Heidegger's Bible Handbook: Old Testament in General: Outline of the Former Prophets

II. The Προφῆται/Prophets, not that either Moses, or Job, David, Solomon were not also Prophets (at least in the broader notion and gift), since all Old Testament Scriptures is marked as the προφητικὸς λόγος, Prophetic word, and προφητεία/Prophecy, 2 Peter 1:19, 20, and Moses himself, if you set Christ aside, was the greatest Prophet of the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 18:15; but that both Moses, and Job, David, Solomon were Prophets, in gift, but not in the peculiar office and function (like Samuel, Isaiah, etc.): and in addition Moses was both a Prophet and a Lawgiver; Job, David, and Solomon were both Prophets and Poets: but Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc., were only Prophets. Now, these Prophets were of two sorts:



1. Prophets broadly so called and former, who, not being urged by the will of man, but borne by the Spirit of God,[1] composed the series of the Ecclesiastical history from the entrance into the land of Canaan unto the restoration of Jerusalem’s Temple. By the Hebrews they are called the נביאים ראשונים, Former Prophets. And they are the Books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Esther, Ezra, and Nehemiah. And in these books are related:


a. The History of the land of Canaan, occupied, with Joshua as general, and subdued (Joshua 1-12), and also divided (Joshua 13-22); and of the final speeches and death of Joshua (Joshua 23, 24), in the Book of Joshua in twenty-four chapters.


b. The History of the standing Church and polity of Israel, under,



α. Fourteen Judges, in which is contained a history both of the government of the Elders after the death of Joshua (Judges 1:1-3:9), and of six oppressions, and of just so many Salvations of Israel by the Judges (Judges 3:9-16:31), and of the corruption of the people, because of which and the like they were so many times oppressed (Judges 17-21), in the Book of Judges in twenty-one chapters.


To the same pertains the history of Ruth, which was state of affairs both miserable (Ruth 1, 2), and more joyous (Ruth 3, 4), in the Book of Ruth in four chapters.


β. The Judges Eli and Samuel, and also King Saul, in which are narrated the matters conducted under Eli, the High Priest and Judge of the people (1 Samuel 1-4), then under Samuel, God’s Prophet and Judge (1 Samuel 5-12), then under King Saul, recently chosen and anointed (1 Samuel 13-31), in the Book of 1 Samuel in thirty-one chapters.



γ. King David, in which is described the happy state of King David, and his Kingdom (2 Samuel 1-10), and unhappy because of great sins (2 Samuel 11-18), and afterwards restored for the better (2 Samuel 19-24), in the Book of 2 Samuel in twenty-four chapters.


δ. Five Kings of Judah, and eight of Israel, in which is accomplished the history of the Kingdom, whole and undivided, with Solomon getting possession of the Kingdom (1 Kings 1-10), then divided on account of the sin of Solomon, under four Kings of Judge, Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa, and Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 11-22), in the Book of 1 Kings in twenty-two chapters.


ε. Fifteen Kings of Judah, and twelve of Israel, in which is related the history of the standing and flourishing Kingdom of Judah from the continued history of Jehoshaphat unto Hezekiah, and of Israel from Ahaz unto its overthrow (2 Kings 1-16), and also of both shaken and falling (2 Kings 17-25), in the Book of 2 Kings in twenty-five chapters.


c. The History of the Church and polity of Israel repeated, in which are narrated the matters conducted from the beginning of the world:


α. Before the division of the Jewish Kingdom, in which is woven the genealogy of the Fathers from Adam to a point beyond the return from Babylonian captivity (1 Chronicles 1:1-9:34), and the history of Kings Saul and David (1 Chronicles 9-29), in the Book of 1 Chronicles in twenty-nine chapters.


β. Before the division under Solomon (2 Chronicles 1-9), and after the division under the remaining Kings (2 Chronicles 10-36), in the Book of 2 Chronicles in thirty-six chapters.


d. The History of the Church and Polity of Israel restored, in which are to be noted:



α. The matters conducted outside of Judea, in Babylon, in which is narrated both the history of Esther exalted to Royal marriage (Esther 1, 2), and Haman’s deadly counsel falling upon the head of its author (Esther 3-10), in the Book of Esther in ten chapters.


β. The matters conducted in Judea,


א. The prior going up of the Jewish people from Babylonian captivity, under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Joshua, etc., in order to restore the Temple (Ezra 1-6), and the latter, under the leadership of Ezra, to reform the Church (Ezra 7-10), in the Book of Ezra in ten chapters.


ב. The going up of Nehemiah from Shushan in order to restore Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1-7); and the Reformation of the Church twice undertaken by the same with success (Nehemiah 8-13), in the Book of Nehemiah in thirteen chapters.

[1] See 2 Peter 1:21

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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