Sunday, January 19, 2020
Prophets :: essays research papers
The Prophets The Prophets, religious sages and charismatic figures, who were perceived as endowed with a divine gift of revelation, preached during the period of the monarchy until a century after the destruction of Jerusalem (586 B.C.E.). Whether as advisers to kings on matters of religion, ethics and politics, or as their critics, under the primacy of the relationship between the individual and God, the prophets were guided by the need for justice and issued powerful commentaries on the morality of Jewish national life. Their revelatory experiences were recorded in books of inspired prose and poetry, many of which were incorporated into the Bible. The enduring, universal appeal of the prophets derives from their call for a fundamental consideration of human values. Words such as those of Isaiah (1:17) -- "Be good, devote yourselves to justice; aid the wronged, uphold the rights of the orphan; defend the cause of the widow" -- continue to nourish humanity's pursuit of social justice. The primary job of a prophet was to arouse the people and the government to repentance and observance. The traditional view is that prophecy was removed from the world after the destruction of the First Temple. Those prophets who are mentioned after that were alive at the time of the destruction. Several explanations are offered for why prophets no longer exist: 1. The fact that the Jews did not heed the calls to repentance of the prophets showed that they were not worthy. When most of the Jews remained in exile after Ezra returned, they showed that they were still not worthy of that level of holiness. The second temple did not have the level of kedushah [holiness] of the first Temple even from the beginning. 2. This was actually a sign of Gd's mercy. Had the Jews had a prophet and continued to disobey (as was probable based on the behavior of the following centuries) even after the punishment of the exile, they would have merited complete destruction. Now they could say that had a prophet come they would have obeyed and thus mitigate the punishment (though some consider the current exile (i.e., the diaspora) to be harsh enough). 3. After the destruction of the first Temple the sages prayed for the removal of the "Evil Inclination" of idolatry.