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  • Bible Survey: The Book of Habakkuk
    in the lion s den The prophet Habakkuk who was in Judaea had made a stew he broke bread into the bowl and he was on the way to his field carrying it to the reapers when an angel of the Lord said to him Habakkuk carry that meal you have to Babylon for Daniel who is in the lion pit My lord replied Habakkuk I have never been to Babylon and I do not know where the lion pit is The angel took the prophet by the head and carrying him by his hair swept him to Babylon with the blast of his breath and set him down above the pit Habakkuk called out Daniel Daniel Take the meal that God has sent you Daniel said You do indeed remember me God you never abandon those who love you He got up and ate and at once God s angel brought Habakkuk home again verses 33 39 REB There is one manuscript that says that Habakkuk was the son of Joshua of the tribe of Levi This later tradition that Habakkuk was from the tribe of Levi combined with the fact that he is one of only three men in the Old Testament to be called a prophet in the superscription of his book and the fact that he is presented as a prophet again at the start of chapter three which is a song suggests that he might indeed have been a Levite making him a professional or temple prophet 1 Chronicles 25 1 8 seems to suggest that the prophets were musicians near the end of the Old Testament period B Setting Although we don t know precisely when Habakkuk prophesied we get a pretty good clue in 1 6 where he refers to the rise of

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/habakkuk.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • Bible Survey: The Book of Zephaniah
    his name to a mountain north of Israel where the gods were supposed to live The combination of Zaphon and Ya could then be translated as Zaphon is Yahweh Such a confession would claim that the God which some people call Zaphon is really Yahweh Zaphon is also the common Semitic word for north cf Gen 13 14 Ex 26 20 40 22 Jer 1 14 Is 14 13 31 Ezek 8 14 Psa 48 3 89 13 Job 26 7 II Author and Setting A Author The name Zephaniah occurs ten times in the Old Testament and is spelled in a couple of different ways Perhaps four different people are called Zephaniah 1 The prophet whose book bears his name Zephaniah 1 1 2 A priest the son of Maaseiah Jeremiah 21 1 29 25 29 37 3 52 24 2 Kings 25 18 3 A Kohathite the son of Tahath 1 Chronicles 6 36 4 A priest the father of Josiah Zechariah 6 10 14 B Setting In light of the words in the superscription 1 1 the reader might suppose that the date of Zephaniah would not be a problem Clearly Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of Josiah 640 609 BC However the question is exactly when during his reign did Zephaniah prophesy before the reforms of 621 BC or after Most scholars prefer a date before Josiah s reform in 621 BC because Zephaniah spends the book denouncing such syncretistic practices as Baal worship and child sacrifice which had become more widespread in Israel since Manasseh s reign By denouncing such practices Zephaniah could have been a contributing influence in bringing about reform However some scholars have noted that the text mentions the remnant of Baal in 1 4 which suggests that the reforms had already

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/zephania.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • Bible Survey: The Book of Haggai
    same time in Judah and Jerusalem He proclaimed the word of God over a five month period in 520 BC How he came to be in Jerusalem whether he was an exile or if he had already been there is unknown In his book and in Ezra he is referred to as prophet He is also called the Angel of the LORD that is the messenger of Yahweh in Haggai 1 13 It is possible to date Haggai s prophesies very exactly 1 The first day of the sixth month of the second year of Darius I 1 1 which would be August 29 520 BC 2 The twenty fourth day of the sixth month of the second year of Darius I when they resumed work on the second temple 1 15a which would be September 21 520 BC 3 The twenty first day of the seventh month of the second year of Darius I which would be October 21 520 BC 4 The twenty fourth day of the ninth month of the second year of Darius I 2 19 20 which would be December 18 520 BC By 520 BC some of the Jews had been back in Jerusalem for several years Cyrus had conquered Babylon in 538 BC He then issued a decree that all of Babylon s captives could return to their homes Ezra 1 6 describes the first group of Jews to make that trip home They came at great sacrifice but also with high hopes however when they reached Jerusalem around 536 BC there was nothing but ruins poverty and opposition from the Samaritans and the local population Consequently nothing was done about rebuilding the temple between 536 and 520 BC when Haggai came on the scene For more information look at Ezra 5 13

