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Light unto my path. I shall light a candle of understanding in their own heart which show will 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. Human life. We know examined that record. 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 and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. These programs are planned and prepared by Dr. Menachem Mansoor chairman of the department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Professor Mansoor it has been told what is God's. This challenge rings down to us through the centuries. And though the words are simple the implications are
tremendous. They are the central message of the entire Old Testament of the Bible and they spring from a unique phenomenon in the life of the ancient Hebrews. That phenomenon is the mystery of prophecy and the rise of prophets is in many ways explicable even today. It has been told be we ask who did the telling. It was of course the prophets. And they're telling men what is good leads us to ask good in what sense not merely good in abstract philosophy not only in repeating of the law of God and the recalling of His blessings. God also in positive practical matters in matters of everyday living in family life in politics in matters of social and economic concern. This is amazing in a primitive superstitious a age of twenty five hundred years ago. The times of ancient peoples in
all lands were full of mysteries men of Babylon searched the mysteries of the stars and read in The Star secret messages for the lives of men magicians of Egypt appeared at the viscera of the slaughtered animals and read the future and the animals and trails the flight of birds. The ravings of the lamented the dreams of sleeping men. All these were mysteries and were used by so-called wise men and priests and seers and their vocation was prophecy and divination like oracles. These men told their messages to the king and frequently the king governed his ways accordingly. This was part of the cultural pattern throughout the Near East and with it went all the pageantry the elaborate rituals the costly robes and jewels defend testing the drama of the magic loving peoples contrasts this with the lives of the prophets in years while we read of
Elijah the prophet hated by the court and especially hated by Queen jazz of all in fear of his life. Elijah fled into the wilderness journeying for 40 days and 40 nights to Mount Horeb the mount of God. And there he came to a cave and lodged there and behold the Lord passed by and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire a still small voice as a still small voice. How can we compare this with the remains of animals and the flights of birds or even the stars. The still small voice is
compelling stark incredible in the setting of engine times in pagan pageantry. Let us look at another prophetic beginning. The story of the boy Samuel whose parents had given him to the temple to serve the high priest Eli. Then the Lord called Samuel Samuel and he said Here I am. And ran to Eli and said Here I am for you called me. But he said I did not call lie down again. So he went and lay down and the Lord called again Samuel and Samuel rose and went to Eli and said Here I am for you called me. Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Sam he will go lie down. And if he calls you you show say Speak Lord for Thy servant hears. Again the still small voice nothing more unlike their neighbors in the near east lands the ancient Hebrew prophets heard in
this still small voice. A spiritual divine power far beyond the concept of their pagan contemporaries it guided Moses in liberating his people from Egypt. His awareness and receptivity to the voice brought the law and the commandments to Israel and the promised land of Canaan. It established government among the tribes and it was the prophet Samuel who are known to the soul as the first king in Israel and who followed the dictates of the voice in choosing the young shepherd boy David to succeed King Saul. Why did the prophets hear the voice. Can we analyze this objectively. As scholars of biblical history. The distinguished historian Professor Arnold Toynbee in his volume the study of history finds that in every great civilization there comes centuries of tragedy which he calls time of travel. The phrase is a biblical one used in the
Psalms and the finds these times of trouble to be the creative periods in any civilization. Certainly this centuries of the Old Testament when the great empires of Babylon Assyria fought against the empire of the Nile where heavy with tragedy for Palestine lying as she did at the crossroads between these warlike powers and this time of trouble produce the grander of prophecy. How many countless times of trouble has mankind seen which ended only in destruction despair and death. Just why times of trouble and produce the prophets remains a mystery to scholars. Suffice it that they came inexplicably relentlessly heroically. They came. The first known prophet to appear after Moses is not even given a name. He comes on stage briefly in the Book of Job just after the death of Moses
and his successor Joshua the tribes who are struggling to hold their beachhead in canon. The nomadic or semi-nomadic peoples called Midianites and Amalekites were devastating their lands in a series of four like raids. And this time of trouble the Israelites cried aloud begging deliverance from their enemies. Then we are told the Lord sent a prophet to the people of Israel and he said to them Thus says the Lord the God of Israel. I lead you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage and I delivered you from the hand of all who oppressed you and gave you their land. And I said to you I am the LORD your God. But you have not given heed to my voice. This is the first recorded practical application of a mosaic precept by a prophet applying the first commandment to this social and political
situation of the day. As will be seen later this characteristic remained a standard feature of the prophets. The Book of Judges takes us through the days of war with the Philistines and the story of Samson and his captivity. Then we come to the Book of Samuel and the period of history when the prophet or balance of prophets became more of an established feature in Hebrew life. We have already heard how the boy Samuel was a servant in the temple when the still small voice first spoke to him. This child born in answer to the prayers of a devout but childless woman named Hana grew to be the fiery leader and thundering spokesman of God's word. Perhaps while we are noting the birth of Samuel his early did occasion to the Lord and His qualities of leadership we might turn aside to a story
