Page 172 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Desp ite th e wide po p u la r i ty which J e r em ia h ’s d i rg e h a d e n ­
joy ed d u r in g his lifetim e , it was fo rg o t ten o r was lost an d d id
no t com e down to us.
PROPHETS WHOSE BOOKS DID NOT SURVIVE
Amos was th e first lite ra ry p ro p h e t . Isaiah , Micah an d H osea
— Amos’ co n tem p o ra r ie s — also re c o rd e d th e i r wo rds , e i th e r
them selves o r with th e h e lp o f disciples. I t a p p e a rs th a t this
system was estab lished b eg in n in g with th a t g en e ra t io n .
Still, if we review th e list o f p ro p h e ts from th e days o f Amos
to th e en d o f th e p e r io d o f p roph e cy we f ind th a t we lack the
words o f m any p ro p h e ts . O u r Sages a lready n o ted this fact an d
exp la in ed it as follows: “Only the p roph e cy th a t was re q u i re d
fo r fu tu r e g en e ra t io n s was w ritten down , a n d th a t which was
no t re q u i re d fo r fu tu r e g en e ra t io n s was no t w r i t ten .”4 How ever,
when we exam ine som e o f th e p roph ec ie s th a t have com e down
to us, such as those d e a ling with ido la try , we w o n d e r why they
have been p re se rv ed . Fo r it is well known th a t ido la try ceased
am ong the Jew s in the p e r io d o f th e R es to ra tion to Zion. T h e
fact th a t they w ere k ep t in th e canon leads us to believe th a t
the c r ite r ion which th e Sages invoked d id no t app ly in all cases.
Most likely various books w ere lost fo r reason s unknow n .
Let us exam ine th e trad ition s o f th e Sages r e g a rd in g th e
p rop h e ts :
“Eight prophets who were also priests were descended from
Rahab the harlot, namely Neriah, Baruch, Serayah, Mahseya,
Jeremiah, Hilkiah, Hanamel and Shallum. Rabbi Judah says:
Hulda the prophetess was also one o f the descendants o f Rahab
the harlot.”
(Megillah
14b)
“Baruch son o f Neriah and Serayah the son o f Mahseyah and
Daniel and Mordecai, Bilshan, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi
all prophesied in the second year o f Darius.”
(Megillah
15a)
T o this list we may ad d U r iah son o f S hem a iah from K iriath-
je a r im , who is known to us from J e r . 26 :20 an d from the
Lachish le tters . We thu s have a list o f f if teen p ro p h e ts who
lived d u r in g th e p e r io d o f lite ra ry p roph ecy . Yet we have only
the words o f fo u r o f them . T h e wo rds o f U r iah son o f S hem a iah
4. Megillah
14a.