Theology as Seen in Prophets and Psalms

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Theology as Seen in Prophets and Psalms

Primitive and Classical Prophecy-

This is not a crib note and is not a time to just drag and drop massive chunks of text. Read what is here and make improvements.

Don't just look and learn. Leave some insight.

Study Guide for Final Exam

Memorizing The Order of the Book of Twelve

Lets face it, most of us know the Books, but its not unusual to have a blank moment, especially during a time of stress. Therefore, compliments of Pastor Hal Seed of the New Song Community Church, here's a mnemonic device to help. "HoJo A OJo, MiNa, HaZe, HaZe Ma" We get that from putting together the first syllables of each of the minor prophets: “Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.”

Nature of Prophets and Prophecy
Shape of Prophetic Corpus
Prophecy and Old Testament Narrative Material
Justice and Early Capitalism
Hosea's Wife of Whoredom
Destiny of Zion

Ephraimite Prophecy-

This line runs from the Elohist narrative strand in the Pentateuch, deemed to have originated in the kingdom of Samaria, through prophetic and Levitical groups that opposed the monarchy throughout the history of the same kingdom, then to Hosea, Jeremiah, and the Deuteronomic program. They elevated the role and person of Moses as the first and paradigmatic prophet mediator.

Judean Prophecy-

Judean tradition is that of the south. The focus is on the Davinic line and a support of the kingship. The first prophets of this tradition would be Gad and Nathan. Amos, Isaiah, and other pre-exilic, exilic, and postexilic figures in the Latter Prophets with the exception of Hosea and Jeremiah were all Judean Prophets. There is a seperation between urban "Jerusalem" focused and more regional "Judea" focus. By in large the writing is characterized by support of the Davidic monarchy and emphasis on Jerusalem. Another distinction is that the prophet's message is a form of teaching. Finally, although the Judean tradition has a distinctive speech their phophets were more diverse and distinct from one another.


nâbî’, is the most frequent Old Testament term for prophet. The root is “to bubble up, to pour forth.” In action it "is to call, to announce or to be called". The term is vague and a lot can be read or written on variations. In short a nâbî’ seems to be “a called one” who prophesies, that is, “speaks forth” oracles. The words are divine oracles, in which the deity speaks in the first person (Hosea 11:1-7) or prophetic sayings, in which Yahweh speaks in the third person (Mic. 3:5-8.). On page 28 Blenkinsopp identifies other ways that the root is manipulated in Hebrew. For example, in the hithpael prophesizing is a wild uncontrolled behavior.

The message formula “Thus says Yahweh” (or its equivalent) reinforce the idea that nâbî are God's messengers or spokesman. Like a modern press secretary.

Speaking of modern comparisons, I came up with a few. A "Libertarian" would be an Ephramite Prophet supporting the "Northern Kingdom" and to seek to minimize or even abolish the moonarcy. A "Federalist" would be a Judean Prophet supporting the Southern Kingdom and the Davinic Line. A "Lobbyist" would be a Professional Prophet in that he/she is a paid spokesperson of god in the service of ruling powers. And finally, a "Blogger" would be a modern type of the Amateur Prophet in that his/her alliances, qualities and validity are untested.

As an interesting correlation the republican party of Abraham Lincoln was dominant in the north and the south resembled a feudal monarchy. Like a modern lobbyist many powers of ancient times (Baal worshipers, the king, the queen) could have their own paid prophets. These prophets served much the same purpose. They served to put a noble legitimizing spin on the highest bidder. The grass roots blogger can make his/her cause seem good but like the amateur prophet is outside the established power structure.


(modern Tell Hariri, Syria) A Mari text (No. 216 byw) contains the earliest clear example of a derivation of the Hebrew nâbî. Similar to the description of Micaiah in 1 Kings 22, having the role of diviner or omen-giver. Mari was an ancient Sumerian and Amorite city, located 11 kilometers north-west of the modern town of Abu Kamal on the western bank of Euphrates River. Blenkinsopp refers to Mari (ref notes) as evidence that prophecy was not limited to Isreal. p41. Again on p. 101 Blenkinsopp references Mari vis-a-vis Mari extatics. Anyone that has a clue what Blenkinsopp is insinuating would please comment. If Zimrilim was king of Mari from about 1779 to 1757 BCE then I do not see a connection to Isaiah and Hezikiah. Do you?

