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    Stone the crows – Shof’tim

    The haftarot at this time of year quote extensively from Jeremiah and Isaiah. The people who heard the prophets did not always like the words that were spoken to them. Often they wanted to stone the messenger.

    The New Testament thought that this was because there was something wrong with the nature of the people of Israel and it castigated Jerusalem for being “you that kill the prophets” (Matt. 24:37).

    The Sermon on the Mount says, “Blessed are you when people persecute you, for thus did they persecute the prophets who preceded you” (Matt. 5:11-12).

    Actually the accusation that Israel had an inherent hatred of prophets and deserved to be punished is a malicious slur.

    There is no specific anti-prophetic trait amongst Jews. There is a human tendency amongst all peoples to want to be flattered like Queen Jezebel, whose mercenaries told her only what she wanted to hear.

    People do not enjoy being told the truth, especially if it is their favourite bad habits that are being targeted.

    The true prophet could speak only what God wanted him to say. The best response is the humble “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (I Sam. 3:9).

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