Prophets, Kings, and Vulnerability


Old Testament/Hebrew Bible

How to Cite

van Rooy, H. (2023). Prophets, Kings, and Vulnerability. Old Testament Essays, 36(1), 41–65. Retrieved from


Can the Bible, specifically, the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, contribute to cultural and socio-political issues prevalent in South Africa today? The struggle today can be linked to the inability of the government to respond to issues such as poverty, unemployment and the provision of basic services, such as water, sanitation and electricity. Can churches make such a contribution, not only by criticising but also by being a part of the solutions to these issues? In seeking answers to the questions posed above, can we learn anything from the tensions between prophets and kings in the time of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible that can be applied to the current situation in South Africa? How, in other words, did they navigate some of their cultural and socio-political differences, and what can we learn or gain from their wisdom and practices? This contribution investigates important passages in Deuteronomy and the interaction between kings and prophets in the different periods in the history of Israel—in the former and latter prophets. It is not the role of churches to engage in politics. They should, however, remain true to their faith and live and preach as a witness in and to society. The safeguarding of the rights of the people, social justice or the lack thereof must be an important part of this witness.




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