The prophets of the Old Testament use a wide variety of metaphors to describe God. Some of these metaphors are familiar and soothing; others are unfamiliar and confusing. Still others portray God in ways that are difficult and uncomfortable: God as abusive husband or as neglectful father, for instance. Julia O’Brien searches the Prophetic Books for these metaphors, looking for ways that these images intersect and build off one another. When confronted with disturbing metaphors, she deals with them unflinchingly, providing a sharp critique and evaluation of their predominant interpretations. Attending to the possible uses of these metaphors in the church (for good or ill), O’Brien points us toward new ways to read these theological metaphors for a just faith today.
An indispensable resource for theological reflection on the Prophets! O’Brien knows that we cannot read responsibly unless we wrestle with the social ideologies underlying biblical metaphors. Here she offers lucid exegesis, candid observations about interpretive method, and lively cultural criticism, along with stories from her life as a teacher and parent. Compelling and accessible, this book is essential reading for preachers, seminary students, and anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the Prophets. -Carolyn J. Sharp, Associate Professor of Hebrew Scriptures, Yale Divinity School