Okay, as promised, I'll throw in a few Biblical musings. This is actually, roughly, a thread post I have to write biweekly for my Scriptures of the World as Literature course from two weeks ago about the prophets.
It fascinates me that God would test Hosea in the way he does. It is not even put forward as a test as it usually is. The first we hear from the LORD, He tells His new prophet to go out and marry a whore, who he knows will be unfaithful to him and bear him children that likely will not be his own. He even has to give his children cruelly unusual names. I would hate to be named "unloved" personally - just seems a bit neglectful. You must be willing to obey any command given to you and not expect a reward for your toils and suffering in your lifetime. And the only true evidence I've found of an afterlife beyond Sheol, or Hades, is in Daniel 12:2-3 "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever." Now, several of the other prophetic books were written as long as a century before. Most of the remaining books were written around the same time as Daniel. It is my strong belief that like Daniel, all of these prophets would have been let in on these secrets from the Giver of knowledge. After all, they are acting as the mouths of the LORD, in communication with Him. Ezekiel eats a scroll and Isaiah gets his lips burned with a hot Seraphim coal.
The prophets seem to be quite different from the patriarchs and earlier biblical figures. Abraham and Jacob were blessed at every turn and even given rewards for their faith as Abraham with Isaac. Prophets seem to receive no blessing or reward in their own books. They only prophesy of the LORD's wrath and mercy, and in Ezekial's case, bear Israel's iniquities for a time. Hosea’s own life becomes a symbol for God and Israel. He marries a harlot and has “children of harlotry.” Likewise, corrupt Israel is called both the LORD’s bride and son. Our God has a thing for irony and symbolism.
The prophets are called by God, but are not blessed in this life, from what is seen in the text, at all. We certainly know from Jonah that they are punishable. And we at least know of the LORD's provision as seen with the prophet Elijah and his raven servants. But I have yet to see earthly blessings given to prophets since the judges. Even they were given authority, wealth, and oftentimes armies or preternatural abilities as with everyone’s favorite long-haired, jawbone-wielding judge. It seems to me that total sacrifice, as with Elisha, is needed in order to take on the job. But you need not apply; the boss will get in touch with you.
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