The wider meaning of prophet

The term prophet had a wide meaning among the Israelites, since it also included people like Abraham, Moses, and Miriam.  That is why some so-called historical books are often called the early prophets.  Jewish traditions hold that there were 48 male prophets, and seven female prophets, Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah, and Esther.  Others have recognized Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah as female prophets also.  Thus, there is a wide range of written prophetic books in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament.  The Hebrew prophetic dominant message was a return to Yahweh and his laws.  They were to protect the poor, the orphans, and the widows.  Justice and righteousness dominate in their messages.  Yahweh would judge them.  Although some Israelites were sinners, they would have a bright future if they turned from their evil ways to Yahweh.

We have not followed the law (Dan 9:9-9:11)

“To the Lord!

Our God!

Belong mercy!

Belong forgiveness!

We have rebelled

Against him.

We have not obeyed

The voice of Yahweh,

Our God,

By following his laws,

That he set

Before us,

By his servants,

The prophets.

All Israel

Has transgressed

Your law.

They have turned aside

From it.

They refuse

To obey your voice.

Thus,

The curse,

With the oath written

In the law of Moses,

The servant of God,

Has been poured out

Upon us,

Because we have sinned

Against you.”

Daniel asked his Lord God to bring mercy and forgiveness because they had rebelled against him. They had not obeyed the voice of Yahweh, their God. They had not followed his laws that he set before them, through his servant prophets. All Israel had transgressed God’s law, because they turned away from it. They had refused to obey God’s voice. Thus, they ended up with the curse and the oath written in the law of Moses, the servant of God. This curse was poured out on them, because they had sinned against God.

The judgment due to our sins (Dan 3:5-3:7)

“You have executed

True judgments

In all

That you have brought

Upon us,

Upon Jerusalem,

The holy city

Of our ancestors.

By a true judgment,

You have brought

All this upon us

Because of our sins.

We have sinned.

We have broken

Your law,

In turning away

From you.

In all matters,

We have sinned grievously.

We have not obeyed

Your commandments.

We have not kept them.

We have not done

What you have commanded us

For our own good.”

Azariah continued with his prayer to God. God has executed his true judgments upon the Judeans and their ancestral holy city of Jerusalem, because of their sins. They were sinners. They broke his laws. They turned away from God. They have sinned grievously, by not obeying his commandments. They did not do what God had commanded them to do for their own good.

 

Yahweh remembers the failures in Judah and Jerusalem (Jer 44:21-44:23)

“As for the offerings

That you made

In the towns of Judah,

In the streets of Jerusalem,

Did not Yahweh remember them?

That is you with

Your ancestors,

Your kings,

Your officials,

The people of the land,

Did it not come into his mind?

Yahweh could no longer

Bear the sight

Of your evil doings,

The abominations

That you committed.

Therefore your land

Became a desolation,

A waste,

A curse,

Without inhabitants,

As it is to this day.

It is

Because you burned offerings,

Because you sinned

Against Yahweh.

You did not obey

The voice of Yahweh.

You did not

Walk in his law,

Walk in his statutes,

Walk in his decrees.

Thus this disaster

Has befallen you,

As is still evident today.”

Jeremiah justifies the punishment that they have today, based on their idolatrous sacrifices that they, their ancestors, their kings, their officials, and all the people had made earlier in Judah and Jerusalem. Did they think that Yahweh, their God, would forget this? Yahweh could no longer bear the sight of these evil abominations, so that he made their land desolate, a waste, and cursed, without inhabitants until the present time. They had sinned by offering these burnt sacrifices. They did not obey Yahweh. They would not follow his laws, statutes, or decrees. Thus this disaster has come upon them until the present day. Jeremiah thought that these refugees were too defiant against Yahweh.

The ingratitude of their ancestors (Jer 2:5-2:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘What wrong did your ancestors

Find in me?

They went far from me.

They went after worthless things.

They became worthless themselves.

They did not say.

‘Where is Yahweh?

He brought us up

From the land of Egypt.

He led us in the wilderness.

He led us in a land of deserts.

He led us in a land of pits.

He led us in a land of drought.

He led us in a land of deep darkness.

He led us in a land that no one passes through.

He led us in a land where no man dwells.’

I brought you into a plentiful land.

I brought you to eat its fruits.

I brought you to eat its good things.

But when you entered,

You defiled my land.

You made my heritage an abomination.

The priests did not say.

‘Where is Yahweh?’

Those who handle the law

Did not know me.

The rulers transgressed against me.

The prophets prophesied by Baal.

They went after things that do not profit.”

Jeremiah has Yahweh complain about their ancestors. Why did they go far from Yahweh, going after worthless things, so that they themselves became worthless? They seem to have forgotten that Yahweh led them out of Egypt through the desert wilderness with its pits, drought, and darkness. Very few people were able to make it through the lifeless wilderness. He brought them into a wonderful plentiful land that had many fruits to eat. However, as soon as they entered the land, they defiled it and made his heritage an abomination. The priests did not know Yahweh and follow his laws. The rulers transgressed the laws of Yahweh. The prophets used prophecies by the pagan gods of Baal. They all went after unprofitable and unproductive things.

The servant in prison (Isa 42:22-42:25)

“But this is a people robbed.

This is a people plundered.

All of them are trapped in holes.

They are hidden in prisons.

They have become a prey,

With no one to rescue them.

They have become a spoil,

With none to say.

‘Restore!’

Who among you will give heed to this?

Who will attend for the time to come?

Who will listen for the time to come?

Who gave up Jacob to the spoiler?

Who gave up Israel to the robbers?

Was it not Yahweh?

They have sinned against him.

They would not walk in his ways.

They would not obey his law.

So he poured upon him

The heat of his anger.

He poured upon him

The fury of war.

It set him on fire all around.

But he did not understand.

It burned him.

But he did not take it to heart.”

In this section of Second Isaiah, it talks about the people and the individual servant together. The Israelite servants were robbed and plundered, and then put into prison holes. No one would rescue them as they were prey and a spoil to others. No one wanted to restore them to their former ways. No one paid attention. Yahweh made Jacob or Israel fall to these robbers and spoilers. This happened because they had sinned against Yahweh. They would not walk in his ways or follow his laws. Thus Yahweh poured out his heat and anger on his servant with the fury of a war. He set his servant on fire, but he still does not understand what was happening. He got burned, but he did not take it to heart.

Your servant (Ps 119:121-119:128)

Ain

“I have done what is just.

I have done what is right.

Do not leave me to my oppressors.

Guarantee your servant’s well being.

Do not let the godless oppress me.

My eyes fail from watching

For your salvation.

My eyes fail from watching

For the fulfillment of your righteous promise.

Deal with your servant

According to your steadfast love.

Teach me your statutes.

I am your servant.

Give me understanding.

Thus I may know your decrees.

It is time for Yahweh to act.

Your law has been broken.

Truly I love your commandments

More than gold,

More than fine gold.

Truly I direct my steps by all your precepts.

I hate every false way.”

The psalmist believes that he is the servant of God. He has always done what is just and right. As usual, he did not want to be left to his oppressors. He wanted to be protected against the godless men. His eyes were beginning to fail because he has been waiting for salvation and righteous promises. Of course, he wanted to feel the steadfast love of Yahweh. He wanted to learn and understand about the decrees of Yahweh. He wanted Yahweh to act now because his laws were broken. The psalmist loved the commandments of Yahweh more than even fine gold. He wanted all his steps to follow the precepts of Yahweh. He hated false ways. So ends this section on the sixteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Ain.