Money, it’s a crime—or at least it was for the Minor Prophets, who accused the rich and powerful of exploiting the poor for their own gain.
In the Torah, God established a few basic legal principles. Care for the poor. Don’t oppress immigrants. Respect others’ property. Don’t wear clothes made out of mixed fibers. By the time of the Minor Prophets, the folks up top were building real estate empires and kicking the less fortunate out of the homes. Even worse, they did all this while wearing cotton-polyester suits.
To say the least, this got the Minor Prophets riled up. Amos leads the pack with an epic riff on how the Israelites with mo’ money were actually causing mo’ problems, but he is far from alone. By the time Malachi wraps everything up, the Occupy Prophecy movement has set itself firmly on the side of disadvantaged against those in a position of privilege, from unscrupulous businessmen to politicians and even the priests.
How the mighty have fallen: back in Leviticus, the priests were the good guys, schooling the people on how they had responsibility for the poor and others without land. Now, however, the Minor Prophets (for the most part) view the priests as part of the corrupt system, man, and speak of power to the people, right on.
Questions About Wealth and Power
- Do the Minor Prophets believe in democracy?
- What would the Minor Prophets say about the United States?
- In the Minor Prophets, can a rich person ever be righteous?
- Does being poor automatically make a person good?
- From Grandmaster Flash and Public Enemy to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, are socially conscious rappers modern-day Minor Prophets?