The inhabitants of Mari worshiped a vast array of Sumerians gods and goddesses. Dagan, the deity of storms, had an entire temple dedicated to him, as did Ishtar, the goddess of fertility, and Shamash, the Sun god. Shamash was believed to be all-knowing and all-seeing, and in many seals he is seen standing between two large doors. According to the Epic of Gilgamesh, these doors are between Mount Mashu, and are the eastern doors to heaven. Through Mari's extensive trade network, Sumerian gods and goddesses were taken to non-Sumerian cities such as Ebla and Ugarit and incorporated into their native religions. Deborah, prophet and judge, also represented as a "mother in Israel"(Judg.5:7), passed on prophetic messages concerned with military activity in the manner of the female "prophets" of Mari.

Deir Alla-

This is where an ink inscription was found that speaks of the prophecy of Balaam. In 1967, the ink on plaser inscription provides an extra biblical account of phophets in anchient times. The prophecy writen is not biblical. It seems to be an oracle of doom. Yet, Balaam is the first Old Testament prophet to be identified in an inscription. Deir Alla was the first Bronze Age city excavated in Jordan.

Justice and Righteousness-

These twinned concepts (Hebrew mispat, sedaqa) connote the maintenance of right order, of societal structures, and judicial procedures respectful of the rights of all classes. The critical prophet is saying that a society that neglects that order, even one in which religious practice flourishes, does not deserve to survive. These terms are a reference for God's order for the world.

Urim and Tummin-

 Source One vs  Source Two

These are sources of knowledge Urim means "light," and Thummim "perfection." There are two gynormous "text drops" above that don't serve much purpose at this point. If you can expand on the idea that the Isrealites had a form of divination that was directed through the Umin and Tummin which is/are something(s) that we have no agreement of what they is/are then please write it in here. It seems to me from the reading that these items were either two physical tools (plural) given by God or a skill (singular) imparted by God.

My opinion which is better expressed in an essay is that Urim and Thummim were gifts of the Holy Spirit that worked through prophets and priests throughout the Old Testament.

Message Formula-

The message formula is an introduction that keys the reader that an oracle or message from God is about to come. “Thus says Yahweh” (or its equivalent). This can be God speaking in the first person. "Thus saith the Lord '...'" or in the third person "The lord told me he will..."

So, a message formula indicates that it is the word of God. Message formulas can also be "For the Lord has spoken" Isa 1:2 There are also literary ways that act to inform the reader that God is speaking. Note that Isa 5:1 is God in first person. In this example there is no message formula but it is clear that God is speaking as evidenced in Isa 5:7.

Sigmond Mowinckel-

(Norway, August 4, 1884 died 1965) was one of the world's most significant Psalms scholars. He was educated at the University of Oslo and from 1917 onwards he was a lecturer there. From the 1920s Mowinckel headed a school of thought on the Psalms which sometimes clashed with the Form Critical conclusions of Hermann Gunkel. In broad terms, Gunkel strongly advocated a view of the Psalms which focused on the two notable names for God occurring therein: Yahweh (JHWH sometimes called tetragrammaton) and Elohim. The schools of Psalm writing springing therefrom were termed "Yahwist" and "Elohist".Mowinckel's approach to the Psalms differed quite a bit from Gunkel's. Mowinckel explained the psalms as wholly cultic both in origin and in intention.

He attempted to relate more than 40 psalms to a hypothetical autumnal New Year festival.The greatest danger in the study of Israelite cultic life is one-sidedness and the imposition of uniformity on the presentation of the procedures used in worship.This problematic trend was started by Mowinckel's hypothesis that there was an enthronement festival of Yahweh.A student of Hermann Gunkel and also considered one of the most prolific and imaginitive contributers to Old Testament studies of the 20th century.Applied Gunkel's conclusions about the original and characteristic forms of prophetic speech to Jeremiah.In this study he distinguished between the original sayings of the prophet;poetic oracles,most of which are found in Jeremiah 1-25(sourceA):stories about the prophet(B);speeches or sermons in the DTR style scattered throughout the book(C);and the so-called Book of Consolation(chapters 30-31),the last edition to the book. Mowinckel, therefore, continued in the 19th century tradition of source criticism, though now based on a certain understanding of the unique character of prophetic consciousness.

Baal- "The name of many deities of the Semitic people"

Ba'al, lit. "owner, master, lord," from ba'al "he took possession of," also "he married;" related to Akkad. Belu (source of Heb. Bel), name of Marduk. Also related to the first element in Beelzebub. Used figuratively for any "false god." The name appropriated to the principal male god of the Phoenicians. It is found in several places in the plural BAALIM (Judg. 2:11; 10:10; 1 Kings 18:18; Jer. 2:23; Hos. 2:17).

