Monday, October 31, 2016

To whom is it addressed?

Prophecy in the ancient Near East was a political tool of state propaganda that was used to preserve the prevailing order. Generally, the divine message of the prophets refers to the king and addresses the fate of the royal house; it has little to do with the common people. In Assyria in particular, prophecy serves to legitimate the ruling dynasty.—The Prophets of Israel, page 15

<idle musing>
A good bit different from the Hebrew literary prophets, isn't it? Sure, they do address the rulers, but not to legitimate them! They rebuke them for their treatment of the poor and marginalized and for their worship of other deities. And they warn of the coming doom unless the change their hearts and lifestyles.

You do see prophets, like Nathan, who legitimate David's dynasty. But Nathan was also the one who confronted David about Bathsheba and Uriah! Don't try that in Assyria if you want to live.
</idle musing>

No comments: