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

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Fri Sep 1 16:03:16 EDT 2006

Dear Shoshanna,

>Anyone could say anything.

HH: Yes, but this was Israel, whose God was living. It was an awesome 
thing to claim to speak for him. There are stories in the Bible about a 
disobedient prophet being eaten by a lion. There is a false prophet's 
death being accurately prophesied. There were likely to be consequences 
for falsely claiming to speak for a living God.

>  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.

HH: Shoshanna, if a prophet said something would happen, and it did not 
happen, then anyone who heard the prophecy and was in the vicinity of 
the non-fulfillment would be a witness to the man's falsehood. A 
judicial proceeeding could be undertaken at that point. Since the 
penalty was death, there would have had to be two or three witnesses. 
Since prophets spoke in public to crowds, this would presumably not be 
hard to find. Prophets usually did not prophecy about insignificant 
things that nobody would know or care about.

>  There had to be a  higher authority to 
>verify a prophet.

HH: Scripture does not say this.

>  The Sanhedrin was that authority in other things, 
>why not also this?  Why would the text have to spell this out?

HH: Because it is not necessary. Deuteronomy 18 is about the penalty for 
false prophecy. That is what is addressed. The judges and the court 
would deal with the man. There would be stoning by the community, I presume.

>  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 

HH: To the court system and the judges were where they would go.

>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: It is possible that some official body declared that Daniel was not 
a prophet by profession, as Karl said. Or they may have said something 
you mentioned, like his not receiving the words directly from God and 
speaking with Him. However, receiving dreams was a valid way to be a 

Num. 12:6 he said, “Listen to my words: “When a prophet of the LORD is 
among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.

But there are other possibilities. Perhaps those who watched over the 
canon did not place his writing among the Prophets for some reason like 
his writings still being in Babylon when returned exiles made the first 
groupings of the books. It could be something circumstantial like that, 
or the fact that the first half of the book is history.

Harold Holmyard

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list