| Where Recherche duTemps Perdu|
---- meets Kirchliche Dogmatik
I never said anything about it, right after I built it in, but--as you can see--you can now search this blog for any word I've used as long as I've been with Bravenet. This is a free app provided by Google for non-commercial use. Oh yeah, that reminds me: It's the blog's sixth birthday! The first entry was a short commentary back in 2005 on the July Daytona race. Speaking of which, congratulations to David Ragan for winning. Despite the unbelievable wrecks at the end, the race was great.
I'm doing okay. The "icky" condition to which I referred earlier is not resolving itself as quickly as I had hoped, but I've got to be patient.
Hope you like the pictures I took with my new camera!! There was an unexpected royalty check, which enabled me to get a new Canon Rebel T3, which, I believe, is the least expensive digital SLR on the market. It appears to work quite well, though.
Bravenet has recently come up with a limit on the length of single entries in a blog. I wonder if I triggered it. That means, for one thing, that you're going to be spared any term-paper-length discussions. It also will probably entail my alternating between "Dogmatik," which in this case means whatever topic I happen to want to pursue, and Bible discussions.
|Bible Reading: 2 Kings 17:1-23|
|v. 7: [This disaster] happened because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God who had brought them out of the land of Egypt from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt and because they had worshiped other gods. (HCSB)|
There is no question as to why God caused Israel, the northern kingdom, to be deported at this time. His warnings go back right to the beginning of his covenant. Deuteronomy 28 and 29 repeatedly mention exactly what would happen if the children of Israel did not obey God's Law, namely, that they would be deported out of the Promised Land to a foreign country.
Let me pause here for a moment. According to liberal scholars who still base their interpretations on the obsolete Graf-Wellhausen (G-W) theory of documentary criticism, this entire cycle was written by the "Deuteronomist." I'm using the singular, here, but actually it was probably a succession of people who composed the book of Deuteronomy separately from the other four books of the Pentateuch, and who also wrote significant portions of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, and even Jeremiah along the same line of thought: If Israel will not obey, God will punish them, eventually leading to exile. The Deuteronomistic ideas were supposedly brought to Judah by a handful of people from the northern kingdom and then incorporated as the aforementioned books were written.
The Bible reports that Moses wrote down the Law that God had revealed to him (Deut. 31:9), which could refer either to the entire Pentateuch or, more likely in this case, the book of Deuteronomy. During the turbulent years prior to Josiah, the temple had become in need of repair, ritual cleansing, and uncluttering. Over this time, the book had become misplaced. King Josiah ordered a thorough renovation of the temple, and in the process of going through all of the stuff, the high priest Hilkiah found the "Book of the Covenant." (2 Kings 22:8). In fact, here is the reference from Chronicles:
When they brought out the money that had been deposited in the Lord’s temple, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of the Lord written by the hand of Moses. (2 Chron. 34:15)
As the narrative proceeds, Hilkiah shared his disovery with the court secretary Shaphan, who brought it to the attention of Josiah. The king then ordered Hilkiah and Shaphan to head up a delegation to consult the prophetess Huldah, who recognized the book as God's Word and underscored that the dire consequences of disobedience were going to take place shortly. However, according to these liberal G-W-based authorities, this biblical account is just something concocted in order to give greater authority to the pure monotheism of Yahweh, which was only just now starting to be propagated. [It is interesting to see how many versions of when exactly monotheism was first invented there are, but we can't go into that at this time.] In fact, the advocates of G-W assert that someone had just then written an early version of Deuteronomy, which Josiah read to the people. The entire Deuteronomist corpus was finished during the exile and right afterwards.
I cannot possibly recount for you here everything that played a role in the construction of the G-W theory, and even less what is going on in the minds of Bible scholars who continue to advocate this scheme, considering its lack of foundation in any evidence. But it seems fairly clear to me that to some extent the fictional Deuteronomist owes his existence to the rejection of anything supernatural, including predictive prophecy. The theory of the Deuteronomist is clearly a case where liberal scholars are once again invoking the category of vaticinia ex eventu ("prophecy after the event"), which means that someone wrote about current affairs as though they had been predicted a long time earlier. In other words, they stipulate that the biblical authors must have been perpetrating a pious fraud because supernatural prophecy is supposedly impossible.
There is good evidence that Deuteronomy was written at the time of the exodus and conquest. Gleason Archer (Survey of Old Testament Introduction, pp. 107 ff) not only made his own case against the association with Josiah, but also showed the reason why other liberal critics have rejected it.
Are you noticing something? It is a whole lot easier to discuss theories of the origin of this passage in 2 Kings than to come to terms with its implications. The actual subject, divine judgment, is not a comfortable one.
God is patient, merciful, gracious, and forgiving. He is not indulgent. It may take a while, but eventually there are no more second, third, or fourth chances. There is a particular irony in the lead verse and the historical scenario. As we read, God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and told them to stay away from that country. What did Hoshea do in order to try to keep Assyria away? He tried to make a military alliance with Egypt. What are the chances that the kingdom of Judah will make the same attempt when the Babylonians threaten? We shall see in a while.