Augustine/The City of God/Book XVIII/Chapter 27
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Chapter 27: Of the Times of the Prophets Whose Oracles are Contained in Books and Who Sang Many Things About the Call of the Gentiles at the Time When the Roman Kingdom Began and the Assyrian Came to an End.
In order that we may be able to consider these times, let us go back a little to earlier times. At the beginning of the book of the prophet Hosea, who is placed first of twelve, it is written, “The word of the Lord which came to Hosea in the days of Uzziah, Jothan, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.” Amos also writes that he prophesied in the days of Uzziah, and adds the name of Jeroboam king of Israel, who lived at the same time. Isaiah the son of Amos—either the above-named prophet, or, as is rather affirmed, another who was not a prophet, but was called by the same name—also puts at the head of his book these four kings named by Hosea, saying by way of preface that he prophesied in their days. Micah also names the same times as those of his prophecy, after the days of Uzziah; for he names the same three kings as Hosea named,—Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. We find from their own writings that these men prophesied contemporaneously. To these are added Jonah in the reign of Uzziah, and Joel in that of Jotham, who succeeded Uzziah. But we can find the date of these two prophets in the chronicles, not in their own writings, for they say nothing about it themselves. Now these days extend from Procas king of the Latins, or his predecessor Aventinus, down to Romulus king of the Romans, or even to the beginning of the reign of his successor Numa Pompilius. Hezekiah king of Judah certainly reigned till then. So that thus these fountains of prophecy, as I may call them, burst forth at once during those times when the Assyrian kingdom failed and the Roman began; so that, just as in the first period of the Assyrian kingdom Abraham arose, to whom the most distinct promises were made that all nations should be blessed in his seed, so at the beginning of the western Babylon, in the time of whose government Christ was to come in whom these promises were to be fulfilled, the oracles of the prophets were given not only in spoken but in written words, for a testimony that so great a thing should come to pass. For although the people of Israel hardly ever lacked prophets from the time when they began to have kings, these were only for their own use, not for that of the nations. But when the more manifestly prophetic Scripture began to be formed, which was to benefit the nations too, it was fitting that it should begin when this city was founded which was to rule the nations.
- ↑ Hos. i. 1.
- ↑ Amos i. 1.
- ↑ Isa. i. 1. Isaiah’s father was Amoz, a different name.
- ↑ Mic. i. 1.
- ↑ The chronicles of Eusebius and Jerome.