Sunday, Mar 05, 2006: “The Book Of Twelve (The Minor Prophets): Session 1”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary

“THE BOOK OF TWELVE (The Minor Prophets)”
Group Leader / Handouts: Mike Kreutzer, Rector
Session 1
Sunday, March 05, 2006


The Book of the Twelve — Adult Forum Notes


The Hebrew Bible: most editions include 24 books,

> Torah — The Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)

> Nebiim — The Prophets

– The Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings)

– The Latter Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Twelve (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi))

> Ketubim — The Writings (Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles)

“Prophet”: in the ancient Near East (ANE), one called by a god to speak the word of that god

There are multiple examples of prophets in other ANE cultures

“The prophet’s task is to convey a divine view, yet as a person he is a point of view. He speaks from the perspective of God as perceived from the perspective of his own situation…

“It is not a world devoid of meaning that evokes the prophet’s consternation, but a world deaf to meaning…

“Prophecy is not simply the application of timeless standards to particular human situations, but rather an interpretation of a particular moment in history, a divine understanding of a human situation. Prophecy then may be described as exegesis of existence from a divine perspective…

“The prophet was an individual who said No to his society, condemning its habits and assumptions, its complacency, waywardness, and syncretism. He was often compelled to proclaim the very opposite of what his heart expected. His fundamental objective was to reconcile man and God. Why do the two need reconciliation? Perhaps it is due top man’s false sense of sovereignty, to his abuse of freedom, to his aggressive, sprawling pride, resenting God’s involvement in history.” (Abraham Heschel, The Prophets, page x-xv)

Pre-monarchic prophets:

Abraham (Gn 20:7: “Now then, return the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live…”)

Moses (Nm 12:6-8: “6And he said, ‘Hear my words: When there are prophets among you, I the LORD make myself known to them in visions; I speak to them in dreams. 7 Not so with my servant Moses; he is entrusted with all my house. 8 With him I speak face to face—clearly, not in riddles; and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?’”;

Dt 18:15-19: “15The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet…”;

Dt 34:10: “Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.”)

Aaron (Ex 7:1, the “nabi” of Moses: “The LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.’”)

Miriam (Ex 15:20: “Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing.”)
elders (Nm 11:24-30: “24So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. 25Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again. 26Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 27And a young man ran and told Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ 28And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, ‘My lord Moses, stop them!’ 29But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit on them!’ 30And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.”)

Deborah (Jg 4:4: “4At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel.”)

“court prophets” e.g. 1 Sm 22:5, 2 Sm 7:2 (Nathan), 2 Sm 24:11, 1 Kg 1:8f, 1 Kg 11:29, 1 Kg 18:19, 1 Kg 22:6, 2 Kg 3:11

some of the early prophets addressed the king, and some were supported by the royal house; none of the “writing prophets” (“classical prophets”) were court prophets

“priest” and “prophet” are mentioned together 30 times in the OT; e.g. Samuel joins with the prophets, and Elijah offers sacrifices (2 Kg 18:32)

“sons of the prophets”: a prophetic guild of sorts

“lying prophets” = term used in OT for false prophets; told the people what they wanted to hear

Marks of a true prophet

in OT:

(1) fulfillment of the prophecy (Dt 18:22, Jr 28:9)

(2) rejection of the prophet

(3) prophecy in the name of Yahweh and in accordance with the traditional faith

in Paul:

(1) message is in accord with the traditional faith (1 Cr 12:3)

(2) all gifts are given for the common good of the Church (1 Cr 12:7)

(3) all gifts are to be guided by love (1 Cr 13)

(4) all gifts are to be judged by the Church (1 Cr 14:37-29)

“The Prophetical Books” (The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha) by Walter Brueggemann, page 862: “The prophetic canon stands in a tense relation to the Torah, sometimes complementing its teaching, and sometimes protesting against it. Whereas the Torah provides the foundation for biblical faith, the prophetic materials mark the move into the tensions of present-tense faith, and into an anticipation of a future outworking of God’s powerful purpose. Thus the prophetic materials tilt the horizon of biblical faith toward a yet-unfulfilled future.”

The Book of the Twelve

“May the bones of the Twelve Prophets
send forth a new life from where they lie,
for they comforted the people of Jacob
and delivered them with confident hope.”
(Sirach 49:10)

Flavius Josephus considers the Book of the Twelve to be one of the 22 books of the Bible.

Together with Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, the Book of the Twelve was edited into its “final” form after the Exile — “the Latter Prophets” in MT

The Talmud (Baba Batra 13b) instructed that the Twelve should all be copied onto a single scroll so that none of the smaller books would be lost.

Size: Isaiah, 94 pages; Jeremiah, 108 pages; Ezekiel, 84 pages; the Twelve, 82 pages in Biblia Hebraica

Order of the 12 books: differs between MT and LXX; MT order appears to be determined by several things (David L. Petersen, “A Book of the Twelve?” in Reading and Hearing the Book of the Twelve

> chronology

> catchwords

> length

The order that the 12 appear in the Hebrew Bible are:













Zephaniah, Nahum and Obadiah are not used on any Sundays of the Revised Common Lectionary.