Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A significant nuance

The unconditional prophecies of judgment are the starting point of the tradition in the prophetic books and are presupposed by the later prophecies of salvation as well as by the prophetic narratives. True, the notion that a deity desires doom and brings it about has parallels in the world of the ancient Near East. Here, too, the disaster suffered by a community can be understood as the result of the wrath of the gods. Interestingly enough, in the ancient Near Eastern texts, such an explanation only happens after the occurrence of the disaster. Its purpose is either to placate the gods and ask them to remove the misery or to anticipate better times and the overcoming of disaster. The biblical books differ here. Doom and salvation always appear in the announcement of the prophet and are yet to come.—The Prophets of Israel, page 149

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