Job is one of those books of the Bible that I still feel I don’t really know what to do with. I’m not happy with treatments of it that read it as if the bulk of the book were a paranthesis. But I can’t do better. So I keep reading it, to see what I can learn.
I’m doing some work on Jonah 1 at the moment (again!), and it seems that we have another fine example of responsibility being passed between groups of people and representative individuals.
Jonah seeks to flee from the presence of the Lord; as a result, distress comes on the entire crew of the ship. Jonah is very clear in verse 12 that this is “on my account” that this has happened. His individual sin has led to judgement on the whole crew.
OK: I know this may be too general (macroscopic) to be useful, but does this work? If it does, broadly, work, I know for sure that my headings will need refining.
"Within the context of this vision 'the end' (19) need not be 'The End', the ultimate end of history. The earlier Hebrew prophets used the term 'the end' to indicate the end of a particular evil state of affairs or the final day of reckoning for a particular people (e.g. Amos 8:1-2). Sometimes what might seem to be 'end of the world' language is used of such events, though they clearly occur within history (e.g. Is. 13:9-22). These events within history are seen as foreshadowing the final day of reckoning, rather than being simply identified with it. This may be the case with the dreams and visions of Daniel, though at the end of the final vision there is a 'fusing' of the horizons of the end of Antiochus' career and the end of history."
E C Lucas, Daniel (AOTC), pages 94-95
"Five times in vv. 1-12 it is stated that the image was set up by Nebuchadnezzar. This emphasizes the way in which religion and the State get intertwined. Refusal to worship the image cannot be tolerated because it subverts the authority of the State. As Welch (1958:85) comments, 'The State has certain ends in view and want a certain type of citizen to fulfil them; it issues its orders by which it shall procure the best means to serve its ends. Some day it may demand an obedience which will make it impossible for certain men to save their souls alive. Then the opposite ends for life will come into open collision, and men will have to choose whom they mean to serve.' This is the choice that faced Diaspora Jews from time to time.
"Nebuchadnezzar's rage (13-15) may contain an element of annoyance at the ingratitude of these Jews. Powerful patrons can turn into dangerous enemies. However, he does not accept the accusation against them without giving them a chance to prove their loyalty and obedience. His primary concern is with their public conduct, rather than with their private beliefs. There is a parallel to this in modern secular society. Religion is acceptable as long as it is a matter of private belief and does not lead people to challenge the assumptions and values of their society by what they say or do."
A risky thing to claim – that we should expect to fight and lose.
Numbers 14: The people are judged for what? Deciding the enemies are too mighty to be beaten.
That was then. Since then the enemy has been beaten. Dare we risk angering the Lord in a similar way?
Exodus says 600,000 (rough numbers). So does Numbers. Some modern scholars try to say it can’t be that simple.
Arguments too and fro will be many – but may I note the contribution that Numbers 3 ought to make?
Note to self.
There is a debate when it comes to Exodus 12-13: Do the firstborn Israelites inherently belong to God, or do they belong to him because of the Exodus? From memory, Peter Enns goes for the former, but I could be wrong about that.
Numbers 3:13 - (I have all the Levites by substitution...) "...for all the firstborn are mine. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel, both of man and of beast. They shall be mine: I am YHWH."
Isn’t penal sub lovely.
Lev 9:24: “And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”
Exodus 23:1-3: You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.