Encyclopaedia Biblica/Prophetic Literature and Prophet and Prophecy

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    • Problems of Prophecy (2).
    • Line of inquiry (3).
    • Prophets in Saul's time (4).
    • Seers, prophets, and priests (5).
    • Elijah: how far historical; origin ( 6).
    • Elijah and Elisha; the Aramaeans (7).
    • Societies of prophets (8).
    • Summary of results (9).
    • Amos and Hosea: origin and historical position (10).
    • Pessimism of eighth century prophets (11).
    • Prophetic teaching; its reception (12). [T. K. C.]
    • Attitude of prophets explained (13). [H.G.]
    • Prophetic consciousness (14).
    • Prophet's god speaks through him (15).
    • Prophet's task (16).
    • Prophet's power of vision (17).
    • Process of revelation (18).
    • Its outward forms
      • vision (19a).
      • [ecstasies (19b).]
      • word (20a).
      • 'Spirit' (20b).
    • Qualifications of prophet (21).
    • 'False' Prophets (22).
    • Criteria of such (23). [P.V.]
    • Really false prophets? Case of Hananiah (24a)
    • Messianic idea (24b).
    • Non-fulfilment of prophecies (25).
    • Jeremiah (26).
    • Ezekiel (27).
    • The last named prophets (28).
    • John the Baptist (29).
  • B. CHRISTIAN PROPHETS (30-33). [J. A. R.]
    • Prophets in the Didache (30).
    • Shepherd of Hermas (31).
    • Other prophets ; Montanism ; later parallels (32).
    • Conclusion ( 33).
    • Introduction (34).
    • Amos (35).
    • Hosea (36).
    • Isaiah (37).
    • Micah (38).
    • Nahum and Habakkuk (39).
    • Zephaniah and Jeremiah ; Scythians or N. Arabians? (40).
    • Jeremiah (continued) (41).
    • Exekiel to Zechariah (42).
  • D. JERAHMEELITE THEORY (43-46). [T. K. C.]
    • Semi-prophetic writers ; Is. 40-66 (43)
    • Other writings - e.g., Joel and Jonah (44).
    • Supplementary parts of Jeremiah (45).
    • How to detect work of supplementers (46).
  • Literature ( 47). [w. R. s. T. K. c.]

1. Hebrew and Greek terms.[edit]

The Hebrew terms with an account of which we must begin are five :

1. N 33, nebi' , 'prophet', nN 33, nebi'ah, 'prophetess', are connected by most with a root meaning in Arabic (cp nab'atun} a rustling sound, and in Assyrian (nabu) 'to call or name' (hence Nebo is sometimes called the 'prophet' among the gods). If this is correct a prophet is primarily either a giver of oracles, or (so, e.g. , Konig, Offenbarungsbegriff, 1:73+} a speaker or spokesman. G. Hoffmann (ZA TW 388 j?;), however, explains nabi' as meaning 'one who utters his words in a loud, violent manner with deep inhalations'. The meaning of 'speaker' at any rate is not in accordance with the earliest accounts that we have of the nebi'im (1 S. 10:5 ; cp 18:10, and the term meshugga , yz&o, 2 K. 9:11, cp MADNESS). But N /N33 [root NB', last letter=aleph] may be another form of rjyi) [root NBA, last letter = ayin], 'to effervesce, to gush', even if we do not follow Ges. in attributing to ^/xnj the sense 'to gush out with words'. An analogous term for prophesying would then be fj BHi 'to drip', Am. 7:16, Mic. 2:6, 2:11, Ezek. 21:2, 21:7 (G. Hoffmann, ZATW 3:119, would connect the primary meaning with the drivel symptomatic of an epileptic fit).

The verbal forms N33, N33nn are denominative (from N 33). In 2 Ch. 9:29, 15:8, Neh. 6:12, nebu'ah, "IN13p, : 'prophecy'. See further Barth, NB, 125 e, Etym. Stud. 16 ; BDB and Ges.-Bu. s.vv. N3J, N>33-

2. *] Ba> mattiph, Mic. 2:11. See above.

3. jntfp, meshugga, EV 'mad fellow', 2 K. 9:11 ; cp Hos. 9:7, Jer. 29:25. 173typ might refer to the rhythmic style of the prophets (cp Ar. saja'a, which, though properly used of a sound like the cooing of the dove, is technically employed of the peculiar rhythmic utterances of the Arabian prophets ; cp the style of the Koran).

4. nih, hozeh, EV 'prophet' in Is. 30:10 (oi TO. opd/aara opooi/Tes [oi ta oramata oroontes]) ; elsewhere 'seer', e.g. 2 S. 24:11, Am. 7:12 (6 opiav [o oron]), 2 Ch. 19:2, 29:30, 35:15 (7rpo<>jjTT)s [prophetes]). In Is. 30:10 '7in = 'to prophesy'. In Mic. 87 Q jn, seers is || to D PPP, diviners, but in Am. 7 12 ."tin, seer," is apparently a synonym of N 33, prophet.

5. HNh, ro'eh, EV 'seer', 1 S. 9:9 ; 1 Ch. 9:22, 29:29 (6 /SAeVui[ [o blepon]), Is. 30:10, 1 Ch. 26:28 and 2 Ch. 16:7, 16:10 (n-po^rjTrjs [prophetes]).

6. irpo<f>riTris [prophetes], -TJTJS [-etis] are the equivalents of N 33 [nebi'], HK 33 [nebi'ah] in LXX, and so Trpotptirfvu = NSJ, while /xdj rts [mantis] = Dpp 1 'diviner' and /xairet o/ucu = con (see DIVINATION). In class. Gk. /xdvns [mantis] is the ecstatic announcer of oracles (cp Aesch. Ag. 1099), and irpo<f>r}Ti}^ [prophetes] their sober-minded interpreter, who makes the dreams, visions, or enigmatic utterances of the frenzied /xavris [mantis] intelligible. See the explanation in Plato, Timaeus, 71-72. Oehler therefore assumes that the primary meaning of Tr/xx/ojTT/s [prophetes], according to LXX was, not a predicter, but one who speaks forth that which he has received from the divine spirit ; cp Ex. 7:1 where even in the Hebrew text Aaron seems to be called a nabi (irpo(priTr)s [prophetes]) because he is the 'mouth' or spokesman of Moses (Ex. 4:16, cp Jer. 15:19). It is true, however, (1) that Trpo<f>riTijf [prophetes] can have the sense of 'predicter', and (2) that Philo (2:321-322, 2:343; cp 1:150-151) describes the mental state of the prophet in terms reminding one of what Plato says of the 'enthusiasm' of the fj.dvTis [mantis] (cp Phaedrus, 2265 ; Ion, 534), but also connecting itself with the prevalent notion of the later Jews, in so far as Philo makes the function of the prophet that of purely mechanical reproduction. W. R. Smith compares Jn. 11:51, and the whole view of revelation presupposed in the Apocalyptic literature.


For the student of religion the phenomena of the higher type of prophecy - such prophecy as we find at any rate in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. possess a singular fascination. We dare not say that there is absolutely nothing to compare with them in the history of other religions, or, to use religious language, that God left himself without witness save in Israel, for there are the records of Zarathustra (Zoroaster) in the Gathas to confute us (see ZOROASTRIANISM). But this at least we may say without fear of contradiction - that a succession 1 of men so absorbed in the 'living God', and at the same time so intensely practical in their aims - i.e., so earnestly bent on promoting the highest national interests - cannot be found in antiquity elsewhere than in Israel.

1 Not, it is true, a continuous succession.

2. Problems of prophecy.[edit]

The problems connected with the prophets, however, - problems partly of a historical, partly of a psychological character - advance but slowly towards a complete solution. When, for instance, did the higher prophecy begin? In Dt. 18:15 we read, 'Yahwe thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like me' ; and in Dt. 34:10, 'There arose not a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom Yahwe knew face to face'. Was Moses really a prophet ? Indeed, can Moses be more than the impersonation of a clan ? If so, what is the truth which underlies (or may underlie) the statement that he was a prophet? (See MOSES.)

There is also the difficult problem as to the relation of the prophetic gift to the physical state of the prophet. Would it be correct to say that the essence of prophecy (in the highest of its forms) consists in a passive, ecstatic state ? This is, of course, not a mere philological question. Whatever the original signification of nabi may be, and whether it is an active or a participial form, must we not, in the words of W. R. Smith, 'seek the true mark of the prophet in something higher than passive ecstasy - in the personal sympathy between himself and Yahwe, by virtue of which the God-sent thought approves itself to him inwardly, and not by external authority ?' Critical exegesis certainly favours this view. It presents the higher Israelitish prophet to us as a man whose life and thoughts are determined by personal fellowship with Yahwe and by intelligent insight into his purpose. No doubt what is personal always rests on a background of the non-personal - a background of merely physical elements which are initially passive under the creative hand of God ; but to deal with these elements is not the function of historical inquiry. 1 One of the chief problems before the student who seeks to go behind the statements of the prophets is, rightly to estimate the relation between the physical and the non-physical elements in the higher prophecy. Nor is this all, so various are the kinds of problems which meet us. We have also to consider the question how the phenomenon of written prophecy is to be accounted for. Budde, for instance, agreeing in this with Kuenen and most scholars, writes thus :- 2

'It must have been their very ill-success, the unbelief of the people, that above all else compelled them to resort to the pen. The great mass of the prophets had no such need, for their words were turned at once to deeds as men obeyed them. But the true prophets, who had no successes in the present to record, transmitted their oracles to posterity that there at least they might awaken a response, or at any rate receive the acknowledgment that their contents were true' [cp Is. 30:8].

But is this a complete explanation? And turning to the earliest of the literary prophets known to us we may ask, How came the 'shepherd of Tekoa' 3 to be such a skilled and almost artistic writer? Who transmitted to Amos the literary tradition on which his own work appears to be based ? Then, beyond this, lies the greater question (cp MOSES, i), how did Amos reach such a lofty idea of God ? To quote from Budde again, -

Surprising in the highest degree, yes, overwhelming is the grandeur of the idea of God which meets us in Amos. It is not [indeed] monotheism, not the belief in one God excluding the existence of all others, but a belief in the unqualified superiority of Yahwe so absolute as to be practically a belief in his omnipotence'. 4

Lastly, there is the problem of the so-called 'false prophets'. Are there two different views of them in the prophetic narratives and discourses ? Or is one of the views merely a development of the other ? These are all questions of more or less complexity, and some of them would not receive precisely the same answer from thorough and consistent critical scholars to-day that they received twenty years ago. If we can succeed in placing some of them in a clearer light, and exhibit some neglected data, our first though not our only object will have been attained.

1 Brit. Quart. Rev., April 1870, p. 330.

2 Religion of Israel to the Exile, 131.

3 We reserve the question as to the true origin of the prophet Amos (see 35).

4 Ibid. 123 ; cp AMOS, 19.

3. Line of inquiry.[edit]

Our course in this article will be as follows :-

A. There is a point in the history of prophecy at which this great religious phenomenon rises - apparently, but surely not really - on a sudden to a higher level. It is necessary to investigate the traditions which relate to the previous period, in order to comprehend and appreciate better the great superiority of the 'higher prophets' of the eighth century. At two important crises - the so-called Philistine and Aramaean wars - prophets play a specially noticeable part ; the traditions respecting this have to be examined ( 4, 6-7). Where was the chief centre of prophecy ? was there a succession, and were there societies, of prophets ( 8)? and who were the 'seers' - how are they related to the prophets ( 5) The results of this first part of the inquiry are not without far-reaching significance, and need careful study. They are connected .with textual criticism, which has too often been narrow and mechanical. But the fact that large bodies of men move slowly requires us to warn the student that here as elsewhere the average opinion of Hebrew scholars is not that which receives here the chief prominence. We then proceed (10) to study the origin and historical position of Amos and his great successors. Their pessimistic preaching and its unpopularity are considered and their attitude is explained (11+). We are now in a position to form a sound view of the phenomena of the consciousness of the higher prophets, whose statements we assume (the right critical course, surely) to be veracious. We can examine what they say or suggest of their power of vision, of the process of revelation, and of its outward forms (14-20). Their qualifications also can now be studied, and the so-called 'false prophets' can be compared and contrasted with them (22-24); a new point of view is also opened for the Messianic idea. The great question of the fulfilment of prophetic vaticinations has next to be considered (25), and so quite naturally we are led to resume (26-28) our historical survey to the end of the period of public prophetic activity.

B. At the end of A (29) we have glanced at John the Baptist ; we now pass on to the phenomena of Christian prophetism (29-33), especially as illustrated by the Didactic (30) and the Shepherd (31) ; historical conclusions are drawn (32-33).

C. We then take a survey of the prophetic literature (first that which we can refer to its authors (35-42), and next the anonymous, 43-45 ; cp 28). Our object here is still rather to supplement what has been said already, in accordance with the most recent work, than to cover the whole ground, and with some hints on the mode of detecting the work (so considerable in amount) of the supplementers of the old prophetic records (46), and references to modern helps (47), the article is brought to a close.

Students who bring a single-minded earnestness to this great inquiry, will not complain of a certain amount of originality in the present article. Where young men are easily contented with inherited solutions of problems, older scholars who have had time to work through the same material again and again, are naturally more exacting, and cannot hesitate to apply new methods in addition to those older ones which we owe to our great predecessors. The textual criticism of the prophetic writings, as well as of many parts of the narrative books on which we have to build in this article does not meet our present requirements, and a mere register of prevalent critical views on the history of prophecy based on a largely traditional criticism of the text would be in the highest degree unsatisfactory . The newer critical methods cannot always lead to perfectly certain conclusions ; but the results are often in a high degree probable, and possibly better worthy of acceptance (as being more manifestly in the direction of the truth) than those which they aim to supersede, and the way in which the manifold decisions hang together is no slight confirmation of their general accuracy.

4. Prophets in Saul's time.[edit]

In an early Samuel-narrative we have an important description of the religious practices of ancient Israelitish nebi'im. The 'seer' Samuel tells Saul that on his homeward journey he will meet a pany of nebi'im coming down from the bamah ( = sanctuary ; see HIGH PLACE) with a lyre, tambourine, flute, and harp before them, while they prophesy (1 S. 10:5). The forecast is fulfilled ; Saul meets the nebi'im ; the spirit of God seizes him and he prophesies. Here the prophesying is a form of religious frenzy, for the 'spirit of God' in this context means a fanatical impulse to do honour to Yahwe by putting aside all the restraints of civil life and social custom, and acting like a madman till physical exhaustion brings the fit of frenzy to an end. A variant of the same tradition (1 S. 19:24) represents Saul in his ecstatic state as stripping off his clothes and lying naked all that day and all that night. 1

There is no tradition attributing such dervish-like experiences either to Moses or (apart from the late passage, 1 S. 19:20) to Samuel ; and some scholars hold 2 that 'prophesying' was unknown to the Israelites till close upon the period when Saul aroused the warlike energies of his people against the 'Philistines', that it made its way among the Israelites from the Canaanites, and that it was purified in its new home from its wildest extravagances at a later day. Against this view it is urged that the passage which is quoted in support of it (1 K. 18:26-29) refers apparently to prophets of the Tyrian - not the Canaanitish - Baal. 3 The present writer is unable to use this argument, for a reason which will appear later (7). Instead of it he would urge that the two external signs of Israelite prophets, at any rate in the time of Ahab, were the hairy mantle (1 K. 19:13, 2 K. 1:8, cp Zech. 13:4) and sacred marks in the forehead (1 K. 20:41). Both these signs point to a N. Arabian origin for the nebi'im. The large mantle ('aba), now commonly worn by the Bedouins, is almost invariably of goats'-hair, whilst the sacred mark on the nabi is most probably a survival of the tribal mark which placed the Kenites under the protection of their tribal god Yahwe. 4 To this it may be added that Elijah, who is evidently brought before us as a typical nabi' of the older period, most probably came from a N. Arabian city in Israelitish occupation - Zarephath (see 6) - and that probably he was accustomed to seek divine oracles outside of Palestine, at Horeb (cp MOSES, 19).

It was certainly an error (cp SAMUEL ii. , 5) to represent Samuel as a director of the exercises of the dervish prophets (1 S. 19:20). 5 This is susceptible of direct proof. For in the early narrative of Saul's meeting with Samuel (1 S. 9-10) the latter is called not nabi 'prophet', but ro'eh 'seer' ; and in 10:5 he clearly distinguishes himself from the nebi'im whom Saul is to meet. It further appears from the narrative (10:11) that the wild behaviour of the prophets was not to every one s taste. For when Saul s old acquaintances saw him yield to the prophetic impulse, they said one to another, 'What has happened to the son of Kish ? Is Saul also among the nebi'im ?' and two or three times 6 we find the 'prophet' (n 3:) called contemptuously a 'madman' (yjB>D). Even if the ecstatic phenomena of prophetism were not always as pronounced as in the case of Saul, the 'hand of Yahwe' certainly did not 'come upon' a prophet (cp 2 K. 3:15) without very striking effects. Scoffers may very naturally have referred to this, especially as the upper class as a rule was by no means responsive to genuine Israelitish religious feeling. No scoffs, however, could prevent the prophets from becoming a recognised sacred element in society, the tendency of which was to bind classes together by a regard for the highest moral and religious traditions. We cannot indeed prove that there was a succession of prophets from the time of Saul onwards. After the rising against the 'Philistines', prophetism, so far as we can judge from the narratives, became a less conspicuous phenomenon. It is true, GAD [q.v. ii] is called a nabi in 1 S. 22:5, 2 S. 24:11, and NATHAN [q.v.] in 2 S. 7:2, 1 K. 1:8 ; and a prophetic discourse is ascribed to Nathan in 2 S. 7:5-16. But Gad's second title - that of 'seer' - is historically much more likely to be correct, whilst the figure of Nathan has too perilous a resemblance to Elijah to be accepted with much confidence ; his name (see below, 6) may indeed be historical, and also his adhesion to the party of Solomon, but beyond this we can hardly venture to go. The name of Ahijah 'the Shilonite' (1 K. 11:29, 14:2, 14:18), who supported the pretensions of Jeroboam b. Nebat, may also be historical ; the particularity of the description of Ahijah is in favour of this view. See 6.

1 The scene of the two narratives is really the same. 'Gibeath-elohim' (1 S. 10:5) and 'Naioth (?) buramah (1 S. 19:19+) have both, we believe, arisen from corruptions of 'Gibeath-Jerahmeel'. 'Ramah', too, where it occurs separately, comes from Jerahmeel. It is altogether an improbable hypothesis that 'Naioth' means a 'coenobium' or cloister. See NAIOTH.

2 So, e.g., Kraetzschmar, Prophet und Seher, 9-10.

3 See AHAH, 3 ; BAAL, 5. That the Baal is Tyrian is the ordinary view, from which, however, Kraetzschmar (pp. cit. 14) dissents. Cp Budde, Religion of Israel, etc., 97, n. i.

4 See CAIN, 5, and cp Stade, ZATW 14:314-315.

5 For 3X3 'standing', which is tautological, we should perhaps read TOD 'directing' (Klo., Bu.), in spite of the lateness of ns:D in usage. nprt^i a """ ^ e 7- which EV renders 'company', and G. Hoffm. and W. R. Smith 'fervour' (see ZATW 3:89), is really a dittogram of nnpVi ar >d should be omitted. See Ges.-Bu., s.v. We do not compare 1 S. 3:20, because nabi is there used in the sense of giver of oracles.

6 2 K. 9:11, Jer. 29:26, Hos. 9:7 (?).

5. Seers, prophets, and priests.[edit]

At this point, it is best to refer back to that early narrative of Samuel in which (1 S. 9:11, 9:18-19) he is so emphatically represented as a ro'eh or 'seer'. The word ro'eh, as here applied, is so rare (three of the passages [see i] - 1 Ch. 9:22, 26:28, 29:29 - are dependent on the narrative before us) that a scribe inserted v. 9 as an explanation. This passage runs, 'Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, " Come, let us go to the seer" ; for he that is now called a prophet (nabi) was formerly called a seer (ro'eh)'. Samuel was probably a priest, 1 and certainly a member of the class of seers (also called hozim, and, as in 1 S. 9:6+ Samuel himself is titled, 'men of God' ) - i.e. , he was one of those persons who, by an exceptional gift, could disclose to individuals at their request secrets of the present and the immediate future - such secrets as those which are mentioned in 1 S. 9:6, 10:2-6. Like diviners, they received fees ; Saul's servant suggests giving a quarter of a shekel to the seer of the unnamed city, 2 whose words, as he assures Saul, invariably come to pass (9:6). There is nothing specially Yahwistic about these clairvoyants ; there were similar persons among the heathen Arabs, and at the present day there are sheikhs in Palestine who can be induced to perform such a service as was to have been asked of Samuel. 3 It was natural that 'seers' should also often be 'diviners'. In Mic. 8:7 'seers' (hozim) and 'diviners' (kosemim} are parallel, and in Nu. 24 Balaam of 'Pethor' (i.e. , REHOBOTH ; see PETHOR) appears as a transformed and glorified 'seer' of the future, though his reputed calling was that of a diviner (Nu. 22:7, 22:18).

May we venture to add that the old 'seers' were absorbed into the class of prophets ? We find two 'seers' (or perhaps rather - see below, 6 - a 'seer') prominently mentioned again in the story of David (Gad, 1 S. 22:5, 2 S. 24:11+; Nathan, 2 S. 7:2+, 12:1+, 1 K. 1:8+) as giving David divine oracles. Afterwards nebi'im seem to take their place (cp the use of nabi in 1 S. 9:9, 28:6). It is conceivable that under David and Solomon more settled conditions favoured a gradual change both in the 'seers' and in the prophets. The story of Samuel in 1 S. 9-10 might be taken as symbolising the widening of the interests of the class of seers, and the story of Ahijah in 1 K. 11:29-31 (see Kittel) as indicating a parallel development of the prophets. Perhaps, however, it is safest not to generalise, at any rate from the story in 1 S. 9-10. There would of course always be 'seers', just as there would always be diviners ; indeed, the seers and diviners would naturally outlive the prophets. So much at least is certain, that we cannot understand the consciousness of the later prophets without assuming that they had a natural gift akin to that of the 'seer' or clairvoyant (cp 17). The prophet was, in fact, in some sense a 'seer' (Is. 30:10) - i.e., he was a foreseer of the future of Israel as determined by God s everlasting laws, both as regards its general character, and sometimes (here a natural gift comes in) as to points of detail. But the prophet differed from the older 'seers' in that all his vision had a direct ethico-religious and national scope, whereas the 'seer's' vision had as a rule a purely secular and personal reference.

1 See 1 S. 1-3, and cp Smend, A T Rel.-gesch.(?) t)2/i

2 Cp the Arabic holwanu-'l-kahin (see Bokhari, 4219). Similar presents were brought to the older prophets (1 K. 14:3), and first-fruits were sometimes paid to a man of God ; but the successors of Amos share his contempt for those who traded on their oracles (Mic. 3:5). W. R. S.

