- When Samuel anoints Saul as king, a tension begins that will continue until the fall of Jerusalem: the struggle between prophet and king.
- Elijah is the prototypical prophet of the time of the kingdoms.
When does the period of "Classical Prophecy" begin?
It begins with the appearance of Amos.
What is the characteristic of classical prophecy that sets it apart from all other prophecy, both of Israel and its neighbors?
its fearless revelation of the moral will of the Lord, the God of Israel's covenant
When does the period of Post-Exilic Prophecy begin?
It begins during the Babylonian exile with Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Second Isaiah.
Who are the prophets in the period of Post-Exilic Prophecy?
- the third Isaiah
- sections of Zechariah
What happens after the period of Post-Exilic Prophecy?
Prophecy disappears, but its tradition continues in wisdom literature from about 200 BC.
How long does the period of Classical Prophecy last?
750 BC (Amos and Micah) to ca. 450 BC (Ezekiel and Obadiah)
When did the high tide of prophecy come?
in the middle decades of the 8th Century BC (700s)
What was the external crisis of both the Northern and Southern Kingdom between 900 and 600 BC?
- Both kingdoms came under heavy pressure from the Assyrian empire, the one great superpower between 900 and 600 BC.
- Assyria aggresively expanded its power under the kingship of Tiglath-pileser III (745-728).
What was the internal crisis of both the Northern and Southern Kingdom between 900 and 600 BC?
- The death of two great kings: Jeroboam II in the North (786-c.750) and Uzziah/Azariah in the South (783-742).
- Pro- and anti-Assyrian parties struggled for control of the kingdoms.
- Injustice abounded, including the expropriation (dispossession) of patrimonial domain by the state, indentured service, and military conscription (compulsory enrollment).
What was the relationship between the Law and the Prophets following the Exile?
The written word of the Law came to outweigh the spoken word of the prophet, so prophecy fell into disuse and even disrepute.
Characteristics of the prophets and their message
- The prophets spoke for the Lord and said rather little about themselves.
- Prophets often took up the cause of the marginal and dispossessed members of society. They often offended the influential and powerful.
- The prophet's proclamation of the "word of God" was sometimes dramatic and extraordinary. The prophets were masters of symbolic action.
What do the books of the prophets contain?
- These books contain the words of the prophets to which they are attributed, but also other materials that are about or in the tradition of the prophet.
- Later generations occasionally added new applications and comments.
How are the prophets foundational in the development of both Judaism and Christianity?
- Jews see the prophets as emphasizing the covenant and Torah as the basis for the life of individual and of the religious community. They defined the prophetic role as that of preaching and passing on the posterity the original Mosaic revelation.
- Christians understand the primary role of the OT prophets as predicting the new reality in Christ and the Church. Prophetic foreshadowing serves to bind together past and future in one uninterrupted history of salvation.
What was Amos' initial occupation?
a simple shepherd and "dresser of sycamore trees"
When was Amos active as a prophet?
Where was Amos born and raised?
in the Southern kingdom of Judah
Where did God send Amos to prophesize?
to the Northern kingdom of Israel, specifically to Bethel
Who was the king of Israel when Amos was sent there?
Jeroboam II (786-750)
What did Amos preach?
Amos preached divine judgment against those in mighty places, including priests and kings.
Who was Amaziah and what did he do to Amos?
He was the priest at Bethel who ousted Amos from the Northern kingdom and sent him back home to the kingdom of Judah.
What does Amos do in the opening section of his book?
- He prophesies against six nations, enemies of Israel.
- He prophesies agaisnt Judah, the enemy of Israel to the South.
- He prophesies against Israel
What is another name of Israel used by Amos?
At that time, whom did the Israelites commit their crimes against?
their fellos Israelites
What were the crimes of the Israelites Amos prophesies against?
- oppression of the poor--including selling the poor into slavery when they cannot pay their debts
- unrestrained profanation of religion--cult prostitution of Canaanite Baal worship
- abuse of religion
How did the Israelites understand "the day of the Lord" before Amos entered the scene?
They understood it as the day when the Lord would fight for them and deliver or redeem them.
What does Amos proclaim the day of the Lord is to the Israelites?
It is to be a day fo darkness, not light.
What marks a shift toward apocalypticism?
Amos' preaching of "the day of the Lord" as a day of darkness, not light.
What is an "apocalypse"?
An apocalypse is a "revelation," usually pertaining to a crisis, that "reveals" truths about the past, present, and/or future in highly symbolic terms.
Which books of the Bible are to be considered apocalyptic literature and what do they write of?
Daniel and Revelation. They write of catastrophic, disastrous, or world-ending events.
What does the Biblical apocalyptic literature reflect?
It reflects hope in the intervention of God in history.
What did the book of Amos end with?
It ends with a glimmer of Messianic hope and the restoration of Israel.
Where was Hosea born and raised?
in the Northern Kingdom
Where was Hosea called to be prophet?
in the Northern Kingdom; he was the only purely northern prophet
When was Hosea active as a prophet?
