Verses criticizing Jews in the Old Testament
Some verses in the Tanakh
(Hebrew Bible, Old Testament
), especially in the prophets, contain criticisms by Jewish leaders or prophets about the behaviour of the Jews. Examples include Isaiah 1:4-5:
- Woe to you sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a wicked seed, ungracious children; they have forsaken the Lord; they have blasphemed the Holy One of Israel, they have gone away backwards. For what shall I smite you more, you that increase transgression.
Such verses express a dramatic account of the relationship between God and Jews; they also clearly express the Jewish prophets' criticisms of either political leaders, or some of their followers for not following their own traditions. In both cases, Jews believe that such statements are a call from the prophets to chastise those people who have assimilated out of Judaism by taking on the pagan faith of their neighbors. Rabbinic Judaism
as it is known today did not exist at this time; the Jews of that time were Hebrew
-speaking monotheists who were the direct progenitors of rabbinic Judaism
Others read these texts in a historical context, and use them as proof that Jews are an unworthy and inherently sinful people race. Many Church fathers used these texts to justify discrimination against Jews, and to discourage Christians from incorporating then-contemporary Jewish beliefs and practices into their own Christian practices.