Old Testament

Surveying the Period from Joshua to David (Part 3)

Gerard van Honthorst - King David Playing the Harp (1622)

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

God’s Covenant with David

David was the king that Yahweh had promised (Gen. 17:4-6, 16; Deut. 17:14-15). His reign came some four centuries after God had said that He would “surely set a king over you” (Deut. 17:15), and not much shy of a millennium after the covenant made with Abraham. God never seems to be in a hurry.

In many ways 2 Samuel 7 is the strategic point for understanding the covenants with Israel. It pulls together the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants, land and people and God-centered government, in a way that concretizes the one and shows the righteous yet temporal nature of the other. In the person of the King the Lord’s creation goal will take shape. That King is not David, but David, as Abraham, is granted the inestimable privilege of beginning the dynasty (cf. Matt. 1:1).

Scripture presents the Davidic covenant almost as a response from Yahweh to the relocation and veneration of the ark of the covenant. Here is a man who will take the covenant seriously (even though he will sin grievously – Psa. 51).

The importance of the Davidic covenant is underlined by the fact that, as with all the previous Divine covenants, God Himself utters it.

449 reads

Surveying the Period from Joshua to David (Part 2)

Uzzah Touches the Ark and Dies. Matthäus Merian (1593-1650)

Read Part 1.

Judges is best read as a chronicle of the fate of the separate tribes within the narrative. There appears to be some overlapping of events within the Book so that a strict 410 year chronology from first to last is doubtful.1 Further, there is the sad report that summarizes the first two stories in the so-called “Bethlehem Trilogy” at the end of the Book,2 that,

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 17:6)

This report, repeated for emphasis in Judges 21:25, does not come from the close of the era of the Judges, but most likely from the beginning. Kaiser remarks,

The events narrated in these two appendixes to the Book of Judges probably fell early in the period of the judges, since a grandson of Moses, in one case, and a grandson of Aaron, in the other, would need to be contemporaneous with the generation that came after the Conquest.3

569 reads

Why Preach the Older Testament?

Reposted from The Cripplegate.

A pastor once asked me what I was preaching in church. I said “Luke in the morning and Micah in the evening.” He was flabbergasted. He admitted that if he announced any Old Testament book, his church would empty until he was back into the New Testament.

I am blessed to preach at a church which offers an evening service in addition to the morning services.

I’ve tried to make it my practice to take the morning to preach expositionally through the New Testament, and the evening for the Old(er) Testament.

This gives our people a full-orbed notion of the redemption plan. It also builds biblical literacy. For example, these are some of the under-appreciated books we have preached through verse by verse, or chapter by chapter: Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, Ecclesiastes, Micah, Nahum, and Obadiah. 

We cover why there is genocide, polygamy, slavery, gang rape, incest, and human sacrifice. We don’t even skip over all the verses about goopy bodily fluids. Rather than “unhitch” from this material and ignore it like an embarrassing family history, we do the hard and rewarding work of studying it in depth. We apply our hermeneutics and rely on the illumination of the Spirit, and we suck the marrow out of every verse. And our people love it!

There are four reasons I can think of to pay concerted attention to the older of the two biblical testaments.

632 reads

Surveying the Period from Joshua to David (Part 1)

The Battle of Jericho - Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872)

After the death of Moses on the east side of the River Jordan the responsibility for leading the fledgling people of Israel into the Promised Land fell upon Joshua the son of Nun (Josh. 1:1-2). The first indications were that Yahweh’s power would make them unstoppable. The passage of the ark of the covenant over the dry bed of the Jordan demonstrated to the people that the Creator Himself was their God, and they were in covenant with Him (Josh. 3:17). In a real sense the priests bore the covenant with them as they passed into Canaan. There was every reason to be devoted to God.

The overthrow of Jericho and the way it was accomplished once again only underlined Israel’s dependence on Yahweh (Josh. 6). But Achan’s sin cost the lives of thirty-six men (Josh. 7:1-5), as well as causing the name of Yahweh to be blasphemed.1 Defeat at Ai proved that without God conquest was not going to be possible. Thus, from the very start of the campaign miraculous acts of God encouraged the Israelites to occupy the land.2 But they were also reminded that success depended on them going about it God’s way; that is, with an eye to the covenant.3

868 reads

Why You Should Love the God of the Old Testament

"One of the earliest places we see His character is when He passed by Moses in the rock. Of everything God could proclaim about Himself, He chooses this—'The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness' (Ex 34:6)." Rooted Thinking

225 reads

“O Soulo Mio”: The Term נפש (Nephesh) and Its Significance for the Doctrine of Man

The Hebrew word נפש (nephesh) is important for the Old Testament (and biblical) doctrine of man. The term appears over 750 times in the OT and is translated in the Authorized Version most frequently as “soul,” “life,” “person,” “creature,” or “-self.” It is found in all OT genres (narrative, poetry, prophecy, etc.) and may have either a literal or metaphorical sense.

Old Testament Usage

A nephesh can be living or dead. It can be counted as an individual entity or distinguished from other individual entities. A human being or an animal may be distinguished as a nephesh. When predicated of humans, a nephesh can think, feel, desire, act, and sin. One commonly finds a plea for the deliverance of one’s nephesh from danger or death in the Psalms. Keeping these observations regarding the syntactic and semotactic environment of nephesh in view is essential for establishing a proper semantic value for nephesh and for developing a proper OT anthropology.

The word nephesh is predicated of human beings in primarily two ways. Less commonly, the term refers to the animating principle of a physical entity, that is, “breath” (Gen. 35:19; 1 Kings 17:21; Job 41:13) or the existential quality or state of “life” (Gen. 9:4; 19:17; Lev. 17:11; Deut. 9:23; 1 Sam. 20:1).

700 reads

The Old Testament Is Dying: An Interview with Brent A. Strawn

Pages