3 Wellh. Heid.<?) 135-136; ZDPV, 1889, p. 202-203

According to Robertson Smith, 1 the widening of the functions of the prophet is 'plainly parallel with the change which occurred under the kings in the position of the priestly oracle ; the Torah of the priests now dealt rather with permanent sacred ordinances than with the giving of new divine counsel for special occasions. Yahwe s ever-present kingship in Israel, which was the chief religious idea brought into prominence by the national revival, demanded a more continuous manifestation of his revealing spirit than was given either by the priestly lot or by the rise of occasional seers ; and where could this be sought except among the prophets? It does not of course follow that every one who had shared in the divine afflatus of prophetic enthusiasm gave forth oracles ; but the prophets as a. class stood nearer than other men to the mysterious workings of Yahwe, and it was in their circle that revelation seemed to have its natural home. A most instructive passage in this respect is 1 K. 22, where we find some four hundred prophets gathered together round the king, and where it is clear that Jehoshaphat was equally convinced, on the one hand that the word of Yahwe could be found among the prophets, and on the other that it was very probable that some, or even the mass, of them might be no better than liars. And here it is to be observed that Micaiah, who proved the true prophet, does not accuse the others of conscious imposture ; he admits that they speak under the influence of a spirit proceeding from Yahwe, but it is a lying spirit sent to deceive' (cp 23).

1 Art. Prophecy, EBW.

2 The meaning of the above is that Isaiah would not have ventured on this bold offer if experience had not assured him that he could perform wonderful deeds. The probability must, however, be admitted that an early disciple of Isaiah glorified his master by exaggerating Isaiah's extraordinary power.

3 Only, it should be observed, as an extreme concession.

6. Elijah - how far historical; his origin.[edit]

The typical seer in the old narratives is Samuel ; the typical prophet is Elijah. Unfortunately it is doubtful how far the striking scenes from the biography of Elijah in 1 K. 17 - 2 K. 2 can be regarded as historical. The subjective character of the narratives, as they now stand, is evident. We need not indeed take exception, on principle, to the wonders which so plentifully besprinkle them. That the prophets represented by Elijah healed the sick is altogether to be expected, nor need we limit them to such wonders, at least if Isaiah, in reliance on his God, really gave king Ahaz, freedom to choose any sign that he pleased (Is. 7:11).2 But the hand of an idealising narrator is plainly to be seen, not only in this or that detail, but also in the whole colouring of the stories. The sublime figure of Elijah, who has some affinity to Moses, has, according to critics, in some respects poetical rather than historical truth.

When, however, Kittel (Kon. in HK 138, 174) is half disposed 3 to allow a sceptic to question the historical character of Elijah and Micaiah altogether on account of the singular appropriateness of their names ( 'Yahwe is my God', 'Who is like Yahwe?' ) to their prophetic work, he is needlessly generous. Eliyyahu and Michayehu are surely nothing more than popular corruptions of 'Jerahmeel', and symbolise the fact that the neba'im, like the leviyyim, were ultimately to a large extent of Jerahmeelite or N. Arabian origin (see MICAH, 1). Another corruption of the same name (Jerahmeel) is probably the name Ahijah, borne by the nabi who encouraged the first Jeroboam, and his residence was very possibly not at the northern Shiloh but at Halusah, a place in the Negeb consecrated by religious tradition, and mentioned, under strange disguises, not unfrequently in the narrative books (see SHILOH, ii.). Very possibly, too, irajfl 13 (gad hannabi) and N 23,T jm (nathan hannabi) - i.e., 'Gad the prophet', and 'Nathan the prophet' - are really corruptions of "alii 13 (gad hannedabi) and 313.1 |n: (nathan hannedabi) - i.e., 'Gad the Nadabite' and 'Nathan the Nadabite'. Or still more probably, 'Gad' may be really a slightly miswritten fragment of nidabi - i.e., Nadabite - so that in 2 S. 24:11, where the text now gives 111 nin N 33.1 13, 'Gad the prophet, David's seer', we should rather read 313.1 1 Hi 'the Nadabite, David's seer', and the real name of the 'seer' spoken of was Nathan, who as a rule is called K 33n i.e., 313.1. J The Nadabites were a N. Arabian clan. 2

There is therefore no extravagance in the view, recommended both by textual conjecture and by historical considerations, that Elijah - and not only he but also Elisha (7) - was a native of Zarephath (see TISHBITE), which appears to have been then the extreme S. limit of the Israelitish dominion. From Zarephath-jerahmeel (miswritten ij;^j 3ETI, 1 K. 17:1) and Rehoboth (miswritten ji 13, if>. 3:5) he is said to have gone to the land of N. Israel to initiate a religious revolution. In this connection we may fitly quote a much-misunderstood passage of Amos (8:14), which should be emended thus, - 'Those who swear by the guilt of Shimron (cp 35), and that say, As thy God, O Dan, lives, and, As thy genius, Beer-sheba, lives'. 3

Whether the prophets represented by Elijah held the same religious position relatively to images of Yahwe as Amos, may be strongly doubted. We quote Am. 8:14 here, not at all to illustrate Elijah's views on images, but to show that the N. Israelites were in the habit of resorting to sanctuaries in the Negeb with which the legendary history of their race was probably connected (cp MOSHS, 17).

The Negeb, in which Horeb or Sinai itself (see SINAI) must have been situated, was the Holy Land of the Israelites ; and it is conceivable that prophets of Zarephath, who had been filled with the spirit of Yahwe in the haunts of Moses, and especially at the most sacred of all mountain-shrines, may have wandered to the centre of N. Israelitish national life, and preached anew the austere doctrine of Moses, - viz., that Yahwe, Israel s God, was a jealous God, who could not tolerate a rival divinity, anil that injustice and the shedding of innocent blood were contrary to his fundamental laws. Unfortunately, fresh problems have lately arisen, which forbid us to speak of these missionary journeyings as assured facts. We shall return to this subject later (18+).

1 We are thus enabled to meet H. P. Smith s sceptical remark on the statement in 1 S. 22:5, that Gad belongs in the later history but not here. The name Gad is due to misunderstanding, whilst the true name, Nathan, comes from Ethan, a N. Arabian clan-name which goes well with Nadabite (cp NETHANEEL). A N. Arabian seer is obviously quite at home in the early history of David.

2 Cp Nadab the Jerahmeelite, 1 Ch. 2:28; Jonadab the Rechabite.

3 See SHIMRON . Another evidence of the predilection of the N. Israelites for N. Arabian sanctuaries is to be found in Am. 5:25 (see SALMA), where the Israelites are distinctly charged with offering sacrifices and offerings to Yahwe in the wilderness of the Arabians. Both Dan and Bethel were in fact most probably in N. Arabia ; it was at Dan, or rather at the neighbouring Bethel, that the golden calf was placed. See SHECHEM ; also Crit. Rib.

4 On the 'four hundred' of 1 K. 2:26, 18:19, 18:22, see 24.

5 In 1 K. 18:4 ,n;v and ,IND together may possibly represent

6 In 1 K. 18:4, 18:13, MT, a strange story is told of Obadiah's hiding a hundred prophets 'by fifty in the cave', and 'feeding them with bread and water'. But cSsVstjjh ar| d C CI CnS are surely both corruptions of Q Sxcrn ; so also perhaps is -KD ( = KOn)> whilst myo > s presumably a place-name - the Mearah (Zarephath ?) of Josh. 134, for though, as the text now stands, Mearah was a Zidonian city, it has been shown (see MEARAH) that the original text must have spoken, not of the Zidonians (G 3T!), but of the Misrites (c tso), and further that 'Mearah' (mys) is probably a corruption of riSIX (Zarephath). We now understand why Obadiah (?) assumes that Elijah knew of his good deed ; Elijah was himself a native of Zarephath (see TISHBITE). We can also detect the true name of Ahab's house- steward ; 'Obadiah' is probably a later writer's transformation of 'Arabi 'Arabian' (cp 28), and we can hardly help admitting that the 'Carmel' - i.e., 'Jerahmeel' - of the original tradition was not the famous headland of that name but some part of the Jerahmeelite highlands. It will be noticed that 'fifty' (n B Crl) in 1 K. 18:4, 18:13 remains unaccounted for. It is probably a corruption of an ethnic name such as Misrim. The prophets were hidden from the fury of Jezebel the daughter of Misrim.

7. Elijah and Elisha; the Aramaeans.[edit]

We have spoken of 'the prophets represented by Elijah', for we can no more believe that Elijah was the only great prophet of Yahwe in the time of Ahab than we can credit the solitariness of the seer Samuel in the time of Saul. Indeed, not only does the independent narrative in 1 K. 22 tell us of Micaiah b. Imlah (and of four hundred 4 [?] more courtly and complaisant prophets of Yahwe who prophesied before Ahab), but the legend of Elijah itself refers to prophets of Yahwe (or Jerahmeel ? 5 ) whom Ahab's house-steward Obadiah ( Arabi ?) hid from the rage of Jezebel in Mearah. 6 Did these prophets, according to an early tradition, come from the Negeb, which then belonged to N. Israel? The probability can hardly be denied; in other words, the Negeb was probably a nursery of prophets as well as of Levites. It is at any rate probable that Elijah and his successor Elisha both came from this great home of early Yahwism ; and the view which makes the Negeb a prophetic centre will be strongly confirmed if we accept the theory that the Arama-ans with whom the kings of Israel contended were not only (or even chiefly) the Syrians but also the Jerahmeelites (sometimes called D lSi.K Arammim). Again and again disputed cities (the 'cities of the Jerahmeelites', 1 S. 30:29) were captured by the Israel ites, 1 and those Israelites who, like Elijah and Elisha, dwelt there were naturally eager for a divine judgment on their implacably hostile kinsfolk. W r hen Elijah had made his complaint to Yahwe at Horeb, what was the divine response ? 'Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Cusham, 2 and when thou comest, anoint Hazael 3 to be king over Aram (Jerahmeel), and Jehu, b. Nimshi (?), to be king over Israel' (1 K. 19:15-16). It is a necessary accompaniment of this view that Jehu, the furious driver, the remorseless shedder of blood, 4 was, like Jeroboam (see JEROBOAM, NADAB), and perhaps Joab (see ZERUIAH), partly of N. Arabian descent (see NIMSHI), and that when he was authorised by a prophet (of his own native town Zephath or Zarephath ?) to seize the crown of Israel, he was engaged in a war with the Arammites - i.e. , the anti-Israelitish section of the Jerahmeelites. This improves the his torical plausibility of the narrative in 1 K. 19. That an Israelitish prophet should have disposed of the crown of Aram-Damascus is no doubt the reverse of probable. But an Israelitish prophet of Zarephath might conceivably have been mixed up with the political affairs of N. Arabia, like Jonah according to the legend (44), and Jeremiah according to his late biographer (40). The confusion between the two Arams, the two Hazaels, the two Jezreels, and perhaps the two Carmels, may have arisen comparatively early, so that the date of the narratives in 2 K. 9 and 10 in their present form need not be thrown into the post-exilic period.

It was, according to most scholars, the addiction of Ahab to the Tyrian Baal-worship that made Elijah (and the prophets whom he influenced?) Ahab's open enemy. In reality, however, we believe, it can be proved (though the proof is doubtless complicated) that the form of religion which Ahab adopted and Elijah opposed was of N. Arabian origin.

1 2 K. 14:28 (a desperate passage according to some !), which should probably run, 'how he recovered Cusham (or less probably, Kidsham) and Maacath-jerahmeel for Israel'. See Crit. Bit.

2 pC 21 has, we believe, not unfrequently supplanted the original reading DCJ13 Cusham ( = Cush), or perhaps sometimes DEHp Kidsham ( = Kadesh).

3 See Schr. A ATM, 207. Possibly there is a confusion between 'Hazael' and Zuhal ( 'brilliant' = Saturn), which would be a very suitable N. Arabian name.

4 There is reason to suspect that the massacre described in 2 K. 10 really occurred at the southern Jezreel (cp col. 3890, n. i), Jehu having been engaged in a war with the southern Arammites or Aramaeans (as maintained above). This only adds one more to the already long list of narratives which have been altered by changes in the geographical setting.

From the N. Arabian border probably came the original nebi'im, and from the very centre of the neighbouring N. Arabian kingdom probably came Ahab s wife Jezebel. The king s choice of a wife was no doubt dictated by political con siderations (it has a parallel in the similar conduct of Solomon); but we must not ascribe the predilection of the Israelites for N. Arabian Baal-worship exclusively to Jezebel. The prophets, as we shall see, are continually rebuking the N. Arabian religious tendencies of their people after the time of Ahab, and these tendencies were so natural that we need not suppose them to have arisen in consequence of Ahab's Misrite alliance.

How far Jezebel is responsible for Ahab's despotic methods (cp 1 K. 21:7+) is also doubtful. At any rate, the court encouraged a form of religion and a method of government which Elijah (and his followers ?) could not sanction. Society appeared to him (or, them ?) to be rotten to the core ; only 7000 (a round number) would escape the sword of divine judgment, and become the kernel of a regenerate people (1 K. 19:18). Elijah himself (outdoing the nebi'im of the time of Saul, who apparently did not actually resort to violence) is said to have slain the 450 prophets of Baal who 'ate at Jezebel's table', with his own hands (1 K. 18:40), and to have pointed to Elisha as the supplementer of the destroying operations of Jehu (1 K. 19:17).

We shall return to the narratives of Micaiah and Elijah in connection with the subject of 'false prophets' (24). We now proceed to the somewhat difficult story in 2 K. 1, relative to Ahaziah s embassy to the sanctuary of Baal-zebub (?), and the stern conduct of Elijah towards the 'captains'. The story belongs to the life of Elijah, but was very possibly edited later. Knowing what we do of Elijah s origin, we can in some important respects correct the traditional acceptation of the narrative. The scene of the original tale must have been the Jerahmeelite highlands. BAAM-ZEBUB (or perhaps rather Baal-zebul) was probably the Baal, not of Ekron (jnpy, partly corrupted, partly altered from "?NCnT, as, e.g. , in 1 S. 5:10), but of Jerahmeel, and the 'mountain' on which Elijah was sitting was Mt. Jerahmeel (in 1 K. 18:19, 18:42 called 'Carmel' ). The Jerahmeelite sanctuaries were favourite places of resort for the Israelites, and Elijah himself haunted the bleak summits in the neighbourhood. It is the biography of Elisha that tells (2 K. 2) how, 'when Yahwe would take up Elijah into heaven', the prophet was dwelling, together with Elisha, at haggilgal (EV Gilgal), whence the two 'went down' to settlements of bne hannebi'im (i.e., members of a prophetic society) at Beth-el 2 and Jericho. Nowhere else does the tradition bring Elijah into contact with other prophets, except indeed when he meets with the man who is to be appointed 3 prophet in his room. The localities mentioned are probably not those which were named in the original story. Elisha, like Elijah, is a prophet of the Negeb ; the present text calls him 'son of Shaphat' (1 K. 19:19), but 'Shaphat', as usual, is a corruption of 'Zephath' - i.e., Zarephath (see SHAPHAT); and Abel-meholah is a distortion of Abel-jerahmeel, which is equivalent to Abel-mizrim, the name of a place on the border of the N. Arabian Musri, where, according to the most probable reading of Gen. 50:11, Joseph made a second mourning for his father. 'Abel-mizrim' is further defined in that passage as being in Arab-jerahmeel. 4 We now see where the Gilgal of 2 K. 2:1 must have been situated. It must have been in the Negeb of Jerahmeel (see. however, GILGAL, 4) ; 'Gilgal', or 'Haggilga'l, is one of the common popular corruptions of Jerahmeel (see SAUL, 6). 'Bethel', too, is not the famous Bethel on the central Palestinian mountain range, but a sanctuary in the Negeb, not improbably the sanctuary of Dan, where the golden calf was (cp PENUEL), while 'Jericho' (inn 1 ) is a corruption of 'Jerahmeel' (^NanT), which is probably an abbreviation of Kadesh-jerahmeel. (We may venture in passing to suppose that in the original tradition Elijah, like his great prototype Moses, disappeared from human sight on a sacred mountain-top ; in fact, Horeb was probably very near Kadesh. 1 ) We thus obtain a confirmation of the theory that the N. Arabian border-land was the true nursery of the nebi'im.

1 Jezebel (? Baalizebel) is called the daughter of Ethbaal (? Tobiel), king of the Zidonians. But c JTS is one of the possible corruptions of DHSO (Misrim), and Elijah's sphere of activity was in the N. Arabian border-land.

2 Cp 1 K. 13:11, where we read of an 'old prophet' who dwelt at Bethel (a southern Bethel ?). He is certainly not the only one in the place.

3 In 1 K. 19:16 (end) read, not MB Srl, but D BTI, 'thou shall appoint'. A metaphorical use of the term 'anoint' is not natural. (See ANOINTING, 36).

  • For -rrn nayn we should undoubtedly read 7KDm 31J/3-

8. Societies of prophets.[edit]

Elijah and Elisha 2 were both men of practical aims ; but Elisha saw something which, according to the extant reports, escaped the attention of Elijah - viz., that an extensive, as well as intensive, influence on the affairs of Israel could be exerted only by well-organised societies of prophets under one head. Where did these societies reside ? To answer this we must refer to the passages in which the phrase bne hannebi'im occurs. These are 1 K. 20:35, 2 K. 2:3, 2:5, 2:7, 2:15, 4:1, 4:38, 5:22, 6:1, 9:1. The first passage relates to a period within the lifetime of Elijah, but has the appearance of being a late insertion (see Kittel); the name of the place from which the prophet came is not mentioned. The passages in 2 K. 2 have been dealt with already ( 7). In 2 K. 4:1 no place is named, but either Gilgal (cp v. 38) or Mt. Carmel (cp v. 25) would seem to be intended ; in v. 38 Gilgal (haggilgal) is expressly mentioned. In 5:22 Mt. Ephraim is referred to as the place from which the young prophets have come. In 6:1 and 9:1 one or another of the principal settlements of the prophetic societies must be meant ; in the former case, the settlement was within easy reach of the Jordan ; in the other, of Ramoth-gilead.

In all these passages or their contexts, however, except the first, corruption of the text may be suspected. In 1 K. 4:25 and 4:38, 'Gilgal' and 'Carmel' are both corruptions of 'Jerahmeel' ; some place in the mountain-region of the Jerahmeelite Negeb 3 is evidently meant. The 'Mt. Ephraim' of 5:22 is surely a corruption of 'Mt. Jerahmeel' 4 (as in Judg. 17:1, 1 S. 1:1). In 6:1+ pTn ( 'the Jordan' ), where the prophets cut down timber, and where the iron was made to swim, is surely an error for SxcnT, 'Jerahmeel' (as in 1 K. 17:5); some place where there was a well-known piece of water must be meant - perhaps Kadesh-jerahmeel. Lastly, 'Ramoth-gilead', where Jehu and his brother-officers were (9:1+) is very possibly an error for 'Jerahmeel', or for some compound place-name into which 'Jerahmeel' entered.

We cannot therefore be certain that there were any settle ments of prophets in N. Israel. It is possible that when the prophets had any mission to discharge in N. Israel, they only remained there as long as was necessary for their work, and that when this had been done they returned to their southern homes. If it was really at the northern Bethel that Amos prophesied against the house of Jeroboam, we misjht quote this as a parallel, for Amos was probably (35) a native, not of Tekoa, but of Kadesh-jerahmeel. Elisha himself is said to have resided specially at Gilgal (2 K. 2:1, 4:38) and Samaria (2 K. 5:3, 6:32 'in his house' ). It is remarkable, however, that nothing is said of his having with him any bne hannebi'im, and that to all appearance he goes to Damascus alone. It may, of course, be said that Elisha (who receives first-fruits [2 K. 4:42] as if a consecrated person) was fenced in by supernatural powers. Still, it is not likely that the original tradition represented either Elijah or Elisha as making such distant journeys alone, for we must take leave to build upon the hypothetical result which we have already reached - that both these great prophets arose on the N. Arabian border - in the so-called Negeb. We have, then, to consider whether 'Damascus' and 'Samaria' may not be due to a misunderstanding. That pc CT (Damascus) in 2 K. 8:7 is miswritten for CC 13 (Cusham) follows from the right emendation of 1 K. 19:15 (see above, 7) ; and when we have realised the existence of a place in the Negeb called !7ics (see SHIMRON), and the frequency with which the geography of the original traditions has been transformed by editors, we cannot help seeing that Shimron is a much more natural place for a prophet of the Negeb to visit than Shomeron (Samaria). 1 Shimron is, in fact, most probably referred to again and again in the Book of Amos.


2 The birth-names of these prophets appear to have been unknown. 'Elijah' as we have seen, comes from Jerahmeeli ; 'Elisha' is also, no doubt, a corruption of an ethnic name, very possibly of Ishma'eli (Ishmaelite).

3 It should be added that Shunem in v. 8 as in 1 S. 284 (see SAUL, 6) has probably come from ESHEAN [y.z .] - i.e., Beer- sheba - and that Baal-shalisha (v. 42) in the original story was a place in the Negeb (cp Gen. 46:10, SHAUL).


9. Summary of results.[edit]

Before summing up our results, we would remind the reader that the only way to solve the most difficult problems of the OT is to keep before us the different possibilities until by a gradual clearing-up of our mental atmosphere one of the possibilities becomes a very strong probability. We have done all that we could to put the facts in a clear light, so that one of two possibilities may be recognised as being in the highest degree probable. The Jerahmeelite Negeb, according to our theory, belonged at this time to the N. Israelites, who made constant pilgrimages to the venerable sanctuaries of this region. It was in the Jerahmeelite mountain-country ( 'Carmel') that Elijah and the prophets of Baal had their contest. Ahab came thither from the Jezreel in the hill-country of Judah, where he had been residing. After the contest both Ahab and Elijah went to Jezreel. Then Elijah went to Beer-sheba, and from Beer-sheba to Horeb. Possibly it was from Horeb that the original Story made the second Moses go up into heaven. Elisha, too, intervened in public affairs as a prophet of the Negeb. It was a N. Arabian and a half-Jerahmeelite whom he singled out (as Samuel singled out Saul, and Ahijah chose Jeroboam) to be kings of Aram (Jerahmeel) and Israel respectively ; and his traditional haunts (with the exception of Dothan, 2 K. 6:13) can all, by emendation of the text or otherwise, be identified with places in the Negeb. There is no reason to deny that the story of Elijah and Elisha in this revised form has some basis of fact, though it is possible that, even in what we suppose to have been the original form of the narratives, the interests of the prophetic order led to some unhistoric fictions and exaggerations.

Two of the most interesting passages for the comprehension of prophecy as it really was in the ninth century are 2 K. 3:15 and 4:23. The former passage runs, And now bring me a minstrel. In fact, so it was, that as often as a minstrel played, the hand of Yahwe came upon him. We see from this that a prophet like Elisha still needed artificial stimulants to bring about the psychic condition necessary for the prophetic impulse. The latter passage runs, 'And he said, Why dost thou go to him to day? It is neither new moon nor sabbath'. It was usual then to select a specially sacred day for a visit to a prophet, who was presumably to be met with at or near some sanctuary. (See NEW MOON, 1.)

