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Introduction to the OT Prophetic Ministry. The Prophetic Function in the OT The Lord instituted the idea and created the position. The Lord inspired his.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to the OT Prophetic Ministry. The Prophetic Function in the OT The Lord instituted the idea and created the position. The Lord inspired his."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to the OT Prophetic Ministry

2 The Prophetic Function in the OT The Lord instituted the idea and created the position. The Lord inspired his messengers. The Lord stresses the authority of the message. Sin & grace, law & gospel are central

3 Thus Says the Lord l “Thus says the Lord” or an equivalent phrase occurs over 350 times in the prophetic books.

4 What is Prophecy? l For-telling l Forth-telling l Fore-telling

5 For-telling, Forth-telling, Fore-telling 1. To speak for (on behalf of) another; to serve as spokesperson. 2. To speak forth, to proclaim or announce clearly or publicly. 3. To speak fore, to announce in advance. “Predictive prophecy” is about 20% of OT prophetic content.

6 Old Testament Prophets Classifications: Former Prophets (history from prophetic perspective) Latter Prophets Assyrian Prophets Babylonian & Exilic Prophets Post-exilic Prophets of the Persian Period

7 More classifications: Pre-monarchy (from the patriarchs through Moses to Samuel) Pre-classical (from Samuel to Jonah in the north and Isaiah in the south, ca. 800 – 750 BC) Classical (especially the writing prophets, through Malachi).


9 Terms used for Prophets aybin: Prophet, the most frequently name (etymology uncertain, two main preferences) hz²j, Seer, o the prophet as seer of divine revelation.

10 Terms Used for Prophets רֹאֶה Seer, alternate term מַלְאָךְ is used for human messengers as well as for angels and Deity ע ֫ ֶבֶד -- a grand title, also now ‘ מָשִׁיחַ -- anointed types of Christ אִישׁ־אֱלֹהִים i - man of God אִישׁ־הָרוּחַ - man of God

11 Prophetic method: l OT prophets were not hysterical babblers in frenzied trances, fortunetellers who entertained people with fanciful notions, or cranky religious fanatics seeking religious arguments with others.

12 A helpful analogy: Envoys The prophetic task is analogous to the modern presidential “press secretary” or an “ambassador” representing one administration or government to another nation. The primary task is to convey the president’s or the government’s opinions, reactions, intentions, agenda, or program to others.

13 OT vs. other ANE Prophets Other ANE civilizations had prophets who claimed to speak authoritative words from gods or geniuses. Three main categories are dominant: Old Babylonian omen texts (2000-1600 BC) Mari prophecies (ca. 2000 – 1800 BC) Akkadian oracles (also of the “nabu”)

14 OT Prophets vs. ANE Prophets 1. OT prophets habitually address the whole nation, not just the rulers. 2.OT prophecy focuses on people’s attitudes, not just their rituals. 3.Biblical prophecy highlights a moral imperative and relation to a personal God.

15 4.OT prophecy looks at more far- reaching implications of people’s actions, not just the immediate (political, economic, military). 5.OT prophets proclaim a consistent eschatology that is centered The Promise of the Messiah. OT Prophets vs. ANE Prophets

16 Prophetic “Styles” or “Types” We’ll examine and comment on different “styles” of prophetic works (e.g., apocalyptic literature) when we get to OT books that are representative of the particular genre. The same is true of what scholars sometimes refer to as oracle “types” (e.g., indictment, judgment, instruction, aftermath or hope oracles).

17 Stylistic Characteristics to look for: 1.Vivid illustrations, picturesque speech, graphic analogies and comparisons 2.An effortless, almost imperceptible move in subject matter from the present to the future, from specific current events to less defined future events – without apologies!

18 Characteristics 3. The blending of prose and poetry, often in alternating sections – although some prophets use poetry exclusively and others use more prose than poetry. This mirrors or illustrates how we are given “prophetic history” when historical events are recounted.

19 Characteristics (continued) 4. The use of surrounding nations as representatives of people who are hostile to the Lord and the Lord’s people.

20 Major Themes of OT Prophets 1.Keep the Covenant! Remember Moses! 2.Really Repent! Believe and Behave! 3. The Day of the Lord is near (and at that time...)

21 Major Themes (cont’d) 4.The Messiah is Coming! Cling to the Messianic Hope! 5.This is what the Lord says! When this happens, then you will know this.

22 OT Prophetic Ministry according to Negative Critics 1.There was a pre-composition stage Oral messages Detached Short Anonymous 2. Then came a composition stage Often still oral; may be written draft Expansion & adaptation of earlier utterances

23 Negative Critical view (cont’d) 3. Transmission stage Written text Message expanded & combined for cultic or social uses l 4. Application task (of the critic) To show socio-political relevance To find theological value despite uncertain origin & lack of unified origin

24 Negative Critical View (cont’d) 5. Dominant presuppositions remain: No divine revelation is taking place No divinely authorized speaker or writer is involved At best, these are reflections of gifted religious thinkers Best bet: the speakers, writers, & redactors are people like us, with various “agendas” and the texts evolved and were adapted naturally, not supernaturally

25 A word from a positive Critic: “You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” (Mt 15:6) “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Lk 11:28) “If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken—” (Jn 10:35)


27 Some Bibliography Bullock, Introduction to the OT Prophetic Books. Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy Hengstenberg, Xology of the OT

28 Three Periods of Prophecy l Assyrian 853 722 701 686… Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah l Babylonian 701 605 586 539 Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Obadiah, Lamentations; Ezekiel, Daniel l Persian Period 539 480 450 415… Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi


30 Key Turning Points l 931 l 853 l 722 l 701 l 605 l 586 l 539 l 450s and 440s l Division of Kingdom l Assyrian Threat Begins l End of the Northern Kingdom l Threat to Jerusalem l Arrival of Babylonians l End of Jerusalem l End of Captivity l Ezra and Nehemiah

31 Religious Conditions In the North Golden Calves— the sins of Jereboam Baal worship Jehu’s reform l In the South Formalism Syncretism

32 Political Conditions l In the North l Musical chairs dynasties l In the South l One dynasty l But divided on policy

33 Relations of North and South l Initial hostility l Détente with house of Omri l Renewed hostility

34 International conditions l A period of prosperity in a vacuum of great powers 1000-700. l Egypt and Mesopotamia both in decline.

