Published on January 24, 2008
SEASON TWO NEVI’IM: VOICES OF THE SHEPHERD
Nevi’im: The Prophets WHO WERE THEY? The Early Prophets: Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Elisha The Three Major Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel The 12 Minor/Later Prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
WHO WERE THEY?
The Early Prophets:
Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Elisha
The Three Major Prophets:
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel
The 12 Minor/Later Prophets:
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
WHAT WERE THEY? + Protectors of the faith evaluating social, political and economic activities from God’s point of view + Guardians of the TORAH admonishing and counseling rulers an leaders about fidelity to the TORAH + Spokespersons for God , in the interest of His people Nevi’im: The Prophets
We begin this study of the Prophets by first looking at the historical context that made them necessary: The Israelites’ conquest of Canaan, the organization of the early settlements in the Promised Land, and their gradual growth into a strong and united nation, as promised and fulfilled by God through His chosen heroes.
EPISODE 7 A Land of Our Own
Joshua and the Judges Champions of the Early Settlements In the Promised Land
Champions of the Early Settlements
In the Promised Land
THE BOOK OF JOSHUA NAME: Named after its hero and central character: JOSHUA DATE: The book reads like an eye-witness account of a military campaign, but it was written long after the events it recounts, probably after 586 B.C.E. AUTHOR: Traditionally perceived to be Joshua himself, but contemporary opinions claim the book was written by an unknown hand long after it’s hero’s death.
THE BOOK OF JOSHUA SUMMARY An account of the three military campaigns by which God’s chosen people subdue their enemies and claim their promised possession: a land they can call their own, on which they can build their own nation, turning the land of Canaan into the nation Israel. The book is a prophetical witness to God’s determination to give the land of Canaan to His people, in fulfillment of the promise He made in the covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:7).
THE BOOK OF JOSHUA While readers may get distracted with issues of ethics and morality (e.g. war and its accompanying issues, military strategy and tactics, political sovereignty and land ownership issues), the book’s persistent focus is God’s fidelity to His promises and His people’s struggles to keep their own fidelity unbroken in the midst of violent opposition and seductive persuasion presented by the Canaanites. The renewal of the people’s dedication to God at the end of the conquest offers a message of hope: they who serve the Lord will eventually be triumphant.
HIGHLIGHTS : HOLY WAR Perhaps the most interesting feature of the book is its realistic presentation of Joshua’s military strategy – a divide-and-conquer approach. But the challenging question to all this is: why would a loving God order the wholesale extermination of the non-Israelite nations living in the promised land? There is no simple answer to this. One thing for sure: it happened in a very specific period and context of history, and therefore it cannot be used to validate similar actions people do today. WHAT IS YOUR ANSWER? Point for reflection #1.
HIGHLIGHTS : RAHAB THE HARLOT The account of Rahab the harlot (Chapters 2 & 6) profoundly illustrates salvation by grace through faith. So thoroughly was she converted that she was considered an Israelite and became a biological ancestor of Jesus (Joshua 6:25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:13) Despite the predominantly-military theme of the Book of Joshua, Rahab’s story emphasizes the fact that salvation– of whatever kind– comes only from God’s hands. GOD CALLS AND CHOOSES, THEN HE QUALIFIES. What do you thin of Rahab and similar women in the Bible? Point for reflection #2.
HIGHLIGHTS: JOSHUA Anointed successor of Moses, leader of the conquest of Canaan. Moses changed his original name Hosea (meaning: Salvation) to Yehoshua (meaning: The Lord is salvation). This Hebrew name is translated in Greek as “ Jesus”.
JOSHUA Like all Old Testament figures, JOSHUA plays a role in God’s plan: In his life time, through his leadership, God fulfills His promise to His people for a land of their own. Beyond his lifetime, he is one of many Old Testament characters who foreshadow the figure of JESUS, the Messiah.
THE BOOK OF JUDGES NAME The name translates the Hebrew title Shofetim , which could also be rendered “Leaders” or “Chieftains”. It refers to the style of government in Israel from the time of Joshua’s death to Saul’s kingship. The book is so-called since it relates the stories of the 12 judges who acted as Israel’s temporary “national” leaders after the conquest of Canaan. They did not preserve over courts, as the English term might suggest; rather they were called to protect and defend hard-won footholds in the Promised Land which was not actually fully ridden of non-Israelite civilizations and cultures.
THE BOOK OF JUDGES DATE The incidents narrated occur between the death of Joshua and the rise of the monarchy. It could hardly have been completed until after all the events it narrates. The repeated refrain: “in those days there was no king in Israel” (17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25) suggests that the author wrote at a time when there was already a king.
THE BOOK OF JUDGES AUTHOR Jewish tradition identified the prophet Samuel as the author. While he may have had a hand in fashioning traditions behind this book, it was actually written much later.
THE BOOK OF JUDGES SUMMARY The Book of Judges tells the repeated cycle of how the Israelites fall into apostasy, so God delivers them to their political enemies. Then after they cry out to God, He raises up a leader who delivers them from their oppressors. In both situations, God is the one who delivers His people because He is the ultimate Judge. For the people, it is a lesson re-learned over and over again: Faithlessness leads to defeat, repentance guarantees victory.
HIGHLIGHTS : GOD’S CHOICE Most of the judges were seriously-flawed heroes: GIDEON, JEPHTHAH and SAMSON, for example. One was a woman: DEBORAH. This is a striking confirmation of the power of God’s choice, turning weakness into strength, errors into redeeming opportunities– and demonstrating once more that it is God who saves, not the worthiness of power of any human. Still questioning God’s power to save? Still doubting if you yourself can be called by God for His saving work? Pray over it! HOMEWORK #1
HIGHLIGHTS : HUMAN FICKLENESS THE BOOK OF JUDGES captured for a later generation the story of earlier national failure. It was perhaps prompted by the need to give a long historical explanation to the question first asked by Gideon: “If the Lord is with us, why has all these happened?” (Judges 6:13) Some scholars believe this book originated as a long prophetic sermon. Come to think of it: could our own national, communal or personal failures come from our own unfaithfulness to God or our hard-heartedness to do His will? Try to look around you and inside you for answers. HOMEWORK #2.
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