Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. In the narrative of the Hebrew Bible, it covers the time between the conquest described in the Book of Joshua and the establishment of a kingdom in the Books of Samuel, during which Biblical judges served as temporary leaders; the stories follow a consistent pattern: the people are unfaithful to Yahweh and he therefore delivers them into the hands of their enemies. Scholars consider many of the stories in Judges to be the oldest in the Deuteronomistic history, with their major redaction dated to the 8th century BCE and with materials such as the Song of Deborah dating from much earlier. Judges can be divided into three major sections: a double prologue, a main body, a double epilogue; the book opens with the Israelites in the land that God has promised to them, but worshiping "foreign gods" instead of Yahweh, the God of Israel, with the Canaanites still present everywhere. Chapters 1:1–2:5 are thus a confession of failure, while chapters 2:6–3:6 are a major summary and reflection from the Deuteronomists.
The opening thus sets out the pattern which the stories in the main text will follow: Israel "does evil in the eyes of Yahweh", the people are given into the hands of their enemies and cry out to Yahweh, Yahweh raises up a leader, the "spirit of Yahweh" comes upon the leader, the leader manages to defeat the enemy, peace is regained. Once peace is regained, Israel does right and receives Yahweh's blessings for a time, but relapses into doing evil and repeats the pattern set forth above. Judges opens with a reference to Joshua's death; the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges suggests that "the death of Joshua may be regarded as marking the division between the period of conquest and the period of occupation", the latter being the focus of the Book of Judges. The Israelites meet, most at the sanctuary at Gilgal or at Shechem and ask the Lord who should be first to secure the land they are to occupy; the main text gives accounts of six major judges and their struggles against the oppressive kings of surrounding nations, as well as the story of Abimelech, an Israelite leader who oppresses his own people.
The cyclical pattern set out in the prologue is apparent at the beginning, but as the stories progress it begins to disintegrate, mirroring the disintegration of the world of the Israelites. Although some scholars consider the stories not to be presented in chronological order, the judges in the order in which they appear in the text are: Othniel vs. Chushan-Rishathaim, King of Aram. Ehud vs. Eglon of Moab Deborah the prophetess, accompanied by Barak the army leader, vs. Jabin of Hazor and Sisera, his captain Gideon vs. Midian and the "children of the East" Abimelech vs. all the Israelites who oppose him Jephthah vs. the Ammonites Samson vs. the PhilistinesThere are brief glosses on six minor judges: Shamgar and Jair, Ibzan and Abdon. Some scholars have inferred that the minor judges were actual adjudicators, whereas the major judges were leaders and did not make legal judgements; the only major judge described as making legal judgments is Deborah. By the end of Judges, the Israelites are in a worse condition than they were at the beginning, with Yahweh's treasures used to make idolatrous images, the Levites corrupted, the tribe of Dan conquering a remote village instead of the Canaanite cities, the tribes of Israel making war on the tribe of Benjamin, their own kinsmen.
The book concludes with two appendices, stories which do not feature a specific judge: Micah's Idol, how the tribe of Dan conquers its territory in the north Battle of Gibeah, a war between Benjamin and the other tribes. Despite their appearance at the end of the book, certain characters and idioms present in the epilogue show that the events therein depict a point in time early in the period of the judges. Judges contains a chronology of its events, it is overtly schematic and, according to biblical scholar Jeremy Hughes, shows signs of having been introduced at a period. It is unclear; the basic source for Judges was a collection of loosely connected stories about tribal heroes who saved the people in battle. This original "book of saviours" made up of the stories of Ehud and parts of Gideon, had been enlarged and transformed into "wars of Yahweh" before being given a comprehensive Deuteronomistic revision. In the 20th century, the first part of the prologue and the two parts of the epilogue were seen as miscellaneous collections of fragments tacked onto the main text, the second part of the prologue as an introduction composed expressly for the book.
