What is a prophet? Intermediary between God and the People Several Hebrew words are translated as “prophet” Nabi’ = one who is called Ro’eh= seer (1 Sam. 9:9; Amos 7:12) ‘ishha’elohim= man of God (2 Kings 1:9) Male or Female Speak on Behalf of God
Moses Moses is the prophet par excellence He speaks with God face to face He brings messages from God He intercedes on behalf of the people He works wonders by the power of God
The Function of the Prophet Evolves Four Major Periods of Prophecy Early Monarchical Period Assyrian Crisis Babylonian Crisis Post-Exilic Period
Context Early Monarchical Period The People Demand a King God, through Samuel anoints Saul Saul displeases God, and David is anointed to replace him Under the leadership of David, the loose confederation of tribes becomes a single united kingdom, with David ruling from Jerusalem Solomon Reigns after David – After his death, Jeroboam revolts and becomes king of ten tribes in the North – Israel Rehoboam Retains control of Southern Kingdom - Judah
Prophecy During the Early Monarchical Period Widespread phenomenon in Ancient Near East (ANE) Itinerant preachers Holy men and Women with Special Religious powers (1 Sam 9:1-10; 14:1-18; 2 Kings 2:23-25) Prophetic Communities (1 Samuel 19:18-24) King Makers and King Breakers (1 Kings 11:29-39) Critics of the King in Religious and Social Affairs (2 Samuel 12:1-12; 1 Kings 18-21)
The Assyrian Crisis The two kingdoms exist in a political vacuum – they are not especially powerful, but powerful enough to prevent others from overtaking them 754 – Pul becomes king of Assyria – Begins empire building The Divided Kingdom endures until 722 The Assyrians defeat Israel, and make Judah vassals Many from Israel flee to Judah. Jerusalem grows by about 500%
Prophecy During the Assyrian Crisis Stories of the Prophets seldom preserved, though collections of their writings are kept Prophets seldom personal counselors to the kings, but rather, public figures who speak in the temple areas Interpretation of international affairs, critiques of religious practice, and emphasis on social justice Major Theme – The victory of the Assyrians results from the judgment of God, not the power of Assyria First hints of a Messiah Cf. Amos and Hosea
Babylonian Crisis Babylon succeeds Assyria as dominant power in region Judah rejoices to see their oppressor overthrown (Habakkuk 1-2) Confusion sets in as Babylon lays siege to Jerusalem, eventually sending most of the inhabitants into exile (Lam 2:8-21) God’s judgment, but also his salvation
Justice Defined CCC 1807 the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion." Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. "You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”
In Short Justice consists in giving to each one what he deserves
Justice from the Biblical Perspective Deuteronomy 4:37-40 “For love of your fathers he chose their descendants and personally led you out of Egypt by his great power, driving out of your way nations greater and mightier than you, so as to bring you in and to make their land your heritage, as it is today. This is why you must now know, and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other. You must keep his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today, that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.”
Leviticus Lv. 1-5 – What God deserves Lv. 12 – What God Deserves Lv. 18 -19 – How to treat others
Lv. 25 –Treatment of others and of creation
NB: “I am the LORD your God.” LV. 26 – What are the consequences for failing to meet these requirements.
Summary of Old Testament Justice God, out of love, not necessity, entered into a relationship with us. This relationship places certain demands on us These demands are just because they are demanded by God, who because he is our creator and God, is free to make whatever demands he chooses Failure to meet these demands in an act of injustice The first thing demanded of us by God is Right Worship – Failure to attend Mass is a sin, and it is an injustice The second thing demanded of us is our respect and care for the widow, the orphan, and the alien among us. Because they are people also in relationship with God, any failure to act justly toward them is also counted as a failure to render unto God what is rightly his.
New Testament Justice The behavior remain the same, but through Christ, we are now God’s Sons and Daughters. We render unto God what God deserves not out of fear and obligation, but out of supernatural love that has been given to us in baptism. We act justly because the dignity we have received in Christ insists that we do so. Behavior that is not in accord with who we are in Christ is beneath our own dignity. We deserve to act justly.
Galatians 3:21-27 Is the law then opposed to the promises of God? Of course not! For if a law had been given that could bring life, then righteousness would in reality come from the law. But scripture confined all things under the power of sin, that through faith in Jesus Christ the promise might be given to those who believe. Before faith came, we were held in custody under law, confined for the faith that was to be revealed. Consequently, the law was our disciplinarian for Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian. For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.