Sunday, March 11, 2007

This and That

Milk & Honey (Thanks to Wiley Lowe for pointing this one out):
In the book of Judges you have the story of Deborah and Jair. Sisera was leading the forces of Jaban the Canaanite king against the Israelites. Deborah, whose name can also mean "bee" calls Barak to defeat Sisera and his men. Barak hesitates and Deborah prophesies that Sisera will be killed by a woman (Judges 4:9). Barak fights Sisera and kills his men but Sisera escapes to the tent of Heber and his wife Jair, whose name can also mean mountain goat. Sisera, thinking he is safe, falls asleep and Jair takes a tent peg and drive it through his head. The Israelites are delivered by two women - bee & mountain goat (each of which produce milk & honey).

The Law and Angels:
Gal 3:19-20 "What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one."

Acts 7:37-38 "This is that Moses who told the Israelites, 'God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.' He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us."

Acts 7:53 "you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it."

Normally the angel of the Lord was sent ahead of the people to guard them and even drive out the nations in the promised land. Does anyone know what the deal is with the connection between angels and the law (also in Hebrews 2:2)? Only thing I can come up with are the extra-biblical sources Dunn cites (Jubilees 1.29-2.2, Philo Som 1.143, Apoc of Moses preface, or Josephus Antiquities 15.136)

Josephus - "And for ourselves, we have learned from God the most excellent of our doctrines, and the most holy part of our law, by angels or ambassadors..."

Jubilees - "And the angel of the presence who went before the camp of Israel took the tables of the divisions of the years -from the time of the creation- of the law and of the testimony of the weeks of the jubilees, according to the individual years, according to all the number of the jubilees [according, to the individual years], from the day of the [new] creation when the heavens and the earth shall be renewed and all their creation according to the powers of the heaven, and according to all the creation of the earth, until the sanctuary of the Lord shall be made in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, and all the luminaries be renewed for healing and for peace and for blessing for all the elect of Israel, and that thus it may be from that day and unto all the days of the earth. Chapter 2 1 And the angel of the presence spake to Moses according to the word of the Lord, saying: Write the complete history of the creation..."
The angel goes on to tell Moses about creation and all that happened for him to write down.

5 comments:

Bob Bliss said...

So is this what God meant when he told Israel that he was bringing them to a land of "milk and honey?"

Adam Gonnerman said...

Regarding the law and angels, shall I gather that the point seems to be that first century beliefs in this regard must have developed during the inter-testamental period? Sort of like the full development of a belief in bodily resurrection as a future hope.

Darin said...

I believe the Jewish understanding of Angels is that they were messengers, note Genesis 32:1-3.

It seems that when God delivered messages it was assumed that this was done by Angels. The Jews have a very interesting understanding of what took place at Mount Sinai in regards to the Law and Moses.

It was understood to be a wedding ceremony between God and the people of Israel.

I want to look into this more, very interesting. Thanks for asking, it has caused me to look into some things I hadn't before.

Matt said...

Bob,

Seems to me there is more to the milk and honey than this. This is more a bit of divine irony.

Adam,

It does seem that the intertestamental period had some influence on the NT. 1 Peter makes reference to Enoch as does Jude. There are other places in the New Testament that rely heavily on some of these books. That doesn't mean I believe those books were inspired but apparantly there may be some truth there.

Darin,

I had never heard Sinai described that way. I will have to look into it. I always thought they saw it more through the lens of the suzerain-vassal treaties of the Ancient Near East. Probably some of both. Thanks for the info.

Adam Gonnerman said...

I've hear of Sinai described as a wedding cermony as well. I've also heard of the wanton sin by Israel against God as Moses was receiving the law described as a second fall.

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