1 Cp 2 K. 2:23, 2:25, from which it appears that the places called in our text Jericho, Bethel, Mt. Carmel, and Samaria were within an easy distance of each other. The names should probably be Rehoboth, Bethel ( = Dan), Mt. Jerahmeel, and Shimron, all places in the Negeb.

2 'Come to Bethel and transgress ; to Haggilgal (Jerahmeel), and transgress abundantly . . . for these practices ye love, O sons of Israel'.

10. Amos and Hosea; historical position.[edit]

It is natural to turn now to the singular narrative in the Book of Amos (7:10-17). The passage has been treated already (AMOS); but it is necessary to return to it in this connection. Plain misunderstandings have led to corruptions of the text in other parts of the book, and it is likely that this has been the case also here. That Amaziah the priest of Bethel was the antagonist of Amos, is indeed a fact beyond dispute. A misunderstanding there has certainly been, but it has not affected the reading of the text. The error has lain in supposing that the Bethel to the N. of Jerusalem on the road to Shechem is meant ; in reality, we believe, it was the southern Bethel, which probably contained the sanctuary of the 'golden calf', and was close to Dan ( = Halusah?). Here a prophet would meet not only with the Israelites of the Negeb but also with representatives of N. Israel, such as those whom he addresses with keenest irony in 4:4-5. {2} We have, in fact, no sure evidence that Amos ever left the Negeb.

Amos himself was 'of Cusham-jerahmeel', according to a very probable correction of obscure and doubtful words in 7:14-15. We shall have to return to this subject in treating of the growth of prophetic literature (35). Suffice it to add here that this result (see 36, for a similar result as to Hosea) increases our suspicion that, according to the original tradition, Elijah, or the prophets whom Elijah s grandly poetic figure represents, never really left the Negeb. If so, we may justly ask, Was not the want of high-minded prophets living and working in N. Israel one of the chief causes of the moral decadence of the people !

Amos and Hosea mark a turning-point in the history of prophecy. Till Amos, prophecy was optimist - even Elijah, if he denounced the destruction of a dynasty and the annihilation of all who had bowed the knee to Baal, never doubted of the future of the nation when only the faithful remained ; but the new prophecy is pessimist - it knows that Israel is rotten to the core, and that the whole fabric of society must be dissolved before reconstruction is possible. And this it knows, not by a mere ethical judgment on the visible state of society, but because it has read Yahwe s secret written in the signs of the time and knows that he has con demned his people. To the mass these signs are un intelligible, because they deem it impossible that Yahwe should utterly cast off his chosen nation ; but to those who know his absolute righteousness, and confront it with the people s sin, the impending approach of the Assyrian can have only one meaning and can point to only one issue, viz. , the total ruin of the nation which has denied its divine head. It is sometimes proposed to view the canonical prophets as simple preachers of righteousness ; their predictions of woe, we are told, are conditional, and tell what Israel must suffer if it does not repent. But this is an incomplete view ; the peculiarity of their position is that they know that Israel as it exists is beyond repentance. l

1 WRS 'Prophecy', Ency. Brit.<*\

2 SBOT Isa. (Heb.), p. no, 1. 16. The view that ch. 1 came from Isaiah's pen in something like its present form seems untenable. See Intr. Is. on ch. 1.

3 Even without a complete textual criticism of the whole passage, the improbability of the closing words in MT (see RV's rendering, which, however, wrongly inserts 'so', as if a part of the text) 'is very manifest' (see Hackmann, Die Zukunftserwartung des Jesaia, 72, n. 2).

11. Pessimism of 8th cent. prophets.[edit]

It would be delightful to be able to add that, even when they feared the worst, Amos and Hosea still preserved an earnest faith in the future of their people. Consistent criticism, however, does not permit us to hold this to have been the case (see AMOS, 17, HOSEA, 8) ; and even if we are startled at the result, we cannot deny the grandeur of the men who could live noble lives supported solely by the thought of the unique reality of God. Their inspiring thought seems to have been this, - Let even Israel disappear, so long as Yahwe's righteousness is proved.

Nor can it by any means be regarded as certain that Isaiah modified the stern message of his predecessors so far as to allow room for the salvation of a remnant. He does indeed once appear to entertain the possibility of a national regeneration after the impure elements in the body politic have been removed ; but it seems a hopeless task to recover any of the utterances of the prophet on which the present text of 12-26 is based, 2 and we cannot feel perfectly sure that 1:25-26 expresses his real anticipation at any time. At any rate, in the oracle grafted upon his inaugural vision (6:9-13) Isaiah holds out no prospect for the people but destruction, 3 and his final prophecy closes with the words, 'This iniquity will not be expiated for you till ye die' (22:14 ; see Intr. Is. ).

The traditional name of his son 'Shear-jashub' has indeed been thought to be a proof of an at least temporary belief in a 'remnant' ; but it is not at all certain that this reading of the name is correct ; it neither fits in well with the context, nor suits the analogy of the equally traditional name in Is. 8:3.

Nor is Isaiah's younger contemporary Micah any more cheering in his description of the future. The closing utterance of his genuine prophecy (1-3) announces the desolation of Jerusalem (including the temple) as the centre of all the corruption which spread through the people of Judah (see MICAH [BOOK]). We may admit that a ray of hope may now and then have visited even these notable pessimists ; but Giesebrecht (Berufsbegabung, 8:2+.) makes too much of this possibility through his excessive confidence in the strict authenticity of passages like Am. 5:4, 6:14-15, 6:24, Hos. 2:7, 2:16. It is probable that even the first editors of the early prophetic writings (disciples of the prophets?) sought to blunt the edge of too keen denunciations, and certain that exilic and post-exilic editors went to great lengths in neutralising the vehemence of such denunciations by inserting very positive assurances of happiness to a regenerate people of Israel (cp ISAIAH i. , 2).

T. K. C. ( 1-11).

12. Prophetic teaching; its reception.[edit]

The frank utterance of their convictions by the prophets caused great excitement, and their relations with the mass of the people became very strained (Am. 7:10+). For in prophets and people two conflicting conceptions of God were at work. In the popular opinion Yahwe was the national God whose honour was inseparably bound up with the continued existence of Israel ; the prophets on the other hand ranked the ethical and the spiritual elements in the idea of God above all besides, so that in their view Yahwe's connection with the nation of Israel was only one out of the many means by which he could carry out his wise purposes.

It would be incorrect, however, to suppose that Amos and Hosea, as the earliest of these prophets, were the originators of the spiritual conception of God in Israel. They themselves declare that the God who sends them has long been known to Israel (Am. 2:9-10, 3:1, Hos. 11:1). It is, according to them, not Yahwe but Israel that has changed ; it is Israel therefore who must return. They charge the people in the first instance, not with the worship of foreign deities, but with neglect of the law and order that have been established in the name and under the protection of Yahwe, and with observing the still surviving heathenish worship and superstitions of Canaan. They count it a sin that Israel values a heathenish civilisation more than the true knowledge of Yahwe and obedience to his will. Accordingly, they undertake to recall the people to the duty which it long ago assumed, and they point out the choice which lies before it : heathen life and, with it, ruin, or cleaving to Yahwe and consequent national stability.

It cannot indeed be denied that the prophets put Israel's duty on a higher plane than it had hitherto occupied, and to many of their contemporaries the whole region of thought in which Amos and Hosea moved may well have seemed new and strange. The real novelty, however, consisted, not in any hitherto unheard- of doctrine as to the being or will of Yahwe, but in their uniform adoption of the spiritual conception of God as their standard in estimating the attitude of the people towards Yahwe. Before them no one had thought of applying this standard with the same rigour and breadth ; and the more they themselves applied it, the more powerfully did the true Israelite conception of God shine out, purified in their own inner being.

Is there any evidence for a similar effulgence of the noble metal from amidst the dross of popular belief in the older period ? There is not ; but we must unfor tunately confess that we have no such means of repro ducing the individual Israelite s inner world during that period as we possess in the case of the prophets of the eighth and seventh centuries whose writings are still extant. This, however, at any rate we do know - that from the earlier age the great conception of the peerlessness of Yahwe among the gods had come down to the prophets, so that it was now possible to conceive of Yahwe as the mighty ruler of the world and the controller of its destinies.

The recognition of Yahwe's importance was promoted by the fact that from about 1000 to about 750 B.C. united Israel was the strongest people in Syria, that even Egypt was unable to break its power ; and equally propitious was the violent reaction called forth in the eighth century within Israel itself by the conduct of kings like Ahab. That conduct had no doubt its political grounds. Ahab s object was to develop relations of friendship between Israel and the neighbouring heathen nations. Elijah, Elisha, and the guilds of prophets under their influence were opposed to this policy. They had points of contact with the Nazirites and Rechabites, and a similar affinity may be traced between these champions of the original Israelite type of piety and the prophets of the eighth and seventh centuries. 1 It is true, the prophets did not share the repugnance of the ascetics to accepting the good things of civilisation ; but they were quite as much bent on extirpating the heathenish element from Israelitish life. Elijah's zeal for Yahwe, which Jehu turned to account in drastic style for the establishment of his own dynasty (2 K. 10:1-28), revived, but in another form. To banish the Tyrian Baal 2 from the territory of Israel was no longer needed ; it was now much more important to combat the dangerous opinion that Yahwe himself was only to be worshipped like one of the Elohim. Is Yahwe to be thought of in the heathen or in the Hebrew manner? That was the point on which the prophets of the eighth and seventh centuries wished to instruct their contemporaries. The old antitheses remained ; but they had become subtler and were more profoundly apprehended.

13. Attitude of prophets.[edit]

From the dogmatic point of view one might feel surprise that men like Amos did not begin with the sentence, 'There is no God but Yahwe'. These prophets, however, clearly did not regard it as their vocation to give instruction in doctrines. Thoroughly penetrated with a sense of the unique greatness and power of Yahwe, they exhorted the people to fear Yahwe, to follow his precepts, and to put their trust in him. It was precisely in this that they maintained continuity with the exponents of the religion of Israel in preceding centuries, who also never doubted Yahwe's sovereign power, as not only Elijah and Elisha, but also the narratives of the Yahwist and still more of the Elohist, abundantly show. The question whether besides Yahwe there are or are not other gods, did not come to the front. What the prophets contended for primarily was the holy law and the morality in which from ancient times the will of Yahwe, Israel's God, had been distinctly made known (Am. 5:15, 5:24, Hos. 8:11-12, Is. 1:10-17, Mic.6:6-8). Elijah himself had already recognised this as the task assigned to him (1 K. 21).

The prophets now referred to were not politicians in any strict sense of the word. We know of no instance in which, like Ahijah (in the case of Jeroboam I.) or Elisha (in the case of Jehu), they brought about a change of dynasty in Yahwe s name. They expressed their mind, from the religious point of view, as to what had happened or was about to happen, and also (e.g. Isaiah) claimed to be consulted in political affairs. What they professed to do here, however, was not to give political counsel, but to exhort, to predict ; and their predictions and exhortations were of no service to politicians, presupposing as they did the conviction that God alone is to be recognised as the maker of history. For the kings of Israel and the politicians in general (to whom they were mostly op posed) the prophets were very embarrassing persons. By the prophetic utterances adverse to the policy of the rulers they inevitably weakened the popular confidence in the government. The position was complicated by the fact that there were prophets equally claiming to speak for Yahwe, who said the contrary of what was said by those whom we generally call the higher prophets, but who called themselves the true prophets of Yahwe (see 14).

[We cannot rightly estimate the lower prophecy, until we have more systematically studied the phenomena of the higher. We therefore proceed to take a survey of the phenomena of the prophetic consciousness, not losing ourselves in a superabundant mass of details, but selecting such as throw most light on the difficult subject before us.]

1 Cp Buckle, 'Das nomadische Ideal im AT' in Preuss. Jahrbb., Bd. 85 (1896), Hft. 157^, and in New World, Dec. 1895.

2 [According to the ordinary view. But cp 7.)

H. G. (12-13)

14. Prophetic conciousness.[edit]

What is it, then, that the persons whom their contemporaries, and doubtless for the most part themselves (see Hos. 9:8 [?], Is. 8:3, but cp Am. 7:14), called nebi'im, have to tell us respecting consciousness, their inner expenence?

First of all, they declare that their office was not of their own choosing ; it was Yahwe who 'took' them (Am. 7:14-15). In more than one case they describe the precise moment at which they first became aware of their prophetic vocation ; it was a moment at which, as they express it, they saw God and received their com mission from his own mouth (Is. 6, Jer. 1, Ezek. 2 ; cp Paul in Gal. 1 ). This final vision is of course but the latest phase in a long process. What the soul of the prophet in the first instance begins to experience is God's drawing it towards himself; emotion is powerfully quickened thereby, and in the vision that ensues it becomes objectively clear and certain to the prophet that the drawing and the emotion of which he was conscious are from Yahwe, and their meaning is made plain. The attitude of the prophet towards this call varies in each case according to individual idiosyncrasy. A straightforward, direct, and simple nature like that of Amos feels himself taken from following the flock l (Am. 7:15), quickly rises up and sets forth to carry out Yahwe's command. In Isaiah's case a voluntary and free human resolution goes along with the divine calling ; Jeremiah is overmastered only by force (16; cp the reluctance of Moses in Ex. 4:10+), and subsequently we find him complaining bitterly of the vocation that has been thrust upon him and wishing to withdraw from it (9:1, 11:10, 20:7+) ; he curses his day (20:14+), reproaches Yahwe with having beguiled him and with continually renewing the slavery from which he cannot get free (20:7+). Ezekiel after his call feels as if he had been smitten to the ground by a mighty blow, and in the agitation of his spirit he sits silent and astonied for seven days (3:14+). It is precisely in the compulsory character of the prophetic vocation that we are to seek the proof of its divine origin. The prophets assurance of their divine mission is shown in their fidelity to it, even to death and martyrdom, if need be, and in the sharp distinction which they draw between themselves and the so-called 'false' prophets.

1 [It is only the proximity of a passage which is clearly corrupt (Am. 7:14) that may perhaps make the text of Am. 7:15 appear uncertain. See 35.]

15. Prophet's God speaks through him.[edit]

In the next place, the prophet gives forth only that which Yahwe has spoken to him. He utters nothing of his own motion, but feels himself to be wholly the instrument of God (Jer. 1:7, cp Ex. 4:15-16, with 7:1). Yahwe speaks with the prophet ; the prophet stands in the council of God and hears his word (Jer. 23:18, Ezek. 3:4) ; Yahwe tells him or shows him his purpose beforehand (Am. 3:7, 7:1, Is. 18:4) ; he touches his mouth and put his words into it (Jer. 1:9, Dt. 18:18) ; the prophet eats them (Jer. 15:16, Ezek. 2:8+). Yahwe opens the prophet's mouth (Ezek. 3:27), answers his questions ( Hab. 2:1+), fills him with the fury and indignation of Yahwe (Jer. 6:11, 15:17). The prophet for his part faithfully speaks all the words that Yahwe commands, keeping back nothing (Jer. 26:2). So completely does the prophet refer his utterances to Yahwe as their only source, that he frequently represents Yahwe as being himself the speaker.

Let us note the consequence of this. The truth of the words of the prophet is to him absolutely certain because they are the words of Yahwe (Am. 4:2, Hos. 5:9, Is. 17:24+. Jer. 1:11-12, Ezek. 12:28) ; even when there is delay he doubts not (Hab. 2:3). It is not the fulfilment that first gives the prophet faith in his message ; the message carries its certainty in itself. l Nay, more ; the prophetic word has an inherent energy ; it works like a curse or a blessing, which, according to ancient ideas, had the power of bringing divine forces into operation (cp BLESSINGS AND CURSINGS). Thus, the woe which the prophet pronounces in the name of Yahwe works the woe of Israel (Zech. 1:6). Hence, if the text is right, Hosea (6:5) says that Yahwe 'hews' or 'slays 'by the prophets ; they are, so to speak, like implements in Yahwe's hand ; kingdoms are pulled down and set up by their means (Jer. 1:10). The word of Yahwe does not return to him void (Is. 55:11) ; his word is as fire and as a hammer (Jer. 23:29, 5:14).

16. Prophet's task.[edit]

The equipment for the prophetic vocation corresponds to the task involved in it. The task is at once general and special.

(1) The prophets are in the first place in a general sense, like other personalities, organs of revelation, or rather of education, whose function it is partly to awaken in other men the power of discerning God, partly to give an example in themselves of fellow ship with God. For this vocation God trains his prophet by intimate communion with himself - for example, by constant warnings keeping him close beside him (Is. 8:11-12).

(2) On special occasions the organs of revelation have a special task. The task of the prophet is to declare the divine purpose to the people beforehand. And if we would know more particularly what the prophet s dis tinctive mission is, we must give close attention to the classical formula for the prophetic utterances. This formula did not run, 'If you do this or that, then this or that will come upon you' ; it is, 'Woe unto you who have done thus and thus' (Jer. 5:8+), or 'Hear this word, ye that have done thus and thus ; verily the judgment of Yahwe shall come upon you' (Am. 4:1+). The prophetic utterance is thus, at least in the classical period, apodictical not hypothetical ; a feature which we find again in the formula of the preaching of Jesus (Mt. 4:17). True, Yahwe can at any time withdraw the judgment he has decreed, and his threatenings are sometimes uttered for the purpose of bringing about the repentance of the people, and thereby also an alteration in his plan (e.g. , Jer. 18:7+); but the prophets are not primarily preachers of repentance, as is seen clearly enough in their predictions respecting foreign nations ; rather they are announcers of the advent of Yahwe, - it may be for wrath, or it may be for salvation. The prophet may best be compared to a watchman who from his high tower (cp Hab. 2:1) sees the approaching storm and calls out, 'Alas, it comes', so that any who will may seek shelter while yet there is time.

If now this is the task of the prophet - to declare beforehand the purpose of God - his gift must be that of foreseeing the future. The prophets are seers on a grand scale. They do not utter merely general predictions ; they also give particular details (the instruments of the judgment and the manner of it, time and place of punishment, name of the liberator, etc. ), and prophecies concerning individuals. As if by a sudden inspiration, they are able to declare to individual men their fate (Am. 7:16-17).2

1 Jer. 28:9 (cp Dt. 18:21-22) is a later correction of the earlier theory. Cp 25.

2 [Perhaps this passage should be taken in connection with Am. 5:27 (see SALMA) ; Amaziah is a representative of his people.]

17. Prophet's power of vision.[edit]

How are we to regard the peculiar power of vision possessed by the prophets? It is not entirely to be explained from their religious and moral discernment - that is put out of the question by the manifold details of the prophecies ; neither yet is it to be wholly attributed to 'divine inspiration' - that is excluded by the vacillations and illusions of the prophets. The truth is that the human and the divine lie close together. In many cases, doubtless, a prophet possessed a natural faculty of presentiment or semi-conscious discernment (Ahnung), which became intensified both by intercourse with the supersensuous world and by constant occupation with the affairs and occurrences of the time. Thus the familiar converse svhich Yahwe vouchsafed to the prophet enabled him to form a correct judgment as to the character of the people (Ezek. 2:3+) and its public institutions, gave him clearness of vision for the history of the past (Jer. 3:6+, Ezek. 1:6), a sound understanding for the signs of the times and for the purposes of the divine governor of the world. The ideal experienced by himself, in advance of his time, in his intimate fellowship with Yahwe, he anticipated for the whole community in the future, and thus made it the subject of prophetic promise (cp Jer. 31:31+). By this, however, we are still far from having explained all general and special predictions. Can they be explained without passing out of the region of philosophical theory? Without denying the existence of a background of physical elements, may we not believe that God really made confidential disclosures to the prophets concerning the future ?

Let us endeavour to throw light on the matter by going as far back as we can in the historical process of revelation in the OT documents. In Exodus Yahwe made known his jealous exclusion of rival divinities through Moses : 'thou shall have no other gods before (or, beside) me'. This was the first stage ; the religion of Yahwe is already exclusive, but is not as yet ethical. It was through the prophets in the centuries immediately before the exile that the God of Israel revealed his ethical character, and the unchanging character of his historical manifestation. The first, his ethical character, he made known by the prophetic announcement of judgment; for in this threatening the demand for higher principles than those current among the people of Israel was unmistakably expressed. The second, his oneness in history, he showed by announcing the judgment beforehand ; for when the prophecy found its fulfilment, it was a proof that it had been so ordered by God, and that the God of the present was identical with the God of the past. This then is the reason why we assume that God disclosed future events to the prophets - viz. , that he thus made himself universally known as the maker of history. The justice of this observation is shown by Is. 40+; for the Second Isaiah, the great teacher of monotheism, finds one of his proofs for the uniqueness of Yahwe in this - that he has declared the things that are to come, which was beyond the range of the pretended gods (41:26, 43:9-10, 44:7-8, 45:21, etc.). In this sense the prophets themselves are 'signs and portents in Israel' (Is. 8:18 ; cp Ezek. 24:24-27.)

1 [The 'demonic power' of revelation is strikingly shown in the story of Balaam, who is at once a 'seer' of Yahwe and a prophet (MOSES, 17). 'Rise up, go with them ; but yet the word that I shall say to thee, that shall thou do' (Nu. 22:20). Am. 3:8 may also be quoted, but does the traditional reading, N3r vh D (EV 'who can but prophesy?' ), suit the context? The blowing of the trumpets, the roaring of the lion, the speaking of the Lord Yahwe - all mean the same thing - viz., the utterance of a prophetic oracle, the consequence of which must be general alarm. For N33 Wellh. would read "HIV 'tremble'. It is easier to read 3XD , 'feel pain' (see AMOS ; 19, end).]

18. Process of revelation.[edit]

The process of revelation itself is obscure,

1. The prophet himself is helpless. He cannot constrain the revelation to come by means of ecstasy or the like ; it comes upon him as a demonic power (Am. 3:8); {1} the hand of Yahwe overpowers him when Yahwe speaks with him (Is. 8:11, Ezek. 1:3). The prophet is 'like a drunken man, and like one whom wine has overcome, because of Yahwe, and because of his holy words' (Jer. 23:9). He must speak, even when he will not and what he will not ; Yahwe is even said to 'deceive' him into speaking (Ezek. 14:9). Vainly does he struggle to 'hold in the fury of Yahwe' (Jer. 6:11) ; when he would fain be silent, the word burns within him until he speaks (Jer. 20:9); with floods of tears he grieves over the judgment which he is impelled to announce (9:1 [8:23]). On the other hand, he cannot always speak. There come for the prophet times of silence (Ezek. 3:24+; 2:4+) when he may not answer the questions of the people (Ezek. 14:18+). When Yahwe does not will it, there can be no revelation (Am. 8:11-12, Lam. 2:9, Ezek. 14:3, 20:3) ; the prophet must take his stand upon his watchtower until Yahwe makes answer (Hab. 2:1, Jer. 42:47)

2. Nevertheless, the special revelations must not be regarded apart from the permanent mysterious relation in which the prophet stands with Yahwe. The prophet not only has the consciousness that Yahwe speaks with him in order to give him ever new communications and commands ; he knows also that Yahwe has ever been drawing him - it may be even from childhood - into increasingly intimate communion with himself (Jer. 23:18). The prophet is a 'homo religiosus' in an eminent degree ; in its more solemn moments his life reaches far into the supersensuous world whose shapes he sees, whose tones he hears. He belongs to God (Jer. 15:16) and God belongs to him in a peculiar manner. Yahwe is his protector (Jer. 20:11, etc.), his friend (Is. 5:1, 7:13), who allows himself to be influenced by the prophet (Am. 7:2+), and the prophet for his part lives upon the word of Yahwe (Jer. 15:16), and embraces him, as it were, with his prayer (Jer. 17:14+). What he does, he does at Yahwe's command (marriage, Hos. 1:2-3; naming of children, Is. 8:3 ; symbolical acts) ; so far as the people resist him, this has been of Yahwe's ordering (Is. 6:9-10, Jer. 7:27, Ezek. 33:30+). In this close intercourse between the prophet and Yahwe, the initiative and predominant part belongs to Yahwe. There is something exhausting in it for the prophet ; Yahwe's is the stronger hand (Is. 8:11), and his dealings with the prophet isolate him from the world and from society (Jer. 1:18, 15:17). Thus the prophet produces on his contemporaries the impression that he is mad (Hos. 9:7, Jer. 23:9, 29:26-27). More and more, as this intercourse proceeds, the soul of the prophet merges itself in God ; he attains moments of exaltation in which God comes specially near to him, and the divine will becomes specially clear.

