“Prophecy is the voice that God has lent to the silent agony, a voice to the plundered poor, to the profaned riches of the world.”
Abraham Heschel wrote these words in The Prophets: An Introduction over half a century ago. I have pondered his words for almost 50 years and have marvelled at their constantly contemporary ring.
The “plundered poor” of the late sixth century BCE are named in Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11 as the poor or oppressed, the broken-hearted, the captives, the prisoners and the mourners in the human community.
This passage belongs at the heart of the third and final section of the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 56-66), generally designated Third or Trito-Isaiah and my reflection addresses the text in the context of the Hebrew Bible rather than in relation to its appropriation in the Christian Scriptures…
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*Veronica Lawson RSM is an eco-feminist biblical scholar and author of The Blessing of Mercy: Bible Perspectives and Ecological Challenges, 2016.
Painting: Kāpiti Essence by Sonia Savage © Used with permission. www.soniasavageart.com (obtained from Tui Motu).