I post here an interesting snippet from my recent reading where I learn at least one way God spoke and revealed messages to the prophets of old, or at least those who wrote in the names of prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah. When they wrote they could declare that their revelation was the word of God as God himself spoke to them, or even as God himself speaking. Yet scratch the surface and we find that what the author has done has in fact studied Scripture, thought about it, and reapplied it to his own or a future day, and then presented it as a new direct revelation from God.
In fact, not all of the prophetic revelation was derived from an oracular source. Not only did the prophets interpret their own encounter with the divine, they also demonstrate a mark of “inspired” reflection on the traditions they had received. C. Buchanan has demonstrated that even some oracles described as “visions” or the “coming of the word” are in fact the result of an “inspired” midrashic examination of earlier traditions. (Meade, David G. 1986. Pseudonymity and Canon: An Investigation into the Relationship of Authorship and Authority in Jewish and Earliest Christian Tradition. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids.)
Sadly I don’t have access to Buchanan’s article but fortunately David Meade tells us what passages Buchanan cites as evidence:
He cites 2 Isaiah’s midrash on Exodus 15:1-16 (cf. Isa 42:10-13; 43:14-17; 51:9-10) and Jeremiah’s midrash on Deut 28:26 (cf. Jer 7:32-33), Deut 28:64 (cf. Jer 9: 16), Deut 27:26; 4:20; 7:12 (cf. Jer 11.3-5), Deut 30:15 (cf. Jer 21:8), and Deut 4:9 (cf. Jer 29:13-14).
I set out those passages below to make it easier to see how this process of revelation works:
|Exodus 15:1-16||Isaiah 42:10-13; 43:14-17; 51:9-10|
|1 Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying:
“I will sing to the Lord,
2 The Lord is my strength and song,
3 The Lord is a man of war;
4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;
5 The depths have covered them;
6 “Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power;
7 And in the greatness of Your excellence
8 And with the blast of Your nostrils
9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue,
10 You blew with Your wind,
11 “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods?
12 You stretched out Your right hand;
13 You in Your mercy have led forth
14 “The people will hear and be afraid;
15 Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed;
16 Fear and dread will fall on them;
|42:10 Sing to the Lord a new song,And His praise from the ends of the earth,You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
You coastlands and you inhabitants of them!
The villages that Kedar inhabits.
Let the inhabitants of Sela sing,
Let them shout from the top of the mountains.
And declare His praise in the coastlands.
He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war.
He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud;
He shall prevail against His enemies.
43:14 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
16 Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea
17 Who brings forth the chariot and horse,
51:9 Awake, awake, put on strength,
10 Are You not the One who dried up the sea,
|Deut 28:26||Jer 7:32-33|
|26 Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away.||32 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when it will no more be called Tophet, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; for they will bury in Tophet until there is no room. 33 The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth. And no one will frighten them away.|
|Deut 28:64||Jer 9: 16|
|64 Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known—wood and stone.||16 I will scatter them also among the Gentiles, whom neither they nor their fathers have known. And I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them.|
|Deut 27:26; 4:20; 7:12||Jer 11.3-5|
|26 ‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law by observing them.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’20 But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day. 12 “Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers.
|3 and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “Cursed is the man who does not obey the words of this covenant 4 which I commanded your fathers in the day I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and do according to all that I command you; so shall you be My people, and I will be your God,’ 5 that I may establish the oath which I have sworn to your fathers, to give them ‘a land flowing with milk and honey,’ as it is this day.”’”
And I answered and said, “So be it, Lord.”
|Deut 30:15||Jer 21:8|
|15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil,||8 “Now you shall say to this people, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.|
|Deut 4:29||Jer 29:13-14|
|29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.||13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.|