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21 de Octubre, 2008 · General

The Culture and Its Prophets

Este es un buen párrafo para comprender la cultura antiguo en la que vivían los profetas.

Culture has a way of producing its own religious forms and expressions. The literary prophets and their predecessors were affected by their culture, but their credentials were issued by Yahweh Himself. Yet already in the preliterary period the culture, especially the Canaanite cultic strand of it, had produced a strain of prophets that greatly influenced royal policy. We see them operating in force in the court of Ahab in the middle of the ninth century (1 Kings 22), and it was against their kind that Elijah contended on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18). To what degree the counter-profession of prophets in the literary period owed its origin to the Baal prophets is impossible to determine. However, by the time of the eighth century there had come into being a profession of prophets, usually called “false prophets,” who operated in parallel order to the literary prophets. Whether they ever produced a literature is not known, but if they did, it would not likely have survived, for eventually the events of history proved their message to be false. Thus we only know them through the eyes of their principal critics, the literary prophets. Judging from the attention that Micah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel gave them, they made up quite an influential movement. Perhaps more than any other profession of their day, they represented the popular religion. In fact, their origin may partly be attributed to the popular beliefs of the people. They filled a popular need to hear a word of direction from God. Thus the people, including the leaders, consulted them and paid them for their services. One of the claims made against them was that they were mercenary (Mic. 3:5, 11; Jer. 6:13; 8:10).
Speaking in the name of Yahweh was the critical feature of prophetic speech. Yet many spoke in that name, and many spoke presumptuously. The issue was really what security the public had against these devious spokesmen. Deuteronomy adds another test to that one—that if the prophet’s word came to pass, he was a true prophet (Deut. 18:22). The unfolding reality of the prophetic word was a test that had to be performed in the laboratory of human experience, sometimes requiring long periods of time. Therefore, that was little security against the deceitful words of the false prophets. Thomas Overholt, recognizing that there were no absolute criteria which the public could draw upon to test the prophetic word, points to Jeremiah’s conflict with false prophets in chapters 27–29 and submits that valid judgments could be made about their genuineness. Hananiah in particular ignored the historical situation when he predicted that the exile would last only two years (Jer. 28).13 H. B. Huffmon takes note of the problem and concludes that “only internal and subjective confessional criteria can distinguish true and false prophecy.”14 During Jeremiah’s ministry, for exam pie, the false prophets cried, “Peace,” while the true ones declared there was no peace (Jer. 8:11; 23:17/6:14; Ezek. 13:2–10). The false said sword and famine would not be in the land, while the true said the false prophets themselves would be their victims along with the people they had misled (Jer. 14:15). The false said Judah would not serve the king of Babylon, and the true countered their message with a prediction of exile (Jer. 27:9–14; 28:11/27:4, 6–7). The false prophets predicted that the vessels of the Lord’s house would be shortly brought from Babylon, and the true said the rest of the vessels still in the Temple would be carried to Babylon (Jer. 27:16/27:19–22). Operating by point/counterpoint, gradually a certain platform became clear for the false prophets as well as the true. The public, depending upon its given disposition, could appeal to that body of formulations. Thus the subjective and internal nature of the matter produced a set of external criteria for judgment.
Yet, although we recognize that certain cases were dependent upon very subjective standards, there seems to have been a more objective criterion, which the literary prophets applied in other cases: the life of the prophet, whether he lived in accord with the demands of Yahweh. The widespread use of formal divination by the false prophets may both explain their popular appeal and constitute one of the marks by which they were identified as false. The Deuteronomic law forbade the use of divination (Deut. 18:10, 14), and that practice played no part in the ministry of the literary prophets. The means by which the false prophets divined God’s will is not explained. The use of lots, which was a priestly method of determining the divine, could have been one of them, but that is by no means certain. Yet the technical term for divination (qsm) occurs frequently in reference to the false prophets. From what we know of those methods, they would have provided the client with almost immediate results, not leaving him to wait it out. Evidently their technicians derived a comfortable living from public use of their services. Frequent use of dreams and visions is also mentioned. The picture we are given is that of men and women who received their word largely by those three methods: divination, dreams, and visions. Although the literary prophets did receive visions and had dreams, they were much more dependent upon the direct communication of Yahweh’s Word. Jeremiah said the false prophets’ dreams were like straw compared to the true prophets’ oracles, which were like wheat (Jer. 23:28).
So the culture produced its own prophets. Their ears were cocked to what the people wanted to hear; and whatever the current trend happened to be, they offered the popular wares. Judging from the literature, the law of supply and demand worked well for them.
13 Thomas W. Overholt, “Jeremiah 27–29: the Question of False Prophecy,” pp. 241–49.
14 Herbert B. Huffmon, “The Origins of Prophecy,” in Magnalia Dei: The Mighty Acts of God, p. 184.

Bullock, C. H. An introduction to the Old Testament prophetic books. Spine title: Introduction, Old Testament prophetic books.; Includes indexes. (26). Chicago: Moody Press, 1986
publicado por athlon77 a las 09:53 · 1 Comentario  ·  Recomendar
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Lamentablemente esto no lo he traducido pero queda para aquellos que les guste el ingles.
publicado por adrian, el 22.10.2008 11:04
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