[b-hebrew] To Harold: Tanach book order - different in Christian Bibles

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Fri Sep 1 15:32:03 EDT 2006

Anyone could say anything.  There had to be a way for Israel to know 
if a person claiming to prophesy was really talking to them in G-d's 
name or not.  I don't think it could be just personal opinion.  And 
how could I know if this person's prophesy would or did come to pass? 
There was no TV or internet.  There had to be a  higher authority to 
verify a prophet.  The Sanhedrin was that authority in other things, 
why not also this?  Why would the text have to spell this out?  It 
already said there were standards, it already said there were 
consequences if someone prophecied falsely, it spoke of the Sanhedrin 
in general terms, the people and their leaders knew where to go for 

These verses that I quoted indeed do have a lot to say about the subject.

Even if you don't believe that the oral Torah has authority, much of 
what is recorded in the Talmud is actual history and actual events. 
So if the Talmud says that Daniel was not a prophet, it's not far 
fetched to think that perhaps he was not verified by Sanhedrin - or 
by whatever means they used to verify this.  I believe it when I am 
taught by Rabbinic Judaism that the Sanhedrin did this.


HH: These chapters do not say exactly what you claim. I'm not sure why
you even mention Deuteronomy 21-22. These texts, specifically
Deuteronomy 18:14-22, do not set out some sort of qualification panel
for prophets. That is somewhat difficult to imagine, since prophets were
often called to rebuke the leadership of Israel. If that leadership had
to approve them for the position of prophet, the prophet might never
have been allowed to speak. These chapters in Deuteronomy show that if
someone prophesied something and it did not come to pass, the person was
to be killed as a false prophet. But the chapters do not prevent anyone
from prophesying. It is God who called prophets, not Israel's leaders in
the state or the temple.

>Since it was the Sanhedrin's job to see to it that the Torah was
>followed properly, it was their job to make sure that Deuteronomy 18:
>21 and 22 was fulfilled properly.
>Obviously, not everyone could just come and call himself a prophet.
>He had to be chosen by G-d.  Sanhedrin was the only body which could
>verify that.  First an individual would have to be outstanding in
>piety and knowledge of Torah.  Then, he had to make an accurate
>prediction of the future 3 times in the presence of Sanhedrin.  If he
>does, then his prophecy is assumed to be true, and he is accepted as
>a prophet.  If even the most minor aspect of his prophecy fails to
>come true, then his prophecy is judged to be completely false.  In
>the case of a false prophet, only Sanhedrin has the authority to
>render judgement.

HH: This rule about making three true prophecies in the presence of the
Sanhedrin is not scriptural. And your whole perspective about the
Sanhedrin seems sadly naive about the true state of affairs in ancient
Israel. There were times when the nation was not even worshiping the
Lord. There were times when the law itself was forgotten and unknown.
Yes, Moses appointed seventy elders to assist him, but there is no proof
in Scripture that this office continued throughout Israel's existence.

>The source for this is various places in the Oral Torah.

HH: That's interesting, but it carries no weight with me. That is, I do
not automatically believe what the Talmud says about anything.

HH: Shoshanna, there is a problem that God has when he gives revelation
of himself to human beings. If they distort it or add to it, they can
change the nature of the religion that God gave. When you treat Oral Law
as having the same authority as written Scripture, you are assuming that
everything in the Oral law is God-given. But unless God inspired the
words of the Talmud, they do not have the same authority as the Tanakh.
Moreover, to the degree that they are merely human words, they can
distort true religion. You have faith that this would not happen, but
the Tanakh itself is plain that this is exactly what did happen:

Jer. 8:8 ìëHow can you say, ìWe are wise, for we have the law of the
LORD,î when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?

Is. 29:13 The Lord says: ìThese people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their
worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.

HH: These biblical prophets were speaking about the nation as a whole.

Harold Holmyard

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