More this view has been challenged, there is an increasing willingness to see Judges as the work of a single individual, working by sel
Book of Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Torah and of the Old Testament. Most of its chapters consist of God's speeches to Moses, which God commands Moses to repeat to the Israelites; this takes place within the story of the Israelites' Exodus after they escaped Egypt and reached Mt. Sinai; the Book of Exodus narrates how Moses led the Israelites in building the Tabernacle with God's instructions. In Leviticus, God tells the Israelites and their priests how to make offerings in the Tabernacle and how to conduct themselves while camped around the holy tent sanctuary. Leviticus takes place during the month or month-and-a-half between the completion of the Tabernacle and the Israelites' departure from Sinai; the instructions of Leviticus emphasize ritual and moral practices rather than beliefs. They reflect the world view of the creation story in Genesis 1 that God wishes to live with humans; the book teaches that faithful performance of the sanctuary rituals can make that possible, so long as the people avoid sin and impurity whenever possible.
The rituals the sin and guilt offerings, provide the means to gain forgiveness for sins and purification from impurities so that God can continue to live in the Tabernacle in the midst of the people. Scholars agree that Leviticus developed over a long time and that it reached its present form in the Persian period; the English name Leviticus comes from the Latin Leviticus, in turn from the Greek Greek Λευιτικόν, referring to the priestly tribe of the Israelites, “Levi.” The Greek expression is in turn a variant of the rabbinic Hebrew torat kohanim, "law of priests", as many of its laws relate to priests. In Hebrew the book is called Vayikra, from the opening of the book, va-yikra "And He called." I. Laws on sacrifice A. Instructions for the laity on bringing offerings 1–5; the types of offering: burnt, peace, reparation offerings B. Instructions for the priests 1–6; the various offerings, with the addition of the priests' cereal offering 7. Summary II. Institution of the priesthood A. Ordination of Aaron and his sons B.
Aaron makes the first sacrifices C. Judgement on Nadab and Abihu III. Uncleanliness and its treatment A. Unclean animals B. Childbirth as a source of uncleanliness C. Unclean diseases D. Cleansing of diseases E. Unclean discharges IV. Day of Atonement: purification of the tabernacle from the effects of uncleanliness and sin V. Prescriptions for practical holiness A. Sacrifice and food B. Sexual behaviour C. Neighbourliness D. Grave crimes E. Rules for priests F. Rules for eating sacrifices G. Festivals H. Rules for the tabernacle I. Blasphemy J. Sabbatical and Jubilee years K. Exhortation to obey the law: blessing and curse VI. Redemption of votive gifts Chapters 1–5 describe the various sacrifices from the sacrificers' point of view, although the priests are essential for handling the blood. Chapters 6–7 go over much the same ground, but from the point of view of the priest, who, as the one carrying out the sacrifice and dividing the "portions", needs to know how do this. Sacrifices are between God, the priest, the offerers, although in some cases the entire sacrifice is a single portion to God—i.e.
Burnt to ashes. Chapters 8–10 describe how Moses consecrates Aaron and his sons as the first priests, the first sacrifices, God's destruction of two of Aaron's sons for ritual offenses; the purpose is to underline the character of altar priesthood as an Aaronite privilege, the responsibilities and dangers of their position. With sacrifice and priesthood established, chapters 11–15 instruct the lay people on purity. Eating certain animals produces uncleanliness; the reasoning behind the food rules are obscure. Leviticus 16 concerns the Day of Atonement; this is the only day on which the High Priest is to enter the holiest part of the sanctuary, the holy of holies. He is to sacrifice a bull for the sins of the priests, a goat for the sins of the laypeople; the priest is to send a second goat into the desert to "Azazel", bearing the sins of the whole people. Azazel may be a wilderness-demon. Chapters 17–26 are the Holiness code, it begins with a prohibition on all slaughter of animals outside the Temple for food, prohibits a long list of sexual contacts and child sacrifice.
The "holiness" injunctions which give the code its name begin with the next section: there is are penalties for the worship of Molech, consulting mediums and wizards, cursing one's parents and engaging in unlawful sex. Priests receive instruction on acceptable bodily defects; the punishment for blasphemy is death, there is the setting of rules for eating sacrifices.
