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Leadership in the Prophets Seen from an Understanding of the Exile: Centered on the Major Prophets

Chong Hun Pae 1

1장로회신학대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this article is to study the leadership of prophets in the major prophetic books in the context of exile. Exile is the result of judgment against the people who did not obey God’s commandments. Once exile begins, it continues for a while, and after it is over, a new life is given through restoration. Thus, the scenario of judgment-exile- restoration, which the subject of exile includes, appears variously in the prophetic literature. This article is interested in various phases of the exile that appear in the prophetic books. The proclamation of the exile as a judgement historically came from the prophets of Israel in the North, and from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel of Judah in the South. The proclamation often included messages of hope, including previews of the new covenant and the temple vision. The exile is transformed into a message of restoration to the communities who would finish the historical exile. The exile is a necessary step for the identity of the remnant. What kind of leadership was accomplished by the prophets in the various phases of the exile? Just before the critical point of sin which causeed the exile, the prophets, as agents of God, criticized the kings and advised them to govern their empire with justice and righteousness. When the kings did not play their role properly, the prophets emphasized a Messianic vision and helped them understand their role as God’s agents. Encountering an imbalance between worship and ethics, the prophets proclaimed repentance in order to be delivered from God’s imminent judgment, and radical judgment after the chance of repentance was over. Prophets adhered to God’s promise of restoration in the midst of their proclamations of judgment. Hope is given in Jeremiah’s new covenant, Ezekiel’s vision of the priestly nation, and Isaiah’s remaining stump. The second Isaiah (Isa 40-55) proclaimed the promise of restoration as the exile was close to an end, understanding his time as the time when the restoration was being achieved. With the difficulties accompanying a new start being faced with difficulties, the theological concept of the exile gave hope not only to the remaining people in Palestine but also the Diaspora community, so that they would wait for the eschatological day of God’s return and endure the exile as part of their lives. From the various responses of the prophets to the event of the exile, today’s leaders can learn how to deal with the crises of people and how to give hope to them.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.