Discovering the Hebrew Bible – Prophets

Course Description

A prophecy is a message, delivered by a chosen person – but how do we understand the true meaning of the words? Hebrew is the key to unfolding the idioms and metaphors, to reveal the hidden message.

In this course we discuss the words of various spiritual leaders from the Prophetic Books and look into the complex relationship between God’s will, his people and his spokesmen. Starting with Joshua crossing the Jordan, we continue to Elijah and his prodigy Elisha, who raised a child from the dead. Finally, we discuss Isaiah’s Messianic prophecies, which are also quoted in the New Testament.

When do our courses start?
We have a few starting dates so you can choose the class that best suits your schedule. Our next class starts on Monday, November 30 at 9:00 AM. If you are interested in one of our classes click on the schedule below to start the registration process.

Select your preferred class time
All times are in GMT+-5
9:00am
Mon, Nov 30
Tue, Dec 1
9:00am
30 Nov 2020 - 30 Jul 2021 Starts at 9:00am | GMT+-5 Weekly, Class duration: 60 min Enroll now
6:10pm
01 Dec 2020 - 01 Aug 2021 Starts at 6:10pm | GMT+-5 Weekly, Class duration: 60 min Enroll now

Syllabus Summary

  1. The word of the Lord came to me

    Introduction to the Nevi’im: The Prophetic Books
    Welcome to our new course! We begin by exploring the question of the role of a prophet in ancient Israel. We look at canon of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and which books are classified as “Nevi’im” in the Jewish tradition. We also survey the historical period in which the majority of these books were written: the First Temple Period (1200-586 BCE).

  2. Proceed to cross the Jordan

    Joshua: Part 1
    We begin our survey of the prophetic books at the beginning. Our first textual selection comes from the opening chapters of the Book of Joshua, as the Israelites cross the River Jordan and enter the Land of Israel. We will read selected passages in English, and then analyze them with the assistance of the original Hebrew texts.

  3. Down by a rope through the window

    Joshua: Part 2
    We continue our exploration of the Book of Joshua by reading the enthralling story of Rahab, the Canaanite harlot who offered to hide the two Israelite spies on her Jericho rooftop. In return for Rahab’s kindness, the spies take an oath to spare Rahab’s family when Joshua’s army comes to conquer Jericho.

  4. With torches inside the jars

    Judges: Part 1
    The period of the Judges refers to an interlude of approximately two centuries beginning with the conquest of the Land by Joshua (1200 BCE) and ending with the enthronement of the first king of Israel, Saul (1050 BCE). In this class, we will focus on the first half of the Book of Judges, concentrating on the figure of Gideon who defeated the Midianites using a remarkably minimalistic military tactic.

  5. He will begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines

    Judges: Part 2
    In this class, we examine the captivating figure of Samson, the most tragic of the judges that dominated the Land of Israel prior to the establishment of the monarchy. The stories of Samson provide intriguing insights into the complex relationship between the Israelites and their Philistine neighbors on the Mediterranean coastal plain.

  6. A trustworthy prophet of the Lord

    1 Samuel: Part 1
    We begin our three-part investigation of the First Book of Samuel, by looking at the figure of Samuel. Samuel is the first individual in our course who truly fits the persona of a biblical prophet. We will read excerpts from the story of Samuel and Eli and investigate the reasons for Samuel’s resistance to the establishment of the monarchy.

  7. A handsome young man

    1 Samuel: Part 2
    We continue our survey of the First Book of Samuel by looking at another tragic figure: Saul, the first king of Israel. We will focus on Saul’s complex relationship with David as well as the Bible’s negative assessment of the institution of the monarchy, a theme that will follow through many of the prophetic books in this course.

  8. Rise and anoint him, for this is the one

    1 Samuel: Part 3
    We conclude our three-part survey of the First Book of Samuel by looking at the legendary figure of David. From his humble beginnings as a shepherd in Bethlehem to his magisterial ascent to the throne in Jerusalem, David is doubtless the most towering biblical personage of the First Temple Period. In this class we will look at David’s early years as an outlaw on the run, his friendship with Jonathan, and his escape from the armies of Saul.

  9. Leaping and dancing before the Lord

    2 Samuel: Part 1
    David, unlike his predecessor Saul, was able to unite the twelve tribes of Israel and form a truly United Kingdom of Israel. In this class we will look at David’s capture of the new capital city of Jerusalem and the transferal of the Ark of Covenant to the future site of the Temple.

