The Former Prophets

The former prophets are the same as the so-called Christian Old Testament historical works.  These works tell us of the establishment of the Israelites and the troubles that they faced.  However, they introduced a number of prophets that received oracles from God, including Elias, Elijah, Samuel, and Nathan.  The former prophets include the works of Joshua, from the 8th-7th century BCE and Judges, from the 7th-6th century BCE.  They also include the works of Samuel or 1 Samuel and. 2 Samuel, as well as Kings, or 1 Kings and 2 Kings. all coming from the 7th-6th century BCE.  These writings indicate what happened to the Israelites as they struggled in the new promised land.  They gradually went from a few judges to a full-blown kingdom, with many prophets with their divine oracles along the way.

The happy enemies (Lam 1:21-1:21)

Shin

“They heard

How I was groaning.

There is no one

To comfort me.

All my enemies

Heard of my trouble.

They are glad

That you have done it.

Bring on the day

You have announced!

Let them be as I am!”

Once again, we are back to a personal lament from Jerusalem as she complained about her groaning, since no one comforted her. Her enemies knew all about the troubles in Jerusalem, but they were glad that Yahweh had done this to her. However, Jerusalem was not going to take this sitting down. She wanted the day to come when her enemies would suffer as she was suffering now. This verse starts with the Hebrew letter Shin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

Distress and sin (Ps 25:15-25:18)

Ain     

“My eyes are ever toward Yahweh.

He will pluck my feet out of the net.

Phe     

Turn to me!

Be gracious to me!

I am lonely and afflicted.

Cade   

Relieve the troubles of my heart!

Bring me out of my distress!

Qoph  

Consider my affliction!

Consider my trouble!

Forgive all my sins!”

The psalmist or David puts this on a very personal note. His eyes are on Yahweh because he knew that Yahweh would get his feet out of any net. He wanted Yahweh to turn to him and be gracious. He was lonely and afflicted. He wanted the troubles of his heart brought to an end. He wanted to get out of his distress and afflictions. The only way was for Yahweh to forgive him his sins.

Jonathan and King Alexander (1 Macc 10:15-10:17)

“Now King Alexander heard of all the promises that King Demetrius had sent to Jonathan. He had heard of the battles that Jonathan and his brothers had fought. He heard of the brave deeds that they had done and of the troubles that they had endured. So he said.

‘Shall we find another such man?

Come now,

We will make him our friend and ally.’

King Alexander in Ptolemais heard that King Demetrius in Antioch was trying to get Jonathan as his ally against him. They were both cousins vying for the throne of the Seleucid Empire. However, he also had heard of the great brave deeds of Jonathan and his brothers in battle. How they had suffered so much. He said, that it would be hard to find a man like him, so why not make him our friend and ally?