which is not scripture but the work of a well-known Jewish writer Isaac parrots. It is called a mother's vision and though fiction it offers perhaps a classic description of the prophet. The scene opens upon a mother sitting alone in a room suckling her child after feeding the baby. She places him gently in his cradle where he immediately falls asleep kissing him. She stays at his bedside full of love and pride to keep watch over him as he sleeps. Soon her tired eyes begin to close and she too falls asleep. But not for long. Suddenly she starts awake and behold standing at the head of the cradle a bright winged angel of God frightened the mother thinks he has come to take my baby from me. But the angel divined her thought and speaks no I am not the angel of death but a divine messenger sent to tell you the future of your son her
son. The mother looked at the sleeping boy and beheld that his face was shining reflecting the brightness of the angel's wings. The Angel continued this son of yours will grow up to become a prophet. But the mother a simple woman could not understand. She knelt and asked of the Angel. My lord tell Vice servant what is the Prophet's work. Does he build towers and palaces and fortresses. Does he hew stone from the mountains or build roads or does he perhaps heal the sick. The Angel began to weep and answered Indeed the prophet tears down and he builds he tears down upon the earth and he builds in heaven. He paves roads but not with iron tools for iron his soul abhors and his roads do not touch earth but he makes his roads in the spirit. Yes as you have said the Prophet hues but
not stone from mountains nor is there an axe in his hand. He is in human hearts and his tool is a flame. And the prophets smites and crushers. He may wound men's hearts and souls but so also does he heal them. Now the mother wept and cried out bitterly awe me for you speak of my son's destiny but I do not understand. Tell me what will be my son's reward. The angel answered storms. And light shone in the mother's eyes and in joy she cried not gold and silver but stones will be his reward. They will pay him in precious stones in jewels of great price. Sadly the angel shook his head. Not precious stones but cobble stone. Mark me not cried the mother in anguish. Tell me the meaning of thy
words. Your son the prophet will be stoned to death because he is a prophet. And then with the great and bitter cry the mothers senses left her when she awoke. The angel was gone but on her baby's face the light of heaven shone here and a bridge a short story. We see the elements of the classic prophet a man of destiny often of obscure parentage to a selfless bitterest mission perhaps leading to destruction. The prophets were lonely men. Every one of them they came out of an empty wilderness often simply in answer to and in explicable call. Amos writes God took me from following the flock and
said Gore prophesied to my people why call a shepherd why follow such a mission. We can only say such men were inspired and with a feeling beyond their control submitting almost in spite of their own will or wishes. We see this divine compulsion in Jeremiah who say's with biting personal rebellion the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say I will not mention him or speak any more there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones and I am weary with holding it and I cannot for I hear many whispering terror is on every side. Denounce him. Let us denounce him. So all my familiar friends watching for my followed curse to be the man who brought the news to my father a son is born to you.
Why did I come forth to see toil and sorrow and spend my days in shame. This solitary man of vision compelled to speak to the crowds. It's a harsh destiny and unique in the annals of mankind. Many men have banded together for mutual encouragement and strength and such bands of men have often in history stood against their opinions and the power for an entire nation. But until the rise of the prophets. When have we seen men belong to no group at all having no intellectual or spiritual companionship. Solitary men with only God at their side standing forth alone to face the prejudices of the mockeries and the delusions of their day. Yet the prophets did stand thus and for their stand they were hated despised persecuted and sometimes even killed. Prophet after Prophet with blazing wars to denounce sin and
evil in primitive and violent times. Indeed in our own times the courage of such solitary men is amazing. Those who listened were shocked many outraged full of anger. They look to the prophets for help in time of trouble but often they got no comforting promises but rather harsh and diluted predictions of greater troubles to come. Surely these might well have been sternly suppressed and promptly forgotten. This however was not the case. Persecuted in their own lifetime though they may have been. Yet what they did was carefully kept and preserved by the very nation which the prophets denounced as a result. The Bible is today like any other of the chronicles of antiquity
records of other nations praised their people and their rulers. Single of their victories and boast of their excellence. The Old Testament of the Bible sets forth the record of a nation's iniquity hereis and equalled mood of national confession an unprecedented admission of sin. It springs from the prophets who expose the wrongdoing of their times. But it was preserved as a permanent part of sacred scripture by the very people whose heart this uncompromising prophets seem to have broken. Even the parents of the king was not barred to the prophets nor a great national hero like David immune from criticism. It is fantastic that an all powerful beloved monarch in ancient times should permit a prophet to stand before him as accuser and judge of the King. There is nothing even
roughly parallel to this in the whole extant literature of the ancient Near East. Yet in years prior it happened and we can read the record in the second book of Samuel and it came to pass that even time the David arose from off his bed and walked upon the roof of the king's house and from the roof he saw a woman believing. And the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said Is not this Bathsheba the wife of your rival the Hittite. And it came to pass in the morning the David wrote a letter to Joe Webb and sent it by the hand of your right. And he wrote in the letter saying to you you're right in the forefront of the hardest battle and retire you from him that he may be smitten and die. And the men of the city went out and fought and you Ryo the Hittite died. And when the wife of your Riah heard that her