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/haggai.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • Bible Survey: The Book of Zechariah
    Zechariah and Jeremiah and then names only the more prominent of the two prophets Unfortunately for this explanation it works only in abstract it is difficult if not impossible to find even one word in the context of what Matthew attributes to Jeremiah actually in the book of Jeremiah 2 A second answer to the problem that has been suggested is that Matthew is simply quoting from a now lost prophecy of Jeremiah or to a saying of Jeremiah s that was passed down by oral tradition Unfortunately this is a little too convenient besides lacking any substantive evidence 3 Jeremiah is said to begin the Book of the Prophets in the Hebrew canon and that the use of this name is intended simply to indicate that Matthew is quoting the prophetic section of the Bible In essence then this idea postulates that Jeremiah is synonymous to the prophets in general Unfortunately Matthew does not follow this supposed practice with his other Old Testament citations and for that matter neither do any of the other New Testament writers cf Romans 9 25 and Acts 2 16 In Matthew 3 3 4 14 8 17 12 17 13 14 and 15 7 Matthew quotes Isaiah and states that he is quoting Isaiah He does not announce that he is quoting from Jeremiah In Matthew 2 17 he states that he is quoting from Jeremiah and there he actually does In Matthew 12 39 41 and Matthew 16 4 he claims to quote from Jonah and does As if that were not devastating enough to the theory it should also be noted that Jeremiah does not begin the Book of the Prophets in the Hebrew Bible rather Joshua leads as the first book of the section that the Jewish people labeled the Prophets dividing them into two sections the Former Prophets Joshua Kings and the Latter Prophets Isaiah Malachi 4 A fourth idea that has been postulated is to say that Jeremiah in Matthew is simply an example of a transcription error on the part of an early copyist Unfortunately all the manuscripts are unanimous in the reading of Jeremiah s name in Matthew 27 9 5 Matthew simply made a mistake Martin Luther wrote This chapter gives rise to the question Why did Matthew attribute the text concerning the thirty pieces of silver to the prophet Jeremiah whereas it stands here in Zechariah This and other similar questions do not indeed trouble me very much because they have but little bearing upon the matter and Matthew does quite enough by quoting a certain scripture although he is not quite correct about the name inasmuch as he quotes prophetic sayings in other places and yet does not give the words as they stand in the scripture The same thing may occur now and if it does not affect the sense that the words are not quoted exactly what is to hinder his not having given the name quite correctly since the words

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/zecharia.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • Bible Survey: The Book of Malachi
    sons in the book of Isaiah Maher shalal hash baz which means Hasten spoil quick booty and She ar Yashub which means a remnant shall remain Isaiah prophesied mainly in Jerusalem Based on his vocabulary usage and style it seems clear that Isaiah was very well educated According to Jewish tradition found in the Mishna Manasseh stuck Isaiah in a hollow tree and then sawed him in half as punishment for opposing him cf Hebrews 11 37 B Historical Setting Isaiah received prophesies and committed them to writing over the years 740 to 690 BC At the same time he was prophesying in Judah Amos and Hosea were busy in the Northern Kingdom of Israel Micah was writing in the south Isaiah s prophetic work was composed during the reigns of the following kings see 2 Kings 15 8 21 18 Judah Israel Uzziah Azariah 792 740 Jehoash 798 782 Jotham 750 732 Jereboam II 793 753 Zechariah 753 Shallum 752 Menahem 752 742 Pekah 752 732 Pekahiah 742 740 Hoshea 732 723 Ahaz 735 715 Israel Taken Captive Hezekiah 715 686 Manasseh 696 642 C Political Situation 1 Assyria was gaining momentum and strength in the west as a major world power In Isaiah s lifetime the Northern Kingdom of Israel as a separate political entity came to an end Tiglath Pileser III invaded Gilead and the Northern Kingdom in 734 its capital Samaria finally fell between 724 722 BC 2 Sennacherib invaded Judah the Southern Kingdom in 701 BC D Spiritual Situation Degeneracy and official sanction of idolatry in Judah during the reigns of Ahaz and Manasseh only encouraged an already existing problem Although Hezekiah instituted reforms both the common people as well as the upper classes continued to be attracted to false gods E Economic Situation Isaiah

