the twelve

“Except for David, Hezekiah and Josiah, they all were wicked;
they abandoned the Law of the Most High, these kings of Judah, right to the very end.

So he gave over their power to others,
their glory to a foolish foreign nation
who burned the holy city and left its streets desolate,
as Jeremiah had foretold;
for they had treated him badly who even in the womb had been made a prophet,
to root out, pull down, and destroy, and then to build and to plant.

Ezekiel beheld the vision
and described the different creatures of the chariot;
he also referred to Job,
who always persevered in the right path.

Then, too, the Twelve Prophets— may their bones return to life from their resting place!–
gave new strength to Jacob and saved him by their faith and hope.”
(Sirach 49.4-10)

By the time the book of Sirach was written, probably around 2nd century BC, the twelve minor prophets, i.e., Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Maleachi, had been referred simply as a single collection, i.e., the Twelve Prophets.

And it might be interesting too to note the belief about afterlife in that era, which can be inferred by the comment of the author about the Twelve: ‘may their bones return to life from their resting place’, which indicated a belief in resurrection after their death. They were in ‘their resting place’ right now and they were waiting to return to life.


6 thoughts on “the twelve

  1. Kristo

    what is it with twelve?
    Twelve tribes, twelve prophets, twelve apostle?

    btw kenapa “Except for David, Hezekiah and Josiah, they all were wicked;” ya sept?

    1. septian Post author

      twelve tribes of Israel is the paradigm. so the number ‘twelve’ is significant in Israel tradition.

      on the twelve minor prophets, it becomes one of those ‘which is first, chicken or egg?’, i.e., did they collect the books until it reach the number of 12 (since it would be a good number to stop), or there were 12 significant minor prophets all along?

      and, in calling twelve disciples, Jesus symbolically constituted the ‘new’ Israel around himself. the true Israel revolved around Jesus, not around the temple, etc.

      yang itu kayanya menurut penulis Sirakh, raja-raja Yehuda yang ‘baik’ itu cuma mereka bertiga. ibaratnya kalu menurut penulis Samuel-Raja2 syaratnya itu yang ‘berbuat baik di mata YHWH’ (8 out of 20). jadi standarnya penulis Sirakh ini lebih strict tampaknya. admittedly, Daud, Hizkia, dan Yosia yang paling populer. sekiranya ada yg left out, mungkin Salomo, atau Yosafat.


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