by Roger Wyatt| 17th December 2020 | more posts on 'Getting to grips with the Prophets'
It can be a daunting task tackling the books of the Prophets, or the Nevi’im (נְבִיאִים) as they are called in the Hebrew bible. They are famed for their messianic prophecies, moments of poetic genius and their dramatic narrative insertions, but they are generally poorly understood. In a way this is not the fault of the reader, but rather the result of an approach to reading the Bible that has emphasised the need for daily inspiration over a serious engagement with the texts. In the end, by taking the harder route, the results are more lasting and life changing.
by Roger Wyatt| 29th December 2020 | more posts on 'Getting to grips with the Prophets'
The first six chapters of Jeremiah make difficult reading and perhaps represent some of most challenging texts in the Old Testament. The young prophet Jeremiah is called by God, in the first chapter, to take a message of coming disaster to the people of Judah and Jerusalem; the prophet begins his ministry in the streets of Jerusalem, during the reign of king Josiah (640 to 609 BC). The chapters under consideration in fact represent two prophetic moments, one in 627 (Jeremiah 2 to 3:5) and the other in the following year, 626 (3:6 to the end of chapter 6).
by Roger Wyatt| 29th January 2021 | more posts on 'Kings and Prophets'
In a survey of the kings of Judah, Manasseh, Ahaz and Zedekiah are notable for their wickedness, and their role in bringing about the fall of the kingdom of Judah is well understood. A king less considered in the story of the small kingdom of Judah is Jehoiakim, but a careful look at his life and reign reveals the man to be a true villain. Whilst the fate of Judah and Jerusalem had already been secured by the evil behaviour of Manasseh, Jehoiakim’s political and personal life were also primary causes of the catastrophe that ended the monarchy and brutally hurled the kingdom of Judah into death, desolation and exile.
A NOTE ABOUT DATES
by Roger Wyatt| 27th February 2021 | more posts on 'Chronology and the Bible'
There was no absolute chronology in the ancient world and most ancient kingdoms like those of the Neo-Assyrians and Neo-Babylonians simply recorded the year of a king’s reign in their chronicles – in fact, the Neo-Assyrians used the successive number of the king’s annual campaign (palû) – which, it turns out, were not always annual. Similarly, in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the year was measured by the regnal year of the king, and in the books of Kings and Chronicles, these were held up against one another, thus providing a relative chronology - albeit a chronology that needs much work to unravel.
by Roger Wyatt| 29th June 2021 | more posts on 'Getting to grips with the Prophets'
The book of Ezekiel, in many ways, stands apart from all the other books of the Nevi’im. Writing as a contemporary of Jeremiah, Ezekiel is among the last of the and his prophetic output dates from the beginning of the 6th century BC to around 570. Ezekiel, although prophesying during the same period as Jeremiah, does not do so from Jerusalem, but from among the exiled communities of Judah that were forcibly relocated to Babylonia in 597. Taken as a whole Ezekiel brings a message, typical of the classical prophets, which is a mixture of proclamations concerning coming doom, but also of a far off hope. In addition to these, Ezekiel is also known for his majestic visions of an open heaven, encounters with angelic beings and his powerful, uncomfortable prophetic enactments.
THE MANY FALLS OF TYRE
by Roger Wyatt| 4th October 2021 | more posts on 'Getting to grips with the Prophets'
A reading of Ezekiel 26
The opening prophecy against Tyre has a clear date stamp in its superscription: ‘In the eleventh month of the twelfth year, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me’ (Ezekiel 26:1), placing the prophecy to just over six months after the fall of Jerusalem during Shebat 585. The prophecy itself correlates well to the declared date and in verse two the text reads, ‘Son of man, because Tyre has said of Jerusalem, “Aha! The gate to the nations is broken, and its doors have swung open to me; now that she lies in ruins I will prosper”, therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves’ (Ezekiel 26:2). The ‘many nations’ to come against Tyre would, in the first instance, be none other than the forces of Nebuchadnezzar, to be followed two centuries later by those of Alexander the Great.