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(For more, see The Growth of the Old Testament.) 3.Introduction to Prophets/Prophecy: In order to understand the pivotal role that prophets play in the book of Kings, it is helpful for students to grasp fully the terms "prophecy" and "prophets." Return students to the opening exercise "When I Say Prophet, You Think ____?In general, prophets were individuals thought to be the recipients—through visions, dreams, and audition—of divine messages that they then passed on to others through a variety of platforms—including trance, speech, and actions.As the meanings of the Hebrew and Greek words for "prophet" illustrate, the genre of prophecy in the Hebrew Bible was not primarily interested in predicting the future—despite how we might sometimes use the terms "prophet" and "prophecy" in contemporary English.The books now divided into 1 Kings and 2 Kings were originally part of one work that told the story of ancient Israel from the death of King David until the release of the exiled King Jehoiachin from prison in Babylon (ca. Together the two books tell the tale of Israel's history, detailing how the destruction of the two kingdoms is a just punishment from the deity for the sins of the people.(For more, see 1 and 2 Kings: Reading the Books; The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah and the maps of The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
As such, it is helpful to outline the story told in the book of Kings and its genre, compositional history, and place in the larger field of biblical studies.
Kings is thus firmly rooted in the ongoing debates on history and historicity in biblical studies.
(For more, see The Historical Books and Historicity.) Thus, it is better to think of Kings not as a history book proper, but rather as a theological essay shaped by certain religious and ideological beliefs.
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" Remind them of the variety of responses, including the assumption that "prophets" and "prophecy" both have something to do with predicting the future. After all, the main dictionary definition of the English verb "prophesy" is "to foretell or predict." Similarly, the primary definition of the noun "prophecy" is "the foretelling or prediction of what is to come." However, if students keep reading in most English language dictionaries, they will discover that dictionaries also define "prophet" not as someone who foretells the future but as "a person who speaks for God." (Sidenote: This can be a good lesson on the importance of doing a thorough reading!