19. Its outward forms.[edit]

The outward forms in which revelation comes are two : vision and word.

a. Visions.[edit]

i. The vision is akin to the parable, and appears as a lesson in the art of realising a divine revelation objectively. We are guided to a better comprehension of it by . 18, where God directs the prophet to watch a potter at his work, and thus to interpret to himself God s mode of dealing with men. Either a given visual object gives rise to the corresponding idea, or the idea after much pondering comes at last to receive its plastic representation. (In this connection note the archaic term hazon for 'revelation', even for 'revelation' by words : Is. 1:1, etc. ; cp Jer. 14:14. ) Allied to the vision are the symbolical experience (cp Hos. 1, Jer. 32:6+) and the symbolical action : the experience to the former kind of vision, the action to the latter. Prophetic vision is not a mere literary form or imaginative creation, but a real occurrence ; we have no reason to doubt that the prophets actually had visions. The visions do not by any means always presuppose ecstasy. On the contrary, they can be seen and experienced by the prophet in full consciousness ; indeed, in the classical period of prophecy ecstasy is very seldom so much as mentioned, and the abnormal physical conditions referred to in Ezekiel are by no means characteristic of the prophetic nature. The visions should, doubtless, receive a purely psychological explanation ; for though the divine dis closures were made to the prophets through visions, these were still only the human form of the divine com munication. The so-called false prophets also had their visions.

P. V. ( 14-19a).

b. Ecstasies.[edit]

[The relation of ecstasies to visions needs some further consideration. It was characteristic of heathen /jLavrda [manteia] that it was associated with a state of suspended consciousness in a word, with ecstasy. As we have already seen, critical exegesis does not favour the view that the higher prophets considered such states the necessary guarantee of a divine revelation. Still, these prophets certainly had them. Jeremiah (15:17) uses the same expression 1 as Isaiah (Is. 8:11) for 'the force with which the divinely produced ecstasy seizes the human medium of the divine word'. In the third of the oracles of Balaam, too, an unknown writer of a prophetic school makes the transformed soothsayer use this language (Num. 24:3b)-

The oracle of Halaam the son of Beor,
The oracle of the man whose eye is closed. 2

The eye of a man in an ecstasy is, of course, 'closed' to the outer world. The following lines give the other side of the picture (v. 4 ; cp v. 16) :

The oracle of him who bears divine words,
[And knows the knowledge of the Most High,]
Who sees the vision of Shaddai ( !),
Falling down, and having his eyes open.

The 'eyes' here are those of the inner man ; 'falling down' describes the effect of the divine impulse (Is. 8:11); LXX, paraphrasing, substitutes 'in sleep' (ev virvtf). Another instructive passage is Nu. 12:6 [J]

'If there is a prophet among you, 3 I make myself known to him in a vision, I speak with him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so ; he is faithful in all my house : with him do I speak mouth to mouth, manifestly, 4 and not in riddles, and the form of Yahwe does he behold'.

Here visions and dreams (cp DIVINATION, 2, vi. ) are regarded as the ordinary forms of prophetic revelation ; disparagement of dreams as a vehicle of divine communications, such as arose in consequence of the abuse of them by the lower or 'false' prophets, had not yet begun. In contrast with the ordinary prophets, Moses enjoys the specific dignity of holding immediate intercourse with God. This is important as showing the aspirations of the best men ; a higher ideal of prophecy corresponded to the loftier conception of God which was emerging in their consciousness. The frenzied dervish-prophets of Saul s time could not satisfy an age of higher religious culture. The prophets of the eighth and seventh centuries speak but little of their ecstasies and visions, with the single exception of Amos, who stands nearer than the others to the time of the ecstatic nebi'im. It is also worth noticing that formulas implying that the prophet has heard Yahwe speaking to him or, as Tholuck expresses it, has had phonetic oracles (CN: and > nsj< ns), are comparatively rare in the older prophets, whereas from Jeremiah's time onwards they become extremely frequent. This frequency may perhaps be accounted for by the necessity of opposing the 'false prophets', but no such explanation can be given of the strange frequency of ecstasies in the life of the last of the great prophets - Ezekiel. Three times he tells us that he saw with the inner eye the glory of Yahwe (1:1+, 3:22+, 40:1+); five times besides he refers to ecstasies (8:1+, 11:1+, 24:1-2, 33:22, 37:1+), and on some of these occasions (8:16, ll:13, 24:1) it is apparently implied that Ezekiel saw what took place at a distance. 1 It is not for this, however, that this prophet deserves to be remembered, but for his high moral character. Later writers may have vied with him in ecstasies and visions ; but none of them was his match as a preacher of righteousness. One of them, according to some recent critics, 2 has given us (see Is. 21:1-10) a faithful description of the process by which, in the ecstatic state, a revelation came into existence within the seer (not, strictly speaking, the prophet). This, however, is too adventurous ; in few passages of the Book of Isaiah is the text more open to suspicion than in this (see Crit. Bib. ). To theorise on an unrevised text of Is. 21:1-10 is to make bricks without straw.

On ecstasies see, further, Tholuck, Die Propheten, 49-74 ; Giesebrecht, Berufsbegabung, 38-72. On the trances and visions of Hindu devotees see New World, 9464, where the effect of mental suggestion in determining the form of visions is pointed out. ]

T. K. C. ( 19b).

1 I sat alone because of thy hand, for thou hadst filled me with indignation. On the passage referred to, see Duhm's note.

2 J yn ens , a phrase of doubtful meaning ; Dillm. virtually reads Cf\V, LXX, however, renders 6 dA^Ou/is opiav, and Onk. in TSEH, deriving CT\V from V (=~\WK) and DJJ; so, also, strangely, We. C7/C 2 ) 112.

3 Read C33 N ;: DN(Di., etc.).

4 Read njnD3 (Sam., LXX, Pesh., Onk. ; Di., and others).

20. Method of Revelation.[edit]

a. Word.[edit]

Revelation by word is not verbal inspiration ; it is dependent on the human (religious, ethical, aesthetical) individuality of the prophet. Each prophet took up that which Yahwe said to him ( 'thus saith Yahwe' ; 'oracle [ne'um] of Yahwe' ), and gave it shape and utterance according to his own individuality. Whatever knowledge forces itself upon the prophet he traces back to Yahwe ; its compelling force makes him believe that it is Yahwe who suggests the words. Sometimes, indeed, he requires a later confirmation, in order that he may be assured of the divine origin of what he has received ; cp Jer. 32:6+. The emphatic clearness with which these intuitive pieces of knowledge emerge in the prophet's consciousness absolutely separates them from the category of dreams and hallucinations (Jer. 23:28) ; for the prophet, however, the first proof of the divineness of his utterances lies not in the form in which they have been revealed, but in their substance (Jer. 23:29, Mic. 3:8). The prophets believe themselves to be inspired men of God, not because they see divine visions and hear divine words ; it is in the fact that they cannot do otherwise than reprove that they perceive their unlikeness to their people and their affinity to Yahwe. It is in fact a feature common to them all that, supported by the prophetic consciousness, they dare - witness Nathan, Elijah, John the Baptist - to bring home their sins to the very highest in the land.

b. 'Spirit'.[edit]

In the classical period we find hardly any mention at all of the ruah (mi) or 'spirit' of Yahwe (Is. 30:1 {3}, Mic. 3:8 [?]) contrast the phenomena of Ezekiel, who belongs to the period of the decline of prophecy. 4 The prophet is, indeed, rnn trx - 'a man who has the spirit' (Hos. 9:7) ; but this possession shows itself not in momentary excitement, but, like. the Pauline wvev/jLa [pneuma], as a habitual supersensuous power. Signs and wonders fitted to gain credence for the word are presumably at the prophet's disposal (Is. 7:11, Jer. 44:29-30); but they are of subordinate importance, and are seldom alluded to.

1 So Kraetzschmar (but cp Giesebrecht, Berufsbegabung, 174+). The experience described in Ezek. 8:1 may remind us of what Elisha says in 2 K. 5:26 (see LXX), 'Went not my heart with thee when a man turned to meet thee', etc.

2 See Duhm and Marti on the passage. Similarly Giesebrecht (pp. cit. 56).

3 Giesebrecht, Die Berufsbegabung der Alttest. Propheten, 137-138

4 Ibid. 123.

21. Qualifications of prophet.[edit]

The prophet who is to be deemed worthy of so high a calling must, it is evident, have certain qualifications in addition to a certain natural predisposition to discern hidden things.

(1) Since it is to be his task to reflect Yahwe himself, to do battle against sin in Yahwe's name, and to promote the cause of righteousness, the prophet must himself, before all else, possess moral elevation of character (cp Mic. 3:8 : 'I am full of righteousness' [es-f p] ).

(2) This however, is not enough ; Yahwe lays claim to possession of the entire prophet. The peculiar relation of the prophet to Yahwe is one of unconditional obedience (Ezek. 2:8); it consists in complete self-surrender to God. There is nothing that the prophet has not to forego: social pleasures (Jer. 15:17) and the family life (Jer. 16:2) are not for him ; he may not mourn the death of his wife if Yahwe forbids (Ezek. 24:15+), must marry a harlot if Yahwe so wills (Hos. 1:2), must not be afraid of the hostile judgments or acts of his contemporaries (Jer. 1:8, 1:17, Ezek. 26). Putting off all that cannot be consecrated to Yahwe, the prophet must surrender his personality to Yahwe that he may fill it afresh (Jer. 15:16, 6:11), and must turn his purged ear to his God to hear his plans and purposes. This self-surrender may sometimes cost a struggle. Thus, Jeremiah groans under the contumely which he suffers because of Yahwe (20:8) ; fear induces him to say the thing that is not (38:27), on which account Yahwe rejects him for a while, and has to admonish him to renewed fidelity (15:19).

(3) Moreover, the prophet has to be constantly and eagerly watching the changeful history of his people, and the play of the forces by which the present and the future are being shaped, so that his eye may be trained to discern the divine method of education, and that he himself may become fully qualified as a public counsellor and reprover.

(4) The moral qualification is partly the presupposition of the divine call, partly its necessary result. It is in this above all that the human independence of the prophet manifests itself ; this too is the guarantee of the genuineness of his inspiration alike for the prophet himself (Mic. 3:8) and for us in forming a judgment upon him.

22. 'False' prophets.[edit]

The certainty of their divine commission which gave life and soul to the prophets had to assert itself in the presence of another phenomenon closely akin to it in form - that of the so-called 'false' prophets.

(1) Side by side with the greater prophets there was a class of prophets of inferior rank to which both men and women of Israel belonged (Ezek. 13:17+). In the prophetic literature they ace not refused the title of prophets. They distinctly claim to have the word of Yahwe (Jer. 5:13, etc., Ezek. 13:6, 22:28), they prophesy in the name of Yahwe 1 (Jer. 14:14, etc.), they introduce Yahwe as speaking by them (Jer. 14:13, 28:2, 28:11), they have visions (Jer. 14:14, 23:16, Ezek. 13:6) and dreams (Jer. 23:25+) ; and they 'hope for the confirmation of their word' (Ezek. 13:6). Whilst the greater prophets stand alone, each for himself, these group themselves into larger companies ; they come before us as a leading class, often mentioned in conjunction with the elders and priests. A typical example of the class is Hananiah whom we meet with in Jer. 28 (see 24).

(2) In the older and more popular conception (i K. 22) no sharp distinction is as yet made between the oracles of 'false' prophets and those of a prophecy which is truly divine in its origin ; they are represented as made use of by Yahwe, but it is not denied that he sometimes leads them into falsehood (ib. 22-23). Amos, however, repudiates all connection with these prophets of the masses (Am. 7:14), Micah charges them with flagrant abuse of their gifts (Mic. 3:11), Jeremiah and Ezekiel declare that Yahwe disowns all such prophets ; they have no message from him (Jer. 14:14), but steal words of Yahwe from others 1 (Jer. 23:30), or prophesy things of their own devising, mere vanity and lies (Jer. 5:31, etc., Ezek. 13, 22:28, cp Is. 9:15 [9:14], 29:10{2}, Zeph. 3:4).

1 [Possibly the wounds 'between the hands' referred to by the 'false prophet' who is introduced in Zech. 13:5 are like those of the nebi'im of Baal in 1 K. 18:28-29, which were designed to renew the bond of union with the deity (cp CUTTINGS OF THE FLESH, i, PRAYER). So Duhm.]

23. Criteria of such.[edit]

The prophet detects spurious prophets by two criteria : the contents of their message, and their own moral character.

(a) The word of Yahwe must of necessity be a word of woe to a sinful people. These prophets, however, proclaim salvation, they deceive the people as to their true position (Mic. 2:11) and rock it in a false security (Jer. 6:14, 8:11, etc.); thus, instead of warning it (Is. 56:10), they confirm it in its sin (Jer. 23:17), and hinder its conversion (Jer. 23:22, Ezek. 13:22) ; thus they are of no profit to the people (Jer. 23:32 Ezek. 13:5), but rather its bane (Ezek. 13:4), leading it astray (Mic. 3:5, Jer. 23:16, 23:32, 28:15, 29:31, Ezek. 13:10), 'causing it to forget Yahwe's name' (Jer. 28:27), and preaching what is essentially nothing else than rebellion against Yahwe (Jer. 23:16, 29:31 ; cp Dt. 13:6).

(b) The 'false' prophets preach in this tone not from conviction but because they thus gain popularity and thereby prosperity. Thus a prophet of a higher type can also discern their spuriousness by their low moral tone. They prophesy for gain (Mic. 3:11, Ezek. 13:19, 13:21), and so profane Yahwe (Ezek. 13:19), and exploit the people (Ezek. 13:21). They speak as pleasers of men (Mic. 3:5, Ezek. 13:18-19), and espouse the cause of the wicked as against the righteous (Ezek. 13:19); their personal character too is defective (Zeph. 34, Is. 28:7); they are even guilty of gross sins (Jer. 23:14, 29:23). Hence judgment is to come upon them (Hos. 4:5) - in particular, the withdrawal of the prophetic gift (Mic. 3:6) and public exposure (Jer. 5:13).

P. V. 20-23.

1 An obscure statement (see Giesebr. and Duhm ad lac.).

2 Both 9:15 [9:14] as a whole, and words in 29:10, are admitted to be glosses.

3 Cp Matthes, De Pseudoprofetismo Hebraeorum; Kuenen, Religion of Israel, vol. ii. : and the histories of OT religion.

24. Really false?.[edit]
a. Case of Hananiah.[edit]

In what light are we to regard these prophets? We are in the habit of calling them 'false' ; but we should rather, with Volz, regard them as 'prophets of a narrow range of vision'. It is true, the more favourable epithet implies the colouring of the description of these prophets given in the canonical prophetic books is in some respects too deep. 3 No one, however, who remembers how prone the prophetic writers are to take the darkest possible view of their contemporaries will object to this assumption. We are all glad to admire and reverence Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others like them, who have no self-regarding thoughts, and are utterly absorbed in the great reality of Yahwe, Israel's righteous God. Still we must not allow ourselves to be unjust to lesser men who, after all, had a necessary function to discharge in the body politic (cp Is. 3:1-2), and who are under the great disadvantage that there is no account of them and of their relation to their prophetic rivals from a friendly hand.

The most important narratives are (a) 1 K. 22:1-28, and (b) Jer. 28.

(a) 1 K. 22:1-28 has been referred to already ( 5, 23).

It only remains to be noticed that there is probably a connection between 1 K. 22:1-28 and the story (which in its present form appears to be later) in 1 K. 18. The four hundred prophets of Yahwe mentioned in 1 K. 22:6+ seem parallel to the four hundred [and fifty] prophets of Baal (see 7) in 1 K. 18:19, 18:22. In both passages 'four hundred' (mxa jmx) seems to the present writer to be a corruption and distortion of Arab-jerahmeel (*7NCnT 3~\y)- The redactor of 1 K. 18 gives to the antithesis between prophets of Elijah's or Micaiah@s type and the court prophets, who made no distinction between Yahwe and the N. Arabian Baal, a sharpness that was unknown in the age of Ahab.

(b} Even the narrative in 1 K. 22, however, cannot safely be regarded as historical in the same sense as a striking passage in the biography of Jeremiah which contains an account of a 'false prophet' (LXX Jer. 28:1, \ftfv5oirpo<t>r)rr)s [pseudoprophetes]) contemporary with that prophet. Hananiah, b. Azzur, 'the prophet, who was of Gibeon', takes up his station in the temple (cp 26:2, 29:26), and prophesies the return of Jehoiachin and the exiles, with the sacred vessels, within two years. In an ecstasy (we may suppose) he breaks the wooden yoke which Jeremiah (27:2) has on his neck, and declares that so Yahwe will break the yoke of Nebuchadrezzar on the neck of all nations. Jeremiah meets his opponent with a calm appeal to facts ; former prophets have had a message of woe ; let the event decide whether Hananiah s message of peace is genuine. He also predicts the death of Hananiah within the year (see JEREMIAH, 2). Clearly this story has upon the whole an historical appearance, and we may justly infer from it that prophets like Hananiah were more nearly related than Jeremiah to the patriotic nebi'im who co-operated with Saul in the liberation of Israel. 1 Hananiah doubtless had that predisposition to ecstasies and visions which was apparently one condition of prophecy, and his only or chief fault was that he had not that sobriety of judgment which no nabi of the old school could have had, and consequently confirmed the people in their futile expectation of success for the anti-Chaldaean coalition which was (perhaps) at that time being planned (27:3). 2 Certainly he was under an illusion ; but so too was Habakkuk, whose prophecy (Hab. 1-2) 'expected from the Chaldaeans freedom and prosperity for Judah' (HABAKKUK, 6), and so too, according to most critics, was Nahum (cp 39). Nor does Hananiah show any trace of that vindictiveness which we find in Nahum and Zephaniah (cp 39-40) and in other parts of the prophetic canon, notably in the prophecies against the nations ascribed to Jeremiah (Jer. 46-51). 3

In fact Hananiah and the other prophets of his type were, as Robertson Smith puts it, 'the accredited exponents of the common orthodoxy of their day :- and even of a somewhat progressive orthodoxy, for the prophets who opposed Jeremiah took their stand on the ground of Josiah's reformation. . . No doubt there were many conscious hypocrites and impostors among the professional prophets, as there always will be among the professional representatives of a religious standpoint which is intrinsically untenable, and yet has on its side the prestige of tradition and popular acceptance. But on the whole the false prophets deserve that name, not for their conscious impostures, but because they were content to handle religious formulas which they had learned by rote as if they were intuitive principles, the fruit of direct spiritual experience, to enforce a conventional morality, shutting their eyes to glaring national sins, after the manner of professional orthodoxy, and in brief to treat the religious status quo as if it could be accepted without question as fully embodying the unchanging principles of all religion. The popular faith was full of heathenish superstition strangely blended with the higher ideas which were the inheritance left to Israel by men like Moses and Elijah ; but the common prophets accepted all alike, and combined heathen arts of divination and practices of mere physical enthusiasm with a not altogether insincere pretension that through their professional oracles the ideal was being maintained of a continuous divine guidance of the people of Yahwe'.

b. Messianic idea.[edit]

One debt to the 'narrow prophets', not only the later prophecy, but also the Christian church itself has incurred. According to Volz, it was in the circles of the lower prophets that the idea and the hope known to us as the Messianic took its rise. The characteristic of such prophets was their fanatical patriotism ; the Messiah, who is predominantly a political figure, belongs to the same circle of ideas as the 'Day of Yahwe' which the prophets took up from the people, giving it a new significance. The 'Day of Yahwe' and the Messiah are both, if this view is correct, derived from the prophets who had the ear and expressed the hopes of the people. This view is quite independent of the theory (in itself extremely probable) that the Messianic expectation was not taken up by the prophets till after the time of Ezekiel (see 43). Even if the higher Messianic idea goes back to Isaiah, it forms no part of the genuine prophetic conceptions, and is, strictly, inconsistent with the sole sovereignty of Yahwe. 1 On the Messianic idea in the later writers, see further 43, and cp MESSIAH.

1 Note that in Jer. 29:26, Shemaiah assumes the probability that the prophet will act like a madman (yjt C K33DC)-

2 This is the generally accepted view, but is nevertheless open to doubt. From 2 K. 24:2 it would seem that the Edomites (Arammites ?) and the other nations were by no means friendly to Judah, and the passage probably means that they ravaged Judah with the encouragement of Nebuchadrezzar. In Jer. 27:3 'Edom' and 'Ammon' both probably represent Aram or 'Jerahmeel', and 'Moab', 'Tyre', and 'Zidon' represent (in the consonantal text) 'Missur' - i.e., the N. Arabian Musri. The only power on which Judah can be shown to have relied was Egypt (under Hophra).

