So I get that Israel messed up really badly and was judged for it. I mean, that much has always been made really really clear. How many prophets really needed to say it?
But something stuck out to me reading this passage. Can’t say I’m surprised. That tends to happen about 90% of the time, even if it’s just a single verse out of however many chapters.
Anyway, the first thing that struck me was the structure. It’s fascinating to see the various literary devices used in different books from different times, as well as those that get reused over and over throughout history, or get adapted to just a slightly different take. In this case, it’s the method of emphasis used that caught my attention, but it really is just a literary consideration that intrigued the nerd in me. It does bear repeating, though, that the form of the literature absolutely should inform our interpretation of it.
The significant moment of reflection came from the verse that said ‘you forced the nazarites to drink wine and stopped the prophets from prophesying.’
It struck me because, well, it’s one thing to ignore the prophets. It’s another thing to kill them for what they say. But, somehow, making them be silent seems… worse, than killing them, even. To force the nazarites to break their vows.
Is this corruption? All of the people are so weak that not even the nazarites or prophets have integrity? Is it peer pressure? Literal force? Did they just come down so heavily that they broke the spirits of those trying to be good? I mean, it’s probably all of the above, right?
It’s just… depressing. Outright torment, such as the hunting of Elijah, I mean, then you at least get to be the clear hero. You have a battle to fight. There’s something concrete to be resolved about. This just feels more insidious. Less cartoon or action movie and more everyday life.
Just something to think about.