Baal is identified with Molech (Jer. 19:5). It was known to the Israelites as Baal-peor (Num. 25:3; Deut. 4:3), was worshipped till the time of Samuel (1 Sam 7:4), and was afterwards the religion of the ten tribes in the time of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31-33; 18:19, 22). It prevailed also for a time in the kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 8:27; comp. 11:18; 16:3; 2 Chr. 28:2), till finally put an end to by the severe discipline of the Captivity (Zeph. 1:4-6). The priests of Baal were in great numbers (1 Kings 18:19), and of various classes (2 Kings 10:19). Their mode of offering sacrifices is described in 1 Kings 18:25-29.

The sun-god, under the general title of Baal, or "lord," was the chief object of worship of the Canaanites. Each locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals were summed up under the name of Baalim, or "lords." Each Baal had a wife, who was a colourless reflection of himself.Also identified in relation to Mount Zaphon. In Syro-Phoenicia,north of ancient Ugarit,stood the holy mountain on which, according to ancient Syrian tradition the Baal of Heaven(b'l spn)was enthroned as the "highest god".

Early Capitalism-

Amos 2:6-8 This is an indictment on the economy of Israel.Amos speaks of the social injustice occurring in the land which is a model of early capitalism.The people are using the system for personal gain and not following the covenant deal where all the people were promised land ownership.Also addressed are the economic violations of loans and pledges.


Rîb Pattern- Note pages 401-424 rîb is a divine lawsuit. The structure of the lawsuit gives indication as to what it is that motivates the prophet. Is the rîb a covenant or is it an indictment. The manner that this lawsuit is presented is the key. Therefore the rîb pattern is a structured analysis of a prophetic work based on a legal attack. The example I found was done by I. G. Ernest Wright. Wright first provides a structural analysis of Moses' Farewell Song. These are either "thought units" or steps in a divine lawsuit.

  1. . Introduction (Deut 32:1–6)
  2. . Appeal to mighty acts of God (vv. 7–14)
  3. . Indictment (vv. 15–18)
  4. . Sentence or penalty (vv. 19–29)
  5. . Poet’s assurance of salvation (vv. 30–38)
  6. . The Word of YHWH confirming poet’s hope (vv. 39–42)
  7. . Poet’s final exhortation to praise (v. 43)

This is the divine lawsuit, or rîb. Wright identifies three things: summons to witnesses v1, indictment v15–18 and verdict v19–29.

Huffmon’s outline of the form of rîb pattern

  1. . I. Description of the scene of judgment
  2. . II. Speech of plaintiff
  3. . A. Heaven and earth appointed judges
  4. . B. Summons to defendant (or judges)
  5. . C.Address in second person to the defendant
  6. . 1. Accusation in question form to defendant
  7. . 2. Refutation of defendant’s possible arguments
  8. . 3. Specific indictment

Syro-Ephramite War- The opening verses of Isa 7 set the historical scene in which the Lord gives a message to Isaiah to pass on to Ahaz. It is the Syro-Ephraimite War. The kings of Israel and Syria have decided to wage war against Judah because Judah won't join them to fight the great empire Assyria. When the King of Judah, Ahaz, heard that the above kings wanted to wage war against him, the people and king were afraid. Isaiah's message to Ahaz addresses this fear and tells the King to trust God, because neither the King of Syria nor the King of Israel will survive in the future.

Both kingdoms will be overcome by Assyria (Isa 7:3-9). The lectionary reading begins with the Lord addressing Ahaz directly (Isa 7:10). The narrator invites us into the text with the ensuing dialogue between God and Ahaz. We are not told why God begins with the command for Ahaz to ask a sign of God. It appears to have little relationship to the prophecy immediately before these verses.

However, Ahaz is to ask for a sign, no matter how difficult. Ahaz refuses, which is quite congruent with other messages in the Old Testament, that is, one does not put the Lord to the test (Exod 17:7, Ps 78:18, 41). God's response to Ahaz's refusal is one of resignation and frustration (v.13) and 'therefore' in v.14 tells us that God is going ahead despite Ahaz's inability to be obedient. The sign will be a young woman, in Hebrew this does not necessarily mean a virgin.

The traditional interpretation is 'virgin'. This not as clear as we would like but it has come down to us that way. An alternative or message that would have had meaning to Ahaz in his time would have the young woman as one of the king's consorts, known at the court and pregnant. The name given to the unborn child by Isaiah is, 'God with us'. Isaiah then predics that While he is yet a child, the lands of Syria and Israel will be deserted and the Syro-Ephraimite War would end. Map

Sennacherib- d. 681 B.C., king of Assyria (705-681 B.C.). The son of Sargon, Sennacherib spent most of his reign fighting to maintain the empire established by his father. It is difficult to determine the exact sequence of his conquests, but his first campaign seems to have been waged against Babylonia. Later he marched against an uprising of the western nations (Phoenicia, Judah, and Philistia), who were supported by Egypt. He defeated the Egyptians at Eltekeh (701 B.C.) and prepared to take Jerusalem. Isaiah had warned Hezekiah not to join the uprising against Assyria, but the king had refused the advice.

