Land of Israel and Jewish heritage
A series from the book written by Naveed Anjum
Jewish Life in the Land of Canaan, cont’d
The Promised Land, cont’d
Prophets were religious sages. They were charismatic figures who were believed to possess divine inspiration through a God-given gift of revelations. After Prophet Moses, who delivered God’s Covenant with Israel, prophets preached from Prophet Samuel just before the time of the monarchy until over a century after King Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE. Prophet Malachi was the last to publish his insights around 450 BCE.
Prophets were advisors to Israel’s Kings on matters of religion, ethics and politics, often providing insight into the intentions and actions of Israel’s enemies as well as divine instructions for strategies to defeat enemy kings and their armies. Often, they were critics under the primacy of the relationship between the individual and God. Prophets were guided by the need for justice and issued powerful commentaries on the morality of Jewish national life. Moreover, they brought divine messages and pronouncements from God as well as revelations of future events in Israel’s, national leaders’, and the world’s futures. Their revelatory experiences were recorded in books of inspired prose and poetry, many of which were incorporated into the Bible.
The enduring, universal appeal of the prophets derives from their calls for a fundamental consideration of human values. Words such as those of Prophet Isaiah in 1:17, “Learn to do good, devote yourself to Justice; aid the wronged; uphold the orphans rights; defend the cause of the widow,” continued to nourish humanity’s pursuit of social justice.
(To be continued…)