Bible 110 Old Testament Prophecy Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum OBADIAH A. Who is Obadiah? Is it a proper name? Is it a title, “worshiper or servant of Yahweh?” Likely it is a proper name. Is he the servant of Ahab (I Kings 18:1-16) who secretly saved the lives of the prophets of God? No historical proof. He harbored a hatred for Edom and believed that God would bring judgment on them.
B. Unity of book: break at v. 15. Verses 1-14 are an oracle condemning Edom for cruelty and unbrotherly conduct toward Hebrews. Verses 15-21 describe judgment which is to come on all nations, including Edom; but Hebrews will be gloriously restored and the kingdom expanded.
C. Occasion for writing: a calamity has befallen Judah and Jerusalem. Jerusalem invaded and attacked. When? By Philistines and Arabs 2 Chron 21:16-17? During the time of Jehoram, 845 BC; or during Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of 587 BC? This is the most likely view (587 BC). Edom was involved in Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Jerusalem. Perhaps Edom even occupied Israelite territory. D. Content: Obadiah’s hatred for Edom; Day of the Lord would bring his intervention in affairs against Edom. God would bless the faithful. Date of book: exile or early post-exile (ca 400?); Punishment is to befall the nation of Edom.
JONAH A. Popular book of many uses. Traditional date of book is eighth century by Jonah who prophesied 786-746 BC during reign of Jeroboam II. More modern views hold it to be later.
Bible 110 Old Testament B. There is no hint that Jonah himself wrote the book. The book is about him. It contains expressions used in Late Hebrew literature as well as Aramaisms. Seems also to be a dependence on Jeremiah. Deutero-Isaiah (humanitarianmonotheistic-missionary spirit). Would seem to be prior to Daniel. The psalm in Ch 2 would suggest a later date of the Jonah psalm and story. The psalm is a song of the nation, a vow of the individual to sacrifice at the shrine again following the present distress. Perhaps 450-400 BC is time of composition of the book.
C. Interpretation: literally true? Belly of the fish - myth, allegory, parable? A religious masterpiece presenting its moral along the line of a short story (similar to Ruth and Esther). D. Author – grasped the insight of God’s concern for all people (post-exilic period saw conflict between narrow Jewish nationalism and a broad humanitarian spirit). A pious remnant of the prophetic school, which wanted to protect the extreme nationalism of the growing priestly power, prepared Jonah. E. Purpose – Jonah exposes narrow nationalism and shows the universal redemptive design of God for all mankind. Israel was getting another chance to see and to fulfill her mission to the nations. Finally, she must understand God’s world-embracing love. F. Jesus’ use of Jonah-probably that of a literary illustration. “Sign” of Jonah is related to repentance before destruction comes.
G. Outline I. II. III. IV. Rebellious prophet and chastisement (1:1-16) Reprieved Prophet and Prayer (1:17-2:10) Obedient prophet and the results of the preaching (3:1-10) Resentful Prophet and the rebuke of his narrowness (4:1-11)
Bible 110 Old Testament
MICAH A. A prophet is a man at odds with his times. Prophecy is not so much predictive as exhortative. Micah is the final to predict utter destruction of Jerusalem. Micah worked 737-686 BC, probably most during the reign of Hezekiah. Micah edited in third century BC. Micah was most concerned with the crisis of 711 BC. Crisis reoccurred in 701 BC and Micah became active again. He was discredited both times. Micah was last of 4 great prophets – Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah.
B. Micah had keen social conscience; sympathetic with victims of oppression. He made seething indictments for perpetrators of oppression. Micah means, “Who is like Yahweh?” Humble in origin. He had a strong denunciation against Jerusalem and citizens. His was an unpopular view of no true religion without moral obedience to God. Judah was corrupt morals, low government, decadent, religion formalistic
C. Micah was against defective moral and religious conditions. He attempted to purify Israel’s religion by emphasizing a high doctrine of God. God’s favor is not bought but bestowed. Sin brings punishment. Jerusalem would suffer ruin.
D. Outline I. Introduction II. Prophecies of judgment 1:5-3:12 Lament for Samaria and Jerusalem 1:6-10 Prediction of exile 1:10-16 Prophecies against social evils 2:1-3:12 III. Vision of a glorious future 4:1-5:15 (Not by Micah?) Promise of peace through faith in Yahweh Yahweh’s victory over his people’s enemies New ruler over people of Israel
Bible 110 Old Testament Age of peace and blessing IV. From controversy to victory 6:1-7:20 God’s controversy with his people 6:1-8 Religion-ritual or spiritual? God entreats Jerusalem 6:9-16 Note of despair 7:1-6 Victory of faith 7:7-20
NAHUM A. Took place shortly before fall of Nineveh 612 BC Reference to fall of Egypt at Thebes 663 Assyrian dominance of the world 745-612 Syrian-Israelite league against Assyria (734) Judah appealed to Tilgath-Pieleser for alliance End of Israel 722 (Sargon II) Judah continued a vassal submissive state Egypt smashed at Thebes in 663 Judah’s political and economic survival depended on submission to Assyria. Are some in Judah becoming syncretistic in religions? Some believed that Ashur, God of Assyria, was superior to other gods. Why had Yahweh deserted his people in their time of need? Was Yahweh unable? Ashur had brought an exciting, sensuous, sparkling, splendid kingdom in Assyria. Israelite upper class wanted to get in on the “good stuff.”
Assyria fell quickly after 648 BC and was conquered by Babylon. By 612
Nineveh had fallen to new alliance of Medes, Chaldean, Ummande, Scythians C. Subject of Nahum is “the Burden of Nineveh.” King Josiah of Judah sought to end pro-Assyrian alliance; make Yahweh the exclusive religion; reunite nation under a Davidic king. Josiah purged land of all pagan symbols. In 622 there was a restoration of Temple and a rediscovery of the book of Law. He attempted to
Bible 110 Old Testament re-establish Davidic kingdom or a theocratic expression. At the same time, the Assyrians were in serious decline. Nahum focuses on injustice perpetuated by Assyria. How could this be in the face of an omnipotent God? Theodicy is the subject of the book: God is righteous within the category of history. Yahweh is dynamic: exercise absolute control over history and indignation of Yahweh against enemies. Defeat of Assyria is vindication of Yahweh. War, injustice, enslavement are a part of realistic view of history. What is answer to individual justice in history? Militarism? No. Oppression ultimately plot against God, meeting their ultimate doom. God was emancipator of nations enslaved to Assyria. Does not this justify the religion of Yahweh as true? Role of Judah is as evangelist to the nations 3:19.
D. Outline I. II. Superscription Theophany of Yahweh 1:2-15, 2:2 Yahweh an avenging God 1:2-36 Theophany proper 1:3c-5 Inescapable and consummate doom 1:6-11 Two oracles of Yahweh 1:12-14 Herald’s evangel 1:15, 2:2 III. Fall of Nineveh 2:1, 3-3:19 Defeat of Nineveh 2:1, 3-10 Satirical riddle 2:11-12 Oracle of Yahweh 2:13 Malediction against Nineveh 3:1-4 Oracle of Yahweh 3:5-7 Doom and disappearance of and the taunt song over Nineveh 3:14-19