Hayes on Prophets and Prophecy

From Christine Hayes’Introduction to the Bible:

The Hebrew prophet should not be thought of primarily as a prognosticator predicting the future. Rather, the prophet addressed a specific and present historical situation in concrete terms. The prophet revealed Yahweh’s immediate intentions but only insofar as he sought to convey Yahweh’s response to present circumstances. The goal, however, was to inspire the people to faithful observance of the covenant in the present. Thus any “predictions” made by the classical prophets had reference to the immediate future as a response to the present situation. The prophet’s message was a message about the present, about what was wrong in the prophet’s day, and what must be done immediately in order to avert calamity.

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