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah. The book has a long and complex history, but its final form is due to a Priestly redaction of a Yahwistic source made some time in the early Persian period; the name of the book comes from the two censuses taken of the Israelites. Numbers begins at Mount Sinai, where the Israelites have received their laws and covenant from God and God has taken up residence among them in the sanctuary; the task before them is to take possession of the Promised Land. The people are counted and preparations are made for resuming their march; the Israelites begin the journey, but they "murmur" at the hardships along the way, about the authority of Moses and Aaron. For these acts, God destroys 15,000 of them through various means, they send spies into the land. Upon hearing the spies' fearful report concerning the conditions in Canaan, the Israelites refuse to take possession of it. God condemns them to death in the wilderness until a new generation can grow up and carry out the task.
The book ends with the new generation of Israelites in the Plain of Moab ready for the crossing of the Jordan River. Numbers is the culmination of the story of Israel's exodus from oppression in Egypt and their journey to take possession of the land God promised their fathers; as such it draws to a conclusion the themes introduced in Genesis and played out in Exodus and Leviticus: God has promised the Israelites that they shall become a great nation, that they will have a special relationship with Yahweh their god, that they shall take possession of the land of Canaan. Numbers demonstrates the importance of holiness and trust: despite God's presence and his priests, Israel lacks faith and the possession of the land is left to a new generation. Most commentators divide Numbers into three sections based on locale, linked by two travel sections. God orders Moses, in the wilderness of Sinai, to number those able to bear arms—of all the men "from twenty years old and upward," and to appoint princes over each tribe.
A total of 603,550 Israelites are found to be fit for military service. The tribe of Levi is exempted from military service and therefore not included in the census. Moses consecrates the Levites for the service of the Tabernacle in the place of the first-born sons, who hitherto had performed that service; the Levites are divided into three families, the Gershonites, the Kohathites, the Merarites, each under a chief. The Kohathites were headed by Eleazar, son of Aaron, while the Gershonites and Merarites were headed by Aaron's other son, Ithamar. Preparations are made for resuming the march to the Promised Land. Various ordinances and laws are decreed; the Israelites set out from Sinai. The people are punished by fire. Miriam and Aaron insult Moses at Hazeroth. Twelve spies are come back to report to Moses. Joshua and Caleb, two of the spies, report that the land is abundant and is "flowing with milk and honey", but the other spies say that it is inhabited by giants, the Israelites refuse to enter the land.
Yahweh decrees that the Israelites will be punished for their loss of faith by having to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. Moses is ordered by God to make plates to cover the altar; the children of Israel murmur against Moses and Aaron on account of the destruction of Korah's men and are stricken with the plague, with 14,700 perishing. Aaron and his family are declared by God to be responsible for any iniquity committed in connection with the sanctuary; the Levites are again appointed to help in the keeping of the Tabernacle. The Levites are ordered to surrender to the priests a part of the tithes taken to them. Miriam dies at Kadesh Barnea and the Israelites set out for Moab, on Canaan's eastern border; the Israelites blame Moses for the lack of water. Moses is ordered by God to speak to a rock but disobeys, is punished by the announcement that he shall not enter Canaan; the king of Edom refuses permission to pass through his land and they go around it. Aaron dies on Mount Hor; the Israelites are bitten by Fiery flying serpents for speaking against Moses.
