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Light unto my path. I shall light a candle of understanding in Zion heart which shall not be put out. Light unto my path. An exploration of the books of the Old Testament. From these books through the ages has come our concept of man born in the image of God and made to have dominion over all things.
The Bible is the record of man's understanding of the role of the divine in human life. We know examined when it was written. How it was preserved. And why it ranks first in our literature. Light unto my path produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the National Educational Television Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. These programs are planned and prepared by Dr Mansoor chairman of the department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Professor Mansour You will recall that last week we began the story of the dramatic rise of prophecy times and discussed the mystery of the solitary who appeared on the scene
in times of trouble. They came armed with faith and divine inspiration and by their courage to speak in the face of conflict became spiritual statesmen. We explored the lives of a few prophets such as men who were recorded in the Old Testament in connection with historical events that are covered there. But we have reserved to this broadcast this so-called literary writing prophet who actually wrote books about themselves and their activities. An entire series of programs might be devoted to them to the minor prophets whose writings have come to us in a rather slender volume and to the major prophets whom we have been great about. We can however sample only a bit of both beginning with a minor prophet Amos who came first in the order of time.
Amos was born in the little village of the car which lay in the hill country of Judah south of Jerusalem. He was a shepherd in those hills and eked out his slender living by tending groves of sycamore trees in the eighth century B.C. twenty seven hundred years ago in the midst of a primitive ruthless society. This simple man this solitary Shepherd was troubled. His fellow men were not in his village and other villages in Jerusalem itself. Men were light hearted. Times were good. Trading was good. There was a lot early in the wars between Israel and the mighty empire of Assyria the seconde of the Northern Kingdom was a strong warrior and apparently successful statesman the world poured into the country and the rich grew very rich indeed riches poured also and into the
temple and with the prestige of the priests flourishing and the temple affairs in good order. Even the religious leaders were content with things as they were and convinced that their ministry was pleasing to God. It was in this atmosphere of complacency and content that appeared he came down from the hills to the very marketplace to cry out against the evils that fester beneath the surface. The Lord said to me the songs of the temple shall become wailings. So the Lord God hear this you who trample upon the needy saying when will the new moon be over that we may sell grain and the Sabbath that we may offer wheat for sale and deal deceit fully with false balances that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the refuse of the wheat.
It was a shocking cry and insult to the merchants of the marketplace and to the leaders who condone these evils. But Amos this shocking thing was that the slave market truly did a man for his debts and able bodied men might indeed be both for the price of a pair of sandals. We can imagine the amazement of the people there stunned silence then their angry resentment. Who was this shepherd to rise up and charge them. Were they not a righteous people attending religious festivals observing the feast days giving offerings and sacrifices to the temple. They obeyed the law to the letter but they must attack to this to the letter of the law was nothing without the Spirit and they understand ing of God's will. I hate and despise your feasts the Lord and I take no
delight in your festivals. But let justice row on as a flood and righteousness as a mighty stream seek good and not evil that you may live. Hate evil and love good and establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord the God of hosts will be gracious. This man was not the ancient equivalent of a social reformer. He attacked social evils but his motivation was not only the love of man but the love of God and what he understood to be the moral order of the universe. His concept of a universal God of all peoples not only Israel and of righteousness demanded of all men however exalted their position was far beyond his time certainly beyond the capacity of the marketplace to understand him.
Are you not like the Ethiopians to me O people of Israel sir the Lord. Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt and the Philistines from calf door and the Syrians from Kir. But you especially have I known of all the peoples of the earth. Therefore I shall visit upon you all your iniquities. It did not really matter that it happened that the temporary powers of the King did drive Amos from the Capitol warning him never to return on pain of death. He had spoken. Undoubtedly he retired to his village in Tacoma and there he rode down the full text of the message which he was not allowed to speak in the capital. To a few devoted disciples who spoke and talked and entrusted the record of his prophecies which are preserved for us in the book of Amos and the Old Testament I desire love and not sacrifices.