  10. The sword shall never depart from your house

    2 Samuel: Part 1
    David, unlike his predecessor Saul, was able to unite the twelve tribes of Israel and form a truly United Kingdom of Israel. In this class we will look at David’s capture of the new capital city of Jerusalem and the transferal of the Ark of Covenant to the future site of the Temple.

  11. The sword shall never depart from your house

    2 Samuel: Part 2
    Although David was a talented warrior, a devout poet and a brilliant stateman, he was far from perfect. In this class we will look at the story of David’s adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, which began the downward spiral that eventually resulted in a rebellion by his own son Absalom.

  12. The wisdom of God was in him to execute justice

    1 Kings: Part 1
    In many ways, the rule of David’s son, Solomon was the golden age of Israelite monarchy. During his reign the First Temple was built and the nation’s boundaries were expanded. In this class we will look at passages which deal with the renowned wisdom for which Solomon is so famous.

  13. What share do we have in David?

    1 Kings: Part 2
    Unfortunately, Solomon’s golden ideal of a powerful, internationally recognized United Kingdom was not destined to survive. Popular resentment had been brewing for quite some time and after his death the ten northern tribes formed the Kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam.

  14. Is it you, you troubler of Israel?

    1 Kings: Part 3
    In this class we will examine the 9th century BCE ascetic Elijah the Tishbite, one of the most noteworthy of the biblical prophets. We will read the story of the seventh king of the northern kingdom of Israel, Ahab, who married the Canaanite princess Jezebel. Elijah was highly critical of Ahab’s corruption, his love of luxury and his support for the idolatrous worship of Baal.

  15. Let me inherit a double share of your spirit

    2 Kings: Part 1
    In this class we take a look at the successor of Elijah, his pupil Elisha who was active as a prophet and wonder-worker in the northern kingdom in the 9th century. We will examine a selection of the miraculous events in Elisha’s life, including his raising of child from the dead and the healing of Naaman the leper.

  16. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord

    2 Kings: Part 3
    In this class we look at the historical events which led to the fall of both the northern and southern kingdoms, culminating in the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE. Our focus is the figure of Hezekiah. Although he was the king of Judah and not a prophet, Hezekiah had a rich spiritual life that bears a resemblance to the lifestyle of an Israelite prophet.

  17. I am a man of unclean lips

    Isaiah: Part 1
    The Book of Isaiah is the most quoted, most definitive of the classic prophetic books of the Bible. It is also the longest book of the Bible, spanning 66 chapters. Thus, we will spend three classes exploring this rich text. In this first class we will look at some of Isaiah’s famous prophecies of the impending Assyrian devastation.

  18. To us a child is born

    Isaiah: Part 2
    In addition to being a well-known political commentator in his own day, Isaiah became a highly cherished religious prognosticator in the centuries after his death. This is because of the abundance of prophetic material he devotes to the future Messiah. In this class we will examine the key passages from Isaiah which are quoted in the New Testament.

  19. They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit

    Isaiah: Part 3
    In this class, we will take a closer look at Isaiah’s prophecies of the future restoration of the exiled people of Judah. Many of these passages played a crucial role in shaping the vision of the Zionist pioneers who established the State of Israel in the 20th century.

  20. Now I have put my words in your mouth

    Jeremiah: Part 1
    Over the next two classes, we will investigate a selection of famous prophecies from the Book of Jeremiah. The prophet Jeremiah was active in the final years of the Kingdom of Judah prior to the Babylonian conquest. In this class, we will look at his call by God to become a prophet as well as his fascinating personal biography.

  21. Out of the north disaster shall break out

    Jeremiah: Part 2
    We continue our exploration of Jeremiah by reading some of his famous prophecies of future destruction of Jerusalem. Although Jeremiah is often regarded as a disconsolate “prophet of doom,” we will see that he also had an optimistic vision of the future in which God will rebuild Jerusalem and establish a “new covenant” with his people.

  22. Among the exiles by the River Chebar

    Ezekiel: Part 1
    Over the next two classes, we will explore some of the most famous visions of the prophet Ezekiel, who was among the Judeans exiled to Babylon in the 6th century BCE. In this class we look at the call of Ezekiel and his mystifying vision of God’s glory.

  23. A sentinel for the house of Israel

    Ezekiel: Part 2
    In our second class devoted to Ezekiel, we look at the prophet’s hope for the future restoration of the Judeans to their land. In particular, we will investigate excerpts from Ezekiel’s protracted vision of the new temple.

  24. When Israel was a child, I loved him

    Hosea
    This class is devoted to the prophecies of Hosea, who lived in the northern kingdom in the 8th century. Hosea underwent a major personal crisis when his wife left him and ended up a prostitute. We will look at the interesting way in which Hosea draws on his personal experiences of marital infidelity to describe the people as unfaithful to God.

