Extra Biblical Parallels Continuities with the Mari Prophets

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Extra Biblical Parallels

  • Continuities with the Mari Prophets

  • Oracles against a foe and in favor of the king

  • Concern for justice (rare)

  • Dreams played an important role

  • Messenger is called or sent

  • Boldness of the prophet toward the king

  • The god Adad bases his demands on his gracious acts of kindness to the king

Differences in Mari from
Biblical Prophets

  • Issues primarily cultic (but Haggai, Gad, Nathan) and of local significance

  • Prophets in Israel to whole nation and not just king (but Nathan, Gad, Ahijah)

  • Biblical prophets created written tradition--Mari prophets mentioned in royal correspondence.

  • Promises conditional upon royal grants

Other Extra Biblical Parallels

  • Wen Amon--An ecstatic tells the king of Byblos to listen to Wen Amon and to the god Amon 11 c

  • “prophets” of Baal and Asherah 9c

  • Oracles of salvation to king Zakir: “I will stand by you and deliver you” 8c

  • Oracles to Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal from the deities Assur or Ishtar; primarily reassuring, some critical 7c

Titles for Prophets

  • Seer hzx Reports and sees visions

  • Diviner har Cf. Samuel

  • Man of God – Holy Man

  • Prophet aybn. Some, but not all, prophets were priests


  • Amos?; Hosea: The prophet is a fool (9:7); Isaiah (his wife is prophetess); with Jeremiah and later the term prophet is common

  • Meaning of aybn: “one called”

  • They make and break kings; Holy War; oppose idolatry; criticize social injustice

  • Female prophets: Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Ms. Isaiah, Noadiah

Prophets in Israel Eighth Century and Later

  • Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah 8c

  • Huldah, Hananiah , Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk 7c

  • Ezekiel, Obadiah, Second Isaiah and Third Isaiah, Haggai, Zechariah 6c

  • Malachi, Noadiah 5c; Joel, Jonah 4c

Major Prophetic Genres

  • Accounts: 3rd person narratives (Jer 26-28; 36-45; Elijah, Elisha) or 1st person narratives (Jer 13, 24, 32; Hos 3)

  • Prayers (Laments--Jeremiah’s confessions; hymns--Amos 4:13; 5:8; 9:5-6)

Prophetic Genres Continued

  • Speeches

  • Reasons for judgment; announcement of judgment

  • messenger formula: Thus says Yahweh

  • Trial speeches vs gods or nations (Second Isaiah)

  • Woe oracles (Amos)

  • Oracles againt the nations (Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel)

  • Oracles of salvation (Second Isaiah)

Prophetic judgment speech

  • Hear this, you rulers of the house of Jacob…who abhor justice and pervert all equity, who build Zion with blood. They lean on Yahweh and say: Surely the LORD is with us. (reasons for judgment)

  • Therefore !kl, because of you, Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins (announcement of judgment) (Micah 3:9-12)

The Prophet Amos

  • From Tekoa, south of Bethlehem

  • “Shepherd” dqn

  • Herdsman rqb

  • Dresser of sycamore figs

  • Two years before the earthquake--760

  • A seer? hzx

  • A prophet? aybn

The Form of the Visions

  • This is what Lord Yahweh showed me

  • Behold

  • I said, Lord Yahweh, forgive/stop

  • What happens to the prophet’s speech in visions 3 and 4?

  • What happens to the whole form in vision 5?

  • Yahweh relents (visions 1-2)

Thought Progression in Visions

  • Locusts after king’s mowing 7:1-3

  • Rain of fire 7:4-6

  • Plumb line? Tin (for bronze)? 7:7-9 [Followed by Amos-Amaziah incident in 7:10-17]

  • Qayis #yq (summer fruit)/Qes #q (end) 8:1-2

  • Judgment on Bethel 9:1-4 (followed by hymn 9:5-6 [doxology of judgment])

Amos 1-2 Oracles against the Nations

  • Damascus

  • Gaza

  • Tyre

  • Edom

  • Ammonites

  • Moab

  • Judah (deuteronomistic?)

  • Israel

Outline of Oracles against Foreign Nations

  • A. Messenger Formula: Thus says Yahweh

  • B. For 3 rebellions and for 4…I will not turn it back because (indictment)

  • Expanded indictment with normative expression (Tyre, Edom, Judah)

  • C. Announcement of judgment

  • Additional announcement of judgments (not in Tyre, Edom, Judah)

  • D. Concluding Messenger Formula (not in Tyre, Edom, Judah) says Yahweh

  • Note how form explodes in Israel oracle

Amos 2:4-5

  • Thus says the LORD: For three rebellions of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they have rejected the law of the LORD, and have not kept his statutes, but they have been led astray by the same lies after which their ancestors walked.

  • So I will send a fire on Judah, and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.

Crimes in Oracles against Foreign Nations

  • In Nations

  • cruelty in war

  • slavery issues (stealing people for slave trade)

  • violation of the dead

  • In Israel

  • The crimes are committed against their own citizens: injustice in court, violation of pledges, sexual sins? exploitation and enslavement of poor

Amos 2:6-8

  • Thus says the LORD: For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals--

  • they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way; father and son go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge; and in the house of their God they drink wine bought with fines they imposed.

The Word “Prophet”

  • Individuals anachronistically

  • Abraham, Moses, Miriam, Aaron, Deborah

  • Ecstatics (Eldad and Medad; Saul in 1 Samuel 10 and 19)

  • Court officials (Gad, Nathan, 400 with Ahab)

  • “Sons of prophets”--Elisha = guild

  • Other terms: “man of God”; seer (hozeh and ro’eh)

Prophets in Israel Before the Eighth Century

  • Pre Exodus: Abraham, Aaron, Balaam, Eldad and Medad, Moses

  • Pre Monarchical period: Deborah, Samuel--the Samuel compromise: war fought by king; authorization by prophet

  • Monarchical period: Gad, Nathan, Ahijah, Shemaiah, Man of God 10c

  • Elijah, Elisha, Micaiah 9c

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