Action Alert!

The MOST Theological Collection: The Living God

"V. The Election of Israel"


Browse by Title
New Search
Table of Contents for this Work

1. Election vs. final salvation:

It is important to distinguish clearly the two. Election is choosing the Israelites to be His favored people, the first People of God. That fact did not predetermine their final salvation, even though it provided special help for that (fuller discussion below). Failure to make the distinction has brought many serious errors.

In general, the Fathers of the Church, both East and West, did not make this distinction. Cf. Wm. Most, New Answers to Old Questions §§ 183-213. Hence they took, for example, the parable of the banquet to refer to predestination to heaven - when actually it referred to the fact that all Jews were called to the Messianic kingdom, few accepted: "Many (probably Hebrew rabbim: "the all who are many) are called, few are chosen. The same trouble plagued the Congregationes de Auxiliis, 1597-1607, called by Clement VIII, closed by Paul V - text of the decision in DS 1090. The Pope refused to approve either the "Thomists" or the Molinists.

We did sketch the correct answer to predestination to heaven in earlier lectures.

As to the principles for election to full membership in the People of God, the Church, St. Paul in Romans 9 makes clear the negative part of the answer: it is not based on merits. He nowhere explicitly states the positive part of the answer though it can be gathered from 1 Cor. 1. 26-30, telling them that their community does not have many wise or noble men - they are nobodies, and: "As a result of God [not as a result of merits], you are in Christ Jesus." Implies that they got the special election because they were in greater need.

This is reinforced by other passages:

Ezekiel 3, 5-7: "You are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language whose words you cannot understand, but to the house of Israel... Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel will not listen to you you, for they are not willing to listen to me; because all the house of Israel are of a hard forehead and a stubborn heart."

Jonah, chapter 3. Barely does Jonah begin to preach, when the Assyrians do penance in sackcloth and ashes - quite unlike the People of God who persecuted the prophets.

Luke 10. 30-37, the parable of the Good Samaritan: Officers of the People of God pass the wounded man by - someone not from the People of God has mercy.

Luke 10. 13: Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes."

Luke 17, 12-19: Cure of ten lepers. Those of the People of God do not even return to say thanks - a Samaritan did.

St. Paul's missions. Regularly, Paul went first to the Jews, got poor reception, often persecution. The Gentiles welcomed him.

We conclude: it seems that the members of the People of God are more resistant to God's grace than are the outsiders - and so they got that extra help because they might not have been saved without it. So the positive reason for election is the need of the people - not their merits.

2. No salvation outside Church: There is a defined doctrine that there is no salvation outside the Church, defined most vehemently in the Council of Florence: DS 1351: "It firmly believes, professes and preaches, that none who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can partake of eternal life, but they will go into eternal fire... unless before the end of life they will have been joined to it [the Church]; and that the unity the ecclesiastical body has such force that only for those who remain in it are the Sacraments of the Church profitable for salvation, and fastings, alms and other works of piety and exercises of the Christian soldiery bring forth eternal rewards [only] for them. 'No one, howsoever much almsgiving he has done, even if he sheds his blood for Christ, can be saved, unless he remains in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church. '" (The internal quote is from St. Fulgentius of Ruspe, De Fide ad Petrum 38. 79. ). We comment first that Florence seems to have had in mind those who through their own fault reject the Church. Cf. the words of Pius IX in DS 2866: "Those who are contumacious against the authority of the same Church... and who are obstinately separated from the unity of this Church... . cannot obtain eternal salvation." But Pius IX said, before this point: "God in His supreme goodness and clemency, by no means allows anyone to be punished with eternal punishments who does not have the guilt of voluntary fault." - Further this Council of Florence was held in 1442 before anyone knew of the Western hemisphere. It would not have meant to damn all those who never had a chance to know the Church.

We saw early in this course the chief Magisterium texts stating the FACT that people can be saved without formal entrance into the Church. Now we add theological reasoning to show HOW this can work out.

The critical point is this: What does membership in the Church mean? For a full treatment, see Our Father's Plan, Appendix , pp. 241 69. Briefly, a study of the Fathers shows that they had two series of texts - usually both from the same man - one set sounding very stringent, the other very broad. E. g. , St. Justin Martyr, Apology 1. 46: "Christ is the Logos [the Divine Word], of whom the whole race of men partake. Those who lived according to Logos are Christians, even if they were considered atheists, such as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus." Cf. his Apology 2. 10. 8: "Christ... was and is the Logos who is in everyone... ." Now a spirit does not take up space. We say a spirit is present wherever he produces an effect. What effect does the Logos produce? We find the answer in St. Paul, Romans 2. 14-16: "The gentiles who do not have the law, do by nature the things of the law, they, not having the law, are a law for themselves. These show the work of the law written on their hearts, while their conscience bears witness, and their thoughts, in turn, will be either accusing or even defending them on the day on which God will judge the hidden things of men, according my Gospel, through Jesus Christ." - Paul clearly echoes Jeremiah 31, 33: "I will write my law on their hearts." It is God, or the Spirit of God, or the Spirit of Christ, the Divine Logos - all works done outside the divine nature are common to all three Persons - who writes the law on their hearts, i.e., makes known to them interiorly what morality calls for. (Modern anthropology agrees, says that primitives show a remarkable knowledge of the moral law. )

