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Nevi'im is traditionally divided into two parts:
- First Prophets or Nevi'im Rishonim [נביאים ראשונים] which contains the narrative books of Joshua through Kings.
- Latter Prophets or Nevi'im Aharonim [נביאים אחרונים], containing prophecies mostly in the form of biblical poetry.
In the Jewish tradition, Samuel and Kings are counted as one book each. In addition, twelve relatively short prophetic books are counted as one; this collection of small books is called Trei Asar or "The Twelve Minor Prophets." ("Minor Prophets" refers to the length of the books, not their importance.) The Jewish tradition thus counts a total of eight books in Nevi'im (out of a total of 24 books in the entire Tanakh):
- I. Joshua or Yehoshua [יהושע]
- II. Judges or Shoftim [שופטים]
- III. Samuel or Shmu'el [שמואל]
- IV. Kings or Melakhim [מלכים]
- V. Isaiah or Yeshayahu [ישעיהו]
- VI. Jeremiah or Yirmiyahu [ירמיהו]
- VII. Ezekiel or Yehezq'el [יחזקאל]
- VIII. Trei Asar (The Twelve Minor Prophets) תרי עשר
- 1. Hosea or Hoshea [הושע]
- 2. Joel or Yo'el [יואל]
- 3. Amos [עמוס]
- 4. Obadiah or Ovadyah [עבדיה]
- 5. Jonah or Yonah [יונה]
- 6. Micah or Mikhah [מיכה]
- 7. Nahum or Nachum [נחום]
- 8. Habakkuk or Habaquq [חבקוק]
- 9. Zephaniah or Tsefania [צפניה]
- 10. Haggai or Haggai [חגי]
- 11. Zechariah Zekharia [זכריה]
- 12. Malachi or Malakhi [מלאכי]
Liturgical Use: The Haftarah
The Haftarah is a text selected from the books of Nevi'im which is read publicly in the synagogue after the reading of the Torah on each Sabbath, as well as on Jewish festivals and fast days. See the main article on Haftarah.
Certain cantillation marks do not appear in any Haftarah, and most communities do not have a tradition what tune to use for those marks. J.L. Neeman (The Tunes of the Bible - Musical Principles of the Biblical Accentuation, Tel Aviv, 1955 [Hebrew]) suggested that "those who recite Nevi'im privately with the cantillation melody may read the words accented by those rare notes by using a "metaphor" based on the melody of those notes in the five books of the Torah, while adhering to the musical scale of the melody for Nevi'im." Neeman includes a reconstuction of the musical scale for the lost melodies of the rare cantillation notes (vol. 1, pp. 136, 188-189).
The Targum to Nevi'im
According to the Talmud, the Targum on Nevi'im was composed by Jonathan ben Uziel. Like Targum Onkelos on the Torah, this is an eastern (Babylonian) Targum with early origins in the west (Land of Israel).
Like the Targum to the Torah, Targum Jonathan to Nevi'im served a formal liturgical purpose: it was read alternately, verse by verse, in the public reading of the Haftarah and in the study of Nevi'im.
Yemenite Jews continue the above tradition to this day, and have thus preserved a living tradition of the Babylonian vocalization for the Targum to Nevi'im.
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