Stories of the Prophets (Before the Exile)

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The company of inspired men, commonly known as the prophets of Israel, were the unique product of the Jewish religious genius. They were pre-eminently preachers of righteousness. Fearless and undaunted, they told the house of Israel their sins and the house of Jacob their transgressions. They contemplated the facts of life from the highest point of view. For them religion and morality were blended, ethics and politics were one. Theirs was peculiarly a social message; the demand for justice underlies all their thinking and speaking. They had a veritable passion for righteousness; through all the ages their words have been torches lighting the way of men struggling upward towards the truth.

Though living over twenty-six hundred years ago, these men are very modern. As a great thinker has well said, "The spirit of the prophets of Israel is in the modern soul." The foremost workers for the welfare of their fellowmen to-day posit social justice as the first article of their program. The world to-day, as never before, is filled with cries for social righteousness as the indispensable foundation for the structure of society. What is this but harking back to the eternal message of the ancient prophets? "Let justice flow as water" passionately and unreservedly demanded Amos of old; for him and his brother prophets this was the sine qua non for society's welfare; the same may be said of the thousands and tens of thousands to-day of every creed and every nation who are toiling for the social salvation of their fellowmen the world over. Ages meet; the words of the ancient preachers of righteousness are still the inspiration for the seekers after justice everywhere.

The story of the life work of these giants of the spirit has often been told, but it can be told none too often, particularly if the telling is well done, as is the case in the present volume. Each one of these men delivered the same message in his own individual and inimitable way. Yet their work was continuous and forms a consecutive tale. In the speeches and experiences of each one of them the eternal truths they present appears in differing light. The author of the present volume approaches his subject, one might say, from the dramatic standpoint, for, with fine insight, he has culled from the lives of the prophets those striking and intense experiences which illustrate most powerfully the indomitable spirit of these men who followed right in scorn of consequence, for were they not the messengers of the God of right whose demand upon men is, as told by one of them in imperishable words, to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God?

The author has succeeded well in his characterization of the various prophets. His pages glow with the vital spark of each prophet's flaming figure. He has named his book fittingly "Stories of the Prophets," and interesting stories has he told. He has brought to his task not only a sympathetic appreciation of his subject, but an imaginative faculty that has enabled him to supply links in the narrative suggested if not actually given in the incidents preserved in the recorded annals....