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/malachi.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • Bible Survey: Psalms
    like Blessed is the man who does not practice wickedness as a life pattern Perhaps not as beautiful or memorable as the psalmist s words but the thought remains the same As an exercise the reader might examine Judges 4 and 5 and notice the difference in the method of expression used to describe the same incident Judges 4 recounts in prose Deborah s victory against the enemies of Israel while Judges 5 recounts the same incidents only in poetry C Types of Parallelism The writers made use of parallelistic principles in a number of different ways Three of the most common sorts that the reader will come across are listed below 1 Synonymous The most common and standard form of parallelism characterized by the two or three halves of the thought expressing synonymous concepts The heavens declare the glory of God The skies proclaim the work of his hands Psalm 19 1 2 Antithetical Antithetical parallelism occurs when the writer expresses a concept and then follows it immediately with its opposite Consider the blameless observe the upright there is a future for the man of peace But all sinners will be destroyed the future of the wicked will be cut off Psalm 37 37 38 A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones Proverbs 17 22 3 Completion Rather than repeating or contrasting a concept sometimes the writer simply continues the thought bringing it to its logical ultimate completion or end A wicked man accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the course of justice Proverbs 17 23 There are of course many variations on these basic formats but this should be enough to give the reader a good basic concept of the principles involved The books and parts of books of the Bible that are poetic in nature are as follows some books listed as poetry may have sections that are prose in modern translations the poetic sections are clearly differentiated from prose LAW Genesis 1 27 2 23 3 14 19 4 23 24 8 22 9 25 27 12 2 3 14 19 20 15 1 16 11 12 24 60 25 23 27 27 29 27 39 40 48 15 16 49 2 27 Exodus 15 1 21 32 18 Leviticus 10 3 Numbers 6 24 26 10 35 36 11 6 8 21 14 15 21 17 18 21 27 30 23 7 10 23 18 24 24 3 9 24 15 25 Deuteronomy 7 10 27 15 26 28 3 6 28 16 19 32 1 44 33 2 29 PROPHETS Joshua 6 26 10 12 13 Judges 5 14 14 14 18 15 16 16 24 1 Samuel 2 1 10 15 22 23 15 33 18 7 21 11 29 5 2 Samuel 1 19 27 3 33 34 22 2 23 7 1 Kings 12 16 2 Kings 19 21 34 Isaiah Jeremiah Ezekiel Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah 2 Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/psalms.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • Bible Survey: The Book of Job
    song to wisdom shows up it expresses the fact so necessary to understand that wisdom and understanding come from God alone and that however hard we search unless God grants understanding to us it remains unattainable That too often we fail to understand or recognize the fulfillment of God s promises should not really surprise us The story of Joseph is similar to the story of Job Again the narrative describes a righteous individual a person in God s favor who nevertheless suffers terribly Anytime he seems to be achieving some small measure of God s promised blessings he is hit with a sudden reverse But in the end all his misery was fulfilling God s ultimate purpose Sometimes as with Joseph the righteous person sees the reason for the travail of his soul But other times his experience will more parallel the life of Job the suffering soul will never comprehend why he received suffering instead of the anticipated blessing which should be his according to the divine covenant One other item to note about the prosperity and wealth promised in the proverbs is that such wealth might not refer to material accumulations but rather to a wealth of wisdom and a close relationship with God II Title The book of Job is named after the principle character in the book it is the same in Hebrew as it is in English III Setting A Author The author of the book of Job is unknown Various individuals have been proposed including Job himself Solomon and Ezra The Talmud ascribed it to Moses the theory there is that Moses acquired the poem during the forty years he spent tending sheep and that he added the prose prologue and epilogue alternatively it is proposed that he merely learned of Job while he was in Midian and wrote the entire book himself Some commentators have proposed that Elihu is the author based on Job 32 16 17 but frankly that seems an awful stretch B Date Traditionally Job has been dated to the time of the patriarchs The reasons for this position are as follows 1 Job s sacrifices were according to the patriarchal pattern with Job acting as the priest for his household 2 Job lived to be nearly two hundred years old cf Abraham who lived to be one hundred seventy five 3 There is no reference to Israel or the miracles accompanying the exodus 4 There is no reference to the Law of Moses Against this traditional argument there is strong reason to suspect that Job actually lived sometime after the exodus and after the people of Israel had entered the promised land 1 The word Rahab occurs twice in the book of Job If he snatches away who can stop him Who can say to him What are you doing God does not restrain his anger even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet Job 9 12 13 By his power he churned up the sea by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces By his breath the skies became fair his hand pierced the gliding serpent Job 26 12 13 Those two passages in Job can be profitably compared with some other biblical passages to Egypt whose help is utterly useless Therefore I call her Rahab the Do Nothing Isaiah 30 7 I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me Philistia too and Tyre along with Cush and will say This one was born in Zion Psalm 87 4 You rule over the surging sea when its waves mount up you still them You crushed Rahab like one of the slain with your strong arm you scattered your enemies Psalm 89 9 10 Awake awake Clothe yourself with strength O arm of the Lord awake as in days gone by as in generations of old Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces who pierced that monster through was it not you who dried up the sea the waters of the great deep who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over Isaiah 51 9 10 From these references it seems clear that the word Rahab is a reference to Egypt furthermore it appears that it is used in Job to refer to the Israelites exodus from Egypt Therefore the book of Job had to have been written sometime after that event Psalm 87 was written by the sons of Korah dating the Psalm to the time of David or Solomon according to 1 Chronicles 6 22 31 46 Psalm 89 was written by Ethen the Ezrahite who lived close to the time of Solomon too since Solomon is favorably compared to him in 1 Kings 4 31 Isaiah lived many years after Solomon Therefore an educated date for the time of authorship of the book of Job would seem to place it sometime between the time of David and Isaiah But what about the time frame of Job himself Since the words about Egypt and the exodus are put in his mouth a time during the patriarchs is completely ruled out However if we compare Job s behavior in serving as priest to his house with the time of the Judges we find definite parallels because then too sacrifice was not exclusively the work of priests in a central tabernacle or temple see for instance Judges 2 5 6 25 27 11 31 and 13 19 21 see also 1 Samuel 6 14 and 11 15 C Background 1 Job is unique but not isolated Job was not written in a vacuum it is part of the genre called wisdom literature and Israel s neighbors produced a good number of stories that fit into the same category Several works from the Ancient Near East have been compared to the book of Job by scholars a Keret An Ugaritic story tells about a good king despite his piety he is bereaved of all his