Thus, Sennacherib destroyed many Judaean cities and besieged Jerusalem, forcing the king to pay a heavy tribute. Hezekiah built the famous Siloam Tunnel when the water supply was threatened by the approach of the Assyrian forces. Disturbances in Babylonia called the king to that area, and he waged a naval campaign against the Chaldaeans. He laid Elam waste and finally fought both the Chaldaeans and the Elamites at the battle of Halulina (Khaluli; c.691 B.C.). The exact outcome of the battle is uncertain. Two years later Sennacherib captured and destroyed Babylon. He constructed canals and aqueducts and built a magnificent palace at Nineveh.

Two of his sons, jealous of their brother Esar-haddon, murdered Sennacherib. Esar-haddon succeeded to the throne. According to DTR historian Sennacherib was chosen by Yaweh to bring judgment on Judah. The king even claimed to have received an oracle from Yaweh commanding him to destroy the Judean kingdom. Isaiah describes Sennecherib and the Assyrian army as a tool in the hands of God to bring judgment.

Julius Wellhausen-

Wellhausen described the prophets as the founders of ethical monotheism and the true pioneers behind Israel's faith. Even so, he offered no detailed interpretation, or explanation, of this view. This may be because he perceived the prophets as inspired revolutionary spirits focused only zeal for reform and spiritual renewal.Wellhausen was famous for his critical investigations into Old Testament history and the composition of the Hexateuch, the uncompromising scientific attitude he adopted in testing its problems bringing him into antagonism with the older school of biblical interpreters. He is perhaps most well-known for his Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels of 1883 (first published 1878 as Geschichte Israels), in which he advanced a definitive formulation of the Documentary hypothesis, arguing that the Torah or Pentateuch had its origins in a redaction of four originally independent texts dating from several centuries after the time of Moses, their traditional author. Wellhausen's hypothesis remained the dominant paradigm for Pentateuchal studies until the last quarter of the 20th century, when it began to be challenged by scholars who saw more and more hands at work in the Torah, ascribing them to periods even later than Wellhausen had proposed.

Herman Gunkel-(1862-1932) was a German Protestant Old Testament scholar. He is noted for his contribution to form criticism and the study of oral tradition in biblical texts. He was an outstanding representative of the "History of Religion School.Hermann Gunkel felt that the prophets represented the apex of Israelite religion. Not only in terms of religious ideas and a drive for religious ideology but in their communion with God. For him prophetic ecstasy was part of how they received their messages. He perceived the prophets as preachers. He applied his form critical method to the study of the prophets by analyzing their speech forms. The prophets as primarily spoke and their words were recorded by subsequent generations.Gunkel became an outstanding representative of the "History of Religions School" (die religionsgeschichtliche Schule), which addressed the history of traditions behind the biblical text. In addition to Gunkel, the original group also included Albert Eichhorn, William Wrede, Wilhelm Bousset, Johannes Weiss, Ernst Troeltsch, Wilhelm Heitmüller, and P. Wernle. In the beginning they were primarily concerned with the origins of Christianity, but this interest eventually broadened to include the historical backgrounds of ancient Israelite and other Near Eastern religions.His "Creation and Chaos in the Beginning and at the End of Time"(1895) compared the biblical creation/destruction myths from Genesis 1 to Revelation 12. His most important work was probably his commentary on Genesis (1901), in which he applied to that book the new critical methodology of source criticism. Source criticism was based on identifying and examining the genres used in the text to reach the "literary history" behind them, on the assumption that each form belonged to a quite definite 'setting in life' (Sitz im Leben); in this way, Gunkel and his circle believed, the previous history of a written biblical text could be reconstructed in terms of its social and liturgical setting. Nineteenth-century source criticism had examined texts on the grounds of style, vocabulary, and other criteria to identify distinctive theological and religious outlooks and thus separate the text into its original sources; source criticism, because it offered a way of going beyond the text, became immensely influential in Germany and Europe for much of the 20th century, being used and developed by important scholars such as Martin Noth.