A brazen serpent is made to ward off these serpents. The Israelites arrive on the plains of Moab. A new census gives the total number of males from twenty years and upward as 601,730, the number of the Levites from the age of one month and upward as 23,000; the land shall be divided by lot. The daughters of Zelophehad, who had no sons, are to share in the allotment. Moses is ordered to appoint Joshua as his successor. Prescriptions for the observance of the feasts and the offerings for different occasions are enumerated. Moses orders the Israelites to massacre the people of Midian; the Reubenites and the Gadites request Moses to assign them the land east of the Jordan. Moses grants their request after they promise to help in the conquest of the land west of the Jordan; the land east of the Jordan is divided among the tribes of
Book of Zephaniah
The Book of Zephaniah is the ninth of the Twelve Minor Prophets, preceded by the Book of Habakkuk and followed by the Book of Haggai. Zephaniah means "Yahweh has hidden/protected," or "Yahweh hides"; the book's superscription attributes its authorship to "Zephaniah son of Cushi son of Gedaliah son of Amariah son of Hezekiah, in the days of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah". All, known of Zephaniah comes from the text; the name "Cushi," Zephaniah's father, means "Cushite" or "Ethiopian," and the text of Zephaniah mentions the sin and restoration of Ethiopians. While some have concluded from this that Zephaniah was a black Jew, Ehud Ben Zvi maintains that, based on the context, "Cushi" must be understood as a personal name rather than an indicator of nationality. Abraham ibn Ezra interpreted the name Hezekiah in the superscription as King Hezekiah of Judah, though, not a claim advanced in the text of Zephaniah; as with many of the other prophets, there is no external evidence to directly associate composition of the book with a prophet by the name of Zephaniah.
Some scholars, such as Kent Harold Richards and Jason DeRouchie, consider the words in Zephaniah to reflect a time early in the reign of King Josiah before his reforms of 622 BC took full effect, in which case the prophet may have been born during the reign of Manasseh. Others agree that some portion of the book is postmonarchic, that is, dating to than 586 BC when the Kingdom of Judah fell in the Siege of Jerusalem; some who consider the book to have been written by a historical Zephaniah have suggested that he may have been a disciple of Isaiah because of the two books' similar focus on rampant corruption and injustice in Judah. If Zephaniah was composed during the monarchic period its composition was occasioned by Judah's refusal to obey its covenant obligations toward Yahweh despite having seen Israel's exile a generation or two previously—an exile that the Judahite literary tradition attributed to Yahweh's anger against Israel's disobedience to his covenant. In this historical context, Zephaniah urges Judah to obedience to Yahweh, saying that "perhaps" he will forgive them if they do.
The HarperCollins Study Bible supplies headings for the book as follows: More than any other prophetic book, Zephaniah focuses on "the day of the Lord," developing this tradition from its first appearance in Amos. The day of the Lord tradition appears in Isaiah, Obadiah and Malachi; the book begins by describing Yahweh's judgement. The threefold repetition of "I will sweep away" in 1:2–3 emphasizes the totality of the destruction, as the number three signifies complete perfection in the Bible; the order of creatures in 1:2 is the opposite of the creation order in Genesis 1:1–28, signifying an undoing of creation. This is signified by the way that "from the face of the earth" forms an inclusio around 1:2–3, hearkening back to how the phrase is used in the Genesis flood narrative in Genesis 6:7, 7:4, 8:8, where it connotes an undoing of creation; as is common in prophetic literature in the Bible, a "remnant" survives Yahweh's judgement in Zephaniah by humbly seeking refuge in Yahweh. The book concludes in an announcement of hope and joy, as Yahweh "bursts forth in joyful divine celebration" over his people.
Because of its hopeful tone of the gathering and restoration of exiles, Zephaniah 3:20 has been included in Jewish liturgy. Zephaniah served as a major inspiration for the medieval Catholic hymn "Dies Irae," whose title and opening words are from the Vulgate translation of Zephaniah 1:15–16. Attridge, Harold W.. The HarperCollins Study Bible. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0061228407. Berlin, Adele; the Jewish Study Bible. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195297515. Carson, D. A.. NIV Zondervan Study Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. ISBN 978-0310438335. Grudem, Wayne. John. ESV Study Bible. Wheaton: Crossway. ISBN 978-1433502415. Berlin, Adele. Zephaniah: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary; the Anchor Bible Volume 25A. Toronto: Doubleday, 1994. Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897. Faulhaber, M.. "Sophonias". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Transcribed by Thomas M. Barrett. 2003. Hirsch, Emil G. & Ira Maurice Price. "Zephaniah." JewishEncyclopedia.com.