3 See JEREMIAH [BOOK], 12 (Schwally s criticism).

25. Non-fulfillment of prophecies.[edit]

Jeremiah, according to his biographer, expresses a pious wish that Hananiah's roseate prophecy might be fulfilled, but declines to recognise him as a true prophet till his oracle of peace shall have been verified by the event ( Jer. 28:69 ). The narrative can hardly be accurate in this point, for the context states that Jeremiah was confident that Yahwe's real purpose was very different from what Hananiah supposed. It was, how ever, no doubt a current axiom that 'when a prophet speaks in the name of Yahwe, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Yahwe has not spoken ; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously' (Dt. 18:22). On the other hand, it was also said by accredited teachers that even if a prophet or a dreamer should arise, and appoint a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder should come to pass, Israel was not to be led away to worship other gods, for, though Yahwe had caused the sign or wonder to come to pass, he did it to see whether Israel's heart was firmly fixed on its God (Dt. 13:1-3 [13:2-4]). Certainly it is evident that the prophets of the seventh century did not attach great importance to the exact fulfilment of their predictions ; otherwise they or their disciples would not have perpetuated these predictions by committing them to writing. Kuenen 2 has written an elaborate monograph dealing, among other points, with the fulfilment of OT predictions. The work, however, needs to be done over again from the point of view of a more mature textual criticism and exegesis. Meanwhile we may content ourselves with the general opinion thus expressed by Rudolf Smend (A T Rel.-gesch.M 188) :-

When we inquire about the fulfilment of their vision of the future, we must of course leave the details of prophecy entirely out of account. The prophets describe the future with abundance of colour and imagery ; but they lay stress only on the main points. Much in the description belongs to the rhetorical form, which may vary, not only with different prophets, but even with the same prophet. Nor is this all. Many prophecies have remained unfulfilled, even as regards their contents. Certainly their illuminated sight discerned the situation, not only of Israel and Judah, but also of Egypt and other peoples in relation to Assyria and Babylon. But most of the prophecies on foreign nations were fulfilled, and this is true in still larger measure of the Messianic prophecies'. 1

In connection with this subject, however, one or two remarks must still be made. There are some passages in the OT in which the non-fulfilment of predictions is accounted for by a change in the relation of man to God. It was thought that by repentance the threatened judgment could be averted, and that by disobedience the promised blessing could be missed (cp Jer. 18:7-10, Jon. 3:4, Joel 2:12-13). Once, too, when Jeremiah was in peril of capital punishment for having predicted the destruction of Jerusalem, 'certain of the elders of the land' appealed to the case of Micah, who had given the same prediction, which, however, was not fulfilled, owing to Hezekiah's repentance (Jer. 26:17-19). It would, however, be hasty to follow conservative critics in the exegetical inference that the threatening* and promises of the prophets are to be understood as conditional. There is no evidence, unless it be in critically doubtful passages, that any of the great prophets of the eighth century understood their threatenings to be conditional, and it is better to hold (1) that all predictions whether of good or of evil were categorically meant, and (2) that passages like Jer. 18:7-10 represent the reflexions of a later age, not the belief of a great prophet like Jeremiah, who certainly felt only too acutely that the threatened destruction of Jerusalem would certainly come to pass. In fact, the only parts of Jeremiah which can be confidently set down to that prophet are metrical in structure, and 18:7-10 is not metrical. That in 18:3, 18:5 we seem to find Jeremiah speaking in the first person, is no adequate proof that the passage is really autobiographical.

The illusion under which the prophets, and not only the prophets but apparently also Jesus himself, constantly were, relative to the nearness of the period of 'the end' has been sometimes explained 1 by the so-called perspective character of prophecy.

In a note on Mt. 24:29 in his Gnomon, J. A. Bengel thus illustrates the theory: - 'Prophetia est ut pictura regionis cujuspiam, quae in proximo tecta et calles et pontes notat distincte, procul valles et monies latissime patentes in augustum cogit'.

This assimilation of physical and spiritual vision, how ever, is not only arbitrary ; it is unnecessary. \Yhen the Second Isaiah predicted the deliverance of the Jews from exile as simultaneous with the opening of the Messianic period, the psychological cause is obvious ; it was the impatient longing of a much-tried soul to see his people placed beyond the reach of change and chance - an impatience which could only have been corrected by a clear intuition of the truth of historical development which is one of the more recent acquisitions of the human mind. Why should we look further for an explanation ? Besides, the theory of 'perspective' is inconsistent with the important fact that events which might conceivably happen in the time of the prophet are usually represented as the cause of the great events which are eschatologically to follow.

See Elmslie, 'The perspective in prophecy', British and Foreign Evan. Review, April 1872, pp 326-347; Giesebrecht, Berufsbegabung, 27-28; Schwartzkopff, Die prophet. Offenbarung, 155-158; and cp ESCHATOLOGY, 84, i. ; B. Weiss, Leben Jesu, 2307.

1 Cp Kraetzschmar's review of Volz's 'Die vorexilische Jahwe-prophetie', TLZ 22 (1897) col. 676^

2 De profeten, etc. (1875); also in an English version.

26. Jeremiah.[edit]

It was a tragic fate that Jeremiah, the gentlest and most retiring of men, should have had to repeat the old prophetic sentence upon the guilty city Jerusalem. It was needful, however ; for certain sides of the teaching of Deuteronomy had so beguiled even the best of the citizens that they for the most part firmly believed in the safety of Jerusalem, partly on the ground that they had upon the whole ( though the early zeal for the law had abated ) obeyed the Deuteronomic prescriptions, and partly because the escape of Jerusalem in the time of Sennacherib seemed to show that temple and city possessed an inviolable sanctity. There was one person, however, who in all probability questioned the authority of Deuteronomy, and that was Jeremiah. That he did so from the first we cannot venture positively to assert, though it is certainly striking that, when the messengers of Josiah, seek a prophetic counsel with regard to 'this book that is found', they apply, not to Jeremiah, but to a popular prophetess 2 named HULDAH. The whole tone of Jeremiah's utterances is adverse to the formal religion of Deuteronomy, and in 8:8 he even accuses the 'scribes' or 'book-men' of making divine law (torah) into a lie. 1 Elsewhere too (7:21-26) he represents Yahwe as giving license to the people to eat not only the sebahim (EV sacrifices) hut even the oloth (EV burnt-offerings) at their sacrificial feasts (see SACRIFICE), which is interpreted 2 as implying that Yahwe at the Exodus had given no commandment at all relative to sacrifices. This attitude of Jeremiah, though suggested by that of his predecessors Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah, was of decisive importance for the future religion of Israel. Jeremiah was the last great prophet of the pre-exilic period, and his emphatic assent to the declarations of the older prophets seemed to the nobler minds of later generations like the final verdict of Israel s God. They sought indeed to supplement and qualify his state ments ; hut they did not attempt to alter the traditional words of his fragmentary prophecies. Accordingly, mere ritualism had no standing-ground in the later Jewish religion. 3

1 For example, by Hengstenberg and Oehler. Tholuck's theory (Die Propheten, 6:1+) is more subtle, but only slightly less objectionable than the 'perspective' theory.

2 That she was a favourite of the people appears from 2 K. 22:14 (see HULDAH).

In spite of presentiments of a dark future for Israel, Jeremiah appears at first to have had some hopes, and to have striven to persuade his people to repent (see 21-44 apart from later insertions). As time went on, however, presentiments gave place to a settled sad conviction that all was lost, and that nothing remained but to com plain to his God of Israel s impenitence ; and to assert over and over again to his people the imminence of judgment. Not even a minority could be excepted from the general condemnation of the sinful people ; 4 not a single truth-loving man could he found in the whole of Jerusalem (5:1, cp 8:6, 10:13 ; also 6:27-30, 9:2b [9:1b]). From this painful, Cassandra-like role, Jeremiah never withdrew. It would no doubt have been worthy of this noble prophet (a true patriot, in spite of Kenan's adverse opinion) to have advised Jehoiachin's companions to make themselves at home in the land of exile, and to cleave to Yahwe by prayer ; but the central statement of chap. 29 that the Babylonian oppression shall last only for a time (seventy years) is certainly unauthentic, and it is not much more probable that the ill-written narrative in chap. 24, in which restoration is promised to the fellow-exiles of Jehoiachin contains a kernel of tradition. Shall we say that Jeremiah s eyes were too much dimmed by tears to look into the distant future ? It would be a worthier supposition that, having broken with the idea of sacred localities, he bade the Jewish exiles - as many of them as were capable of repentance under the stern discipline of exile - live the lives which befitted worshippers of Yahwe on a foreign soil. At the same time, since this is not suggested in any of the undoubted writings of Jeremiah (which are all poetic in form), we cannot regard it as more than a pleasing conjecture.

The so-called 'Scythian prophecies' in chaps. 4-6, 8, 10, 12 refer most probably, not to the Scythians (an opinion which has almost become traditional among commentators), but to the N. Arabians, who had already made repeated incursions into Judah, and, from Jehoiakim s time, became foes not less dreaded than the Babylonians, under whose sanction indeed they appear to have conducted their operations. This has an important bearing on the strange prophecy against Gog(?) in Ezek. 3:8-31 (see below, 27).

1 See JEREMIAH, 4. Jer. 11:1-14 has led many (e.g., Dahler and, formerly, the present writer) to suppose that for a time Jeremiah was a preacher of obedience to the Deuteronomic law. The phraseology is certainly not characteristic of Jeremiah, and it is only a natural caution, which, after recent criticism of Isaiah, no longer appears justifiable, that has hindered critics from recognising the hand of a post-exilic supplementer. Note how badly the material of 228 (certainly Jeremiah's work) is utilised in 11:12-13. The credit of the rectification belongs to Duhm.

2 Whether by Jeremiah or by a supplementer, is uncertain (see Duhm).

3 Next to Pss. 40:6 [40:7], and 50:14-15, 50:23, 51:16-17 [51:17-18] we may refer to Mic. 6:6-8, a passage which excited the ungrudging admiration of Huxley (Essays). Note, however, the doubtfulness of the closing words (MICAH [BOOK], 4).

4 Jer. 5:26 which contains the strange statement, 'For among my people are found wicked men', belongs to a passage (5:18-31) which, as Duhm (completing the observations of Stade and others) has seen, belongs to a late insertion. The writer is less pessimistic than Jeremiah, and divides the people into a good and a bad half.

27. Ezekiel.[edit]

Jeremiah is a much more attractive personality than Ezekiel. Nothing in the whole range of prophecy is more fascinating than his transparently veracious references to his intercourse with his God (cp NAME, 4) ; the record of his agonising mental experiences makes us all the more admire him for his ultimate self-subordination to the will of Yahwe, and his unhesitating acceptance of a perilous responsibility. Ezekiel, however, is in some respects more interesting to the historian, because endowed with more originality, not indeed as a prophet, but as a thinker, Little did Jeremiah know what a gifted man there was in a priestly family at Jerusalem. It is true, Ezekiel had been deeply impressed by Deuteronomy, with which (in its original form, which no effort of criticism can exactly reproduce) Jeremiah did not sympathise, and in order to understand Ezekiel, we must place ourselves at the Deuteronomic point of view. His conception of religion as a church-system, 1 and of piety as consisting in the fulfilment of certain precepts and ordinances, is largely influenced by the new Covenant Book. Little need be said here of the first part of Ezekiel s ministry. As he was an exile, it was only to a portion of the nation that he could address himself, for he belonged to the first captivity - that of Jehoiachin. But he certainly considered this fragment of Israel to be representative of the whole people, and himself to be Israel s prophet. For six years and a half he proclaimed the imminence of the ruin of Judah, as the consequence of the incorrigible wickedness of the people. Then (587-586) came the fatal blow - expected by none but himself. This not only raised Ezekiel as a prophet in the estimation of his fellow-exiles, who now became eager for the word of Yahwe (33:30), but also changed Ezekiel himself from a 'censor' (3:26, n % 3iD ITN, EV a reprover) into a 'watchman' (33:7 {2} ), or, as we should say, a pastor, devoting himself to the task of preparing suitable individuals to become partakers of the great future which he con fidently predicted for Yahwe s true people. It was for them that he used his abundant knowledge of ritual and of sacred architecture ; for them (not for all who heard him, 33:30-33) that he uttered predictions of judgment on the foes of Israel ; for them (but not only for them) that he delivered wonderful discourses on that fundamental principle of individual responsibility which constitutes one of his chief claims to the possession of originality (1:8, 33:1-29). Eschatology, too, became prominent in his thoughts naturally enough, for the waiting-time was to be so short, that the 'last things' became to him virtually the things of to-morrow ; forty years, no more, was to be the duration of the exile (46); when these were over, woe to the wicked, both in Israel and among the 'nations', and joy for the righteous! Though much of Ezekiel's later activity does not concern our present subject (see LAW LITERATURE, 14, 23-24), it is right to allude to it even here because it suggests how continuous the religious progress of Israel was, in that the same man was at once the last of the prophets, the first of the great theological thinkers, and at any rate the most influential of the later students of law and ritual.

1 See Bertholet, Die Verfassungsentwurf des Hesekiel (iZqft).

2 3:16-21, in which the same term occurs, is evidently a later insertion.

It is commonly taken for granted that Ezekiel, together with Jehoiachin and his other fellow-exiles, resided in Babylonia. This, however, is by no means certain. We have seen elsewhere (see OBADIAH [BOOK], 7) that N. Arabian peoples probably joined the Babylonians in the invasion of Judah and the overthrow of Jerusalem, and that Jewish captives were carried into N. Arabia. Some of the phenomena which are most favourable to this view are to be found in Ezekiel, which, like other prophetic writings, has been much edited, and in its present form, seems often to misrepresent the meaning of the prophet. 'The river Chebar' should probably be 'the river of Jerahmeel', and 'TEL-ABIB' [q.v.] 'Tel-arab' (mound of Arabia) or, as the Hebrew text underlying LXX may have said, Tel-Jerahmeel (mound of J. ).

Some passages in the book are transformed, not without gain to the sense, by similar emendations, notably chap. 28, which has been wrongly supposed to have been directly influenced by a Babylonian myth ; for this indeed, if Ezekiel had really resided in Babylonia, there would have been ample opportunity (see PARADISE), but that is just the point which is in dispute. The description of the cherubs in Ezek. 1 has also been supposed to show the direct influence of Babylonia. It is plain, however, that the influence of Babylonia on the Judah of the later regal period was strong enough to have produced the imaginative description in Ezek. 1, even if the writer had never left Jerusalem, and the whirlwind which brought the cloud-enfolded chariot of Yahwe came (according to an extremely probable view) from Zaphon - i.e., the district in the Negeb which contained 'Horeb, the mount of God'. In another vision (17:4) we hear of a great eagle which came to Lebanon and 'cropped off the topmost of the young twigs of the cedar', and 'carried it into the land of Kenaz (IJp, as often, for |J^3), and set it in the city of Jerahmeel' (St<CnT, as elsewhere, for D*/3T) The strongest evidence, however, in favour of a Jerahmeelite or N. Arabian background is in chaps. 38+, where 'Gog' and 'Magog' should everywhere be 'Jerahmeel'. The N. Arabian foe became the symbol of the last and most terrible enemy of Israel whom Yahwe would destroy. 1 Ezekiel even gives us the means of proving the correctness of our view by referring (38:17, 39:8) to older prophecies of this last hostile irruption ; he means, no doubt, Zeph. 1:14+, Jer. 4-6, 8, 10, 12 (parts), which are often supposed to refer (apart from later modifications) to an apprehended irruption of the SCYTHIANS [q.v.], but which may be referred with more probability to the dangerous N. Arabian neighbours of Judah.

With a N. Arabian background, many parts of Ezekiel assume a different aspect. 2 It is no easy task, however, to undo the skilful work of the ancient editor who produced the present text, and who succeeded, not indeed in infusing a large Babylonian element, but at least in well disguising the many striking references to Missur, Jerahmeel, Geshur, and Saphon.

Another exilic writing, which in a secondary sense may be called prophetic - viz., Is. 40-55, also (according to the present writer s latest criticism) has a N. Arabian background. Its author being unknown, however, we must reserve what we have to say concerning it for a later section (43).

1 See GOG, where for JTUC (Migdon) read ^KCnT (Jerahmeel). The correction was impossible till the key to a large section of the historic and prophetic literature had been found. The enigmatical B Xl (882) should be VS K (Asshur - i.e., Geshur), ~WO should be CV? (Cusham) ; and ^3n is probably not an insertion from Gen. 10:2 (MT), but a N. Arabian ethnic (cp Bethul?). On the mysterious JlSltri in Joel 2:20 (a synonym for Gog ) see 44.

2 This chiefly refers to chapters in which names of countries or peoples occur. But it is probable that fuller knowledge would reveal other passages affected by the N. Arabian place of exile. Soothsaying (as the story of Balaam and the true text of Is. 2:6 [see Crit. Bib.] show) was specially cultivated in N. Arabia, and sacrifices of children were very possibly still practised there, as in the time represented by the story of the attempted sacrifice of Isaac (see MORIAH, and cp MOSES, 8). This may throw fresh light on the denunciation of diviners in chap. 13, and on the references to the sacrifices of children among Ezekiel's fellow-exiles in 20:31.

28. Last named prophets.[edit]

The consciousness of the decline of prophetic inspiration is equally manifest in Haggai and Zechariah (1-8). Hence probably their repeated assurances that their word is the word of Yahwe. Zechariah's respectful references to the 'former prophets' (1:4+, 7:7, 7:12), and his mention of an angelic interpreter of his visions (cp Ezek. 40:3) point in the same direction - i.e., they show that the successors of the old prophets are rarely remembered by name because they have no public sphere of activity, in other words are not, strictly speaking, prophets at all ; in fact, they pass into the number of literary persons, whose work was always either anony mous or pseudonymous. It is true that in the memoir of Nehemiah (6:10-14) we meet with prophets exercising public functions, of whom two are mentioned by name, one a man (Shemaiah), the other a woman (Noadiah). These prophets, however, were morally unworthy of this venerable official title, and seem to have been akin to the 'false' prophets and prophetesses described by Ezekiel (chap. 13, 22:28). We even find, in a part of the late appendix to Zechariah (13:2-6), the anticipation of the extinction of prophecy, on the ground of its connection with the spirit of uncleanness - i.e. , of heathenism. It seems, therefore, that the unknown writer did not regard his own and similar writings as 'prophetic'. We may also refer to Ps. 74:9, 'there is no more any prophet' (in spite of the fact that the words are probably a gloss on the doubtful word jnv, 'one that knows' ), for it suggests the belief of the scribes that in great crises, when prophetic counsel might have been looked for, no one with prophetic gifts came forward in public. It was a very poor substitute for these gifts that some persons (e.g. , John Hyrcanus {1} ) were believed to be in communication with the heavenly world by means of suddenly heard oracular voices called Bath-kol ( 'daughter' - i.e., echo, 'of the Voice' ), a parallel to which in Arabian superstition has been pointed out by Wellhausen. 2

The exceptions to the rule that the post-exilic prophets are unnamed are Malachi, Joel, and Obadiah. It is doubtful, however, whether we can trust the tradition.

(a) As to the name (or title) DN^D, 'Malachi', it was probably taken from Mal. 3:1 by the redactor of the Twelve Prophets, who is also apparently the author of the superscriptions in Zech. 9:1, 12:1. If so, ^N^D in the heading (Mal. 1:1) should not be reproduced as 'Malachi', but rendered 'my messenger'. 3 Even if (as the present writer has suggested) ^N^D, both in Mal. 3:1 and in the heading, should be corrected into SfM p (Michael) this would not involve the assumption that the name of the prophetic writer was Michael, for 'Michael' in 3:1 would plainly refer to the angelic patron of the people of Israel (Dan. 10:13, 10:21, 12:1).

(b) As to 'Joel the son of Pethuel', the probability is that the name was prefixed by the redactor out of his own head. It is likely enough that in some late historical midrash mention was made of a prophet bearing this name.

'Son of Bethuel' (so we should probably read with LXX) may very well mean inhabitant of (the southern) Bethel, which we conjecture to have been a place and district in the Negeb, famous in the history of religion (cp Tubal in Ezek. 38:2). The Negeb in the regal period was, according to our theory, the nursery of prophets of Yahwe ; in the (pre-Maccabaean) post-exilic period, however, no Judahite prophetic writer would have been called son of Bethuel, because the Negeb was at that time occupied by the Edomites.

(f) As to 'Obadiah' (may), which is most probably a post-exilic modification of some ethnic, perhaps 'Arab! ( ']7y, Arabian), this name, too, is most probably fictional ; 2 Ch. 17:7 shows that it would naturally suggest itself as a companion to Joel (= Jerahmeel ? 4 ), Jonah ( = Jehonathan ? 5 ), and Micah ( = Michaiah).

Most probably, therefore, Zechariah may be regarded as the last prophet of the school of Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah, and though he is but a poor specimen of that great school, and hardly enables us to divine what a wonderful elevation or transformation of nature could result from the prophetic call, we look upon him with reverence as the latest representative of the 'goodly company'. Henceforth it was upon the enemies of Yahwe's people that judgment was to be denounced ; for Israel itself the gentle comforter, the earnest exhorter, the wise teacher, the unveiler of times and seasons, not the lion-like announcer of Israel's certain destruction, was the minister of God whom the community required.

1 See OPs. p. 39, note kk.

2 This may be thought to illustrate Mt. 3:17, Jn. 12:28-29 ; if so, it is the highest glorification of folk-lore. The passage from Jn. may be quoted. 'Then came there a voice from heaven. . . . The people therefore that stood by and heard it, said that it thundered : others said, An angel spake to him'.

3 Clem. Alex, mentions 'Malachi' as 6 kv TOIS SuiSexa dyyeAos (ed. Dindorf, 29922 102:24, 105:2, 110:15).

4 'Ben-hail' in 2 Ch. 17:7 no doubt comes from 'Ben Jerahmeel'.

5 Jehonathan is probably a modification of Nethaniah, which like NETHANEEL (q.v.) ultimately comes from the ethnic Ethani (pointing to the Negeb). Cp 4.

29. John the Baptist.[edit]

And so, when for a little while, just before the appearance of Jesus, JOHN THE BAPTIST [q.v.] preached in the wilderness of Judaea, he combined comfort with his threatening. The old prophetic writings had before his time been supplemented, and the supplementers had introduced into them bright pictures of the Messianic king. But whereas the supplemented were writers merely, John was a forceful personality of the type of Elijah. To many of his contemporaries, therefore, he appeared like one of the old prophets come back ; and to us, at any rate, it is an interesting coincidence l that, according to one form of the Gospel tradition, the father of John was 'a certain priest named Zacharias' (Lk. 1:5). It is plain, however, that the message of the Baptist was deeply modified by the parallel announcement of the advent of the Messiah. In fact, between the prophet Zechariah, and John the son of Zacharias, comes the development of apocalyptic, a specimen of which has even been tacked on to the Book of Zechariah (see ESCHATOLOGY, 46). It is a truly wonderful development, with a style, principles, and method which are all its own, and which have been dealt with elsewhere (see APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE).

That John the Baptist or any contemporary enthusiast founded a school of prophets, cannot be shown. It is, therefore, all the more surprising, as long as we regard all the sayings in the Sermon on the Mount as authentic words of Jesus, that he should have warned his hearers against 'false prophets', and announced their miserable fate (Mt. 7:15, 7:19, cp 24:11). If, however, we admit that the discourses ascribed to the great teacher were adapted (as the early Hebrew prophecies were adapted) to a later age by the insertion of sayings not really uttered by the principal speaker, we shall see that later Christian circumstances both may and must be referred to. That there were 'prophets' in the early Christian communities is, indeed, a well-known fact (see, e.g., Acts 13:1, Rom. 12:6, 1 Cor 12:28, 14:1+, Eph. 2:20, 3:5, 4:11 Rev. 18:20, 18:24). It remains to illustrate and explain this phenomenon from the now famous though but recently recovered treatise called the Didache, or Teaching of the Apostles.

T. K. C. ( 24-29).

1 To make the coincidence complete, John's father should have belonged to the 'course' of Iddo (cp Neh. 12:4, 12:16) not of Abijah.


