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Habakkuk, Book of

(364 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
The Book of Habakkuk has a liturgical form. A complaint by the prophet in 1:2–4 is followed by God’s reply (vv. 5–11), which announces the coming of the Chaldeans (v. 6). When the prophet objects (vv. 12–17), Yahweh gives a fresh answer (2:1–5), to which a series of woes is appended (6–20). Chap. 3 contains a prayer, the heart of which is the depiction of a theophany. This chapter is structured in such a way that it can be used in worship. The presence of social criticism, which in the present conte…

Nahum, Book of

(261 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
The prophet Nahum came from Elkosh (site unknown). He was active between the capture of Thebes (or No-Amon, see 3:8) by the Assyrians in 664/663 b.c. and the fall of Nineveh in 612. The essential content of his book is intimation of the collapse of Assyria and of future salvation for Israel (§1). These themes and the liturgical forms used are generally taken to suggest that Nahum was a Jerusalem cult prophet. The work begins with a fragmentary acrostic psalm (1:2–8) that Nahum himself, it is widely thought, did not perhaps formulate. After a word of comfort for Judah (1:9–15; 2:2), three well-crafted sayings against Assyria follow (2:1, 3–13; 3:1–7; 3:8–19), which might be prophetic liturgies.…

Joel, Book of

(239 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
The Book of Joel has a strong liturgical orientation. A serious plague of locusts and drought (chap. 1) ¶ signifies the threatening proximity of the day of Yahweh (2:1–11). This setting issues in a proclamation of a day of lamentation and fasting (2:12–17…

Amos, Book of

(648 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
1. Amos, the first of the writing prophets, came from Tekoa in Judah. Although a herdsman and a grower of figs, not a professional prophet, Amos was a man of broad outlook who did not lack means or education. A call from God took him out of his daily round and sent him to do prophetic work in the northern kingdom. He came there about 760 b.c. and in Bethel and Samaria, perhaps also Gilgal, proclaimed the inevitable fall of Israel. Denounced and expelled, he seems to have gone back to Judah after hardly a year of activity. Amos’s coming occurred at the time o…

Haggai, Book of

(367 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
The Book of Haggai contains sayings of the prophet woven into a narrative and set in a chronological framework. Haggai emerged in Jerusalem in 520 b.c., the second year of the Persian monarch Darius I, and served there for only four months. Economic difficulties stemming from poor harvests were troubling the community, and reconstruction of the temple had come to a halt. This setting provided the occasion of Haggai’s (and Zechariah’s) ministry. The temple stood at the heart of Haggai’s message. The distress of the day, he taught, was the result of breaking off the r…

Jonah, Book of

(354 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
The Book of Jonah is the only part of the Minor Prophets that consists of a prophet story in which a psalm (2:1–9) has been inserted. The work tells of the prophet’s attempt to evade a divine commission, the miraculous way in which God brought him back, his proclamation of judgment upon Nineveh, the penitence of Nineveh, which moves God to withhold his judgment, and the anger of Jonah that God spared the city upon its conversion, to which God responds with instruction. The main character, Jonah, is taken from a note in 2 Kgs. 14:25, referring to a prophet who proclaimed a message of salvation in the eighth century b.c. However, the work was probably written later (4th or even 3d cent.), constituting a literary unity (apart from 2:1–9; a different view is taken by L. Schmidt) but integrating various folkloric elements and other materials, including the great fish (…

Obadiah, Book of

(323 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
The Book of Obadiah opens with the phrase “The vision of Obadiah,” a superscription obviously intended to reflect the prophetic functions of Obadiah, about whom we know nothing. Although the ¶ name may have been a fictitious one attached to an originally anonymous collection of oracles against Edom, an actual individual may be behind the book, someone generally identified as a cult prophet who was active shortly after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 b.c. (see vv. 11–14). H. W. Wolff suggests he may have been a cult prophet who a…

Malachi, Book of

(326 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
1. Name, Author, Form “Malachi” is not the name of a prophet but simply means “my messenger” (see 3:1). We do not know, then, the name of the author. The work consists of six discussions setting out a thesis, stating the arguments against it, then establishing it and drawing out the implications. This form influenced later scribal disputations (Scribes) in early Judaism. 2. Contents The book deals with the people’s offering of worthless sacrifices and reduced tithes, divorce and mixed marriages, and proclamation of the day of God’s judgment. Many scholars view the exhortation to obey the law in …

Micah, Book of

(442 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
1. Man and Date Micah was from Moresheth-gath in the Judean hill country. He was also active in Jerusalem. He was a younger contemporary of Isaiah, and his message is similar. He prophesied between 734 and 712 b.c. Nothing is known of his status. He has been described as a poor farmer, a worker on the land, and a village landowner or elder (H. W. Wolff). 2. Contents and Redaction The book is divided into three parts (chaps. 1–2, 3–5, 6–7) and carries a message structured according to the schema of disaster and s…