2002. LaSor, William Sanford et al. Old Testament Survey: the Message and Background of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1996. O. Palmer Robertson; the Books of Nahum and Zephaniah Sweeney, Marvin A. Zephaniah: A Commentary. Ed. Paul D. Hanson. Minneapolis, Fortress Press, 2003. Zephaniah at JewishEncyclopedia.comTranslations of the book of Zephaniah Jewish translations: Tzefaniah – Zephaniah translation at Chabad.org Christian translations: Online Bible at GospelHall.org Zephaniah at CrossWalk.com Zephaniah at The Great Books Zephaniah at Wikisource Zephaniah public domain audiobook at LibriVox Various versions
Book of Haggai
The Book of Haggai is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, has its place as the third-to-last of the Minor Prophets. It is a short book; the historical setting dates around 520 BCE. The Book of Haggai is named after the prophet Haggai. There is no biographical information given about the prophet in the Book of Haggai. Haggai's name is derived from the Hebrew verbal root hgg, which means "to make a pilgrimage." W. Sibley Towner suggests that Haggai's name might come "from his single-minded effort to bring about the reconstruction of that destination of ancient Judean pilgrims, the Temple in Jerusalem." The Book of Haggai was written in 520 BCE some 18 years after Cyrus had conquered Babylon and issued a decree in 538 BCE allowing the captive Jews to return to Judea. Cyrus saw the restoration of the temple as necessary for the restoration of the religious practices and a sense of peoplehood after a long exile. Haggai's message is filled with an urgency for the people to proceed with the rebuilding of the second Jerusalem temple.
Haggai attributes a recent drought to the people's refusal to rebuild the temple, which he sees as key to Jerusalem’s glory. The book ends with the prediction of the downfall of kingdoms, with one Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, as the Lord’s chosen leader; the language here is not as finely wrought as in some other books of the minor prophets, yet the intent seems straightforward. The first chapter contains its effects; the second chapter contains: The second prophecy, delivered a month after the first The third prophecy, delivered two months and three days after the second. Haggai reports that three weeks after his first prophecy, the rebuilding of the Temple began on September 7 521 BCE. "They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the King. and the Book of Ezra indicates that it was finished on February 25 516 BCE "The Temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius."
Divine Announcement: The Command to Rebuild the Temple Introduction: Reluctant Rebuilders Consider your ways: fruitless prosperity Promise and Progress Divine Announcement: The Coming Glory of the Temple God will fulfill his promise Future Splendor of the temple Divine Announcement: Blessings for a Defiled People Former Misery Future Blessing Divine Announcement: Zerubbabel Chosen as a Signet Jewish translations: Chaggai – Haggai translation with Rashi's commentary at Chabad.org Christian translations: Online Bible at GospelHall.org Haggai public domain audiobook at LibriVox Various versions
Book of Joel
The Book of Joel is part of the Hebrew Bible, one of twelve prophetic books known as the Twelve Minor Prophets. After a superscription ascribing the prophecy to Joel, the book may be broken down into the following sections: Lament over a great locust plague and a severe drought; the effects of these events on agriculture, on the supply of agricultural offerings for the Temple in Jerusalem, interspersed with a call to national lament. A more apocalyptic passage comparing the locusts to an army, revealing that they are God's army. A call to national repentance in the face of God's judgment. Promise of future blessings. Banishment of the locusts and restoration of agricultural productivity as a divine response to national penitence. Future prophetic gifts to all God's people, the safety of God's people in the face of cosmic cataclysm. Coming judgment on God's enemies and the vindication of Israel; the Book of Joel's division into chapters and verses differs between editions of the Bible. Translations with four chapters include: Jewish Publication Society's version of the Hebrew Bible Jerusalem Bible New American Bible Complete Jewish Bible Tree of Life Version In the 1611 King James Bible, the Book of Joel is formed by three chapters: the second one has 32 verses, it is equivalent to the union of the chapter 2 and chapter 3 of other editions of the Bible.