30. Prophets in the Didache.[edit]

The ultimate triumph in the primitive church of the ministry of office, over what we may call the ministry of enthusiasm, has made it difficult for us to realise that there ever was a time when bishops, presbyters, and deacons were not the prominent figures of the ecclesiastical community. It has been the recovery of the Didache, or 'Teaching of the Apostles', which has been mainly instrumental in opening our eyes to a different state of things ; and a large part of the value of this book has lain for us in the fact that it has enabled us to recognise in other early Christian documents parallels, more or less close, to those very features which at first sight strike us as most strange in the Christian society which it describes. Accordingly, we shall bring together some of the later notices of the prophetic office, before considering the references which are made to it in the NT.

The chief figures in the church in the locality pictured for us in the Didache are not bishops and deacons, who are only mentioned towards the end of the book, but apostles and prophets. The apostles are missionaries, who travel continually, and do not settle down in any Christian community ; their gift is for the world outside. The gift of the prophets, however, is for the church itself, and they may travel or settle, as they choose (chap. 13). Their function is that of speaking 'in the Spirit' - i.e., under the influence of an immediate inspiration, declaring the will of God in the Christian assembly. Especially at the Eucharist the prophet's gift comes into play : he is free from restriction to the otherwise prescribed formulas, and may 'give thanks as he chooses' (chap. 10). This seems to imply that if a prophet were present he would supersede all others in the celebration of the Eucharist.

The regard in which prophets are to be held demands, first, that their utterances and actions, however strange, are to be above criticism - to oppose them is the sin against the Holy Ghost (chap. 11). Secondly, that they are to be well provided for, and to receive first-fruits of every kind ; 'for they are your high priests' (chap. 13). It is clear from this that the prophet has no superior in the community in which he resides.

Here, then, we see the Prophetic Order at its greatest height ; but it is to be noted that we already have indications of the dangers which beset it as an institution.

(a) There are counterfeit prophets, who must be guarded against. Certain simple rules for discrimination are laid down.

(b) There are prophets, apparently genuine, whose actions challenge the gravest suspicion ; but they may not be judged by men ; they are to be left to the divine judgment. In this, reference is probably made to immoral acts defended as typical of the union between Christ and his church, and further justified as parallel to certain symbolic acts of the OT prophets.

(c) Prophecy has been already abused by the covetousness of prophets, who have demanded food or money when speaking under the prophetic influence.

(d) Yet more important is it to observe the struggle which is beginning between prophecy, as an institution, and the local administrative order. 'Appoint for yourselves', we read, 'bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord' (chap. 15). These are 'not to be despised', as probably they often were by those who esteemed the prophetic enthusiasm as the supreme authority. Prophets are clearly not numerous ; a local church may be without any prophet at all. The advent of a prophet to such a church would throw the local ministry at once into the shade. Yet, after all, those functions of the prophet which were essential to the welfare of the church could be sufficiently discharged by the local officers, the bishops and deacons : 'for they also minister to you the ministry of the prophets and teachers'. Here we see the elements of a rivalry, insignificant at first, but destined to overthrow the prophetic institution. Time was too strong for the extemporaneous and enthusiastic, and was all on the side of the regular and permanent authority. The bishops and deacons, still waiting in the background, plainly have the future before them.

31. In 'Shepherd of Hermas'.[edit]

Besides these dangers to which prophecy as an institution was exposed, there was another and a very different one, of which we find indications in the 'Shepherd of Hermas'. In turning from the Didache to the Shepherd we pass from E. to W. We are no longer among a scattered population, with its churches here and there, visited by eminent strangers with prophetic gifts. We are in the great city of Rome, where the conditions of life are wholly different. We are, moreover, amid heathen surroundings, at a time when the little of earnest religion that survives gathers round magicians and diviners. Here prophecy has other perils.

The date of the Shepherd is much disputed. The book is permeated with the language of 'The Two Ways', if not of the entire Didache. If it is to be placed so late as the middle of the second century, it must be purposely archaic in form, and intended to be regarded as an earlier production. In this case the picture of the true and the false prophet may be in part a fancy portraiture ; we have little or nothing besides to make us suppose that there ever was an order of prophets in the Roman church.

Hermas is shown a vision of the false prophet (Mand. 11). His powers are not unreal, but diabolic ; his practices are those of heathen mantic prophecy. He gives answers privately to those who consult him ; he is dumb in the assembly of believers. The true prophet speaks only in the Christian congregation ; the false prophet prophesies in a corner for reward.

No doubt there was something of this mantic prophecy within the Christian church. Simon Magus, and the legends that cluster round his name, are a proof of it. Moreover the accusation of magic, so often brought against the Christians, was perhaps not always unfounded. The very name of 'prophet' must in any case have suggested it to the heathen mind.

This mantic prophecy was of course wholly different from Christian prophecy. But the confusion was inevitable ; and the writer of the Shepherd is at pains to emphasise the true distinction.

Two character sketches of the satirist Lucian throw a lurid light on this possible abuse of the prophetic position. One is entitled 'Alexander, or the false diviner' ; it shows us the practice of sooth-saying and oracle-mongering as it flourished in the Greek and Roman world of the second century. The other, 'The death of Peregrinus', is more directly important for the illustration of our subject. We see here the kind of impostor who then travelled and traded on the religious sentiment. Among other transformations Peregrinus adopts the role of Christian prophet. He is spoken of as interpreting the sacred books of the Christians, and as writing fresh ones for them. He even goes to prison as a confessor, and is well looked after there by the widows and other members of the church. Presently he is detected and disgraced, and he ends as a Cynic philosopher, burning himself at the Olympic festival in order to gratify the passion of his life, the desire for notoriety. It is to be noted that Peregrinus is distinctly spoken of as a 'prophet', and that, although previously unknown, he rises at once to a position of pre-eminence in the Christian community.

Thus far, then, we have seen the Order of Christian Prophets, as it is depicted for us in the Didache, a document which, however, it must not be forgotten, represents an imperfect type of Christian society, con fined perhaps within a narrow local range. We have seen, too, the perils of various kinds to which that order was by its very nature exposed ; and we have seen side by side with it the administrative order, sometimes temporarily overshadowed by it, but destined to abide as the permanent ministry of the church when prophecy as an institution had passed away.

32a. In the NT.[edit]

Let us now look back to the NT, and ask what is the position of the Christian prophet there. The conception of a prophet as it hud gradually been worked out in the history of Israel, was that of a man who speaks from God, to warn, to console, sometimes to foretell. Such voices of God had long been silent when John the Baptist recalled the figure of the prophet Elijah. Once more men listened to the divine voice speaking through a man s lips. 'A prophet, and more than a prophet' (Lk. 7:26) had appeared. The work of Jesus himself is several times described as prophetic, and his hearers spoke of him as 'a great prophet' (Lk. 7:16).

The new Israel of God could not be thought of as less fully equipped for its divine mission than the old Israel had been. On the day of Pentecost the words of Joel were remembered : 'I will pour out of my Spirit . . . and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy' (Joel 3:1 [2:28]). Agabus, Judas, Silas, the four daughters of Philip, are specially named as prophets and prophet esses (Acts 11:28, 21:10, 15:32, 21:9). Agabus foretold events ; but as a rule the function of the prophets was to declare the divine will, as at Antioch, when Barnabas and Saul were sent on their first mission (Acts 13:1-2), or again, when prophecy pointed out Timothy to be the ordained companion of Paul (1 Tim. 1:18, 4:14). Besides this it was their part to make exhortation and to give thanks in the Christian assembly (1 Cor. 14:4+).

In Paul's earliest letter to a Greek church he has to defend the position of prophecy : 'Quench not the Spirit, despise not prophesyings' (1 Thess. 5:20). {1} In Corinth he has to check the extravagance of some who exercised the gift in a tumultuous manner, and he lays down as a guiding principle, that 'the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets' (1 Cor. 14:32). See SPIRITUAL GIFTS. In the Epistle to the Ephesians we read that the church is 'built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets' (2:20) ; that to 'his holy apostles and prophets' the mystery of Christ is revealed (3:5) ; and that among the gifts of the ascended Lord to his church, 'some' are 'apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers' (4:11) words which recall an earlier passage, 1 Cor. 12:28: 'God appointed in the church first apostles, secondly prophets'.

The Apocalypse, in its first and last chapters, is distinctly described as a 'prophecy' (1:3, 22:7+), and the seer in one passage is linked with 'his brethren the prophets' (22:9). 'The saints and apostles and prophets' are called upon to rejoice over the fall of Babylon, which has shed 'the blood of prophets and saints' (18:20, 18:24). In the letter to Thyatira (2:20) 'Jezebel which calleth herself a prophetess', if not an individual woman claiming inspiration, at any rate represents an abuse of the gift of prophecy for immoral purposes.

It seems probable that there is some connection which has not yet been worked out between the Didache and Second Peter. That epistle gains a new significance when we read it in the light of what we now know of Christian prophecy and the perils which beset it. After a mention of 'the prophetic word, to which ye do well in taking heed' (2 Pet. 1:19), follows a terrific denunciation of the 'false teachers' who are said to correspond to the false prophets of the ancient Israel (2:1+). Their immorality and their opposition to constituted authority is emphasised both here and in the parallel section of Jude. They are compared to Balaam who prophesied for hire, and to Koran who resisted Moses and Aaron. The prophecy of Enoch is quoted against them (Jude 14). They are denounced as a disgrace to the Christian love-feasts (2 Pet. 2:13, Jude 12). It may be that the title of prophet is purposely avoided in speaking of them. They have their visions and dreams ; but they are 'sensual (psychic), not having the Spirit' (Jude 19). In contrast with such, true prophecy is again mentioned, and the faithful are charged to remember earlier utterances of 'the holy prophets' (2 Pet. 32). That in some of these passages we cannot sharply distinguish between OT and NT prophecy is perhaps due to an intentional vagueness on the part of the writer.

The NT, then, leaves us no room to doubt that in the primitive church next in importance to the apostles stood the Christian prophets. Prophecy, like other charismata, was an endowment of the church as a whole. This is clear from the scene at Pentecost (for we cannot entirely sever prophecy from the gift of tongues), and also from another significant occasion when prophecy followed the laying on of apostolic hands. But, like other charismata, it manifested itself especially in certain individuals. No human choice, however, determined their selection ; and this in itself differentiated them from the administrative officers of the church. The prophetic gift was immediately recognised wherever it appeared, and its possession raised the humblest to a position of eminence.

1 [That Paul himself had 'visions and revelations of the Lord' appears from 2 Cor. 12:1+; cp Acts 13:9, 27:10.]

32b. Other prophets; Montanism.[edit]

Besides the biblical names which we have mentioned, we hear of Ammia of Philadelphia and Quadratus of Athens as exercising the prophetic gift (Eus. HE 5:17), and other prophets and prophetesses appear among the early sects. The strangely interesting revivalistic movement called the Phrygian heresy, and commonly known as Montanism, was a vast effort to resuscitate prophecy, and to magnify the enthusiastic authority against the administrative.

Montanus and his two prophetesses, Prisca and Maximilla, based their extravagant claims on the great chapters of the Fourth Gospel in which the Holy Spirit is promised as the Paraclete who shall guide the church into all the truth. They claimed that in their persons this promise was at last fulfilled, and that they were new incarnations of the deity, with authority to supersede the teachings of the apostles, and even to say more than had been said by Jesus himself. The spirit of this movement rapidly spread westward. Rome, Carthage, and Gaul were all stirred by it. It was a moment when the church was harassed by persecution, and men's minds were excited and thrown somewhat off their balance. The martyrs of Lyons and the martyrs of Africa alike show sympathy with the movement, though in a tempered form. It seemed to a great spirit like Tertullian's that the church's love had been growing cold, and that it needed some startling revival such as Montanism promised to inaugurate.

It is not clear how far this 'new prophecy', as it was called, stood in a direct line of succession to the primitive Christian prophets. Those who sought to harmonise it with the Catholic church certainly quoted the earlier prophets in its justification. The movement failed, less perhaps from its early extravagances than from the inherent weakness of prophecy as a system.

It has had several parallels in later history, such as the Anabaptists of the Reformation period, and yet more notably the Irvingites of a recent generation ; we might perhaps add to the list the self-denying but extravagant zeal of the Salvation Army. Every such endeavour has witnessed to a truth - a truth which the church in its ordered sobriety is perpetually in danger of dropping out of sight ; but it has isolated that truth from other complementary truths ; it has divorced enthusiasm from order, and erected it into a supreme authority. Again and again organisation has been too strong for it, and prophecy as an institution has proved to be incapable of permanent resuscitation.

33. Conclusion.[edit]

In its most spiritual element the gift of prophecy may be said never to have become extinct in the Christian church. Age after age has seen the rise of great teachers, alike within and without the ranks of the regular ministry : men who were dominated by a sense of immediate mission from God, and filled with a conviction which imparted itself by contagion to their hearers. But prophecy as an institution is what we have been considering, and as such it was destined to pass away, leaving those of its functions which were vital to the church's well-being to be discharged as a rule by the settled ministry, which rose to its full height only on its rival's fall.

In reviewing the causes of the disappearance of the prophetic order, we may give the first place to this necessary rivalry with the administrative authority. To the prophets themselves no administrative functions are ever assigned. This very exemption led to a contrast and ultimately to a conflict between them and the regular church officers. It became intolerable, as time went on, that the ordinary officers should be liable to contradiction and opposition from irresponsible enthusiasts coming and going as they chose. So long as administration was quite subordinate, and the prophets were true expounders of a divine message, all would go well ; but the expansion and general settlement of the church gave a growing importance to the official class, and a dual control was inconsistent with the church s unity. Moreover, as we have seen, the institution of prophecy contained the elements of its own dissolution. Even to the genuine prophet the fulfilment of his function brought serious peril. The loss of self-control involved in the ecstatic condition - and ecstasy was a common, though not universal, accompaniment of prophecy - has often been observed to have a weakening effect on morals. Already in the NT we have found indications that immorality was sheltering itself under a prophetic guise. Again, the prestige and emoluments attaching to the prophetic gift made it worth while for unworthy persons to simulate the possession of it. Nor was it easy to discriminate between the true inspiration and the sensual excitement which strove to counterfeit it. Once more, in the Greek and Roman world magic and mantic prophecy was everywhere in full play ; and it was inevitable that Christian prophecy should come to be confused with practices which had this at least in common with it, that they claimed to be direct com munications with the invisible world.

We need not seek further for the causes of its decay. It had served its turn in the first enthusiastic stage of the Christian church. As the church grew larger and stronger, stress was of necessity laid upon the permanent organisation on which its corporate unity depended. Irregularity was destined to give way to regularity, and the ministry of enthusiasm yielded to the ministry of office.

J. A. R. ( 30-33).


34. Introduction.[edit]

We now proceed to take a survey of the prophetic literature in the narrower sense of the word. We shall treat first of documents whose authors names are known (35-42), then of the anonymous writings (43-45), and we shall pass over narratives other than those imbedded in collections of written prophecies. It is true, by taking this course we shall give the reader no idea of the large influence of prophecy on historical literature and on the religious poetry of the community. This omission (enforced upon us by the limits of our work) is, however, to some extent repaired by anticipation in the article HISTORICAL LITERATURE, 3-8, 10 ; see also HYMNS, 2, and any good commentary on the Psalms. On Christian prophetic literature it is unnecessary to speak here at length. The Apocalypse of John is called a 'prophecy' (Rev. 1:3, 22:7+), because it declares 'things which must shortly come to pass' (Rev. 1:1), though it was not on this account that it was admitted into the Canon. Prophecy, indeed, had come more and more to be regarded as having to do with eschatology (cp Smend, A T Rel.-gesch.W 342), and since the 'last things' were thought to be close at hand, the definition of the contents of the Johannine Apocalypse may be applied to apocalyptic writings in general. A recently expressed view J that the synoptic Gospels come to us through the (Christian) prophets is not likely to meet with acceptance. See, further, OLD-CHRISTIAN LITERATURE, and on Christian prophets, cp above, 30+.

1 E. C. Selwyn, The Christian Prophets (1901).

2 Dr. J. Taylor, in Hastings DB 1:87b.

35. Amos.[edit]

Our starting-point, therefore, will be taken, not at the so-called oracles of BALAAM [q.v.], but at the short but important book of Amos, which suggests so many hard problems - textual, exegetical, and historical (see AMOS, BOOK OF); we shall assume the results of critical analysis. Most readers, perhaps, have no doubt that the author of the book (see 7:14-15 and cp 1:1) was a herdman of Tekoa, and also a cultivator of sycomore figs. It is not clear, however, how a Tekoite herdman can have interested himself so much in the northern kingdom. 'It required no small courage for a Judaean to enter Israelite territory for the express purpose of interfering in the religious and social life of the nation, denouncing everything as corrupt, threatening swift and utter ruin'. 2 Moreover, how does Amos come to have two occupations, which appear to require two different residences (AMOS, 2)? Is this at all likely? and if it is a fact, why does Amos take the trouble to communicate it to Amaziah ? These difficulties may predispose us to adopt the results of the present writer s most recent textual criticism of the prophecies of Amos, which are connected with the theory that they are in every sense a S. Palestinian work, being specially concerned with the NEGEB [q.v.], and that this region in the time of Amos belonged to N. Israel.

For the latter point, see 2 K. 14:25, 14:28 (emended text), 'and they shall oppress you from the region about Maacath to the wady of Arabia'. Cp, however, col. 2406, notes 5 and 6, which are based on the traditional view that the great enemies of Israel before the Assyrians were the Aramaeans of Damascus.

According to the theory in question, for example, among the places and regions mentioned in chaps. 1:3-3:3 we find Cusham (less probably Kidsham), Jerahmeel, Missur (see MIZRAIM), Amalek, Rehoboth, which, in the emended text, take the place of Damascus, Gilead, Moab, Ammon, Rabbah respectively. It is also at a southern Bethel that Amos encounters the hostility of the priest Amaziah (7:10), and among the chief offences of the Israelites it is mentioned that they resort to the southern sanctuaries - 'Bethel', Jerahmeel ( = Dan?), 'Dan' (see Luz, 2), Shimron, and Beer-sheba (4:4, 5:5, 8:14), which are also not improbably referred to as 'the high places (bamoth) of Isaac' (7:9), ISAAC [q.v.] being popularly regarded as the patron of the Negeb. Lastly, the region to which the Israelites are to be carried captive is described as being beyond Cusham (5:27, see SALMA). It now becomes clear where the prophet's native place must have been, yipn (Tekoa), like ^rip ( see JOKTHEEL), is a perfectly natural corruption of SNOn-p (Jerahmeel), and CHp33 in 1:1 probably comes from D"irr|3 or CpT J2, 'a native of Harim', or 'of Rekem'. 1 The same origin should most probably be assigned to ipia in 7:14, while 0^13 in the same passage is not less clearly a fresh corruption of ^KDrTV 1 In 7:15, too, }Ni "iriNa ( 'from behind the flock' ) is probably a distortion of 7KDITV JtPiSDi 'from Cushan-Jerahmeel'. 1

We have called Amos a prophet, and one of the higher prophets he certainly was. Even after removing the various post-exilic insertions, however, there is much in the book that we can with difficulty suppose to have been uttered in public. Was this really the work of Amos ? or may we suppose a school of early prophetic writers to have worked up fragmentary notes of the prophecies of Amos, and given them a striking literary form ? As a scholar who does not question the traditional view has remarked, 'it might be difficult to trace any connection between the orderliness that Amos displays in his book and his vocation, unless, indeed, we are bold enough to account for it by the leisure enjoyed by the Oriental shepherd'. 2 Another scholar, who is equally faithful to tradition, has endeavoured to prove the existence of the strophic form in the writings ascribed to this prophet. 3 Certainly the prophecies in 1:3-2:16 and 4:6-11 are highly artistic in structure. But is it not the easiest solution of an undeniable difficulty that Amos, whom we can scarcely suppose to have turned his mind to the elegances of the poet's art, gave way to the solicitations of disciples, and permitted them to edit his prophecies for a public which only the disciples ventured to imagine as probable ? If this conjecture be accepted, all the more interest attaches to the prophetic visions in chaps. 7-9, because these visions are here described in the autobiographic style.

1 D -in (Harim) and cp~l (Rekem) are both to be explained as corruptions of SCnT (Jerahmeel). For HARIM (Ezra 2:32) cp Ezra 2:31, where 'the other Elam' should be 'Jerahmeel'. For Rekem, cp REKEM, SELA, and altogether see Crit. Bib.

2 Mitchell, Amos(~) [1900], 9.

3 Lohr, Untersuchungen zuin Buck Ames (1901).

4 Both -|j3j and ryS^I (1:3) are probably corruptions of 5NO7'- The extraordinary words in 3:26 we take to be corruptions of the name of Hosea's wife. This is confirmed by LXX's ve/SeA. oivov [uebel oinon] = " i ?aj = D < r3T = 7,XCnT- See Crit. Bib.

36. Hosea.[edit]

Biographical too is the opening of the next great literary monument of prophecy (Hos. 1:2-6, 1:8-9). It does not indeed tell us who Hosea was ; but if we may adopt an explanation of 'Gomer, bath Diblaim' (1:3 ), based upon textual conjecture, it does mention that Hosea's wife was a Jerahmeelite, 4 and this strongly favours the hypothesis that Hosea, like Amos (probably), was an Israelite dwelling in the Jerahmeelite Negeb.

We can easily understand that either from his own travels or from the statements of the many Israelites who flocked to the southern sanctuaries, such a person would be well acquainted with the moral and political circumstances of northern Israel. At the same time, he would have a not less keen interest in the Negeb. Some place-names in the MT of Hosea which have been thought to refer to N. Israel, in the true text most probably refer to the Negeb, 1 and the 'Asshur' and 'Mizraim' (read rather 'Mizrim' ) of which he speaks refer to regions to the S. of Palestine. As in the prophecies of Amos, one of the chief offences of the N. Israelites is their resorting to the sanctuaries of (according to the hypothesis) the Negeb. This must be the reason why, according to Hosea's biography, the prophet married a Jerahmeelite wife. The relapse of Israel into a lower form of religion was symbolised by his union with a 'daughter of Jerahmeel', because Baal-worship, or calf-worship (Hosea identifies 'Baal' with the 'calf' ), was practised at the Jerahmeelite sanctuaries. 'Lo-ruhamah' and 'Lo-ammi', the names of Hosea's children, are no doubt suggested by the name 'Jerahmeel'. 2

The second chapter (after the later insertions have been removed) is almost a commentary on the biographical fragment ; Israel s Baal-worship is its adultery, the punishment of which is desolation of the land. Generally, however, Hosea delights in short abrupt sentences (hence the epithet applied to his style by Jerome : commaticus). As the late A. B. Davidson 3 well says, 'he little addresses the people ; rather, turning his face away from them, he speaks of them to himself in shuddering, disjointed monologue'. His literary originality is perhaps shown by the fact that there are no important phraseological points of contact between him and Amos.

