Review of “Minor Prophets” (ca. 750–200 BCE)

Parts only

This page describes the individual parts of “Minor Prophets”. The work as a whole is reviewed elsewhere.

“Hosea” (ca. 750–500 BCEText)

Read in 2019.

Hosea fucks whores and makes the same excuse as Jeremiah and Ezekiel: The women are symbolic. So you see, it’s for a good cause.

References here: Sortering av bibelböcker.

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“Joel” (ca. 500–200 BCEText)

Read in 2019.

References here: Sortering av bibelböcker.

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“Amos” (ca. 750 BCEText)

Read in 2019.

All accidents are Yahweh’s work (3:6). Yahweh is a lord of darkness and zany levels of horror and misfortune (5:18ff). Also, Yahweh shows Amos a fruit bowl, which Amos cunningly identifies as a bowl of fruit. It symbolizes doom (8:1).

The oldest text in The Bible and it’s already about hypocrisy in the entrenched religion. This must be a coincidence, but it’s tempting to interpret it as a sign that hypocrisy is a major feature of the Abrahamic religions, as a consequence of their professed purity.

References here: Sortering av bibelböcker, Metodboken — Bibel 2000 (1999), Invader ZIM (2001).

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“Obadiah” (ca. 586 BCEText)

Read in 2019.

A fantasy of revenge against Edom for its participation in the sacking of Jerusalem.

References here: Sortering av bibelböcker.

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“Jonah” (ca. 400–200 BCEText)

Read in 2019.

An unwilling prophet is detoured through a large fish.

I wonder whether it was originally intended as children’s fiction—almost a fable—or whether its most colourful episode is only accidentally suited to the purpose. Consider the reaction of the sailors in 1:10: They accept without the slightest hint of critical thinking that Jonah’s particular god is indeed vastly powerful, simply on the basis that he says it created the sea and the land. Similarly, the people of Nineveh overreact to his message (3:5ff). This is the sort of thing children write before they understand other peoples’ minds and beliefs as separate from their own. The ensuing argument between Yahweh and Jonah is similarly immature.

References here: Sortering av bibelböcker, Cat’s Cradle (1963), Mind Game (2004).

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“Micah” (ca. 750–400 BCEText)

Read in 2019.

Perhaps most interesting for its succinct example of a “covenant lawsuit” (chapter 6), a literary genre where Hebrew morality is investigated through an imagined celestial court drama. The existence of such a genre is a sign of an unhealthy culture.

References here: Sortering av bibelböcker.

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“Nahum” (ca. 600 BCEText)

Read in 2019.

References here: Sortering av bibelböcker.

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“Habakkuk” (ca. 600 BCEText)

Read in 2019.

A prophet questions the wisdom of Yahweh’s punishment for its cult. Yahweh explains that it will punish the punishers even more harshly, which is supposed to make everything OK.

References here: Sortering av bibelböcker, Som en ateist läser bibeln.

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“Zephaniah” (ca. 600 BCEText)

Read in 2019.

References here: Sortering av bibelböcker.

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“Haggai” (ca. 520 BCEText)

Read in 2019.

The rebuilding of the temple.

References here: Sortering av bibelböcker.

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“Zechariah” (ca. 516–400 BCEText)

Read in 2019.

Visions.

Consider the fifth vision, where an angel wakes the prophet “as when you wake someone from sleep” and shows him some lamps and trees. Twice, the prophet has to tell the angel that he doesn’t understand the allegory before the angel explains it to him (chapter 4). The writers were obviously well aware that their allegories were going to be opaque to the reader.

I assume the writers also knew that this opacity stems from the deliberately complicated design of the allegories themselves. It appears to be a kind of game the temple scribes would play, like a rebus or crossword puzzle.

The writer inserts himself as the angel. The dialogue between the prophet and the angel (“Do you not know what these are?”) shows what the writer was after: The maker of a puzzle ritualistically puts himself in a privileged position, like a child doing a magic trick or stating a riddle. Here, the would-be solver kowtows, admitting the maker’s privilege, and this is read as a compliment. There is no suggestion to improve the quality of the symbols because that would run counter to the purpose of the game.

This transcribed game of social status has no possible application to profound truth or enlightenment. Recall Numbers 12:8, where the authors admit that riddles aren’t nice. Plain speech is better, and they knew this.

The entertainment value of the game, 2500 years later, is zero. Tolkien’s decision to abandon allegory was a major step forward in the development of fantasy literature.

References here: Reasons to invent Jesus, Sortering av bibelböcker, Matthew (ca. 80–90 CE), A Study in Scarlet (1887).

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“Malachi” (ca. 445 BCEText)

Read in 2019.

References here: Sortering av bibelböcker.

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