Some prophets wrote things, while others had people write things about them. Thus, there is a mixed bag about the Hebrew prophets. Generally speaking, a prophet was someone who believed that a higher power had contacted them. Thus, they became the intermediary between Yahweh, their God, and their fellow human beings. Almost like angels, these humans delivered a divine message. Quite often, the message itself that the prophet conveyed was called a prophecy. The Hebrew prophets were moral teachers. Some prophets may have had a role with the institutional Temple priests. Many religious groups have had what are called prophetic priests. The Hebrew word navi, meaning spokesperson, has been traditionally translated as prophet. These navi was considered to be the mouth of Yahweh or God, since they were open to receive and transmit his divine wisdom. Besides writing and speaking messages from God, these Israelite Nevi’im often acted out prophetic parables in their life. They were not always praised, since some prophets were even considered bad or false prophets. Thus, they were sometimes the target of persecution and opposition.
Job says that God is punishing him (Job 16:12-16:17)
“I was at ease.
God broke me in two.
God seized me by the neck.
God dashed me to pieces.
God set me up as his target.
God’s archers surround me.
God slashes open my kidneys.
God shows no mercy.
God pours out my gall on the ground.
God bursts upon me again and again.
God rushes at me like a warrior.
I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin.
I have laid my strength in the dust.
My face is red with weeping.
Deep darkness is on my eyelids.
Although there is no violence in my hands,
My prayer is pure.”
Job was very explicit. God was picking on him. God had broken him in two. God had seized him by the neck. God had broken him into pieces. Job had become a target having arrows coming at him. God had not shown him any mercy. God had slashed his kidneys and gall bladder. God had rushed at him like a warrior. As a result, Job said that he sewed his skin with sackcloth, a very course fabric worn next to the skin. His strength was in the dust. His face was red with crying tears. His eyes were darkened. Still there was no violence in Job’s hands. His prayer remained pure. Job is almost indignant that God is picking on him.