The burden of Hosea s warnings to northern Israel and the Negeb, however, is surely not uninfluenced by that of the warn ings of his older contemporary to the same regions. 'I will cause you to go into captivity beyond Cusham', says Amos (5:27) ; 'they will not return to Yahwe', says Hosea, 'then they shall return to Misrim, to Geshur' (Hos. 11:5 ; 9:3), to Jerahmeel (7:16). 4 EV, it is true, once introduces the Egyptian 'Memphis' into Hosea's threatenings (9:6); but the Hebrew is rp, which occurs nowhere else and is doubtless corrupt (see MEMPHIS, NOPH).

1 Partly by corruption, partly by editorial manipulation, the names have often been miswritten. 'Mizpah' and 'Tabor' (5:1) should probably be 'Zarephath' and 'Rehoboth'. 'Gilgal' (4:15, 9:15, 12:12 [12:11]) and 'Gilead' ( 6:8, 12:12 [12:11]) should be 'Jerahmeel' ; 'Shechem' (6:9) should be 'Cusham'. 'Jezreel' (1:4-5, 1:11, [2:2]) is no doubt right ; but it is probably the southern Jezreel that is meant (see 7).

2 Cp Is. 29:1-2 (read ^KOnT and VxDnV K^)- Dtf in DJ? N 1 ? very probably (like ^N Dl ) comes from S^cnT-

3 Hastings DH, 2:425 a.

4 The only considerable emendation here is jNonT for ^iy t^f in 7:16 ; Pasek warns us to examine the text. See Crit. Bib.

5 In 2:6 DlpO IN^D should certainly be ^KCnT DD p IN^D, they are full of diviners of Jerahmeel, and in 2:20 the idols which the Israelites cast away are described in the true text as having been made by the Jerahmeelites (see MOLE).

6 See Crit. Bib. ; REZIN. A similar case is recorded in 2 K. 121:7. Though this is not yet in the commentaries, the Hazael who set his face to go up to Jerusalem was no doubt a N. Arabian king. Cp also 2 Ch. 14:9 (see ZEKAH).

37. Isaiah.[edit]

Isaiah is a true successor of Amos and Hosea ; he combines the ethical severity so transcendently manifest in the former with the emotional warmth of the latter. He is not indeed a N. Israelite ; Judah and Jerusalem are the main objects of his prophetic threatenings. But he is well aware of the material strength of the N. Arabian peoples and of the pernicious religious influence which proceeds from 'Jerahmeel'. 5 The primary object of the Jerahmeelites outside of the Israelitish Negeb was to regain the cities which had formerly been in their occupation. But their ambition was not limited to this. They made incursions both into Israel and into Judah, and in Isaiah's time under 'Rezin king of Aram (Jerahmeel)' they even threatened Jerusalem 6 (2 K. 16:5, Is. 7:1). Jerahmeel, however, has ceased to be the instrument of Yahwe s vengeance ; it is, according to the present theory of a number of misunderstood passages, one of the four peoples of which Isaiah is commissioned to predict the punishment, the others being Israel, Judah, and Assyria.

Isaiah's poetic capacity is clear from the very earliest of his works (2:5-21). It is plausible to suppose that he had not yet come forward as a prophet when he produced this splendid poetic description of the day of Yahwe. At present it stands as the introduction to some prophetic passages such as Isaiah might really have uttered. 1 This position, however, is presumably due to the editor who is responsible for the fitting together of the fragments of prophecy which follow. There is, however, another prophetic poem, the strophic structure of which can be more distinctly made out. In an article on 'prophetic literature' it may be permissible to devote a few lines to so remarkable a production.

It would seem at first sight as if the strophic divisions were

  • (a) 9:8-12 [ 9:7-11 ];
  • (b) 9:13-17 [9:12-16] ;
  • (c) 9:18-21 [9:17-20];
  • (d) 10:1-4.

In the third strophe, however, the two halves do not cohere well. It is probable that only the first half is correct, and that the third couplet of the strophe (9:19 [9:18] a, b) should run-

By the wrath of Yahwe the land is overthrown,
And the people become as food for Sheol.

The three following couplets (one of which, 'Manasseh, Ephraim', etc., is probably a gloss) seem to have come from some other context containing a description of anarchy and oppression. How the third strophe closed, we do not know. The fourth stanza can scarcely have been 10:1-4, which belongs probably (without the refrain, v. 46) to the grand succession of 'woes' on the sinners of Judah in 5:8-24. Possibly it has taken the place of 5:26-29, which describes the approach of the enemy who is to 'overthrow' the land, and make the people 'as food for Sheol'. That the last strophe has no refrain, is quite natural. Very possibly indeed the preceding strophe had none. For after the enemy (Assyria?) had come from afar, and carried the people into exile (figuratively described in v. 19b), what room was there for any further blow ? Very grand is the refrain ( 'For all this', etc.), and surely not less impressive than a thunder-peal ; but the poet refused to carry it on when the sense forbade.

The first strophe speaks of the inroads of Rezin and the N. Arabians; the second of a great slaughter (in battle? or in a usurper's insurrection?); the third and the fourth of the ruin brought by an Assyrian invasion. In v. 10 [11], % is, as Lagarde saw, is a miswritten pm> and (as even this able critic did not see) V3 N (as 3 N often in the Pss.) is an error for D aiiJ 'Arabians'.

Apparently this fine though fragmentary poem refers, not at all to Judah, but to the northern kingdom. This has been doubted, but the unemended text gives no continuous sense, and the result of the emendations is confirmed by the explanation given of 'the people, all of it' in Is. 9:9 [9:8] - viz., 'Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria'. As time went on, we may suppose the poetic impulse declined and the prophetic greatly increased. The ruin of N. Israel is predicted, most think, in 8:4 and in 28:1-6, 2 and inclusively at least in 6:9-13 and 17:1-11.

The last of these deserves special notice because of the combination of Aram or Damascus with Ephraim (N. Israel). It is most usual to date this prophecy before the 'Syro-Ephraimitish war', chiefly because no reference is made to the joint attack of Syria and Israel on Judah. The general chronological view of the prophecy may perhaps be correct, but at any rate (as recent criticism suggests) 'Ephraim' in v. 3 is a corruption of Jerahmeel, and Aram in the same verse means the same N. Arabian people, while 'Dammesek' (Damascus) is miswritten for Kidsam or perhaps rather 'Cusham', and 'Aroer' (v. 2) for 'Arab' or 'Arbim'. It is judgment upon the ancient foe of Israel that Isaiah here prophesies, but also upon Israel itself, which (if we may infer anything from the combination of vv. 1-3 with vv. 4-11) has found it necessary or expedient to enter into an alliance with 'Jerahmeel'. Judah, too, in spite of the Jerahmeelite invasion (chap. 7), {3} probably found reason to seek a Misrite(Jerahmeelite) alliance at a later day.

It is very possible that notes of Isaiah's discourses were partly worked up by the disciples of whom he speaks in 8:16. For 1:2-26 this view seems to suggest the only adequate explanation of the phenomena ; but we cannot venture with any dogmatic positiveness to limit its application to this passage. Nevertheless, there appears to be no rashness in adopting the general verdict of critics that Isaiah, take him all in all, is the greatest of the older prophets whose discourses have been committed to writing, though the unique versatility ascribed to him by Ewald may be incapable of strictly critical proof. 1

1 3:1-15, and 16-24, omitting certain later insertions (see SBOT).

2 See, however, below, on Micah ( 38).

3 See REZIN, and Crit. Bit.

38. Micah.[edit]

Micah, being a younger contemporary of Isaiah, may naturally be expected to show traces of his influence. So much at least appears to be certain -that both prophets announce the ruin of Judah and Jerusalem (Is. 22:1-14; Mic. 3:12). It is also generally held that both predict the fall of Samaria (Is. 28:1-4, Mic. 1:2-7), though the predictions were written down only after Samaria s fall had occurred. 2 It is very possible, however, that the prevalent opinion is mistaken.

Amos and Hosea, rightly read, both point, we believe, to the southern sanctuaries as the cause of sin to the northern kingdom, and Isaiah (26:20, see above 37) speaks of 'Jerahmeel' as exercising a baleful influence on Judah. This seems to show what Micah means (1:%) by 'the transgression of Jacob' - namely, !i7cs? - and the 'sin of the house of Judah' - namely, cVe lT- The former name should in fact probably be read p CC SHIMRON [q.v.], and the latter Sxcm Jerahmeel. And in Is. 28:1, 28:3 O'7GX '7]W is not improbably a corruption of 7NCJTV CC. 3 'Cusliam-jerahmeel' ; the reference will in this case be to some important Jerahmeelite city (cp SHECHEM, 2), probably the same as that called 'Shimron' by Micah. Both prophets anticipate the devastation of the Negeb, its cities and its sanctuaries, 3 by the Assyrians.

The historical value of Micah is therefore greater than his religious originality, unless indeed we take in portions of the book which criticism tends more and more to disallow (see MICAH [BOOK]). From a literary as well as a religious point of view, this country prophet contrasts unfavourably with the great city prophet Isaiah. There is, however, in 2:4 (if Stade and Nowack may be followed) a little kinah or dirge which deserves attention as an illustration of Budde's kinah-metre (see LAMENTATION, 2).

1 This seems to the present writer certain. See, however, Driver's Introd. (ch. 3).

2 Cp Smend, A T Rel.-gesch.W 237, n. 2.

3 Note the reference to the idols (symbols of Yahwe?) in Mic. 1:7 .

4 Introd., 315.

5 This is one of a group of passages (Is. 35:8, 52:1, Joel 3 [4], 17) in which the names of the N. Arabian oppressors of the Jews are cleverly obscured. See Crit. Bib.

6 Reading, in 3:1, D SHN for MT s D CH (cp D DT for C SHK Ps. 51:16).

7 Peiser's explanation (see ELKOSHITE) is no doubt attractive ; but the evidence pointing towards a southern origin for Kish (to which name Peiser refers as a parallel) is strong. oirU (Nahum), too, may reasonably be connected with ethnics like NAHAM, NAHAMANI, etc.

39. Nahum and Habakkuk.[edit]

The next prophet in chronological order, according to most, is Nahum, of whom Driver 4 remarks that 'of all the prophets , he is the one who in dignity and force approaches most nearly to Isaiah'. There is, however, much to be done before we can say that we thoroughly understand him (see NAHUM) ; underneath our present text it is possible to trace a prophecy which related, not to Nineveh, but to the Jerahmeelite capital. The key to the prophecy is in 1:15 [2:1], which, though it forms part of a late alphabetic poem, may nevertheless be used as a commentary on the prophecy. The passage runs (we omit a few words), 'O Judah, keep thy festivals, perform thy vows, for no more shall Vy^a pass through thee ; he is consumed, cut off'. Vjr^a is almost certainly miswritten for "jNcriT. 5 The prophet himself describes the city to which he refers as 'city of the Arammites' 6 (Jerahmeelites), and its king as 'king of Assur', i.e. , the southern Geshur (2:1, 3:18) ; in 2:8, 3:7 its name is given as mr3, which is probably miswritten for "?Ncnv. The city whose fate is likened to that of myj is called (3:8) in MT }ii2N xj (RV, No-amon). It may have been Janoah, a city in N. Israel depopulated by Tiglath-pileser (2 K. 16:29) - i.e., Yenu'am? (see JANOAH). If so, Nah. 2-3 was written after 734 B.C. ; the prophet himself was perhaps a native of the Negeb ; 'Elkoshite' may come from 'Eshcolite'. 7 Very possibly we may venture on a still more definite statement. Relying on requisite emendations of passages in Is. 7 and 8, we may lay it down as in a very high degree probable that the N. Arabians invaded Judah, and that as a punishment Isaiah expected the N. Arabian border of Palestine to be devastated by the Assyrians. It is reasonable to assume that Nah. 2-3 was written in the course of this Assyrian invasion, after certain N. Israelitish districts (including the city of Janoah) had been taken, but before Gush or Jerahmeel had felt the heavy hand of the conqueror. That its prediction really was fulfilled we may probably infer from Tiglath-pileser s own mention of a campaign against N. Arabia and Gaza, and from the double notice in 2 K. 15:29 (from the document which Kittel calls K) and 16:9 (from Kittel's A). 1 It was reserved for a post-exilic writer, whose work, however, has been edited in such a way as to destroy the true geographical reference, to produce an edifying story describing how, after an initial act of disobedience, a prophet of Israel, at the divine com mand, warned the capital of the Jerahmeelites of its danger, not without happy results (see 44).

This result places Nah. 2-3 (in its original form) about a century earlier than the date assigned to it by the new critical tradition. No critic, however, will deny that there are difficulties in the ordinary view (see NAHU.M I BOOK]). One of these demands special notice here. If Nahum s oracle really refers to Nineveh, it follows that either Isaiah or Nahum was under a serious illusion ; for Isaiah distinctly calls Assyria the 'rod of Yahwe's wrath' (Is. 10:5), whereas Nahum describes the oppression of 'Nineveh' as wicked injustice. 2 It was, however, quite in accordance with the prophetic tradition (see Am. 1:3-5) to accuse Cusham (or Jerahmeel) of transgressions so great that they deserved the severest punishment.

The denunciations of the troublesome Jerahmeelite neighbours still continue ; the captivity spoken of in 2 K. 16:9 (?) was therefore only partial. Habakkuk is the true successor of Nahum. For it is plain that the wicked who seeks to annihilate one who is more righteous than he (Hab. 1:13) is the same oppressor whom Nahum (3:19) has already accused of far-reaching wickedness. This oppressor is soon to be put down, and to suffer the fate which he has destined for Judah, at the hand of the Chaldreans. Critics have generally thought of the Assyrians ; but the Assyrian suzerainty could hardly have awakened the indignation so energetically and poetically expressed by Habakkuk. 3 We may probably venture, with Driver, to place the prophecy in the reign of Jehoiakim. 4

1 5^Jl ~iy*71 (Gilead and Galilee) in the former very possibly comes from ^NDriT (Jerahmeel) ; and pe OT in the latter from Cenp (Kidsam = Kadesh) or rather QW3 (Cusham = Cush, in N. Arabia).

2 See Smend, A T Rel.-gesch.V\ 240 f.

3 That the Jerahmeelites are referred to is also suggested by Hab. 3:7 ( 'the tents of CUSHAN' ). The poem in Hab. 3 must be later than Habakkuk ; but the editor who inserted it may have been partly influenced by this reference to the N. Arabian Cush. A certain geographical consistency need not be denied.

4 On the composition of the book see NAHUM (BOOK OF).

5 Smend, op, cit. 243.

40. Zephaniah and Jeremiah; Scythians or N. Arabians.[edit]

Zephaniah is a follower of Isaiah, but lacks that prophet's classic moderation (Zeph. 1:3); nor does he connect the announcement of the 'day of Yahwe' with any high moral purpose, 2:11 and 3:8-10 being, as Smend points out, not part of the original Book of Zephaniah. We must not, however, contrast Zephaniah with Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, on the ground that he 'threatens all nations from Ethiopia to Assyria', for 'Assur', as so often, is substituted for 'Geshur', 'Nineveh' is misread for 'Jerahmeel', and 'Cush' is the well-authenticated Cush of N. Arabia. Who is the intended instrument of Yahwe s vengeance, is not stated. If, however, the destroyers 'from the north' in Jer. 4:6b, 6:1b are the Scythians, we can hardly suppose that the same destroyers are meant in Zephaniah, for the prophet says (2:13) that 'Yahwe will stretch out his hand against the N.' See ZEPHANIAH [BOOK].

In reality, Zeph. 2:13 and Jer. 4:6b, 6:1b represent changes in the prophetic attitude towards the people or peoples referred to. 'The North' in these and in the similar related passages should probably be 'Zaphon'. This is a name connected with the N. Arabian border of Palestine (see PARADISE, 4), and probably equivalent to Misrim (see MIZRAIM, 2b). It appears that not only Jeremiah's late biographer, 1 but even the supplementers of his fragmentary work (see 45), regarded him as a prophet of N. Arabia as well as of Judah ; and in the contexts of Jer. 4:6b 616 occur names which point, in the former case with probability, in the latter with certainty, to an invasion from the S. This view is confirmed by a group of other passages in the little poems ascribed with most confidence to Jeremiah himself.

  • (a) Jer. 4:15-16 'For hark! one declares from Dan, and makes known calamity from Mount Jerahmeel. Misrites come from the land of Jerahmeel, and utter their voice (battle-cry) against the cities of Judah'. This presupposes textual corrections. Duhm's defence of the traditional text is a plain makeshift, - 'It seems that the remnant of N. Israel at the foot of Antilibanus and on the Ephraimite mountains were still in touch with Judah and Benjamin (cp 41:5+)'. But the Dan intended must be a southern Dan (=Halusah), and 'Ephraim', as often, is miswritten for 'Jerahmeel' ; 41:5 is corrupt.
  • (b) 8:16, 'The snorting of his horses is heard from Dan'. A place situated at the extreme northern limit is not appropriate.
  • (c) 6:1, 'Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, raise up a signal at Beth-jerahmeel'. Duhm remarks that, Tekoa and presumably Beth-haccerem (?) being places in the S., the reference to them must be an interpolation. This suits the Scythian theory, no doubt, but is the resource of despair,
  • (d) 2:16, 'Also the sons of the impious (read C S.in) will break thee to pieces, the sons of Jerahmeel' - i.e., a desolating Jerahmeelite invasion will be Judah's punishment for copying the religion of Geshur (MT 'Shihor' and 'Assur' ) and 'Misrim' (MT Misraim); see v. 18. Cp NOPH, TAHPANHES.
  • (e) and (f) 5:15-1 and 22:20 may also probably be added (see Crit. Bib.). The former passage is specially important because Nin cSli O N1H 1IVN 13 seems to be an early explanatory gloss = 'that is, the Ethanite nation ; that is, the Jerahmeelite nation'.

This result is important, not only as confirming our conviction of the perennial influence of N. Arabia on the political and religious history of Judah, but also as supplying fresh material for an opinion on the chronology of Jeremiah s works. 2 In their present form, this prophet's genuine works are certainly monuments of the later period of his ministry.

1 See Jer. 27:3, where 7s and p-| ! are, as in Joel 3:4 [4:4], corruptions of "PSD Missur.

2 The descriptions of the Jerahmeelite invasion, even if only anticipative, can hardly have been written long before the fourth year of Jehoiakim (2 K. 24:2).

3 Duhm accepts this view. N. Schmidt, however, denies that any part of our present Book of Jeremiah can be ascribed to Baruch. He also rejects the narrative in chap. 36 altogether (see JEREMIAH [BOOK], 9, 17), whilst Duhm (288) regards this as an important narrative on Jeremiah s activity as a writer.

4 Hastings DB 2:576 a.

41. Jeremiah continued.[edit]

Tradition connects Jeremiah with a scribe named Baruch. It is probable that, like the pre-exilic prophets in general, he was to much absorbed in intercourse with his God to think much of the means of perpetuating his revelations. At the same time we can quite well imagine him dictating his prophecies - which are often rather poetic elegies than discourses - to a faithful scribe. Clearly this involves no disparagement to Jeremiah's poetic talent ; Baruch, if he was really the author of the biographic sections, or of part of them, 3 was too prosaic a person to have meddled with the structure of his master s poems. It is noteworthy that one of the biographic sections contains a little poem (see LAMENTATION, 2), consisting of two pentameters, which is ascribed to Jeremiah. In Duhm's opinion it is an elegy on the fate of the people of Judah ; but the prophet's biographer had access to more poems of Jeremiah than we now possess.

According to the late A. B. Davidson, 4 the literary remains of Jeremiah are formally 'less perfect than those of Isaiah ; the poetical rhythm is not so regular, losing itself often in elevated prose'. This shows us some of the points to which future study must be directed. We must determine more exactly the extent of the literary remains of these prophets, and in correcting the faults of the traditional text must pay more regard to metre. Criticism has till lately somewhat neglected Jeremiah. Duhm and Cornill, however, have opened up new paths, and a stricter textual criticism may assist us in determining between them where they differ. Comparing their results, we find those of Cornill the less startling. According to him, it would be an error to try to bring the (genuine) poetical passages of Jeremiah into correct strophic pentameters ( 'Kinah-strophes' ) or trimeters. Apart from a few lyrical intermezzi in strophes of pentameters, Jeremiah does not advance beyond ir regular verses ( 'Knittelversen' ) ; and but for the strophic structure of his poems, we might describe his style as rhythmic prose. Duhm, however, says, 'Most of the poems are very short (on the average containing less than five Massoretic verses) ; the metre is everywhere the same, quatrains with alternately three and two beats'. He adds that the poetical diction is correspondingly simple and natural, popular in the best sense, and on this account touching and even overpowering, and that in its abundance of striking and original images it reveals a born poet. This characterisation is based on the short poems, about sixty in number, which Duhm assigns to this prophet.

42. Ezekiel to Zechariah.[edit]

If Jeremiah is distinguished as a poet by his naturalness, Ezekiel is no less conspicuous for his excessive artificiality. His book indeed is much more a work of literature than of prophecy, in the true and original sense of the word 'prophecy' (see EZEKIEL [BOOK], 2). He himself tells us of a time when from physical incapacity he had to suspend his utterance of the message of woe to his people (3:26) ; and though we cannot doubt that he addressed assemblies of the exiles - commonly in similitudes (c Stro ; see PROVERB) of one kind or another (20:49 [21:5]) - it is plain that he gave a more elaborate form to these addresses with a view to their publication. He excels in kinoth or dirges (for references see LAMENTATION, 2) ; but partly from textual corruption, partly from the extensive modifications introduced by an editor, who confounded 1XS (Missur= the n. Arabian Musri) with ii (S6r = Tyre) and c"t>2 (Misrim, also = Musri) with C"is2, it is difficult to reconstruct their original form. 1 According to Kraetzschmar, the book is full of doublets and parallel texts (see especially 1:1-3, 1:13-14, 3:4-9, 4:9-17; 6:1+, 7:1-9, 8:7-8, 9:5-7, 10:1, 10:8-9, 12:21-27, 17:8-10, 17:16-20, 18:21-29, 23:40-44, 24:22-24, 25:3-7, 26:2-14, 26:19-21, 30:22-26, 35:3-15a, 38, 39, 43:18-27, 45:21+). If this critic is right, we may even speak of two recensions of the text, one of which is shorter and speaks of Ezekiel in the third person (see Kraetzschmar on 1:2-3, 24:24), and is probably based on an excerpt from the longer one, in which Ezekiel himself is the speaker. The combination of these recensions is obviously the work of a redactor. Since the text of LXX presents the same phenomena as MT, the redaction must have taken place before that version was made.

It has been asserted that the prophets use visions 'as a vehicle in which they bring home to man's highest faculties the providential mysteries with which they feel themselves inspired'. This is at any rate not wholly untrue of Ezekiel and (especially) Zechariah, whose visions seem to be to a great extent artificial and literary. Such visions indeed are distinctively character istic of the later period of prophetic and semi-prophetic literature. Haggai may have none, and 'Malachi' may have none ; but they cannot in this respect be regarded as typical specimens of their age, and Zechariah gives us no less than eight visions (1:7-6:8), of the artificiality of which there can hardly be a doubt (see ZECHARIAH [BOOK]). Certainly, as Moulton says, 1 'no other prophecy equals Zechariah's sevenfold (eightfold) vision in the demand it makes on the imaginative powers'. From a literary point of view, however, must we not add that it contrasts disadvantageous!} with the simple, natural, and truly poetic visions of Is. 40-48 ?