When Israel was a child I loved him and out of Egypt I called my son. I led them with cords of compassion with the bands of love. How can I hand you over Israel my heart recoils within me my compassion grows warm and tender. These words are obviously a new voice a prop. 2 speaks with a different tongue than Amos. It is Hosea. Another man born in the days of the divided kingdom. When one king ruled the North won the South in Palestine who was a I was a contemporary of a much younger and possibly even was a witness to Amos and his speeches. That was there was quite a different man no shepherd who came out of city life not harsh and severe. He spoke with love and gentleness only in their religious devotions were the two men
alike. Jose R. slot is a tragic account. He married a beautiful woman named Gomer. But despite his lavish affection she deserted him for a lover leaving her there with three children. There is a question among scholars as to whether this domestic tragedy is an allegory or the actual account of his a s unhappy life. I believe it is actually true for the Prophet's whole character and his teachings can be best understood in the light of this heartbreaking experience. He must have brooded upon the betrayal of his love. Why did it happen. How had he failed. He had given her himself and all his love his life. He had denied her nothing. Mingled with his domestic grief the tragic drama of his nation the
grievous times in which he lived weighed heavily upon her. Amos before him had seen a dark cloud on the horizon the cloud that was the swords of Assyria. Soon it would come down like a wolf on the fold. The nation was weak. The Great King Jeroboam was dead his son murdered by a usurper to the throne who in turn was murdered by another assassination leapt upon assassination foreign gods seeped in to undermine the old convictions. Too much wealth and luxury undermined the social order. To use the words of Hosea was like a badly tended over whose Baker ceases to stir the fire from the kneading of the dough until it is leavened like a cake not turned burnt on one side. They harked roll and sour.
Out of this grief this awareness of tragedy in his marriage and of disaster and Public Affairs. I heard a call to prophesy. There must be a divine purpose to such suffering and the purpose of His suffering came to him as a sudden illumination as though God as though God Himself had planned it all and had spoken to him thus go take unto be of faith less wife for the less have become faithless and departed from the Lord. Now hander stood he would brood no more. He now had a purpose in life to become a prophet to the wayward people who were God's beloved and who had betrayed God. He found his hope of forgiveness in the slave market. There during an auction of slaves one day he saw his wife being
sold on the slave block. Her beauty Garman her lover gone. Her very freedom of life gone. She stood in the pit of hopelessness. Jose updated her took her home cared for her restored her integrity. And so we are led to believe was himself blessid with love and wifely devotion. In this new experience in his personal life the prophet saw the hand of God and the forgiveness and restoration of Israel. The faithless people who might yet repent and turn to their loving God. Here has their reveals his own great capacity for love. When he writes of God's divine devotion to faithless he is right. How can I give up the frail abandon VO Israel. I will not execute my fierce anger nor wreak havoc upon freedom for I am GOD and not man. The Holy One in your midst and
I will not come to destroy. I will be true VI unto me for ever. Yes I will be the one to me in faith boldness and thou shalt know thy God with the tender loving prophet to his ear. Judaism and the world took a great step forward. AMOS And those before him had proclaimed a God of righteousness justice and rationality. Hosea added the dimension of love. He could not do less. And his was a voice which would echo down through the centuries to the Christian era with its cornerstone lead in the concept of God as God of love. Jose I pleaded with his countryman of the north as we have said in the times of the divided kingdom to this to this south in Jerusalem at the same
time another man answered the call to prophesy. His name was and he was a boy when Romulus and Remus allegedly founded the city of Rome and 5 3 7 B.C.. One day found himself alone in the temple of Jerusalem. He was the son of an aristocratic family on intimate terms with royalty itself. Yet he was a deeply religious man devoted to meditation seeking out the peace of the sanctuary. There in the holy place his mission in life was made clear as he tells us. I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up and his train filled the temple above him stood the Serafin. And one called to another and said Holy holy holy is the Lord of hosts the whole earth is full of His glory.
And I said whoa is me for I am lost for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips then flew one of the Serafin to me and said Your guilt is taken away and your sin forgiven. And I heard the voice of the Lord saying Whom shall I send and who will go for us. Then I said Here I am. Send me. With humility I desire offered himself as a messenger to his people. It is impossible to touch any but the beaks of quasars career in this brief broadcast career of 40 years during a most critical period in Jewish and world history as Syria was on the march and the two kingdoms of the Jews lay in her path. I desire was a skilled observer of foreign affairs. He saw it
dangerous not only in the empire of Assyria and her conquests but also the folly of any alliances Israel might make with Egypt or any other military power not in weapons of war or hope but in the fortress of Almighty God. Woe to them that rely upon horses and trust in chariots because they are many and good horsemen because they are exceeding mighty But look not to the Lord. Like birds hovering. So the LORD of hosts will protect Jerusalem he will protect and deliver it he will spare and rescue it. By word and deed I protested against joining a coalition of vassal states against Syria. For three years he walked the streets of Jerusalem naked and barefoot wearing only the law in cloth which war captives were allowed as a
dramatic warning of what would happen to the people if they join the coalition. He pleaded with them saying in quietness and confidence is your strength. It was a strange advice to a frightened people. Faced with the horrors of foreign invasion I desire saw even the mighty Assyrians as mere instruments in the hand of God. Then their serial Kings inexorable march to the very gates and lay siege to the city. The general of the armies stood under the walls of Jerusalem and don't to the people speaking in their own tongue. So every man could understand ridiculing any power mortal or divine that might attempt to withstand the might of Assyria. The people in King Hezekiah with injuries in him were terrified and begged to pray for deliverance Deliverance came
through a diverting attack by the Europeans and by a pestilence which broke out into the neck ribs Army compelling him to raise the siege of Jerusalem and to return home to Nineveh to the people of Jerusalem and their king. This is pure salvation. God was pleased with them and their sacrifices and lip service to our Ziad was rather a blessid opportunity to acknowledge wrongdoing and to cleanse the nation of its evils. Your hands are full of blood. Wash your make your clean put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes cease to do evil. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Relieve the old press. Protect the fatherless. Plead for the widow. Come now let us reason together says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet they shall be white as snow.