  25. I will pour out my spirit on all flesh

    Joel & Obadiah
    In this class, we will look at two of the shortest prophetic books together: Joel and Obadiah. Among the most cited prophecies in the Hebrew Bible is Joel’s vision of the “day of the Lord” in which God will pour out his spirit. We will take a closer look at what makes this triumphant passage so famous as well as how it compares to Obadiah’s cautionary vision of the “day of the Lord”.

  26. Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory

    Amos
    In this class, we examine the prophecies of one of the earliest Hebrew prophets, Amos, who lived in the northern kingdom of Israel in the 8th century. Amos is often known as a leading advocate of social justice, who critiqued the immoral prosperity of the upper classes.

  27. Forty days more and Nineveh shall be overthrown

    Jonah & NahumJonah is a unique prophet, in that he was sent by God to proclaim a message to a foreign nation, the Ninevites, not to his own people of Israel. He is reluctant to accept this unusual mission and to his utter dismay, the Ninevites indeed repent. We will explore Jonah’s acceptance of God’s universal revelation which is not reserved for Israel alone, a theme which other Hebrew prophets express as well. We will then turn to Nahum, which offers a gruesome portrait of the destruction of Nineveh by the Babylonians in 612 BCE.

  28. But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah

    Micah
    This class is devoted to the prophecies of Micah, one the early prophets active in the 8th century BCE. Like many of the figures in this course, Micah advocated true worship of God, that is, living an authentically moral life within over the performance of meaningless rituals without. We will take a closer look at some of Micah’s key visions including the future messianic king from Bethlehem and his call for justice.

  29. But the righteous live by their faith

    Habakkuk & Zephaniah
    In this class, we will look at two short prophetic books together: Habakkuk and Zephaniah. Although written at different times, both books deal with the theme of God’s judgment on the people for neglecting the covenant. We will explore the ways in which each prophet deals with this problem differently.

  30. I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy

    Zechariah
    In this we look at the oracles of the prophet Zechariah, who was active during the period of the return of the exiles in the 6th century BCE. Zechariah is known for his vivid visions such as a lampstand that burns continuously and a flying scroll. We will examine these visions and how they serve to underscore the central message of avoiding hypocrisy and sin.

  31. I will fill this house with splendor

    Haggai & Malachi
    In our final class, we again look at two short prophetic books together: Haggai and Malachi. Both prophets were active in the 6th century BCE and dealt primarily with the restoration of the people to the Land and the rebuilding of the Temple. The book of Malachi was chosen to conclude the canon of the Tanakh because of its final words which prophesy the return of the prophet Elijah, leading right into the New Testament appearance of John the Baptist.

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  • Course Duration:32 weeks, 9 months
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A weekly Q&A session in addition to the regular lesson

Have a Question?

  • How does the course work?

    We teach live classes online: a teacher and a small group of students meet once a week through their home computer. We use video conference technology that allows live student-teacher interaction. You can fully participate in the lesson by using the microphone or the chat box.

  • What if I miss a lesson?

    Don’t worry all the live lessons are also recorded and available on demand. You can review them at any time.

  • What qualifications do your teachers have?

    All our teachers have a teaching certificate and are approved by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They are all scholars from leading universities around the world, including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Harvard and Durham University.

  • What is your cancellation policy?

    You may cancel your course up to 7 days after registration and get a full refund, unless your course has already started. To see our cancellation policy, click here.

    In case you have decided to cancel your participation please note that virtual classrooms, like any other classrooms, have limited capacity. Demand for our classes is high and late cancellation prevent other students from obtaining a spot in the upcoming semester.

     

    Students who wish to cancel their participation are entitled to a partial refund as seen below:

    • 100% Refund (0% of course tuition due): Up to 7 days from the date of your registration, unless your course has already started.
    • 75% Refund (25% of course tuition due): Cancellation prior to your 1st scheduled lesson.
    • 25% Refund (75% if course tuition due): Up to 30 days from your 1st scheduled lesson.
    • 0% Refund (100% of course tuition due): After 30 days from the 1st scheduled lesson.

    To read our full cancellation policy, click here.

  • Class time zones – what time do your classes start?

    We teach Sunday to Friday according to your local time zone. You are welcome to check the schedule and assign yourself to a time that’s most suitable to you.

  • Do I need to purchase special equipment for the courses?

    All you need is a working computer with an internet connection and you’re set. We work with Windows and Mac operating systems.

  • Can I pay in installments?

    Yes, you can pay in 9 monthly installments.