By David Aberbach
Imperialism and Biblical Prophecy is a noticeably new interpretation of prophetic poetry. utilizing greater than thirty new translations from the Hebrew Bible, it exhibits that this poetry is inseparable from imperialism, that every of the 3 significant waves of biblical prophecy that have survived within the previous testomony happened in line with simultaneous waves of imperialist conquest.
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Extra resources for Imperialism and Biblical Prophecy: 750-500 BCE
The Judeans paid for survival with tribute and assimilation; shadowed by Israel’s fate, they had little choice but to submit to the Assyrians, though it is not clear whether or to what extent Ahaz’s adoption of pagan customs was forced or voluntary. In the next few years, however, Assyria tired itself with campaigns against Phoenicia, Aram, Egypt, Elam, and most important of all, briefly lost control of Babylonia in a revolt led by Merodach Baladan (721– 33 IMPERIALISM AND B IBLICAL PROPHECY 710).
Yet for all its rhetorical force, this poetry has human frailty for its theme. Against the background of Assyria’s drive southward, Yahweh is depicted as a cuckolded husband or a disappointed father, betrayed and uncomprehending, full of lust for revenge. In this crisis, the prophets hark back to the idealized early years of Yahweh’s ‘marriage’ to Israel and to the happy ‘childhood’ of the nation. The importance of this mythologized history seems to have grown in proportion to the severity of the military threat.
Yet, if moral decline had indeed set in, to what extent was this caused or affected by the Assyrian threat? Could the abandonment of God have signified that Israel felt itself abandoned by God? (Israel’s turn from Yahweh to foreign gods in its final years is seen in the Nimrud Prism of Sargon II: on capturing Samaria, Sargon carried away ‘the gods in whom they trusted’ (Thomas, p. ) Also, if Israel had been firmer morally, would the military outcome have been different? These are not questions which the prophets ask.