He was active during the final years before the Kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians.
What is the dating of Hosea's activity as a prophet?
How does Hosea compare to Amos, age-wise?
Hosea is a younger contemporary of Amos.
What was the state of Israel's foreign relations during the time of Hosea (745-722)?
- This was a desperate time when the Israelites were vainly struggling to preserve their security and integrity as a nation against the Assyrians, either through war or through appeasement with heavy tribute.
- The Israelites are seeking theri security and pleasure from pagan nations and their gods. These are the lovers that the Israelites are pursuing, thereby forsaking the Lord.
What were the internal struggles of the Israelites during the time of Hosea (745-722 BC)?
- Politically, the Northern Kingdom is also suffering from interior instability, as assassinations and coups caused a rapid succession of 6 kings in the final 20 years of the Northern Kingdom.
- Religiously, Baal worship, introduced officially by Ahab's queen Jezebel, was still rampant.
What did the actual worship of Baal include?
It included imitative magic whereby sexual acts by both amle and female temple prostitutes were understood to arouse Baal, who then brough rain to make Mother Earth fertile--represented by a female consort, Asherah or Astarte.
How did the Canaanites guarantee the fertility of the land?
It was guaranteed by a marriage between the land and the divinity, Baal.
How did the marriage between the land and the divinity, Baal, occur?
This marriage was reproduced symbolically in cult prostitution at the shrine of the fertility god.
What was one of the gravest sins of the Israelites?
They adopted the practice of Canaanite fertility rituals in order to guarantee abundant harvests.
How was the Israelites' relationship with the Lord when they adopted Canaanite fertility rituals?
They did not completely abandon the Lord, but they combined the worship of Baal with their worship of the Lord. They engaged in syncretism.
What is Syncretism?
a combination of opposing religious beliefs or practices into a new conglomerate whole typically marked by internal inconsistencies
From Hosea's perspective, who were the Israelites' illicit lovers?
Why were the Baals considered the Israelites' illicit lovers?
Because by serving the Baals, often with sexually illicit practices, Israel breaks its marriage covenant with the Lord and commits adultery and prostitution.
What is the general view of Hosea's message?
It is filled with compassion for the people, but also with suffering and disappointment.
What are Hosea's condemnation against Israel?
- He condemns the empty pomp (vain display) of Israel's purely external worship.
- He condemns the pride of the people in its wealth and power.
When condemning Israel's purely external worship, what does Hosea really condemn?
Hosea does not condemn the sacrificial system itself, but the hypocrisy and aberrations in the cult that tended toward identifying the Lord with pagan fertility gods.
What is the real test of the sincerity of one's worship according to Hosea?
The real test is whether or not one follows the moral law given by the Lord.
Why was Hosea convinced that judgment had come upon the kingdom?
because its lack of attention to the covenant
What did Hosea look forward to in his prophecy?
He looked forward to a Messianic Age, where there would be a new covenant in righteousness.
What makes Hosea so unique among the prophets?
He was told by God to marry a prostitute. Thus, he married a prostitute named Gomer.
What does the marriage between Hosea and Gomer, the prostitute, illustrate?
It illustrates God's relationship with the nation of Israel. Just as Gomer proved to be an unfaithful wife, so too did Israel prove to be an unfaithful people.
What was Gomer's occupation?
She was a prostitute, although we can't be sure whether she was a cult prostitute or a commercial prostitute.
To an Israelite, is reconciling with an adulteress more agreeable than marryign one in the first place?
NO. Reconciliation with an adulteress is just as abominable as marrying one in the first place.
What was the prescribed punishment for adultery?
What does Hosea's marriage contribute to his knowledge in theology?
Through his marriage, Hosea witnesses the development of both a theology of marriage and a theology of the relationship between the people Israel and God.
What is the kingdom of God being likened to?
The kingdom of God is being likened to a wedding, wherein the Church is the Bride and God/Christ is the Groom.
What are the names of the children of Hosea?
- Lo-Ruhamah (Not-pitied, Not-loved)
- Lo-Ammi (Not-my-people)
Since Hosea's wife, Gomer, was a prostitute, these children may not even be Hosea's.
What does the name Jezreel symbolize?
It symbolizes the downfall of Jehu's dynasty because of the bloody deeds committed at Jezreel, where Jehu coordinated the extermination of all Ahab's family.
What does the name Lo-Ruhamah mean and symbolize?
It means "not-pitied" or "not-loved". It symbolizes the reversal of God's attitude toward Israel because His mercy has been spurned and trust in his deliverance replaced by confidence in arms and allainces.
What does the name Lo-Ammi mean and symbolize?
It means "not-my-people". It symbolizes the broken covenant between God and his people Israel because Israel had rejected God.
Why does God tell Hosea to take Gomer back as his wife, despite her persistent harlotry?
because God will also fetch his people back and erase the names of the Baals from their memory