With this lesson we begin to study a group of writings called the Minor Prophets. Jews divide the Hebrew Bible (what we call “the Old Testament,” but what is probably more accurately called “the First Testament”) into the Law (the first five books of the First Testament, also called the Pentateuch), the Writings (parts of which are also called “Wisdom Literature”; the Writings consist of Psalms, Proverbs, Job, The Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles), and the Prophets (Joshua, Judges Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel—the Major Prophets—and Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zepheniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi—the Minor Prophets) . The terms “Major Prophets” and “Minor Prophets” have nothing to do with the relative importance of the prophets in question. The terms refer only to the size of the scrolls on which the books are written: the major prophets’ scrolls are large; the minor prophets’ scrolls are small.
To this point, the materials we have read have focused on the miracles done by the prophets. Now the focus changes. Both the minor prophets and the major prophets we will study will focus on their message of repentance to Israel. How would you account for that change? Before dealing directly with this week’s reading materials, I will look briefly at five of the Minor Prophets, Jonah, Hosea, Amos, Micah, and Joel. There is little doubt about the historical existence of these prophets, except for Jonah. Many believing scholars do not believe that Jonah was an actual person; many do. However, whether he did is irrelevant to our purposes in Sunday School, so I will ignore it and treat Jonah as if he were an actual person.