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/job.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • Bible Survey: The Book of Proverbs
    tongue to pay diligent attention to wisdom s teachings to deal honestly with his fellow human beings and to avoid association with the wicked IV Author There are approximately 375 proverbs written down in Proverbs 10 1 22 16 1 Kings 4 32 indicates that Solomon spoke over three thousand proverbs Therefore it is obvious that not all of his proverbs have been preserved Few scholars today believe that Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs An interesting and typical statement presenting this view was made by John Mark Thompson in his book The Form and Function of Proverbs in Ancient Israel pp 83 84 It goes without saying that no one would argue seriously today in favor of the Solomonic authorship of the entire book of Proverbs Some however would affirm the possible presence of his kingly wit in 10 1 22 16 specifically labeled as his work and generally believed to be the earliest collection in the book Certainly such a possibility exists but with the extreme difficulty of dating the proverb and with Solomon s glorification as Israel s wise man par excellence all conclusions regarding his authorship of anything in the book appear to be highly subjective Problems with Thompson s statement 1 The first problem is with his assumption that the passages in 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles describing Solomon s wisdom are simply exaggerated legends This is a highly subjective decision based on the idea that the Bible is not necessarily true or accurate in what it records It seems beyond him to believe that Solomon might be recognized as wise because he produced wise works like the book of Proverbs 2 Based on his assumption that wisdom has merely been attributed to Solomon he then assumes that the proverbs attributed to Solomon are so attributed because of the legend 3 Therefore he concludes that since the legend of Solomon s wisdom is not true the book of Proverbs cannot be Solomon s The objective fact is that the book of Proverbs claims for itself Solomonic authorship To believe otherwise is a subjective judgment that the book is lying about who wrote it based on the presupposition that the Bible is not the word of God that it is not inerrant and therefore may have such lies in it Obviously of course not everything in the Book of Proverbs was written by Solomon since some sections explicitly name another author Only Proverbs 1 1 24 22 was written by Solomon Proverbs 24 23 34 are attributed to the Wise Proverbs 25 1 29 27 are Solomon s but they were collected and recorded by Hezekiah s men Proverbs 30 1 33 was written by Agur who is otherwise unknown in scripture Proverbs 31 1 31 was written by Lemuel also unknown elsewhere in scripture V An Outline of Proverbs I Solomon s Book of Proverbs A Prologue 1 1 7 B Exhortations to Wisdom 1 8 9 18 1 Warnings Against Following Sinners 1 8

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/proverbs.htm (2013-12-10)
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