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Daily Divinity Questions and Answers with Witness Dingani

08 Jun 2017 at 07:34hrs | Views
QN Were prophets unique in Israel, or are there links between prophecy in Israel and the rest of the Ancient Near East ? (25)

 - The above question requires one to have deep knowledge, concerning the origins of prophecy, number of so many books have been authored by various authors, in other words this means that there is no excuse of failing to understand the origins of prophecy. I have also authored number of articles concerning origins of prophecy, you can make use of them. Any challenge which you will encounter, you can reach me through my WhatsApp number which will be displayed after the presentation. Teachers, can assist you as well to understand the origins of prophecy. The origins of prophecy has been an unending debate among scholars, so many different theories have been brought forward, still there is confusion. On this ongoing article the author seeks to answer the above question.

 - Prophets in Israel were unique, as they received calls, number of so many prophets in Israel received calls from Yahweh, this is true in the case of Samuel, who is believed to have received a call when the voice of Yahweh was rare. Samuel encountered a theophanic experience when he heard a voice, this is recorded in 1st Samuel 3:1. Some of the Israelite prophets, they are believed to have experienced calls. This was unique in Israel as it indicated that Yahweh was responsible for appointing his own prophets as it is documented in Deuteronomy 18:18. The extra-biblical sources, there are silent about the view prophets of surrounding nations received calls, hence, this indicates that prophets of Israel were unique.

N.B There are so many points which can be added.
 - They were divinely inspired.
 - They were forbidden to use other methods.


 - In as much as it can be stated that prophets of Israel were unique, this should not be emphasized as there are links between prophecy of Israel and surrounding Ancient Near East Countries. For instance, Israelites experienced ecstasy, this idea was first experienced by the 70 elders during the exodus event, this is recorded in Numbers 11 :22-26. The type of ecstasy which they experienced has been interpreted by different scholars, some believe that it was contagious type of ecstasy. This has been supported by Constable in page 41, paragraph 4 in his NUMBERS notes who submitted that this type of prophecy was selective and temporary. This type of prophecy was also common in surrounding nations, this has been supported by Pritchard quoted by B.W.Anderson in his book entitled the "The Living World of Old Testament", who recorded the story of Wen -Amon [the story is well known ]The sons of prophets in Israel experienced absorption ecstasy; absorption ecstasy is whereby an individual prophesy ecstatically after being induced or absorbed by music, this is recorded in 1st Samuel 10:6-10 has been supported by J Lindblom quoted by Ewbank page 9, paragraph 6.Elisha summoned music in order for him to prophesy, this is recorded in 2rd Kings 3:15 [The point in this case is that Israelites experienced ecstasy]. Extra biblical sources proves that ecstasy was common in surrounding nations, it was common in Syria, this can be supported by the story of STELLE ZAKIR, who was answered by a seer who delivered the visions in trance. The story of Mt Camel Contest is well known by so many people, what cannot be noticed is that the Baal prophets which were exported by Jezebel from Phoenicia experienced ecstasy in 1st Kings 18:28,this type of ecstasy is also believed by B.W.Anderson in his book entitled "The Living word of Old Testament" to have existed in Asia -Minor (orges of Dionysus). All this, indicates that there is a link between prophecy of Israel and that of surrounding nations, as it evidenced by the above information which the writer fully highlighted.

 - The prophetic titles of Israel prophets, there believed to be similar to those of surrounding nations, Israel prophets named their prophets as man of God, this trend started with Moses, this is evidenced in Joshua 14:6,Samuel was also regarded as a man of God in 1st Samuel 9:7-9, Elijah the Tishbite was regarded as a man of God by the widow of Zerapath in 1st Kings 17:12-20.The young prophet from Judah is named as man of God in the bible (1st Kings 13:1) even though scholars like Josephus named him as Jadon. In surrounding nations they were prophets who were named as man of God, this has been supported by Martin North citing the story of Andrew Parrot the French archaeologist who discovered 20 000 tablets with names and inscriptions of prophets which were quite similar to those of Israel prophets [Sometimes the story is well known as the story of ZIMRI LIM ). Basing on this one will be left with no choice, but to suggest that there is a link between prophecy of Israel and that of surrounding nations considering the above similarities.


 - Advising Kings (Gad and Nathan ): Similar to the story of Balaam the Moabite who advised the King of Moab Baalak to offer the sacrifices [read Numbers 23 :1 to get full information]

 - Israel prophets experienced visions, the prophets of surrounding nations also experienced visions this can be supported by the story of Zakir.

 - The issue of sacrifices should not be neglected as Balaam the Moabite prophet offered sacrifices. [Read Numbers 22 and 23:1]


Basing on the totality of the mentioned points, it can be concluded that prophets of Israel were unique to certain degree, when receiving calls and inspiration from the deity is concerned. However, totality of the raised points indicate that there is a great connection between prophecy of Israel and that of surrounding nations.

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