Prophetic intercessory prayer was vividly described some years ago by Yochanan Muffs in an essay that collected and interrelated the wrestlings with God that characterize prophetic prayer from Moses through Samuel to Jeremiah. Earlier, Sheldon Blank studied "the Promethean element in biblical prayer," an allusion to the independent, even defiant stance taken by certain biblical pray-ers.1 To modern Western man, this sort of prayer best corresponds to his ideal image of himself: autonomous, self-assertive, courageous, ready to stand on a principle even against God. However, it would be a mistake to forget the special status of such intercessors within their faithcommunities and infer from their conduct a model for the common man. They are "men of God," persons standing in a particularly intimate relation to God as a result of election or prolonged devotion to him. Of Honi the circle-maker -- a later representative of this class -- it was censoriously said that he was like a child who cajoles his father. Any other man presuming to act that way, the same censor concluded, would deserve excommunication.2
We have only to recall Moses' exploitation of his special status with God in his great intercession after the episode of the golden calf: "You have said, 'I have singled you out by name, and you have, indeed, gained my favor:' Now, if I have truly gained your favor, pray let me know your ways..." ( Exod. 33:12f.); and again, "If I have gained your favor, O LORD, pray let the LORD go in our midst..." (34:9). These heroes of faith have achieved a standing with God that ordinary mortals do not enjoy. They bank on their closeness to God and their con
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Publication information: Book title: Studies in the Bible and Jewish Thought. Contributors: Moshe Greenberg - Author. Publisher: Jewish Publication Society. Place of publication: Philadelphia. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 75.
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