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Monday, January 17, 2011

Introduction to the Minor Prophets

I have been interested in the writings produced by the group of men called the Minor Prophets for a long time.   I have a blog now that I can vent and expound about things that interest me, so the Minor Prophets is my new venture for 2011.  I invite you to read with me and see what nuggets of wisdom may be hidden in these often neglected books.

First I want to define this category of books found in the Old Testament.  I thought the Old Testament was about the same for Jews as it was for Christians, but no, there are many differences.  The first five books of the Old Testament are called the Torah by Jews.  The word Torah means instruction and has come to mean the Law or even the whole Old Testament. 

There are two other categories of books the Jews recognized:  the  Prophets and the Writings.  Christians divide them as the Books of the Law, the Books of History, the Books of Wisdom or Poetry, and the Books of Prophesy.

It seems I am beginning at the end.  Maybe I can work my way back to the others.  When I discuss prophets, I remember that the prophet who met Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration was not a writing prophet.  I would like to explore a little about the ministry of the non-writing prophets too.  The prophet who met Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration was Elijah.  His story is recounted in I Kings, but he is not the first prophet of the Bible. 

Maybe we should include Moses as a prophet:  He certainly fulfilled the role.  He heard from God and spoke His truth to the Children of Israel.  He really falls in a class by himself.  He led the people for 40 years in the desert.  He was never in Israel at all. 

Moses was born to a man and woman of the tribe of Levi in the land of Egypt.  The Children of Israel had come to Egypt because a drought in Israel, but they stayed there for over 400 years.  They had grown strong and the king of Egypt feared them, so he decided to kill the baby boys so they would not outnumber or overpower the people of Egypt.  His mother delivered him in secret and kept him hidden for three months.  Then she left him in a basket in the reeds where the daughter of the Pharaoh bathed in the Nile River.  Pharaoh's daughter kept him and raised him as a prince of Egypt.

Now I have been chasing rabbits, that is to say, straying from the thought I started with.  I guess I need to deal with these prophets and the lessons they have to teach me in a more organized way.  I'm not sure if I should call this an introduction or just a wandering thought.  But now I can begin to discuss the prophets, and maybe the kings, and maybe other things too, in a more concentrated manner.  Check back now and then to see where I've wandered next.