Bible is a book inspired by God and written by the human hands. It is an expression of human beings. The problems related to the human reality are dealt in the Bible. In the Old Testament it deals with the life of the Jews whom God has chosen as special race. The 46 books of the Old Testament, authors wrote about the different periods of Israel history. The main story is evolving around the covenant God made with the Israel people. The fidelity and infidelity towards covenant reflected in the books of the Old Testament. In the book of Deuteronomy God makes covenant with the people. Their life in the coming nation will be according to their obedience and disobedience to the law (Deut 28).
After the arrival in the land of Canaan the people forgot about Yahweh. They started to worship other gods. There emerged lot of Charismatic leaders among the people known as judges. These judges also were unable to make clear the path of the people. With the coming of the monarchy in Israel made them as a nation. David an ideal king shown a right way to the people and he led the people in right way. God favored him because of his fidelity towards the covenant and gave him the nation. The Davidic dynasty became so stronger with the arrival of King Solomon the Son of David. During his late stage Solomon became infidelity towards Yahweh and there arose the problems in the nation. The predecessors of King Solomon were gone astray and the punishments fall on the entire country as exile.
Whenever the Israel went astray from the paths of the God, God sent Prophets to his people. Prophets were known as mouth piece of God. There were good prophets and false prophets. This made a great confusion among the people and many times they listed to false prophets. People went to worship the other gods and goddesses. Prophets came with lot of images in front of the people to show their ways. These metaphors helped people to come to know about their situation. Different times the prophets shown various metaphors. The pre – exilic, exilic and post – exilic all the three times are different ways of expressions they used. I am trying to point out some images prophets used in order to show the people about God’s goodness. Even these are anthropomorphic expressions it is having a great meaning beyond what they represent.
IMAGES OF GOD WITHIN THE FAMILIAL RELATIONSHIP
GOD AS A FATHER
The great bond between Israel is mainly shown in the expression of a Father. The father figure is always have more respect than any other relationship. The God who is a creator also have the image of father. “Have you not just now called to me, my father, you are the friend of my youth” (Jer 3:4). “I thought how I would set you among my sons, and give you pleasant land, a heritage most beauteous of all nations, and I thought you would call me My Father, and would not turn from following me” (Jer 3:19). “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord has spoken: “Sons have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me” (Is 1:2). “For you are our father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name” (Is 63:16). “Yet you lord are our Father” (Is 64: 8a). “Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?” (Mal 2: 10). Later in Christian view this Father figure of God receives more acceptances. Jesus introduced in a great way, God as the Father.
GOD AS A MOTHER
The great bond between the mother and a child is a real expression to show the relationship between the Israel and God. Motherly affection is always having greater value to any people. God is caring as a mother cares for her children. That nearness of mother gives certain warmth to everyone’s heart. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Is 49: 15). “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (Is 66: 13).
GOD AS A HUSBAND
The relationship between husband and wife is made in a covenant. The Relationship of Israel and God also build in a covenant. Different prophets show this marital covenant as an expression of Israel’s relationship with God. “For your maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name” (Is 54:5). Hosea expressed this covenantal relationship in a strong way. His relationship with the Gomer is represents God’s covenant with Israel. Prophets shows the love of God towards the Israel even though they betrayed Him. God stood a really committed to his people while they went astray (Cf. Hos 2:4 – 3:5). God is also is represent as lover forsaken by His bride. “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown” (Jer 2:2). God also shown as a lover who never stops loving, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you” (Jer 31: 3).
POLITICAL IMAGES OF GOD.
In the life of Israel God has a position of king. “Set forth your case, says the Lord; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob” (Is 41:21). He always tries to make be friendly with the people. He reconciles with the people even in the midst of their sinful conditions. He remains as an advocate to the people. “Come now let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Is 1: 18). When Israel went so much astray God remained as an enemy in order to bring them back to the real love. “He has bent his bow like an enemy, with his right hand set like a foe; and he has slain all the pried our eyes it the tent of the daughter of Zion: he has poured out his fury like fire” (Lam 2: 4). God also stood as Divine Warrior who fought for the people of Israel. God is fighting for His people (Cf. Is 59: 15 – 20; 63:1-6, 19-64; Zech 9:1-17; 10:1-12; 14:4, Zeph 3: 17).
GOD AS WORKER
God stands as a creator of the whole universe. “He redeems and rescues precisely because he is creator. The word ‘to create’ only with God as subject occurs 17 times in Deutro – Isaiah (40:26, 28; 41:20; 42:5; 43:1, 7, 15; 45:7 (twice), 8, 13, 18 (twice); 48:7; 54:16 (twice)” (The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Vol II). This creation of God is expressed in different ways in the prophetic literature. God as Maker, “In that day men will regard their Maker, and their eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel” (Is 17: 7). God as Potter, “Yet you are our Father, we are the clay, and you are our potter, we are all the work of your hand” (Is 64: 8). God as Metal Worker, “I will turn my hand against you and will smelt away your dross as wit lye and remove all your alloy” (Is 1:24). God as cloth maker, I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I clother you, though you do not know me” (Is 45: 5). God as house cleaner, “And I will makje it a possession of the hedgehog and pools of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction, says the Lord of Hosts” (Is 14: 23).
GOD IS COMPARE TO THE ANIMALS.
In the prophetical literature prophet Hosea uses the images of animals to show the relationship the greatness of Yahweh. God as Lion, “They shall go after the Lord, he will roar like a lion; yes, he will roar, and his sons shall come trembling from the west” (Hos 11: 10). “So I will be to them like a lion” (Hos 13:7a). God as Leopard, “Like a leopard I will lurk beside the way” (Hos 13:7b). God as bear lost her cubs, “I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs. I will tear open their breast, and there I will devour them like a lion, as a wild beast would tear them” (Hos 13: 8).
OTHER IMAGES OF GOD.
There are also other imageries used in the prophetical literature to show the love of God. These expressions give to the people an understanding of the great love of divine nature. I would like to quote some of these images about God. God as singer, “The lord your God is in your midst… he will exult you over you with loud singing” (Zeph 3:17). God as Holy one, “And one called to another and said: Holy, Holy, Holy, is the lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Is 6: 3). God as redeemer, “Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel” (Is 41:14).
Prophets are lived among the people they are prophesied to the people. Their speeches were in human language particularly because they want to convey the message of people to the people. The metaphors used in the prophetical literature are mainly to give an idea to the people about their problems. The biblical imagery which the prophets were used is great theological values. People should be aware of the situation of the society. If they preach is more complicated way people may not be able to grasp those messages. Instead when they speak this allegorical method it will be more comprehensible to the people. The Semitic mentality is very much reflected in this way of presentation. Keep their tradition as precious and uncorrupt they should use these various allegories. These Metaphors helped them to convey their message in a proper way.