3 PILLARS OF THE ISRAELITE RELIGION
Priesthood, Law, & Prophecy.
- debate as to whether the 3 pillars were connected or separate.
- Prophecy made a later appearance when compared to the law and the priesthood.
- However, some scholars think that prophecy was as old as the other two pillars.
- It can be traced to the origin of Israelite religion.
- some scholars have added apocalypticism as the fourth pillar of Israelite religion.
- G. von Rad: apocalypticism is not part of the pillars because it was a phenomenon of the Inter-Testamental period.
ORIGINS OF ISRAELITE PROPHECY
Basically there are two sources available, namely:
- Extra-biblical material
- Biblical Sources
1. EXTRA-BIBLICAL MATERIAL
These are archaeological materials found at various centers of the Ancient Near East.
They a threefold problem.
- The materials are not easily accessible.
- The materials are vague in the way they present Israelite prophecy .
- Lack of uniformity in the manner they present prophecy in the ANE.
2. BIBLICAL SOURCES
According to 1Sam 9:9, a prophet was a former seer. “…he who is called a prophet now was former called a prophet”. The implication is that the office of a prophet evolved from that one of a seer. However, according to 2 Sam 24:11, “When David rose in the morning the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer…” It seems that the words, prophet and seer are being used interchangeably.
In ancient Israel, a seer was a person who had the gift of foresight and could foretell the future.
In Hebrew, the word seer is roheh, meaning an extra-ordinary person who could predict the future.
The Hebrew word, nabi, which is translated as prophet meant a person with a special Divine gift of forth-telling.
He or she dealt with issues in the here and now.
It seems that the roheh (seer) and the nabi (prophet) had different functions in Israel, therefore different in nature.
One person could act as both seer and prophet.
WAS ISRAELILITE PROPHECY UNIQUE OR A BORROWED PHENOMENON?
TWO BASIC VIEWS
- PROPHECY WAS BORROWED FROM THE ANC
- PROPHECY ORIGINATED IN ISRAEL
PROPHECY WAS BORROWED FROM THE ANE
THE LEGEND OF WEN – AMUN
Recorded in the ANE texts. It says that Wen-Amun was a messenger of the Egyptian god Amon.
Was sent to the king of Byblos in Phoenicia to buy timber with which to construct a temple for the god Amon-Re.
The king of Byblos delayed in attending to the young man’s request because he was offering sacrifices to his god.
A youngman fell into ecstasy and ordered the king to offer timber to Wen-Amun.
The young man is said to have spend the whole night in ecstasy speaking on behalf of the gods.