Hosea, Book of

(633 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
1. Hosea was the only native writing prophet of the northern kingdom. He was active between 755/50 and 725 b.c., a period that saw the last years of peace for Israel (§1) under Jeroboam II, the so-called Syro-Ephraimite war of 733, and the successive dismantling of the northern kingdom by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser V. The defeat of Samaria and deportation of Israel by the Assyrians are not yet…

Jeroboam II

(320 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
[German Version] Jeroboam II, king (Kingship in Israel) of Israel (787–747), was a contemporary of Azariah/Uzziah of Judah. According to 2 Kgs 14:23–29 and the information in Amos, his reign was a last climax of power and prosperity for (northern) Israel (II, 1) made possible by the weakness of Aram-Damascus (Israel and its neighbours in Syria-Palestine) and the pressure on Assyria from Urartu. Jeroboam was able to restore Israel's traditional landed property in the Transjordan and to extend its c…

Leusden, Johann

(163 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
[German Version] (Apr 26, 1624, Utrecht, the Netherlands – Sep 30, 1699, Utrecht, the Netherlands), Dutch theologian and expert in Near Eastern studies. ¶ Leusden became associate professor of oriental languages in …


(503 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
[German Version] Jehu, king of Israel (845–818 bce). Jehu founded a dynasty (Kingship in Israel) that ruled over the northern kingdom (Israel: I, II) for barely a century (845–747). According to 2 Kings 9f., Jehu exploited the wounding of King Joram in the battle with the Arameans to sieze power. Spurred on by a prophetic designation (2 Kgs 9:1–6; cf. 1 Kgs 19:16) and the acclamation of the officers of the army, he …

Michaelis, Johann David

(303 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
[German Version] (Feb 27, 1717, Halle – Aug 22, 1791, Göttingen), theologian and specialist in Near Eastern studies. Brought up in a Pietist family, Michaelis discovered deism during a journey to England in 1741/1742 and sought to chart his own path between rationalism and orthodoxy (II, 2.a), with primary emphasis on maintaining orthodox positions and placing them on a new foundation. In 1746 he was appointed associate professor and in 1750 full professor of oriental languages at Göttingen. Broadly edu-¶ cated and with wide interests, but also emotionally needy and content…


(315 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
[German Version] was a Phoenician princess, the daughter of Ittobaal of Tyre (or of Sidon, according to Timm), who was married to Ahab of Israel. After Ahab's death, Jezebel gained great political influence as queen mother and used this to promote the Baal/Baalat religion. Jezebel's historical appearance is not easy to determine, since she became the object of a biased historical tradition. It is unlikely that this development of the tradition has deuteronomistic or even later origins. The tradition probably started in the time of the Jehu dynasty, among other things to justify Jezebel's murder in the Jehu putsch (2 Kgs 9:30–37). This story belongs to one of the oldest Jezebel traditions, along with the judgment in 9:22, which lays emphasis on Jezebel's idolatrous cult. A potentially old prophecy that speaks of Jezebel's violent end is found in 1 Kgs 21:23 and was included by the deuteronomistic editors in 2 Kgs 9:10, 36. The portrayal of Jezebel's persecution of the Yahweh prophets and Elijah the Prophet (1 Kgs 18:4=13; 19:1f.) is largely exaggerated, but cannot be utterly unconnected from the true event, which actually took place only after Ahab's death. In the story of the judicial murder of Naboth (1 Kgs 21), Jezebel is the real driving force. The older parallel tradition in 2 Kgs 9:26f., however, n…


(845 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
[German Version] An Israelite prophet from the second half of the 9th century bce, Elisha came from a farming family in Abel-Mehola (Tell Abū Ṣūṣ in the bay of Beth-Shean). He was active in the Northern Kingdom under the Omride king (Omri) Jehoram (851–845) and under Jehu, Jehoahaz, and Joaz as the leader of prophetic circles (“disciples of prophets”). Contrary to th…


(296 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried
[German Version] Rehoboam, king of Judah (926–910 bce; Kingship [in Israel]), son and successor of Solomon. When he acceded to …

Jeroboam I

(493 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried


(272 words)

Author(s): Thiel , Winfried
[English Version] Rehabeam, König von Juda (926–910 v.Chr.; Königtum in Israel), Sohn und Nachfolger Salomos. Bei seiner Thronbesteigung nahmen die Mittel- und Nordstämme (Stämme Israels) ihr Mitspracherecht wahr und forderten eine Verminderung ihrer Lasten an Abgaben und Dienstarbeiten. Als R. ablehnte, erklärten sie ihre Trennung von der Daviddynastie und erhoben Jerobeam I. zum König (1Kön 12,1–17). Durch diese »Reichsteilung« war das Nebeneinander der Staaten Israel und Juda eröffnet. – Die In…

Elijah the Prophet

(2,156 words)

Author(s): Thiel, Winfried | Necker, Gerold | Böcher, Otto | Hennings, Ralph
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. Judaism – III. New Testament – IV. Christianity I. Old Testament Elijah, an Israelite prophet in the 9th century bce…


(6,607 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Kippenberg, Hans G. | Thiel, Winfried | Wehr, Lothar | Münch, Richard | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology The word society ( societas, société) has changed from a term denoting
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