35 Rise and Fall of the Arameans l Rise of the Arameans as a local threat in the 800s. l Balanced against the on-and-off threat of Assyria. l Assyrian devastation of the Arameans in the 740s 730s

36 The Assyrian Threat l Turned back in 853. l Devastation begins in the 730s. l End of the North in 722. l Near escape of the South in 701. l Declining threat through 600s.

37 Flitting between Alliances l Using Assyria against the locals l Babylon a vain hope l Egypt a vain hope


39 The Euphrates River 1780 miles from the mountains to the sea. The Tigris 1150 miles from the mountains to the sea

40 The Euphrates River 1780 miles from the mountains to the sea.




44 The Meeting of Mountains and Plains Area near Mt Ararat in the North

45 Assyria

46 Assyria was located between modern day Iraq and Turkey

47 Cities of Assyria


49 The Assyrian plain and the Zagros Mountains



52 Nineveh






58 Assyria and Israel

59 Khorsabad The Oriental Institute

60 Bull-man (lamssu) Guardian spirit.



63 Garden of Assurbanipal

64 Royal Garden of Mari


66 Lion Park at Nineveh

67 Lion hunt in the park.

68 The Great King

69 Assurnasirpal, king in the 800s, the beginning of empire Early contacts with Israel- the battle of Qarqar 853 BC.

70 The Great Ashurbanipal l The “great and honorable Ashurbanipal” (Ezra 4:10) l King of Assyria and grandson of Sennacherib l Best known for amassing a library (over 22,000 cuneiform clay tablets) l Most of what we know of Babylonia and Assyria are due to him

71 Esarhaddon and midget Tirhaqah Later contacts with Israel Destruction of Galilee in the 730s Destruction of Samaria in the 720s Destruction of Judea and attack on Jerusalem 701 BC

72 The Vanquished Come to the Great King

73 Black obelisk of Shalmanesar III 841 BC Jehu of Israel. The Easy Way

74 Levantine tribute bearers




78 The Exile of the Northern Kingdom

79 The Hard Way I: Deportation of Israel l Following the efforts of Tiglath-Pileser III and Shalmanezer IV, it was Sargon II who finally took the city of Samaria and ended the Northern Kingdom l Assyrian inscription says he carried 27,290 “as booty.”

80 “The king of Assyria invaded the entire land, marched against Samaria and laid siege to it for three years. In 9th year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah,in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.” 2 Kgs 17:5,6

81 The Hard Way II Hezekiah rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory. In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.

82 Sennacherib Prism l We can compare Isaiah’s account with Sennacherib’s

83 The Sennacherib Prism As to Hezekiah, the Jew, he did not submit to my yoke, I laid siege to his strong cities, walled forts, and small villages, and conquered them by means of well-stamped countless earth-ramps and battering-rams brought near the walls with an attack by foot soldiers, using mines, breeches as well as trenches. I drove out 200,150 people, young and old, male and female, horses, mules, donkeys, camels, big and small cattle beyond counting, and considered them slaves. Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage. I surrounded him with earthwork in order to molest those who were his city's gate. Thus I reduced his country, but I still increased the tribute and the presents to me as overlord which I imposed upon him beyond the former tribute, to be delivered annually. Hezekiah himself, did send me, later, to Nineveh, my lordly city, together with 30 talents of gold, 800 talents of silver, precious stones, antimony, large cuts of red stone, couches inlaid with ivory, nimedu-chairs inlaid with ivory, elephant-hides, ebony-wood, boxwood and all kinds of valuable treasures, his own daughters and concubines.

84 Royal officials The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, They called for the king; “This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours?”

85 The Siege of Lachish Finding A Place To Breach The Walls


87 Siege ramp & attack on the walls of Lachish In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.



90 Archers and slingers pin down the defenders

91 Breaching the wall by battering ram.

92 Pressing the attack on the walls. Note the Judean refugees leaving


94 A Last Plea For Mercy

95 Some To Captivity Some To Death

96 Judeans go into captivity

97 Carrying off the Booty

98 Destruction of the city

99 Impaling the resisters Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me.

100 Then every one of you will eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern

101 until I come and take you to a land like your own, a land of grain and new wine,

102 a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey

103 Choose life and not death!

104 Victory reports to the King

105 The Statistical Report Head count

106 Head Count


108 Rebuilding and repopulating cities The king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes. The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. Esarhaddon rebuilds Babylon

109 You Reap What You Sow

110 What Goes Around Comes Around l Fall of Nineveh l Nabopalasser enters Nineveh

111 John Brug 2002/09 F. Bivens 2006 Credits


113 Fair Use f To the best of our knowledge all materials in this class presentation meet the standards of fair use. No copyrighted material in this presentation should be copied for any use that violates fair use.


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