In this podcast I’ll again argue that Robert Carroll gets it wrong. Despite his own fierce black humour he fails to acknowledge its presence or at least its prevalence in the prophets. He writes about humour in Hosea in: Carroll, Robert P. ‘Is Humour among the Prophets’. On humour and the comic in the Hebrew Bible. Edited by Yehuda T. Radday and Athalya Brenner. Continuum International Publishing Group, 1990, 179-180. Bob was a fine friend, and a great scholar, I wish he was still around to argue against me! Since he isn’t perhaps you will do him the honour of looking for the gaps orRead More →

In Understanding the prophets: Part one I spoke about the “Three Cons” as a key to reading the prophetic books of the Old Testament with understanding and in ways which are faithful to their original intention. In this second part we’ll look at an example from Amos 5:18ff. and apply this approach. The result will be an uncomfortable word from God for us today. Here are the slides from that talk: Understanding the Prophets: Part Two: Amos 5:18ff. There are some podcasts that deal with the book of Amos here and there is a detailed free online commentary with a wealth of background information andRead More →

The prophet Jonah (at least as his story is told in the book that bears his name) is perhaps the most orthodox if perhaps the most heteropractic 1 The prefix “ortho-” straight or right and “hetero-” different or wrong are used as opposites. The endings “-dox” to do with worship or theology and “-praxis” to do with action. So orthodox is right-thinking and heteropractic is wrong-doing. prophet in the Bible! Yet this book perhaps better than any other in the Old Testament encapsulates the essential truths of Scripture. [For more on the “Perspicuity of Scripture” see The Perspicuity of Scripture or see the podcasts listedRead More →

I’ve already a podcast on Jonah 1:7-8 Direct speech in biblical narratives if you want a fill in between the last podcast and this one. Had you noticed? We were eight verses into the book and Jonah had not said one word. In Jonah 1:1-8 not a peep out of Jonah the prophet, so 1:9 where he finally speaks has to be significant… More →

Malachi is a short prophetic book, the name Malachi just means “my messenger” which seems to be what the speaker calls himself. It has no more details of time, place or person in the superscription (as most prophetic books do), but the content suggests Judah after the exile under Persian rule. The book opens opens with a strong statement of Yahweh’s election of Israel, using hyperbole (exaggeration) to make it’s impact. “Malachi” accuses his audience of being willing to obey and seek to please humans but not God! He calls for proper sacrifice cf. pre-exilic prophets who were less impressed by sacrifice. The book usuallyRead More →

These four chapters tell the story of God’s prophet Jonah (who attentive Bible students know from 2 kings 14:25: He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher. This true prophet runs away from  God, says a long prayer inside a fish, preaches a five word sermon and converts the capital of an unusually brutal empire, and then tells God off grumpily! The story of Jonah is told in ways thatRead More →