Archive for October, 2011

Double Chiasm in Deuteronomy 5:22-27

In Deuteronomy 5:22-27 there is a neat double chiasm:

A: These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly at the mountain
B: out of the midst of fire, the cloud,
C: and the thick darkness,
D: with a loud voice; and he added no more.
A’/E: And he wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.
D’: And as soon as you heard the voice
C’: out of the midst of the darkness,
B’: while the mountain was burning with fire,
A”: you came near to me all the heads of your tribes, and your elders.

A: And you said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness,
B: and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire.
C: This day we have seen the God speak with man, and man still live. Now therefore should we die?
A’/D:For this fire will consume us.
C’: If we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, we shall die.
B’: For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speakingout of the midst of fire as we have, and has still lived?
A”: Go near and hear all that the LORD our God will say and speak to us all that the LORD our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.

The first A/A’/A” is more simple than the second:
A: These words (the Ten Commandments) God spoke to all the assembly
A’/E: God wrote the Ten Commandments on two tablets of stone and gave them to Moses.
A”: The assembly (with all the heads of their tribes and elders) went to Moses.

In case the second A/A’/A” connection eludes you (as it puzzled me initially):
A: God has shown us glory and greatness
A’/D: This sort of God/fire will consume us (God is a consuming fire!)
A”: Therefore, Moses, please be the mediator between this fire and us. (Moses has experience with the burning bush, a type of Sinai/Horeb, and later, sees God’s glory!)

So what is the point of pointing this out? The Ten Commandments, written in stone, are going to prove to be the means God uses to consume Israel as a burnt offering. For God is a jealous God and a consuming fire (Deut 4:24). A study of the Biblical theology of fire would be a helpful thing, if anyone has any suggestions… There is so much to say about fire with just a cursory overview that I hope it has been comprehensively dealt with already…

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Ephraim and the Gentiles in Genesis, Hosea and Romans

Genesis 48:15-20

And [Israel] blessed Joseph and said,

“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day,
the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys;
and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

When Joseph saw that his father had laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him, and he took his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. And Joseph said to his father, “Not this way, my father; since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.” But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude (Hb/Sept: fullness) of nations (Gentiles).” So he blessed them that day, saying,

“By you Israel will pronounce blessings, saying,
‘God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh.'”

Thus he made Ephraim before Manasseh.

Hosea 1:8-11, 3:5

8 When [Gomer] had weaned Lo-Ruhama (No Mercy), she conceived  and bore a son. 9 And Yahweh said, “Call his name Lo-Ammi (Not My People), for you (Northern Kingdom of Israel) are not my people, and I am not your God. 10 “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” 11 And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel… the children of Israel shall return and seek Yahweh their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to Yahweh and to his goodness in the latter days.

Romans 9:22-26

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—24even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.'”
26“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.'”

In Genesis, Ephraim is the younger upstart son of Joseph. He is blessed by Jacob with becoming a full-fledged tribe in himself. Basically “Joseph” becomes two tribes. Of course, as is the fitting end to the Patriarch’s narrative, the younger/later son usurps the older. (Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Joseph over brothers etc…) The blessing includes the bearing of Jacob’s name, “Israel”. This fits well with Hosea as Ephraim is used as a sort of covenant head of the ten rebellious Northern Tribes of Israel, aptly named “Israel” (cf. Hos 6:4, 11:1-3, 8… etc.). Ephraim does indeed bear his grandfather’s name.

Hosea speaks of unfaithful Israel being shown mercy and being brought under Judah’s King in the day when recompense is brought for Ahab and Jezebel’s wicked deeds (“the day of Jezreel”). Of course, much more is going on with “Jezreel” in the next two chapters in Hosea which paints a wonderfully detailed and edifying picture of God’s sovereign electing grace shown to undeserving and wicked sinners such as ourselves resulting in the eschatological blessings promised so often in the Prophets.

Now to Paul and his hermeneutical liberty with the Old Testament corpus. Of course, I believe that Paul never ignores context but is rather commenting on the context. In light of this, Paul, perplexingly, quotes Hosea when the prophet is speaking to a rebellious covenant people (Israel) as referring to the inclusion of the Gentiles. How is this possible!?! Hosea does not have that in mind at all, it would seem. But what Hosea perhaps didn’t see (but believed through the types and shadows) was that the inclusion of all of the tribes under Zerubbabel in the return from exile after the Babylonian captivity was a type of Jesus and the Church. Through the death of exile and the resurrection of exodus, God brought the tribes together. Through the cross (the “exodus”) Jesus has brought together what was parted asunder a long time back, in much the same way: Jews and Gentiles. Indeed, Ephraim is the “fulness of the Gentiles”, which will be brought under their rightful King of the Tribe of Judah, Jesus Christ on the “day of Jezreel”. The time when God finally and completely brought about the “day of Jezreel” was at the cross of Christ and the result is a nation of united Jews and Gentiles that are commanded to”go up from the land”. Where are they going? They have a Great Commission to accomplish. After all, Ephraim is not just a representative of the Northern Kingdom, but is “the fullness of the Gentiles” which sounds a whole lot like… Romans 11:25!

I will let you guys work on that one for a while… Sleep is of the essence on my part…