“Samuel also inaugurated the judgeship system under the direction and rule of Jehovah.” -Paula Price
While it is true that Samuel set up his sons to be Judges, I can’t help but wonder why she seems to believe that the entire book of Book of Judges took place during Samuel’s ministry. The problem with this, is the chronology of Judges. No matter how it’s hashed, Deborah predates Samuel. In some Jewish tradition, Deborah dies only about a year after Samuel is born; and in archeological tradition she predates his birth by just over a century.
In the first section she seems to assume that God didn’t send any prophets between Joshua and Samuel. But in the next one (The Lord Balances…) she explains how we can see some prophetic words between Judges and the end of 1 Samuel 2. Here’s how she explains it:
“Divine utterances were delivered by whatever prophet was available. The priesthood curtailed the legal exercise of God’s supernatural exploits to the priests’ personal advantage. Their dominance caused the prophetic to fade into the background, eventually becoming nostalgic window dressing on the spiritual landscape.” -Paula Price
“Spontaneous utterances were rare because they were hindered and eventually suffocated. The manipulations of Eli’s sons reflect this.” -Paula Price
“Since no provisions were left by Moses to found and extend his prophetic initiatives into cultural life of the new nation, the priests developed the function as they saw fit.” -Paula Price
There is so much wrong with these statements, I’m not really sure where to begin. I mean, I guess the first question I have to unravel is: How on earth can anyone believe that this god she speaks of is a “great King above all gods” (Psalms 95:3). Certainly we know that humans are gullible by what happened in the Garden, but between all these quotes, she makes it sound like God can’t do anything on His own. Wasn’t there an entire battle in Egypt that was intended to prove God COULD do anything He wants?
Moses wasn’t some Yogi that meditated his way to hear God’s voice. God came to him, made Himself known, and then when Moses tried to get out of it: God told him he had no choice, but Aaron would help since he couldn’t do it on his own. Even if you were to assume that God is not Omni-anything (which does seem to be Paula’s stance at this point), this point is still within the text and clearly within God’s capabilities. So this idea that God had to settle with locating the nearest prophetic spirit to give His message to someone is just ridiculous.
Then there is the implication that Paula understands why the priests were in charge, and the prophets were squelched. In truth, we have nothing that we can rely upon to accurately measure why God didn’t have an abundance of prophecy at this time. Maybe He doesn’t like micromanaging, and believes we are capable of adhering to very basic things? Maybe He didn’t feel like they really needed it, until about Samuel’s time? Maybe the whole point was to surmount a Biblical text of man’s failings so that when the time came for His message to be spread throughout the world, we would have this huge text of why it’s important we have obedience to Him. There are any number of theories we could come up with- and every single one of them would be nothing more than speculation because God didn’t have a “why” written into the text. It just says that’s the way things were.
What seems to be the problem here, is her understanding of what prophecy is. She’s been asserting this whole time that it’s something akin to a combination of your third eye, crown chakra and intuition which you can train up. If this were the truth behind the matter, she might have a leg to stand upon…except that nothing in the text supports (nor does it really debunk) the theory that priest were squelching the prophetic. It seems to me, Paula was looking for a confirmation bias, and she found it in Eli’s kids…and the notion that somehow Moses was suppose to teach the Prophetic order?
So here’s the think about that one. If God intended for Moses to somehow teach prophecy, He would have made it apparent that there as a specific way they should have been taught. It would have either been written into Leviticus or had it’s own book. Although there are two other alleged books that Moses wrote, they seem to have been written in the 18 or 19th Century AD- so clearly not Moses’ work. But no, this did not happen, in fact we can even point out some clear evidence that Moses didn’t even need to!
“Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. So they said, ‘Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?’ And the Lord heard it. (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)
Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, ‘Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!’ So the three came out. Then the Lord came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. Then He said,
‘Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I , the Lord, will make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the Lord . Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?’
So the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and He departed. ‘“
God explicitly tells Moses that HE will be the one in charge of instructing prophets. The only thing that needed to be passed down, was the law which Moses wrote down for all of Israel. The Priests and Judges were intended to help maintain that law. And if they stepped so far out of line God saw a need to deliver a message, He would send a prophet.