There was reflects in his indictment of evil. The futility of worship with our devotion and the moral decay of his times and his words did bear influence of Cortes and King Hezekiah instituted certain religious reforms. But I desire was not only a critic and statesman he was an inspired man of vision and a poet of great beauty and gentleness. His mis Yannick poems and chapters 2 and 11 of the book of Isaiah are an ecstatic vision of the ideal king to come in the days when the world would be transformed into a heaven on earth and it shall come to pass in the end of days that the Mountain of the Lord's house shall be established and shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say Come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the
Lord to the house of the God of Jacob and he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem and he shall judge between the nations and show this side for many peoples. And they show beat their swords into plow shares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore. Or house of Jacob come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord. I sas stands close to the hearts of the people now as in centuries long ago when his writing was new the depth of his vision and the beauty of its expression have made these missing any points a treasure house of inspiration for painters or composers for the hungry hearts of men of all ages.
And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse. And the twig shall grow forth out of his roots. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him the spirit of wisdom and understanding the spirit of counsel and might the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins and faithfulness the girdle of his reins and the wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together. And a little child shall lead them in his lifetime. A time of unspeakable barbarity and oppression when more and fear walk the land. I desire could see the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness on
them has the light shined forth to us. A child is born to us. Our son is given and the government will be upon his shoulder and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor Mighty God. Everlasting Father Prince of Peace. On the walls of the United Nations building in New York is engraved I desire as promise sword shall be beaten and to plow shares it is still the hope of mankind today as it was long ago. To his countrymen the state which he labored so heroically so heroically to save has long ago disappeared by the winged words he spoke and wrote proclaiming to Judah and to the whole world his lofty conception of God and the saving power of deep and abiding faith. These words of Isaiah are still alive with the
power to lift the souls of men. He is truly the Prince of prophets. His book is one of the most widely loved and widely quoted in The New Testament. How can we summarize our legacy from the prophets in purely historical terms. There were a phenomenon appearing suddenly in the thunderclouds of great trouble. Single solitary men who were accused kings and the peoples charged them publicly with their crimes and demanded reform. These were not fantastic madmen. They were dreadfully sane clear headed human beings with courage. That seems more than human. The world has many times suffered the agonies of upheaval. Nations destroyed men enslaved blood and tears flowing in the streets but never has the phenomenon of the Prophet occurred outside of
ancient Israel. In spiritual terms we say they were divinely inspired. Their own books leave record of their religious experience. They flash with all the lights and shadows of human emotions doubts despairs overwhelming love and hope out of them come a revolutionary concept of God as the one and only ruler of the universe. God is One God of justice. Holiness and love and these are the same for all people everywhere in the prophets was born this great concept known as ethical monotheism. In the words of the whole of the prophets work can perhaps be best expressed. I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me. I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said
Here am I here am I. To a nation that did not call on my name yet oh lord. Thou art our father. We are the clay and the art our potter. We are all the work of thy hand. Thus saith the Lord Behold my servant to my up hold. My chosen in whom my soul delights. I have put my spirit upon him. He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth. And the coast lands wait for his law. For behold I create new heavens and a new earth. And the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people. No more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.
Seek the Lord while He may be found call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts let him return to the Lord that he may have mercy on him and to our God for He will abundantly pardon for my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Light unto my path
Literary prophets
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on literary prophets, those who wrote about their activities.
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This series explores the books of the Old Testament, how they were written, how they were preserved, and why they continue to have influence.
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Composer: Voegeli, Don
Host: Grauer, Ben
Narrator: Manning, Dean
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-50-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:45
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Chicago: “Light unto my path; Literary prophets,” 1960-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 9, 2022,
MLA: “Light unto my path; Literary prophets.” 1960-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 9, 2022. <>.
APA: Light unto my path; Literary prophets. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from