A fully evolved religious structure having been decreed by the Mosaic covenant, it was inevitable that the Israelites, or at least some significant portion of them, would stray from fulfilling the obligations of the covenant. As such, Allah periodically sent prophets, i.e., those authorized to speak for Allah, to call the wayward and backsliding Israelites back to the true fulfillment of the Mosaic covenant. From the contemporary Judeo-Christian perspective, these prophets are seen as admonishing the Israelites to return to Judaism.
Despite the clarion call of these prophets, a sizable portion of the Israelites failed to listen, especially among those in the ruling class. As such, the Davidic and Solomonic Kingdom of Israel was fragmented into a northern Kingdom of Israel and a southern Kingdom of Judah around 930 BCE. From this point on, prophets were variously sent to both kingdoms. However, again, many failed to heed the message of warning, which was delivered by these prophets. As further punishment, Allah ordained the destruction of the northern Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrian Empire around 722 BCE. The Israelites of the northern Kingdom of Israel, comprising 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel, were carried away into captivity, and failed ever to re-emerge on the pages of history as an identifiable people, thus giving rise to the 10 lost tribes of Israel.
The southern Kingdom of Judah, being primarily comprised of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, continued in a rocky existence for about 150 years more. Prophets continued to be sent to these people, but true adherence to Judaism, as specified in the Mosaic covenant, was lacking. Thus, Allah allowed the fall of the southern Kingdom of Judah to the Babylonian Empire around 586 BCE. The Solomonic Temple (see below under "The Temple Cult") was destroyed, many of the Jews were carted off into exile in Babylon, and the period of exile had begun.
In understanding the role of the prophets from the Judeo-Christian perspective, it cannot be emphasized enough that these prophets were perceived as simply calling the people back to Judaism. They did not bring any real revision to the Mosaic covenant, although they may have offered some interpretation of it. However, even this "new" interpretation should be seen as simply correcting a prior, erroneous interpretation, which had arisen among the people. As such, although these prophets were seen as speaking for Allah, they did not bring any new revelation or any real modification of the Mosaic covenant. In that regard, revelation can be seen within the Judeo-Christian perspective as having been static since the time of Moses. Further, it must be emphasized that the Judeo-Christian perspective frequently portrays these prophets as having spiritual feet of clay, i.e., of being as prone to sin, temptation, and degradation as those to whom they preached.
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