Chapter 2 “Royal Consciousness: Countering the Counter-Culture” pp. 21-37
In chapter 2, Brueggemann compares prophetic activity in the time of Moses to that of the time of Solomon. In Moses’ work, the power of Egypt was undercut and God’s people established a free nation which lasted hundreds of years. By the time of Solomon conditions and societal vision had changed substantially. Under Solomon there existed a governmental power which was increasing in influence and centralizing its power. The royal harem allowed for strong political marriages. Taxes were collected, shifting the economy from the individual and community to the state. The bureaucracy was nearly immune to criticism as it had grown large and distant. A standing army was able to quell rebellion. Rationalistic teaching served to repackage and explain reality. Conscripted labor could dominate village life. As the government centralized its power it also domesticated the messages of God, robbing prophecy of its power. The government-created affluence, oppressive social policy, and servile religion allowed for a worldview which had no place for forceful prophecy. Eventually, without the prophetic voice, the kingdom divided and collapsed. This message strikes me as being prophetic in itself. Much of history has shown this as a pattern. I must ask if my world is headed that direction.