In September we will be reading Jonah, Isaiah, Amos, Micha, and Hosea. We will continue reading Kings, Chronicles, Proverbs, and Psalms.
Unlike the other books included in the Minor Prophets, Jonah is a book about a prophet rather than a collection of prophecies and/or sayings. In II Kings 14:25-27, the prophet Jonah is mentioned as being in the Northern Kingdom.
Scholars posit that the author of Jonah used Jonah as a way to gain legitimacy for their text. The text dates to sometime during the Second Temple Period. As you read look for the ways in which the author uses earlier works of scripture in the narrative.
Isaiah was written in three distinct pieces over a period of time from the late 8th c. BCE- late 6th-4th c. BCE. Despite this, the text is intended to be read as one narrative written by Isaiah ben Amoz.
The narrative covers four major events in the history of Israel, The Syro-Ephraimite war; the Assyrian invasion; the conquest of Jerusalem and the Babylonian Exile; and the return to Jerusalem following the fall of the Babylonian Empire. “The book of Isaiah serves as a theological reflection upon Jerusalem’s experience of threat, exile, and restoration. It takes up fundamental questions of divine involvement in human history…Citations from Isaiah play a major role in presenting the life and significance of Jesus in the New Testament, and readings from Isaiah play an especially important role in Jewish liturgy where Isaian texts are frequently read to complete and interpret the reading of the Torah. (Isaiah by Marvin A. Sweeny in the 4th ed. New Oxford Annotated Bible, NRSV, pg. 967)
Amos is a collection of the sayings of the prophet Amos who lived in the early 8th c. BCE. During this time Israel was extremely wealthy and its borders were rapidly expanding. This immense growth caused disparities between the wealthy and the poor. Amos himself was a poor farmer and thus familiar with the ways in which the poor were abused by the wealthy. In many ways, Amos is a warning about God’s reaction to injustice.
Micah was written around the end of the 8th c. BCE during a period of contention in Israel. The text address corruption and hubris on the part of the leaders in Jerusalem. Micah argues that the ideal king for the people will come from Judah, the same as David.
Hosea is a critique of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, shortly before the Assyrian conquest. According to Hosea, the conquest was divine punishment for the actions of the people against God’s commandments. Hosea argues that the people in Exile will return to God.
Below are a few questions to help guide you as you read. There are no right answers to any of these, they are here to help us reflect.
Questions to Guide Us Throughout This Practice
- What stood out to you in the readings?
- What did you notice about God?
- Did anything in the readings make you feel uncomfortable?
- How does what you read impact your life and your faith?
Questions to Guide Us Through Jonah
- What is the overall theme of Jonah?
- What other texts do you see in Jonah?
- If you were Jonah what would you have done in this situation? If you have a reading partner talk to them about your response.
Questions to Guide Us Through Isaiah
- How does the relationship between God and the people change throughout the story? Does it change or does it stay the same?
- If you had to summarize Isaiah what would you say? If you have a reading partner share your answer with your partner.
- How much impact does Isaiah have on your faith?
Question to Guide Us Through Amos
- What can we learn from Amos?
- What is the relationship between God and Israel in this text?
Questions to Guide Us Through Micah
- What is the role of hope in Micah?
- Do you think we can learn anything from this text? If so, what?
Questions to Guide Us Through Hosea
- What role does Gomer play in the text?
- Do you think Hosea is relevant in our day and age?
- What is the relationship between God and the people?
- What role does hope play in this text?
Daily Reading and Podcast Links
The hyperlink for the reading will take you to Bible Gateway*. The hyperlink “podcast” will take you to the podcast that matches the reading.
September 1 |Reading|Podcast
September 2 |Reading|Podcast
September 3 |Reading One|Reading Two|Podcast
September 4 |Reading One|Reading Two|Podcast
September 5 |Reading|Podcast
September 6 |Reading One|Reading Two|Podcast
September 7 |Reading|Podcast
September 8 |Reading|Podcast
September 9 |Reading|Podcast
September 11|Reading One|Reading Two|Podcast
September 13|Reading One|Reading Two|Podcast
September 17|Reading One|Reading Two|Reading Three|Podcast
September 23|Reading One|Reading Two|Podcast
September 26|Reading One|Reading Two|Podcast
*Bible Gateway has updated to the Updated Edition of the NRSV. If you would like to use the old NRSV you can find it online at oremus.