OT3—Study Paper

2007

Brendan Moar

The Day of the Lord in Post Exilic Prophecy
1. Where do the post-exilic prophets get the idea of 'The Day of the Lord' from?
The 'Day of the Lord' comes from 8th Century prophets. They predicted a time when YHWH would fight against his own people. He would overthrow enemies outside and within Israel alike. Amos 5:18-20 is the first occurrence of the motif in the Bible. There seems to be a positive pre-existent concept behind the term; the people long for the day as a day of light. In the Old Testament, light has positive connotations such as prosperity [Esther 8:16; Isaiah 45:7] and salvation [Isaiah 58:8; Ps 43:3].

1.1. Two Views on the background to Amos' DOTL
Von Rad: YHWH the warrior/fighter is a central idea to the motif. Goes back to YHWH fighting for Israel against Egypt (Ex 15:3) and the other nations in Judges (5:4-5). Mowinkel: Enthronement festival. Thinks Israel borrowed the Canaanite 'enthronement festival' where every year Baal (the warrior god) is paraded through the streets and proclaimed to be King. Israel replaced Baal with YHWH, and called the festival 'The Day of the Lord'. The prophets took this idea and projected it into the future. Two problems with The Mo 1) The enthronement idea is based ob Babylonian parallels and the evidence is tenuous and unconvincing. 2) YHWH is pictured as a warrior in Ex 15, which is very widely accepted to be of early authorship.

1.2. What can we say about the DOTL if the background is uncertain?
Even though we can't pin down the origins, it's not that important in the end. The prophets took and shaped an existing idea and made it their own. It's their presentation that's important. The big thing is: YHWH will fight Israel. The prophets took the existing idea of the warrior YHWH fighting for Israel, and inverted it; he will fight against Israel. E.g. Amos 5: 18 says the day is darkness not light.

Day of the Lord and Post Exilic Prophecy

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OT3—Study Paper

2007

Brendan Moar

2. Day of the Lord in Haggai
The day of the LORD is imminent (2:6; 2:21). It will be a glorious day for Israel. The effect on the nations will be that it will utterly convince those who survive that Yahweh alone is God, and in recognition of this they will come to Jerusalem to worship him, bringing rich gifts with them (2:7). Paul Williamson

2.1. Haggai 2:20-23
Haggai looks forward to a positive DOTL. The negative element of the 8th Century is absent. It will be a day of deliverance when YHWH will establish his universal rule. KEY ELEMENTS: Earthquake v21 Compare with Exodus and the earthquake associated with the presence of God [Ex 19:18]. Only here, the whole cosmos shakes, not just the mountain. Overthrow v22 The term is a technical one: Judgment. It comes from the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19:25. Chariots, horsemen and riders v22 Alludes to the Exodus and the waters of the Red Sea that closed over the following Egyptian army. Moses' song in Ex 15:1-4 proclaimed this deliverance as coming from YHWH, the mighty warrior. Israel's enemies will be destroyed on the DOTL as they were in the waters of the Red Sea. Panic and confusion v22 Panic and confusion is a common motif in the Holy War traditions. It is a sign of YHWH going into battle before his chosen people. See Josh 2:22 and Judg 7:22. messiah to come.

3. Day of the Lord in Zechariah
Zechariah is more ambivalent about what the day of the LORD will bring. In chs 1–8 he says very little about it, but what he does say seems to be in line with the positive view of Haggai (see 2:6-12; 8:20-23).1 But in chs 9–14 new elements appear which are more in line with the teaching of the eighth century prophets. Paul Williamson Zechariah is not big on the DOTL, but it is there. He is mostly in line with Haggai's presentation, but does develop it further in ch 9-14.

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See also Zech 3:9-10.

Day of the Lord and Post Exilic Prophecy

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OT3—Study Paper

2007

Brendan Moar

3.1. Haggai 9-14: DOTL
Positive 9:16 12:1-9 14:3, 12-15 14:16-19 Negative 12:10-13:2 13:2-9 YHWH will defend Zion and save his people YHWH will overthrow Israel's enemies The nations are judged Nations come and worship YHWH in Jerusalem

Bitter mourning for Israel Israel experiences purifying judgment

Why the negative? Ch 9-11 show that Israel will reject the true messiah when he comes. Also, Zechariah was active over a longer period than Haggai. The idea that Israel would reject her Shepherd King was already obvious to him.

4. Day of the Lord in Malachi
As a prophet who lived later than both Haggai and Zechariah, he gives us a reflection on the community 60 yrs after the building of the Temple. He reflects the terrible Day of Judgment predicted by the earlier prophets:
Malachi 3:2
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But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears?

The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and Joel 2:11 mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?

He does hold out positive hope for those who are repentant: -ve
Malachi 4:1-3 "Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them. +ve 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. 3 And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things," says the LORD Almighty.

The hope of repentance is firmly grounded in the work of YHWH himself:
Malachi 4:4-6 "Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him 5 at Horeb for all Israel. "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the day of the LORD comes. hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."
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Day of the Lord and Post Exilic Prophecy

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