Communication between the human and the divine realms occurs in many ways. One primary channel in the biblical tradition is through the prophets, male or female, who are summoned by God to speak to their community, present and future, with that confident and thunderous introduction, “Thus says the Lord!” These same prophets may also intercede with God on behalf of the people, and may also speak their own words. In times of crisis the prophets speak of needed obedience to God and trust in God. They speak of disaster and judgment but also of survival and hope, addressing their own community and the world beyond. Being charged with communicating who God is and what God does (
In addition to their sharp analysis of their present time the prophets confidently envision future developments, such as the possibility of a peaceable kingdom (e.g.,
The prophets primarily speak for God but they also speak their own words.
As representatives of a charismatic tradition—having a direct connection with God, and privileged to “listen in” on God’s secret deliberations (note
Above all, the prophets of ancient Israel challenge their world—and all those who still honor their words—to “observe what is right and do what is just” (
- Blenkinsopp, Joseph. A History of Prophecy in Israel. Rev. ed. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 1996.
- Brueggemann, Walter. Texts That Linger, Words That Explode: Listening to Prophetic Voices. Edited by P. D. Miller. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000.
- Stulman, Louis, and Hyun Chul Paul Kim. You Are My People: An Introduction to Prophetic Literature. Nashville: Abingdon, 2010.