Monday, November 20, 2006

All Nations Under God--Explained

I've received a number of emails and a few comments on my previous post in which I cited Peter Leithart. What was the context for that citation?

My reason for posting Leithart's comment was to underscore the true novelty of the Davidic covenant--that is, its international scope.

After God declares his oath to David in 2 Samuel 7, David exclaims, “thou hast shown me a law for humanity” (2 Sam 7:19). The international character of the “law” associated with the Davidic covenant established at Mt. Zion clearly distinguishes it from the nationalistic pre-occupation of the Torah and the covenant made with Israel through Moses at Sinai.[1] Under Moses Israel was to be separated from the nations—isolation was especially encouraged by the purity laws. However, the Davidic Empire under the reigns of David and Solomon included the surrounding nations (2 Sam 8:11-12; 10:19; 12:30; 1 Kgs 4:20-21; 10:15). Moreover, the foreign Queen of Sheba came to hear Solomon’s wisdom and praised the God of Israel (1 Kgs 10:1-13).

[1] R. P. Gordon, 1-2 Samuel (Sheffield: JSOT, 1984), 77; Paul Stuhlmacher, Reconciliation, Law, & Righteousness: Essays on Biblical Thoelogy (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986), 115. Hartmut Gese, Essays on Biblical Theology (trans., Keith Crim; Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1981), 26, 60-92.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the elaboration on your reasons for posting this quotation last week, it certainly helped to put it in a better and more focused context. However, as "revolutionary" as this change in mentality/spirituality was for the Jewish people at that time, I don't think that it is an example of God's changeability (which would be contradictory to our faith as Christians to suggest), so much as it is evidence of the evolution of the Jewish people's understanding of God's plan, not just for them but for all of the world. I have heard it suggested in the past that one can look at God’s interaction with the Jewish people of the old testament and then in the New Testament as analogous to how one would interact with a small baby, laying down just the dos and don’ts initially as a disciplinarian, then as the child grows and develops in understanding and obedience, taking the time to expound upon and elaborate about what their roles are in life and their relationships to others (e.g. the difference between not talking to a stranger in a car trying to lure the child into danger vs. talking to a “stranger” who is in fact a nurse at a doctor’s office asking relevant questions). So in other words, what I am trying to say is that I think that it wasn’t that God was somehow changing his mind about the Gentiles but that it was instead the awakening of understanding on the part of David as to what the Jews’ relationship with the Gentiles should be.

Anonymous said...

Another Grey Pilgrim,

You need to read Michael's series of posts on Divine Pedagogy--I don't think he disagrees with you:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anonymous, I will look into it. I appreciate the link, God love you.