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Exploring the Bible: Essays, Worksheets and Resources, Volumes 1 and 2 are available from Bible Teaching Press. Both are compilations of essays by Joan K. Snipes. Volume 1 is a 45-page booklet and is a compilation of material written in the first 17 issues of this e-newsletter. The information has been reorganized, slightly rewritten, and edited. A two-page table of contents makes finding specific information easy.
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Newsletter Dated: 3/4/2002 9:28:22 PM
Subject: The Prophets
Joan Koelle Snipes e-newsletter
- book by Abraham Joshua Heschel;
- the prophets' sensitivity to evil;
- a new Bible Study Worksheet on the prophets.
The theme of this e-newsletter is the prophets. Much is written about these individuals, and their place and importance in Bible history is unparalleled.
I'd like to introduce you to an insightful author. His name is Abraham Joshua Heschel. His book, "The Prophets," was first published in 1962. In recent years it has been reissued by Harper and Row Publishers as a perennial classic. The reasons are simple. Rabbi Heschel really KNOWS the prophets and explains their contributions with wonderful eloquence.
He opens his book with a chapter entitled: "What Manner of Man Is the Prophet?" To better understand the prophets, let me quote a few paragraphs from Heschel's opening pages:
"A student of philosophy who turns from the discourses of the great metaphysicians to the orations of the prophets may feel as if he were going from the realm of the sublime to an area of trivialities. Instead of dealing with the timeless issues of being and becoming, of matter and form, of definitions and demonstrations, he is thrown into orations about widows and orphans, about the corruption of judges and affairs of the market place. Instead of showing us a way through the elegant mansions of the mind, the prophets take us to the slums. The world is a proud place, full of beauty, but the prophets are scandalized, and rave as if the whole world were a slum. They make much ado about paltry things, lavishing excessive language upon trifling subjects. What if somewhere in ancient Palestine poor people have not been treated properly by the rich? So what if some old women found pleasure and edification in worshiping 'the Queen of Heavens'? Why such immoderate excitement? Why such intense indignation?
"Indeed, the sort of crimes, and even the amount of delinquency that fill the prophets of Israel with dismay do not go beyond that which we regard as normal, as typical ingredients of social dynamics. To us a single act of injustice -- cheating in business, exploitation of the poor -- is slight; to the prophets, a disaster. To us injustice is injurious to the welfare of the people; to the prophets it is a deathblow to existence: to us, an episode; to them, a catastrophe, a threat to the world.
"Their breathless impatience with injustice may strike us as hysteria. We ourselves witness continually acts of injustice, manifestations of hypocrisy, falsehood, outrage, misery, but we rarely grow indignant or overly excited. To the prophets even a minor injustice assumes cosmic proportions.
"Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord.
For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2: 12, 13, Revised Standard Version)
"They speak and act as if the sky were about to collapse because Israel has become unfaithful to God....
"But if such deep sensitivity to evil is to be called hysterical, what name should be given to the abysmal indifference to evil which the prophet bewails?" pp. 3-5
BIBLE STUDY WORKSHEET
My book, "That Ye May Teach the Children," includes 44 Bible Study Worksheets that may copied and used by Sunday School teachers as homework assignments. One of those worksheets is on the prophets (page 211 of the second edition) and asks questions about Isaiah, Jeremiah, Samuel, Elisha, Hosea, Amos, and Haggai.
Below is a new worksheet, which you are welcome to copy and use, with questions on another set of biblical prophets.
1. On Pentecost, who quoted the Old Testament prophet Joel when he said:
"your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams..."? Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28
2. Please fill in the blank:
"And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto ____________, whom the Lord knew face to face...." Deuteronomy 34:10
3. Please name the writing prophet from Jerusalem who was called during the "fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity." This prophet, who was also a priest, was carried into Babylonian exile. Nonetheless, he wrote eloquently of God as a Shepherd and of men as His flock.
4. During the reign of David, a distinguished prophet had the unenviable task of pointing out the king's sin in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. The prophet accomplished this by telling David a parable about a beloved ewe lamb. Please name this wise prophet. II Samuel 12:1-15
5. A blind man healed by Christ Jesus affirmed: "He is a prophet." Please name another individual in John's gospel who exclaimed to Jesus: "Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet." John 4:7, 19; 9:17
6. In which prophetic book can you find this "classic definition of a simple practical religion, which has not been surpassed?" "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" "The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible," p. 616.
7. Not all prophets were men. Old Testament prophetesses included Miriam, Moses' sister, and Huldah, who lived in Jerusalem during Josiah's reign. Philip the evangelist's four daughters and Anna prophesied in New Testament times. Please name the woman who was both a judge and a prophetess. Judges 4:4; see also: Exodus 15:2; II Kings 22:14; Luke 2:36; Acts 21:9
8. Please name the great prophet who fled from Jezebel to Mt. Horeb and was divinely sustained for 40 days and nights. I Kings 19:8
Answers: Deborah, Micah, Elijah, Peter, Moses, Ezekiel, Nathan, a woman of Samaria
I hope you have found this e-newsletter helpful. I welcome feedback.
Joan Koelle Snipes
Volume 2; No. 1
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