The differences of the division is as follows: As there are no explicit references in the book to datable persons or events, scholars have assigned a wide range of dates to the book. The main positions are: Ninth century BC in the reign of Joash – a position popular among nineteenth-century scholars Early eighth century BC, during the reign of Uzziah c. 630–587 BC, in the last decades of the kingdom of Judah c. 520–500 BC, contemporary with the return of the exiles and the careers of Zechariah and Haggai. The decades around 400 BC, during the Persian period Evidence produced for these positions are allusions in the book to the wider world, similarities with other prophets, linguistic details; some commentators, such as John Calvin, attach no great importance to the precise dating. The Masoretic text places Joel between Hosea and Amos, while the Septuagint order is Hosea–Amos–Micah–Joel–Obadiah–Jonah; the Hebrew text of Joel seems to have suffered little from scribal transmission, but is at a few points supplemented by the Septuagint and Vulgate versions, or by conjectural emendation.
While the book purports to describe a plague of locusts, some ancient Jewish opinion saw the locusts as allegorical interpretations of Israel's enemies. This allegorical interpretation was applied to the church by many church fathers. Calvin took a literal interpretation of chapter 1, but allegorical view of chapter 2, a position echoed by some modern interpreters. Most modern interpreters, see Joel speaking of a literal locust plague given a prophetic/ apocalyptic interpretation; the traditional ascription of the whole book to the prophet Joel was challenged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by a theory of a three-stage process of composition: 1:1–2:27 were from the hand of Joel, dealt with a contemporary issue. Mentions in the first half of the book to the day of the Lord were ascribed to this continuator. 3:4–8/4:4–8 could be seen as later. Details of exact ascriptions differed between scholars; this splitting of the book's composition began to be challenged in the mid-twentieth century, with scholars defending the unity of the book, the plausibility of the prophet combining a contemporary and apocalyptic outlook, additions by the prophet.
The authenticity of 3:4–8 has presented more challenges, although a number of scholars still defend it. There are many parallels of language between other Old Testament prophets, they may represent Joel's literary use of other prophets, or vice versa. In the New Testament, his prophecy of the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit upon all people was notably quoted by Saint Peter in his Pentecost sermon; the table below represents some of the more explicit quotes and allusions between specific passages in Joel and passages from the Old and New Testaments. Plange quasi virgo, the third responsory for Holy Saturday, is loosely based on verses from the Book of Joel: the title comes from Joel 1:8. See works on the Minor Prophets as a whole. Achtemeier, Elizabeth. Minor Prophets I. New International Biblical Commentary. Ahlström, Gösta W. Joel and the Temple Cult of Jerusalem. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum 21. Allen, Leslie C; the Books of Joel, Jonah & Micah. New International Commentary on the Old Testament.
Anders, Max E. & Butler, Trent C. Hosea–Micah. Holman Old Testament Commentary. Assis, Elie. Joel: A Prophet Between Calamity and Hope, New York: Bloomsbury, 2013 Baker, David W. Joel, Malachi. NIV Application Commentary. Barton, John. Joel & Obadiah: a Commentary. Old Testament Library. Birch, Bruce C. Hosea, Joel & Amos
The Major Prophets is a grouping of books in the Christian Old Testament, but not occurring in the Hebrew Bible. These books are centred on a prophet, traditionally regarded as the author of the respective book; the term "major" refers only to their length, in distinction to the Twelve Minor Prophets, whose books are much shorter and grouped together as a single book in the Hebrew Bible. The books, in order of their occurrence in the Christian Old Testament, are: Book of Isaiah Book of Jeremiah Book of Lamentations Book of Baruch Letter of Jeremiah Book of Ezekiel Book of Daniel. In the Hebrew Bible the Books of Isaiah and Ezekiel are included among the Nevi'im but Lamentations and Daniel are placed among the Ketuvim. Baruch is not part of the Hebrew Bible. Bible prophecy List of Biblical prophets