husband was dead she made lamentation for a husband and when the morning was passed David sent and took her home to his house and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord and the Lord sent Nathan the prophet unto David and he came unto him and said. There were two men in one city the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing save one little which he had bought and reared and he grew up together with him and with his children. It did eat of his own morsel and drank of his own cup and lay in his bosom and was on to him as a daughter. And there came a traveler on to the rich man and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him. But he took the poor man's lamb
and prepared it for the man who had come to him. Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man and he said to me from as the Lord lives. The man who has done this deserves to die and he shall restore the lamb for old because he did this thing and because he had no pity. Nathan said to David the whole heart to me thus say of the Lord the God of Israel I anointed the king over Israel. Wherefore hast despised the word of the Lord to do that which is evil in my sight. Your Ryo the Hittite DAR has smitten with the sword and his wife has taken to be thy wife. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thy house thus saith the Lord Behold I will raise up evil against thee
out of their own own house and I will take thy wives before Dyne eyes and give them unto thy neighbor's for thou didst did secretly but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun. And David said unto me for I have sinned against the Lord. Those are famous words from a prophet. Thou art the man. And shocking words spoken to an absolute monarch. The parable by which Nathan exposed their wrongdoing is well known in its right as the parable of the Yule lamb. But it was used not to soften the accusation only to present it because of pure justice and to expose the King to his own judgment. But as the nation grew in size and strength as the pattern of its spiritual as well as political life was firmly established. So
the pattern of its prophets a solitary spokesman to the conscience of the nation was firmly fixed. We have time to recall one more giant figure from this age in the record of Kings following David and Solomon upon the throne of years royal sat. They have wicked in himself but moreover marriage to Queen Jessop of whose very name became the synonym for evil. It was in this time of trouble that the prophet Elijah of whom we spoke earlier appeared upon the sacred mountain. Hearing the still small voice of God. But there is one great event of the largest career which is us the Prophet's strength and his mission among the people. This is the famous call to decision the great either or to be or not to be which took place on Mount Carmel. The Prophet as on many other occasions appears as
accuser before the Wicked King Ahab when Ahab saw Elijah Ahab said to him is it you trouble or of Israel. And he answered I have not troubled Israel but you have because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and followed by. Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel and the 450 prophets of Baal in the 400 prophets of Ashura who eat adjustable table. So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel and Elijah came near to all the people and said if the Lord is God. Follow him. But if Baal then follow him and the people did not answer him a word. Then Elijah said. I even I only am left a prophet of the Lord. But borrows prophets are 450 men let two bulls be given to us and let them choose one bowl for themselves
and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bowl and put no fire to it and call ye the name of your gods and I will call on the name of the Lord and the God who answers by fire. He is God and all the people answered It is well spoken. Then the prophets of Baal called on the name of Baal from morning till noon saying Obama answer me. But there was no voice. And at noon Elijah mocked them and he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down and made a trench about the altar and said fill jars with water and pour it on the offering and the wood and the water ran round about the altar and filled the trench. And Elijah said O Lord let it be known this day that our God in Israel. Answer me O Lord Answer me that this people may know that old Lord our God and the DAR has turned their hearts back
then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the Stones and the dust and licked up the water that was in the train and the people fell on their faces and they said the Lord He is God. This solitude of Mount Horeb where one man heard the still small voice and the dramatic gathering at Mount Carmel where one man faced hundreds of pagan prophets and a sinful nation. The great contrast to Mormons are yet really one and the same moment the calling of mankind to obey the Word of God as described by Anderson the well known Bible scholar and author. In one sense the whole prophetic movement of which is the great exemplar was a program back to the sources of faith. The prophets did not claim to be
innovators. Rather they demanded that return to the whole hearted covenant allegiance demanded by yeah but the prophetic movement was not a timid response to a crisis by retreating into the idealized past. And the message of the prophets the past came alive with new vitality and meaning. What was latent in him was a tradition began to come to fullness was given a deeper understanding of the implications of the Covenant and of his way in history. So with Alija and the ninth century the rise of prophecy ends and the flower of prophecy begins with writing prophets whose books we shall explore next time. Light unto my path. Radio programs exploring the Old Testament.
The series is planned prepared and narrated by Dr Menachem Mansoor chairman of the department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin script writing by Jay Helen Stanley. Music by Don Bigley production by Carl Smith. Light unto my path is produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasting. This is the NEA E.B. Radio Network.
Light unto my path
Rise of prophets
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on the mystery of prophecy and the rise of prophets.
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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: 60-50-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:53
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Chicago: “Light unto my path; Rise of prophets,” 1960-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “Light unto my path; Rise of prophets.” 1960-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: Light unto my path; Rise of prophets. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from