In earlier times, prophets such as Nathan and Elijah addressed themselves primarily to the kings. But by the eighth century, prophets such as Amos and Hosea began to address the whole nation, warning Israel that abandoning its covenant with God would lead it to doom. The oracles of these prophets are preserved in writing, hence the term “writing prophets.” The people naturally wanted to know whether the worst would come to pass as predicted, which must have been one motivation for writing them down. Continue reading “Amos and Hosea”
Why Baal? This simple question proves deceptively challenging to answer. Looking into historical evidence, it seems easy enough to describe the outlines of Baal worship–as a storm king, god of fertility and nature–but less easy to confidently explain what motivated the people of Israel, at any given point, to forsake YHWH for Baal (or alternatively, to repent and return to YHWH). Continue reading “Why Baal?”
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it” (Gen 2:15).
When Joshua gathers “all the tribes of Israel” at Shechem, summoning “the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel” to “present themselves before God,” it is a moment pregnant with remembrance and anticipation. Continue reading “The Covenant Renewal at Shechem”
How did the exodus prepare the Israelites to enter into a covenant relationship with God? Continue reading “How did the Exodus prepare the Israelites to enter a covenant relationship with God?”
When the book of Exodus opens, the Israelites are a subjugated people, serving as corvée labor for the Egyptian government’s infrastructure projects. Continue reading “What did the Israelites learn from the Exodus?”