1 Kraetzschmar has bestowed much pains both on the correction of the text (after able predecessors, especially Cornill) and on the metrical arrangement of Ezekiel's poems. He overlooks, however, the worst corruptions those of names of countries.


43. Semi-prophetic writers; Is. 40-66.[edit]

The writers called 'prophetic' who chronologically precede Ezekiel, Haggai, and Zechariah are fully prophetic, but only half literary ; the nameless writers who follow these transitional personages are in the full sense literary, but at most only half prophetic. That they would have assumed the title of prophets may confidently be denied, and yet the existence of a secondary prophetic element in them is too plain to require proof. Even 'Malachi', who is on the whole (see MALACHI, 7) dry and prosaic in style, in 3:1-5 catches something of the old prophetic enthusiasm, whilst the succession of writers of whom we have to speak next really succeed in assimilating much of that which is best in the old prophets, of course apart from their unique authoritativeness. From a literary point of view, we may, if we like, criticise them ; but at any rate they care much about style and imagery, and have produced a new style of literature. For us perhaps the most interesting feature of their work is the elaboration of the Messianic idea. We find it first (so at least a strict criticism suggests) in Ezekiel (34:23-24, 37:24-25; cp the gloss in Hos. 3:5); the Second Isaiah, however, apparently dispenses with it ; 2 Zechariah too, in the original text of Zech. 6:12-13, must have referred, not to a future Messiah, but to ZERUBBABEL 3 [q.v.]. When, however, the hopes attached to this prince were disappointed, devout and patriotic men of the semi-prophetic school looked into the future, and found there a son of David, marked out by God as, under him, the king of Israel, the perfect king - the Messiah (Is. 9:6 [9:5]):

And the angel of Yahwe calls his name,
Protector of Israel, Prince of prosperity. 4

With regard to Is. 40-66, it is important to mention that though the results attained (see ISAIAH [BOOK]) without the help of the new Jerahmeelite theory are to a great extent sound, a number of critical details require re-examination.

For instance, in the light of this theory it becomes at once highly probable that the composition of chaps. 40-55 should be placed in N. Arabia. That this book (as we may fairly call it) has been much edited, is certain, and no one can be surprised that sometimes (though not so often as in Ezekiel) there are traces of an earlier and very different text underlying the present one(see Crit. Bil>.). Four passages at any rate may be referred to.

  • (a) 41:1-4, where the Jerahmeelites and Edomites seem to be called upon to listen to the prophetic writer s argument. This consists of a highly coloured description of the victorious march of Cyrus, which has Jerahmeel - the land where the writer and his fellows are pining in exile - for its goal,
  • (b) The second is 42:22, where the Jews are spoken of as despoiled in Edom and plundered among the Jerahmeelites.
  • (c) Next comes 43:14, where Yahwe says that he has sent to Jerahmeel, and will lay the Jerahmeelites low; and
  • (d) 52:4-5, where it is affirmed that Yahwe's people went down to Misrim to sojourn, but were oppressed by the Geshurites without cause (cp Lam. 56, and LAMENTATIONS, 7), and that the Ishmaelites and Jerahmeelites act madly, and blaspheme the name of Yahwe (cp Ps. 74:10, 74:18, and PSALMS, 28, v.).

It may be added that in at least one important passage of the third part of Isaiah (56-66) there seems to be a reference to Jerahmeelite oppressors (63:19, for DTlVC reac D TptOfTT^X though we are far from asserting that 63:7-64:12 [63:7-64:11] is of the same date as 40-55.

The work of the Second Isaiah (which can hardly have come down to us in its integrity) is clearly enough only semi-prophetic. The writer is a thinker, a rhetorician, and a poet ; possibly he has also been a pastor ; but the element of strictly prophetic revelation is secondary, a circumstance with which the anonymity of the work is closely connected. In truth, a prophet was not needed at this period of Israel s history. The discipline of exile and the self-denying labours of Jeremiah, the Deuteronomist, and Ezekiel had produced their due effect on a noble minority of exiles. The truth of the unique greatness of Yahwe, the creator of the world and the maker of history, had been burnt into their inmost being, and to this truth corresponded the sister-truth of Yahwe's election and appropriation of the prophet-people Israel. It was needful, no doubt, to be able to declare in the name of Yahwe that Israel would be 'justified' in the eyes of the world, and would be restored to its own land, there to serve its God, and to give an example of a righteous people. The chief thing, however, was to complete the education of the exiled people, and to quicken the zeal of less advanced individuals, by presenting a many-sided picture of the nature of God. The most distinctly predictive passages are 42:9, 43:3, 43:14, 43:19-20, 44:26-28, 45:1-3, 45:14. Upon the whole, however, the writer regards himself as merely one who has seen or divined beforehand the fulfilment of that series of prophecies which is, to him, among the most decisive proofs of the unique divinity of Yahwe.

1 A Short Introd. to the Literature of the Bible, 260 (1901).

2 Sellin (Studien, 1 [1901]), however, interprets the 'Servant of Yahwe' in the Second Isaiah as a poetic description of Jehoiachin. See SERVANT OF THE LOKU.

3 See Duhm, Jeremia, 181-182

4 For the emendation of the text here assumed, see Crit. Bit.; cp also Lagarde, Semitica (ad loc.).

5 The preceding word should possibly be lyjiN ( 'our lords are Jerahmeelites' ); cp 26:13.

44. Other writings affected by this theory; e.g., Joel and Jonah.[edit]

The Jerahmeelite theory has also a special bearing on Is. 24-27, on the additions to the Book of Micah, on Joel, on 'Obadiah', and on both parts of the composite Book of Zechariah ; also on the story of Jonah and on the Book of Jeremiah.

Two of these have been considered in the light of that theory already (see MICAH [BOOK], OBADIAH [Book]). As to Is. 24-27 we can here only point out that, on grounds of analogy, iic x and C lso must be Geshur and Misrim. As to Joel, it can hardly be rash to say that chap. 3 [4] is closely akin to the latter part of the Kook of Obadiah, referring as it does to the valley of Zephath or Zarephath ('Jehoshaphat', v. 12, is certainly wrong {2}), and to Missur or Misrim 3 and Edom (vv. 4, 19) as the cruel enemies of Judah who shall receive fitting retribution. It now appears possible definitely to solve the problem of ']12;,- (2:20); evidently this word should be a N. Arabian ethnic - viz., Sephonite (see 41). The reference is to the Jerahmeelites, whom Ezekiel has already indicated ( 'Gog-Magog' ; see 27) as the eschatological foe of Yahwe's people. We now see how necessary it is to view the locusts in Joel 1:2, not as mere locusts, but as harbingers of the Day of Yahwe. 4 Indeed, the presence of the ethnic 'Sephonite' in 2:20 (pointing forward to chap. 3 [4]) is already presumptive evidence against a dual origin of the book. The reconsideration of the problems of both parts of Zechariah must be reserved (see ZECHAKIAH [BOOK]).

A still more interesting specimen of editorial manipulation is furnished by the Book of Jonah (author unknown ).

Great light has been thrown by a succession of critics on the story in its present form ; but criticism cannot stop short here. We have seen (7) that the territory recovered by Jeroboam II. for Israel was really the Negeb, and that the foes from whom it was taken were the Jerahmeelites (D SHN) ; also that the prophet Jonah is described, according to an extremely probable emenda tion of 2 K. 14:25, as a Maacathite 5 (see MAACAH). We have also seen (39) that 'Nineveh' (nij j) in Nah. 2:8, 3:7 has been partly corrupted, partly altered, from 'Jerahmeel' (S^CnT), and that 'the great city' (nVufnl Vytn]) in Gen. 10:12 has sprung out of the same place-name ; 'god' (c nStf) and 'king' (^c) are also familiar distortions of 'Jerahmeel' (^NCrvr). It now becomes highly probable that the mission of Jonah was, not to Nineveh, but to the capital of the Jerahmeelites, and that the story about the 'great city', the 'city great unto Elohim, a journey . . .', has developed out of the simple phrase 'the city of Jerahmeel'. The journey of the prophet was therefore not more difficult than that of Elijah or Elisha (both men of the Negeb) to Cusham (1 K. 19:15, 2 K. 8:7) ; and the king of Jerahmeel (not of Nineveh - an unparalleled expression) might not unnaturally listen to his preaching, as Hazael, Elisha s nominee for the crown of Aram or Jerahmeel, listened to Elisha (2 K. 8:8-13, see 7) The story of Jonah in its original form may, therefore, most naturally be viewed as a Midrash on 2 K. 14:25. Jonah prophesied to Jehoahaz (?) the future reconquest of the Negeb (so 2 K. states) ; but he also, at the bidding of a merciful God, warned Jerahmeel of its danger, so that by a timely repentance the capital of Jerahmeel escaped destruction. In both its forms the story is presumably post-exilic.

1 Probably an editor s transformation of Arabi, 'Arabian'.

2 Till the right key had been applied, it was natural to emend GGW7lfV into CEB O (JEHOSHAPHAT, VALLEY OF). See, however, SHAPHAT.

3 For pTSI IS read IHfD, and for T\V^S read JIB^S.

4 See Wellhausen and Nowack on the passage ; and cp JOEL [BOOK], 5, 7.

5 By 'Gath-hepher' is probably meant some southern locality. 'Hepher' appears to have been a southern clan-name (see ELIPHELET, 2).

45. Supplementary parts of Jeremiah.[edit]

The same editorial tendency to alter the geographical setting meets us over and over again in the prophetic writings; Habakkuk, Haggai, and Malachi are the only ones which seem to have escaped its operation. Of the results in some of these books we have spoken already ; and though vastly more remains to be said, all that we can do here is to throw some fresh light OH parts of Jeremiah, the extremely interesting phenomena of which book are just now attracting special attention. The parts referred to are the work of post-exilic writers, mostly supplementers.

It has puzzled critics to account for the fact that the place of Jer. 46-51 (the prophecies against foreign nations) in LXX is between 25:13 and 25:15; we should have expected these chapters to have followed, not preceded, the list of nations in vv. 15-26. Many other small and great problems have also taxed their ingenuity, among which it is enough to mention the historical difficulty of the unconfirmed reference (cp JEREMIAH [BOOK], 14) to a battle between Nebuchadrezzar and Pharaoh-necoh at Carchemish (46:2), and the difficulty of finding a historical background for the oracle (so strangely placed in a collection of prophecies ascribed to Jeremiah) against Elam (49:34-39). We are well within the mark, however, in saying that there have been corruption and editorial modification on a large scale, both in the list of nations in 25:15-26 and in chaps. 46-51. As to the list, it is enough to refer to SHESHACH, and to point out that the peoples which are to drink the wine-cup of judgment are, besides Judah, the various N. Arabian populations. The manipulation needed was but slight, and we can with ease, after omitting dittographed names, restore the original form of the passage 1 (cp also 27:3, 28:14, and see Crit. Bib.). We now see to what extent Jeremiah was, according to Jer. 1:10, 'set over the nations'. With regard to 46-51, some details are given under MIGDOL, NO-AMON, NOPH, TAHPANHES, LEB-KAMAI, MERATHAIM, PEKOD, SHESHACH. It must suffice here to add that pe Ci ( Damascus ! ) in 49:23 is necessarily a corruption of cnp (Kidsham), or DK-n (Cusham), rcn (Hamath !) of Maacath, and nsiN, probably (cp REPHIDIM) of Jerahmeel ; and that D1?]'1 (Elam !) in 49:348 - a late addition, it would seem - is, doubtless, a corruption of SxcnT (Jerahmeel 2 ). How far insertions were made by the later editor to convert the original prophecies on Misrim and Jerahmeel into prophecies on Misraim and Babel (Babylon) cannot here be discussed. Several of the headings, at any rate (46:2, 47:1, 49:34), have received additions suggested by the editor's faulty view of the historical reference of the prophecies. 3 The final redaction of Jeremiah must therefore have been late, for in the original form of the prophecies in question it was held that Jeremiah (like Nahum, Ezekiel, and the Jonah of the story) was a prophet for N. Arabia. The idea of ascribing this group of prophecies on N. Arabia to Jeremiah was probably suggested by the tradition that he accompanied a band of Jews which sought refuge (?) in Misrim - i.e. , in N. Arabia. 1

At this point it is necessary to refer to what is stated elsewhere (ISAIAH [BOOK], 3-4 ) relative to the present position of the study of Isaiah, which may without alteration be extended to the case of Jeremiah. Jeremiah, not less than Isaiah, in its present form is a post-exilic work, and we can hardly expect to find that the whole of a long passage is rightly ascribed to Jeremiah. The insertions (we must not say, interpolations) both in Isaiah and in Jeremiah are of great interest for the study of Jewish religion. They range from very small additions, which may have seemed necessary to round off sections or paragraphs, to long compositions with a definite theological purpose. We confine ourselves here to the inserted passages in Jeremiah, which, according to Duhm, have a twofold origin, about 220 Massoretic verses belonging to the biography of Jeremiah by Baruch, 2 and about 850 verses to the writers who supplemented the works of Jeremiah and his disciple. The general object of these supplementers (and the same remark may be made of those who supplemented the first half of our Isaiah) was to produce an instructive and edifying book for popular use, not less comprehen sive in range than authoritative in tone, and the supple mentary portions were, for the period when they arose, the most important, because they suggested the interpre tations and qualifications which the recognised religious leaders imposed on the fragmentary prophecies that formed the kernel of the book. The work in its present form is, therefore, on a much lower level than the Fourth Gospel, because the object of the supplementers is not so much to present Jeremiah s personality in an idealised form adapted to a later age, as to invest their own ideas of Israel s past, present, and future with the authority of the last of the great pre-exilic prophets. From a literary point of view, the merits of this group of writers are not great. Ezekiel is the model for the denunciations, the Second Isaiah for the consolations ; Deuteronomic turns of expression are also not unfrequent. Assimilation and reproduction are, in fact, the notes of the prophetic or quasi-prophetic literature of the post-exilic period, which makes it often rather difficult to determine the date of its monuments.

1 This restoration (see SHESHACH), together with the fact that there seems to be a tendency (cp MOSES, 7)10 convert Yerahme'elim into 'arelim ( 'uncircumcised' ), enables us to restore the original text of Jer. 9:25-26, which is simply an announcement of the judgment impending over the N. Arabian peoples, but was placed where it now stands, after the text had become corrupted, as an edifying admonition to the Jews not to rely on their circumcision. Cp, however, JEREMIAH [BOOK], 16.

2 So also, most probably, in Is. 11:11 (see PATHROS, SHINAR).

3 The heading in 46:2 must originally have been simply C"1iiD ? 'concerning Misrim'. To this was added "i\?3 7 rrty SKCnya rnSN inrSy n^rt -irx C lSD 'concerning the army of the king of Misrim, which was by the river Ephrath in Jerahmeel' (cp v. 6, where n:i2S means 'towards Zaphon' ).

46. How to detect the work of the supplementers.[edit]

How the work of the original prophet (say, Isaiah or Jeremiah) is to be separated from that of supplementers, is not so easy to explain briefly to those who have not followed the processes of recent criticism. Nor shall we here attempt this task, which belongs rather to those most useful writers who are now in course of revolutionising our text-books of theological literature. It may be remarked, however, that it is not wise to depend too much on the argument from the use of particular words or phrases, partly because a thorough textual criticism often throws much doubt on the traditional text, and partly because later writers, having before them the object of supple menting the elder prophets, often avoid, so far as they can, words or forms which would be distinct indications of a late age, or even try to reproduce the phraseological colouring of their models. The argument from ideas and social background, and especially, when we can be quite sure of the text, historical allusions, are of much more value. To these we shall soon be able to add the argument from metre (cp POETICAL LITERATURE, 8). Both Isaiah and Jeremiah have certain predilections as regards metre which ought to assist us greatly in determining the extent of their literary records. It would be premature, however, to attempt as yet a summary of results on this head. For this as well as for other departments of prophetic study, it is urgently necessary that textual criticism should be practised oil a larger scale, and to some extent by means of other methods than heretofore. Much that has been done will doubtless remain, and old methods will not be discarded ; but virtually new methods will have to be applied on the basis of a large acquaintance with the phenomena of the MT and LXX, if progress is to be made in the knowledge of the prophetic writings.

Here, therefore, the present sketch of the prophets, prophecy, and prophetic literature must be brought to a close. There are many points on which much greater fulness would have been easy, if we could only have assumed the correctness of the traditional text, or if we could have devoted space to the text-critical basis requisite for a fuller treatment of the points referred to. We have been obliged to select such points as appeared of most importance, in view of what has been said elsewhere on subjects connected with prophecy ; and these we have endeavoured to treat in the only way which seems, in the present position of our study, to be altogether justifiable, namely, in the light of the most thorough textual criticism accessible to us. But we are far from undervaluing the able work done by other methods, without which the more complete view of prophetic problems at which, with mingled hopes and fears, we are aiming would be impossible. For writers of all schools, for Delitzsch and Konig, not less than for Ewald, Wellhausen, and Duhm, every student of prophecy has the warmest regard ; and what English-speaking or English-reading scholar will hesitate to join to these the name of the much-lamented A. B. Davidson ?

1 Probably a trace of the tradition of a Jerahmeelite captivity. Cp MIGDOL.

  • See, however, JEREMIAH [BOOK], 9.

47. Literature.[edit]

In the ancient and mediaeval church and in the dogmatic period of Protestantism, there was little or no attempt at historical study of prophecy, and the prophetical books were found instructive only through the application of allegorical or typical exegesis. For details the reader may refer to Diestel, Gcsah. d. v! T (Jena, 1869), and, for the final form of orthodox Protestant views, to Witsius, De Prophetis et Prophetia. The growing sense of the insufficiency of this treatment towards the close of the period of dogmatism showed itself in various ways. On the one hand we have the revival of apocalyptic exegesis (by Cocceius and his school), which has continued to influence certain circles down to the present day, and has led to the most varied attempts to find in prophecy a history, written before the event, of all the chief vicissitudes of the Christian church down to the end of the world. On the other hand, Lowth's Lectures on Hebrew Poetry, and the same author's Comm. on Isaiah (1778), show the beginnings of a tendency to look mainly at the aesthetic aspects of the prophetical books, and to view the prophets as enlightened religious poets. This tendency culminates in Eichhorn, Die Heb. Propheten (1816). Neither of these methods could do much for the historical understanding of the phenomena of prophecy as a whole, and the more liberal students of the OT were long blinded by the moralising unhistorical rationalism which succeeded the old orthodoxy. The first requisite of real progress, after dogmatic prejudices had been broken through, was to get a living conception of the history in which the prophets moved ; and this again called for a revision of all traditional notions as to the age of the various parts of Hebrew literature criticism of the sources of the history, among which the prophetical books themselves take the first place. In recent times, therefore, advance in the understanding of the prophets has moved on pari passu with the higher criticism, especially the criticism of the Pentateuch, and with the general study of Hebrew history ; and most works on the subject prior to Ewald must be regarded as quite antiquated except for the light they cast on detailed points of exegesis. On the prophets and their works in general [stimulus at any rate may even now be got from] Ewald's Propheten des Alien Biindes (1840-4 1,(2) 1867-68, ET 1876-77). The subject is treated in all works on OT introduction (among which Kuenen's Onderzoek, vol. ii., claims the first place), and on OT theology (see especially Vatke, Rel. des AT 1835). On the theology of the prophets there is a separate work by Duhm, Die Theologie der Propheten, 1875 [see also Duhm, Das Geheiinniss in der Religion, 1896, and his works on Isaiah and Jeremiah]. Kuenen's De Profeten en de Profetie onder Israel, 2 vols., 1875 (ET, 1877 Prophets and Prophecy in Israel), is in form mainly a criticism of the traditional view of prophecy, and should therefore be compared with his Onderzoek and Godsdienst Tan Israel. A sketch of Hebrew prophecy in connection with the history down to the close of the eighth century is given by W. R. Smith, The Prophets of Israel, 1882(2), 1895 ; the special literature is referred to in the articles on the several prophets. [See also Edersheim, Proph. and Hist, in relation to the Messiah, 1885 ; Kirkpatrick, The Doctrine of the Prophets, 1892 ; C. G. Montefiore, Religion of the Ancient Hebrews (Hibbert Lect.), 1893; G. A. Smith, Twelve Prophets, 2 vols., 1896, 1898 ; F. H. Woods, The Hope of Israel: a Review of the Argument from Prophecy, 1896 (critical and conciliatory).] W. K. S.

Articles by Oehler and Von Orelli in PRE, ist and 2nd editions respectively. John Smith |the Cambridge Platonist ], Select Discourses, 1660 (Discourse vi., Of Prophesie ) ; Kohler, Der Prophetismus tier Hebrder u. die Manlik der Gricchen in ihrein ^egenseitigen Verhaltniss (1861). Tholuck, Die Pro pheten und die WtissafU*fft (1861). W. R. Smith, Prophecy in the Schools of the Continent, Brit, and For. Rev. 1870(566 f 2); Elmslie, On Prophetic Perspective, ibid. 1872 (see 25, end); Schwartzkopff, Die Prophetische Offtnbanmg (1896), and Giesebrecht, Die Bernfsbegabung der A Tlichen Pro- pheten, 1897 (both works criticise positions of other scholars; Giesebrecht s criticism of Kuenen is specially vigorous, but he is himself open to criticism) ; Konig, Der Offenbaningsbegrijf des A T, 2 vols., 1882 (see Giesebrecht, 21-35 I Konig is, in fact, somewhat exuberant in his supernaturalism) ; Lotz, Gesch. u. Ojffenbamng im AT, 1891 (see Kautzsch s review, I h. St. u. Kr. 1891, pp. 589-597). G. H. Gray, Growth of the Pro phetic Literature, New IVorld, March 1899, pp. 124-143; S. Michelet [of Christiania], Israels Propheten als Triiger der Offenbarung, 1898 ; Kittel, Prophet ie u. \\~eissagung, 1899 ; Konig, Das Berufsheunisstsein der A Tlichen Propheten, 1900 ; Kraetzschmar, Prophet und Seher in alien Israel (1901).

On Christian prophecy, see Buckmann, Ueber die Wunder- krafte bei den ersten Christen und ihr Erloschen, in the Ztschr. f. d. ges. luther. Theol. u. Kirclte, 1878, pp. 216-255 (learned but utterly uncritical) ; Konwetsch, Die Prophetic in apostol. und nachapostol. Zeitalter, in the Ztschr. f. kirchl. ll issensch. u. kirchl. Leben, 1884, pt. 8, p. 408^, pt. 9, p. 4607: ; Harnack, Die Lehre der zivo lf Apostel, 1884, p. 93-137; E. C. Selwyn, The Christian Prophets, 1901 (too ingenious).

T. K. C. 1 (1-11, 19 [part], 24-29, 34-47); H. G. (12-13); P. V. (14-18, 19 [part], 20-23); J. A. R. (30-33).

1 Quotations from Prof. W. R. Smith's article 'Prophecy' 1 in EB, vol. 18, are expressly given as such.