Max Weber-(21 April 1864 – 14 June 1920) was a German political economist and sociologist who was considered one of the founders of the modern study of sociology and public administration. He began his career at the University of Berlin, and later worked at the universities of Freiburg, Heidelberg, and Munich.Weber's major works deal with rationalization in sociology of religion and government. His most famous work is his essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, which began his work in the sociology of religion. In this work, Weber argued that religion was one of the non-exclusive reasons for the different ways the cultures of the Occident and the Orient have developed, and stressed importance of particular characteristics of ascetic Protestantism which led to the development of capitalism, bureaucracy and the rational-legal state in the West. In another major work, Politics as a Vocation, Weber defined the state as an entity which claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force, a definition that became pivotal to the study of modern Western political science. His analysis of bureaucracy in his Economy and Society is still central to the modern study of organizations. His most known contributions are often referred to as the 'Weber Thesis'.Max Weber’s book Ancient Judaism deals with Sociology of Law and the Analysis of Israelite Law Codes and Types of Prophetic Legitimation: Traditional, Charismatic and Rational-legal Authority. The Sociology of Religion.After Weber's immense productivity in the early 1890s, he did not publish a single paper between early 1898 and late 1902, finally resigning his professorship in fall 1903. Freed from those obligations, in that year he accepted a position as associate editor of the Archives for Social Science and Social Welfare next to his colleagues Edgar Jaffé and Werner Sombart. In 1904, Weber began to publish some of his most seminal papers in this journal, notably his essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. It became his most famous work, and laid the foundations for his later research on the impact of cultures and religions on the development of economic systems. This essay was the only one of his works that was published as a book during his lifetime.

Mesha Stella- A history carved in stone. Much better known as

The Mesha Inscription or Moabite Stone. It was discovered in Dhiban, Jordan, in 1868. Record of a campaign that must have taken place between 848 and 841 BC, the only time when Joram and Jehoshaphat were both on the throne. These combined forces to attempt to bring Moab back under Israelite control. They attacked from the south and had some success. When they tried to dislodge the Moab King Mesha from Kir Hareseth, Mesha sacrificed his oldest son on the ramparts of the city and rallied his people. Although the whole campaign met with some success, it appears that Moab retained its independence. This is confirmed by the Mesha Inscription.


Ez.21:21 A form of aruspicy (Prognostication by inspection of the entrails of victims slain sacrifice). This systematic examination of the liver of an animals was practiced among the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, etc., of the ancient world, and it is still in vogue in Borneo, Burma and Uganda. We have no evidence that it was practiced among the Israelites, for in the above passage it is the king of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar) who is said to have "looked in the liver."

Deuteronomistic History-

Composed in the mid-sixth century BCE. The distinct resemblances in content and form between the Deuteronomistic editing in Joshua–Kings, on the one hand, and in Jeremiah, on the other. It may have been the work of a single person, who prepared an extensive composition describing the history of Israel from Moses to Jeremiah.

Deuteronomy serves as an introduction to the DH and the Book of Jeremiah concludes it. In Deuteronomy the path was delineated and norms were determined. The main body of Joshua–Kings records the ups and downs in Israel’s relationship with God. The Book of Jeremiah, is the epiloge and it focuses on the destruction of the Temple and the Exile. This is an attempt to explain the events and inform the exiles of the message of redemption. Other views

The writer of DH is refered to as the Deuteronomist [=Dtr]. He/she presents the history of the relationship between Israel and God as intricate and complex, involving sin, repentance, and forgiveness. The message is one of hope and consolation: the merciful God, who has made an everlasting bond between himself and His elected people, forgave them in the past and he will forgive them in the future. The Exile did not mean the end of relations between God and His people. On the contrary, the Lord will rescue them and return them to their land, at the end of the epoch of the “70 years” (Jer 25,11-12; 29,10)


The descendants of Rechab through Jonadab or Jehonadab. They belonged to the Kenites, who accompanied the children of Israel into the holy land, and dwelt among them. Moses married a Kenite wife,(Jdg.1:16) and Jael was the wife of "Heber the Kenite".(Jdg.4:17) Saul also showed kindness to the Kenites.(ISam.15:6) The main body of the Kenites dwelt in cities, and adopted settled habits of life;(ISam30:29) but Jehonadab forbade his descendants to drink wine or to live in cities. They were commanded to lead always a nomad life. They adhered to the law laid down by Jonadab, and were noted for their fidelity to the old-established custom of their family in the days of Jeremiah; and this feature of their character is referred to by the prophet for the purpose of giving point to his own exhortation.(Neh.3:14,IChron.2:55)

Essays[edit | edit source]

Give an answer - Use the thought of the other essays or disagree.