REL 113: Old Testament Faith and History. Leviticus / Numbers. RJDKnauth
Leviticus – set on Mt. Sinai,
God giving LAW to Moses. Key theme:
“Be Holy because I am Holy.” “I AM YHWH (your God who brought you out of Egypt…)”
Sources: Moses (traditional)? Exilic (Wellhausen)? Hezekiah (Friedman)? Pre-monarchic?
“P” vs. “H” (“Holiness Code” in Lev. 17-26).
“Cultic Legislation” (vs. Exod. 21-23 “Covenant Code” re day-to-day life).
Lev 19 Priestly “10 Commandments” (vs. Exod. 20 and Deut. 5)?
Overview – Holiness, Sacrifice, Covenant. The nature of ANE Law, Biblical Law.
Comparisons w/ ANE law. “Apodictic” (Thou shalt not) vs. “casuistic” (case law).
The Sinai theophany, relation with ANE imagery, expectations.
ANE treaty format – cf. Lev 26 Blessings and Curses (more on Friday).
Revealing God’s character in law, theological principles.
Law as demonstrating something of the just character of the law-giver – a theological message.
Meditative function (as with Tabernacle instructions) – repetitive, expressing order of universe.
Infusing every aspect of life with an air of holiness, keep constant awareness of God.
E.g. Dietary Laws
– valuable for practical health reasons (trichinosis, food poisoning, etc.),
– valuable for bonding of community, keeping cultural distinctiveness,
– keeping constant awareness of God in everyday simple things,
– expressing a philosophy of order in the universe.
E.g. Mildew Laws (ch. 13-14). Clean/Unclean. The nature of sinfulness to spread – root it out!
Consecration and “Graded Holiness” – set apart (“Sacred” vs. “Profane”).
Sacrifice - Multiple purposes: Ritual, yes, but also worship, celebration, penance, teaching.
Outlawing specific pagan rituals – boiling goat in mothers’ milk, eating blood, tattoos, mediums.
The Day of Atonement and the Scapegoat ritual (ch. 16).
Still concrete concern with economics, “Social Justice”: laws protecting the poor. Jubilee.
Lev. 19:9-19, 19:33, 23:22, esp. ch. 25. Compare Exod. 21:2-11, 23:10-12 and Deut. 15:1-18.
Concept of “Sabbath.”
Numbers – 40 years of
wandering and complaining (with good cause…). Sources cited.
Structuring of “P” in genealogies (“these are the generations of…”) and itineraries (Num 33).
Name lists and boundaries – historical value (census!). Much humor lost in English.
Conflict stories – warring priestly houses? Levites / Mushites (pro-Moses) vs. Aaronites?
Num 6:24-26 Blessing. Num 8:5 Consecrate Levites in place of first-born to serve God.
9:15-23 sums up re travel, cloud, camping.
10:35-36 “Arise O YHWH, may your enemies be scattered!…Return O YHWH…”
11:12 “Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them…?” Complaining stories.
“Are there no graves in Egypt that you have brought us out into the wilderness to die…?”
Theological significance in Exile. God is able and willing to fulfill the promise. Duplicates.
ch. 13 Turning back from entering Land as rejecting fulfillment of promise (okay then don’t!)
Moses’ argument and prayer in 14:11-23, the reason for the 40 years.
ch. 17 The budding of Aaron’s staff giving special priestly authority to Levites (cf Num. 8).
ch. 20 Waters of Meriba, deaths of Miriam and Aaron. Moses disqualified. Why?!?
ch. 21 Moses Bronze Serpent as healing token (arch. support) – later source of idolatry.
ch. 22-24 re Balaam conflict – Moab (David?) vs. Midian (Moses). Discussion of sources.
Various laws – decisions made along the way. Inheritance for Women (Num 27, 36).
REL 113: Old Testament Faith and History, fall 2001. Deuteronomy. RJDKnauth
Deuteronomy: What is it? “Second giving of the Law” (first generation dead: tell children! Remember!)
Setting: Moab – East side of Jordan. Farewell speech of Moses before entering promised land.
Nature and purpose of
Biblical Law: show just nature of God, relationship with people, etc.
Covenant Obedience, Loyalty.
Note ANE context: continuity and discontinuity.
1-4 Historical Prologue (recites history of exodus, Sinai, wilderness wandering and rebellion, etc.)
4: Need obedience! No idolatry! Yahweh is God! Introduction to Laws
5: 10 Commandments (same as Exod. 20, but deliverance from slavery as reason for Sabbath)
6: Shema: “Hear O Israel…Love the LORD your God…” (read!)
7: Driving out the nations - no treaties or intermarriage with foreigners
8: Remember! In your prosperity, do not forget the LORD.
9: Israel CHOSEN: not more righteous, not more numerous. Remember Golden Calf!
10: New tablets, ark. Summing up (read!)
11: Love and obey, teach your children
12: Centralization of Worship, holy festivals and offerings, but secular slaughter allowed (blood)
13: No idolatry, no worshipping other gods
14: Clean and Unclean Food
15: Canceling Debts, Freeing Slaves
17: “Law of the King,” Law Courts
19: Cities of Refuge
20: Laws of Warfare
21: Atonement for Unsolved Murder, Marrying War Captives
27-28 Blessings and Curses
29-31 Covenant Renewal, succession of Joshua, Law written and deposited (read every 7 years)
32-34 Epilogue: Song of Moses, Moses’ Blessing of Tribes, Death of Moses
Treaty Format (see Old Testament Parallels p. 86-90):
Intro, Historical Prologue, Laws/Stipulations, Blessings/Curses, Ratification, Witnesses.
Much specific overlap with Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers.
Major emphasis on Centralization of Worship, no idolatry, no foreign worship, loyalty to Yahweh.
Who wrote it?
Traditional view: Moses (but – Death story?)
Wellhausen documentary hypothesis assigns to “D” = “Deuteronomist” – but who was that?
Clue: Centralization of Worship (=Jerusalem? > Jerusalem Royal Priests)
Clue: “Discovery” of Law Book by Josiah (2Kings 22) = written by Josiah’s priests?
Clue: ch. 17 ‘Law of King’ restricts royal power, anti-Solomonic > Not royal priests!
Clue: seems to be quoted elsewhere, must be earlier…
Friedman: “Central Place” could be Shiloh (cult center in Samuel’s time), opposed Solomon’s temple.
History” (Josh-Kings) based on principles of Deuteronomy
Written in time of Josiah (Josiah best king, “Law Book” discovered)
Negative portrayal of Solomon?
Solomon ousted Shiloh priests, but Jeremiah (in Josiah’s time) had family ties with Shiloh line…
Friedman: Jeremiah wrote D.H. based on Deut. - Solomon bad, Josiah good. Revised in exile.
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