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The role of the Hebrew prophet
the prophet is one who has been called by Yahweh to declare Yahweh’s counsel and will to people he chooses to address.
The four characteristics of the prophet’s message
Explain (in 1 paragraph) how the prophetic perspective helps us interpret OT prophetic history.
- From the prophet’s perspective, the reality of the future (B) is brought to bear on the immediate realities (A) of his audiences, thus addressing their present behavior.
- By seeing how the Hebrew prophet collapsed the historically far and near into each other in order to bring the weight of the future to bear on the present, we can more accurately interpret the role of these prophecies in Israel’s history and make better applications of them to ourselves.
Recognize Israel’s three covenant obligations regarding the land.
- 1. Take the Land
- 2. Allot the land
- 3. Retain the land
Recognize how the battles of Jericho and Ai both illustrate the statement, “Israel is only as strong as their commitment to the covenant.”
- The battle of Jericho
- • Jericho was a centrally located, walled city. By winning this strategic battle, the land was divided into northern and southern sections and thus easier to defeat.
- • God told Israel to march around this powerful city for six days. On the 7th day, at the sound of the trumpet, the people gave a loud shout and God’s power shattered the thick walls – an amazing victory. God warned Israel to keep away from the devoted things in Jericho; everything was to be destroyed. If not, Israel would be destroyed.
- The battle of Ai
- • Israel suffered a humiliating defeat in the battle of Ai, a much smaller walled city. Joshua asked God, “Why?” “Because Israel has sinned and violated my covenant; people took the devoted things and lied. Therefore, I will fight against you, not for you. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” God told them to consecrate themselves and present themselves before the Lord, by tribe, by clan, by family, by man. God supernaturally revealed the guilty man, Achan. Then Israel destroyed him, his family, his cattle and all his possessions. They experienced corporate responsibility and solidarity. After Israel obeyed by destroying the devoted things, God gave them victory over Ai.
Recognize Israel’s covenant obligation as described in Joshua 24:14.
- Fear the Lord
- Serve the Lord
- Reject all other gods
- What this says about monotheism in the ancient Israel
- Conclusion- God’s promises have materialized due to divine election, divine power, and one faithful human generation.
Recognize, in correct sequence, the five phases of the Cycle of Apostasy repeated throughout Judges.
- 1. Prosperity
- 2. Idolatry
- 3. Oppression
- 4. Repentance
- 5. Deliverance
Recognize the correlation between: a) syncretism and apostasy and b) their consequent religious and moral chaos. And recognize incidents in Judges that illustrate this correlation.
- a)Syncretism is a mixture of true belief with false practices; we are blind to our own syncretism as Christians (e.g., evangelicals statistically have as many divorces, abortions, and other social ills as the general culture). Apostasy is the renunciation of or falling away from faith.
- b) Gideon’s family and town (Jg 6:25-32)
- • God turned fearful, timid Gideon into a mighty man of faith. Gideon’s family had Baal idols. When God told Gideon to tear them down, he did so at night out of fear. The townspeople threatened to stone him. Gideon’s father defended him, saying, “If Baal is really a god, he can defend himself.”
- Abimelech and his brothers (Jg 9)
- • Abimelech, Gideon’s son, set himself up as ruler over the citizens of Shechem and slaughtered his 70 brothers.
- Jephthah’s vow (Jg 11:30-39)
- • Jephthah makes a rash vow to the Lord, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, whatever comes out of my house when I return in triumph, I will sacrifice to you.” When he returned home in victory, his daughter came out to meet him. This incident shows how morally chaotic Israel had become. Even God’s judge made bad judgments.
- Micah’s idolatry (Jg 17:1-13)
- • Micah steals silver from his mother and returns it to her. She gives him a silver idol for his house. Micah made an ephod and some idols and installed one of his sons as his priest. “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” Israel was in moral chaos.
- Tribe of Benjamin and the Levite’s concubine (Jg 19)
- • A Levite traveler stayed overnight in a house in a town in Benjamin. Wicked men demanded he come outside and have sex with them. Instead, he sent his concubine out and the men raped and abused her until she died. The Levite cut his concubine into twelve pieces and sent a piece to each of Israel’s twelve tribes. Everyone who saw it said, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do!”
- “In those days there was no king in Israel” (Jg 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25)
- This refrain, running throughout Jg 17-21, brings one period to a close and anticipates another. This refrain of the period with no central leadership points forward to the monarchy.