In The Message of the Prophets, author J. Daniel Hays offers a scholarly, yet readable and student-friendly introductory survey of the Old Testament prophetic literature that presents the message of each prophet in both its historical and its biblical context, tracking that message through the New Testament to discuss what it means for believers today.
Christians sometimes approach the Old Testament with a mixture of awe and bewilderment, knowing that it contains pearls of wisdom, but unsure how to dive for them ... especially when it comes to the Prophets. In The Message of the Prophets, author J. Daniel Hays offers a scholarly, yet readable and student-friendly survey of the Old Testament prophetic literature that presents the message of each prophet in its historical and its biblical context and then tracks that message through the New Testament to challenge readers with what it means for them today.
Hays focuses on synthesizing the message of the prophets, which enables students to grasp the major contours of the prophetic books clearly and concisely. Hundreds of colorful pictures help to illustrate the historical and cultural background of the prophets. After identifying what the message meant for ancient Israel, Hays helps the readers to move toward theological application today, helping readers to gain a better understanding of God and the relationship between God and his people. The Message of the Prophets is essential for professors, students, and others seeking to understand the role that the Old Testament prophets play in the Christian faith.
“The primary characteristics of Hebrew poetry are (1) density (succinctness), (2) parallelism, (3) figurative imagery, and (4) high concentration of wordplay.” (Page 48)
“The central question that drives much of the rest of the Old Testament is this: Will Israel stay faithful to Yahweh and keep the book of Deuteronomy?” (Page 36)
“There are three major terms used in the Old Testament to refer to those special people who speak and transmit the word of Yahweh. The most common Hebrew term for such a person is nabi’ (prophet). Two other terms, ‘seer’ and ‘man of God,’ are also used. First Samuel 9:8–10 uses all three terms, indicating that they were nearly synonymous.” (Page 25)
“Beginning in the Pentateuch, the role of the prophet is closely associated with delivering the word of God.” (Page 23)
“Thus the prophets span about three hundred years, from around 750 BC to around 450 BC.” (Page 34)
In this volume, Hays provides his readers with a superb overview of the message and significance of the Old Testament prophets. After introducing prophetic literature in general, Hays guides his readers through each prophetic book. Numerous clear images and helpful sidebars add to the richness of this book. He includes features like suggestions for further reading, discussion questions, and writing assignments that make the book ready-made for classroom use. Hays takes a number of the complicated issues of prophetic literature and provides a clear explanation of this important part of the Old Testament.
—Michael A. Grisanti, Professor of Old Testament, The Master's Seminar
Every once in a while a book comes along that is exceptional in every aspect one may choose to look at it. I have found J. Daniel Hays's The Message of the Prophets to be such a book. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing in its graphics and content layout, but it moves easily from introductory matters about the prophets to the message of each of the sixteen writing prophets. I believe it will become a standard textbook for pastors, Bible Study leaders, and college and seminary classes on the prophets. I heartily endorse its widest usage for all who love to grasp the message of the Old Testament prophets.
—Walter C. Kaiser Jr., President Emeritus, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
To the burgeoning interest in the Old Testament prophets and the recent literature reflecting that interest must be added this magnificent overview of the men and their writings that make up a major part of the Old Testament canon. Although presupposing up-to-date scholarship on the prophets in a technically accurate fashion, Hays spares the beginning student the morass of argument pro and con on various issues, preserving instead the crucial facts and facets of the prophets' messages in their historical and cultural contexts. The photographs and other visual assets greatly enhance the beauty and reader-friendliness of the work, making it, with its other virtues, the finest volume of its kind. Highly recommended!
—Eugene H. Merrill, Distinguished Professor of Old Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary