Study Guide

The Twelve Minor Prophets Setting

Setting

The Two Kingdoms, Israel and Judah

North and South Korea. East and West Germany. The United States and the Confederacy. Occasionally in the course of human events one country splits into two, which is exactly what happened to the kingdom of Israel after the reign of King Solomon. The northern ten tribes kept the name, while the southern two tribes—Judah and Benjamin—were known as Judah. This would explain the Hebrew phrase that’s on the family crest of Benjamites, which roughly translated reads, “What am I, chopped liver?”

The twelve prophets cover a span of time from roughly the eighth through fifth centuries BCE, depending on one’s view of their historic accuracy, time of writing and rookie cards from Topps. The Minor Prophets offer their hard-hitting take on several front-page events of the era:

  • the Assyrian invasion of Israel and its capital city, Samaria;
  • the captivity and disappearance of what have become known as the Lost Tribes of Israel;
  • the collapse of the Assyrian empire;
  • the Babylonian capture of Judah and the subsequent Babylonian exile of the Jews;
  • the return to Judah under Persian rule; and
  • the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.

In short, the Minor Prophets are a blend of Israel’s and Judah’s Facebook timeline with commentary by the crankiest talking heads you’ll ever meet.