Summary of “City of God” Pt. 17 – Part 4, Book 17

This is a short post, but Augustine draws to a close his examination of biblical history. Part Four of his book is not quite done yet though. This book ends his his tracing of the City of God, but he still has the City of Man to look at, which he will do in the next book.

“City of God” Part Four – “The Development of the Two Cities,” Book Seventeen “From the Age of the Prophets to Christ’s Birth”

[Note: My copy of “City of God” is not a complete one. The publishers and translators, in order to keep the size of the book down and keep the content more focused, edited out certain chapters where Augustine would go on one of his legendary excursus. They offered a brief summary of the chapters that were taken out. For completion’s sake I will go ahead and just quote the the summaries in their whole in italics and note when I am doing so.]

Chapter 1: The chief of prophets in the period of the kings was Samuel. It was through his ministry that the line kings began. The city of God was headed up first by King Saul, but was later passed on to King David. From there the kingly line was passed down through the lineage of King David.

Chapter 2: The Abrahamic covenant is brought up, and how it related to setting the stage for David.

Chapter 3: The prophecies of the prophets can be divided into three categories: earthly, heavenly Jerusalem, referring to both simultaneously.

Chapters 4-13: [Editor’s Summary] Recounting the history of the Jewish kings, Augustine dwells in particular on the importance of David and Solomon. The promises made to David were fulfilled in Christ.

Chapter 14: David himself at times fulfilled the role of prophet while composing his psalms, some of which contain prophecy.

Chapter 15: Augustine will not be dealing with all of the prophecies in Psalms, since it would take too much time and space.

Chapter 16: A few hermenuetical remarks are made about the psalms. Augustine believes that there are both literal meanings and spiritual meanings to them.

Chapters 17-22: [Editor’s Summary] Further examples are given from the Psalms of foreshadowings of events in Christ’s life. The later history of the kings of Judah finds idolatry developing among the Jewish people.

Chapter 23: A note is made on the spiritual condition of the two kingdoms. Israel was wicked through its whole existence, while Judah had a few good kings.

Chapter 24: After Judah returned from the exile they were ministered to by four main prophets. After that prophets were not found until the time of Christ. The last of this handful of prophets is John the Baptist.

Next time: “The City of Man in Ancient History”

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