Now if a pagan follows this law on his heart, objectively, even though he does not know it, he is following the Spirit of Christ. But then we gather from Romans 8. 9 that if one has and follows the Spirit of Christ, he "belongs to Christ". But that in turn means to be a member of Christ, and that is a member of the Church - without external adherence, but yet substantially a member. -- So there is no problem with the words of Florence - even many pagans who never heard of the Church can be members, substantially. In fact, Romans 8. 15:"As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are sons of God." Some of the pagans just described do follow the Spirit - so they are sons of God, and as sons have a right to inherit the kingdom, as Romans 8. 17 says:"If sons, heirs also, heirs of God, coheirs of Christ." Cf. Vatican II, LG § 49:"All who belong to Christ, having His Spirit, coalesce into one Church." We recall too the clear teachings of Pius IX, Pius XI, Vatican II, LG §16 and of John Paul II, Redemptoris missio § 10, cited above.

What If a Pagan Sins Mortally? (tentative speculation)

St. Paul urges (Romans 3:29):"Is He the God only of the Jews? Is He not also the God of the gentiles? Yes, He is the God of the gentiles."

Paul means that if God had made salvation depend on keeping the Mosaic law, then all who did not know of it would go to hell. But Paul knows God is not like that, is not a cruel monster. So Paul insists that God has provided for the salvation of non-Jews too. How? Paul says it is by faith that they can be saved.

To explain how that works out we must first notice what Paul means by that word "faith". He does not mean just developing a confidence that the merits of Christ apply to him. (If he has an emotional experience at such a point then he is "reborn", but without such an emotion, one goes to hell, say the Fundamentalists). Such a view is simplistic, rests on nothing in St. Paul. For we need to read every passage (probably with the help of a concordance) where Paul speaks of faith, read each in context, keep notes, and add them up. If we do that our result is: If God speaks a truth, faith requires we believe it in our minds; if He makes promise, faith requires we have confidence He will keep it; if God tell us to do something, we must do it - this is "the obedience of faith" of which Paul speaks in Romans 1:5, that is, the obedience that faith is. All these are to be done in love.

Martin Luther, in his Exposition of Psalm 130. 4, said about justification by faith: "If this article stands, the church stands, if it collapses, the church collapses." How sad! he wrote his own church's obituary, for he did not know what faith means -there is quite a contrast between just getting the conviction that the merits of Christ apply to me (plus or minus emotion at the time) and a faith that believes, hopes, obeys, and loves. The Protestant Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplement, on p. 333 gives precisely the definition of Pauline faith we have just given. If that be the case, faith, which includes obedience, cannot excuse from obedience so that one can sin greatly, but believe still more greatly (Luther, Epistle 509).

Can one who follows him still be saved? We will be more generous than the Fundamentalists who consign to hell all who are not "born again", i. e, . have an emotional experience of a "faith" that is not Pauline faith. So we will say yes, they can be saved in spite of such a sad error. For St. Paul in Romans 2:14-16 explains: "The gentiles who do not have the law, do by nature the things of the law. They show the work of the law written on their hearts." And according to their reaction conscience will accuse or defend them at Judgment. St. Justin the Martyr (Apology 1. 46) applies this sort of principle to Socrates. He says Socrates was really a Christian, because he followed the Divine Word, the Logos. In Apology 2:10 Justin adds that the Divine Word, the Logos, is within each one. Thanks to St. Paul, we can see what the Word does there: He writes the law on their hearts. Now if Socrates accepts that law, even though he does not know that it is the Divine Word that writes it, Socrates is objectively following the Spirit of Christ. Then, from Romans 8:9, we note that if one does have and follow the Spirit of Christ, that one "belongs to Christ." To belong to Christ is to be Christian; in fact, it also means, in Paul's terminology, to be a member of Christ - which is to be a member of the Church! (So much for the Extra Ecclesiam problem).

We note in passing how well this squares with the recent Encyclical on the missions of John Paul II (§10): "The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church... . For such people, salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation." We are here suggesting how that "mysterious relationship" could work. Socrates of course did not formally become a member of the Church, yet we are suggesting he could have a substantial, though imperfect form of membership, sufficient to satisfy the teaching "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus."

Just as John Paul II in the same Encyclical stressed that what he said in §10 did not mean we should not promote the missions, so we emphasize that our proposal does not diminish that need. Pius XII said it well in his Encyclical on the Mystical Body (§103): "They still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church." And he wants them "to withdraw from that state in which they cannot be sure of their salvation."

But suppose a person, pagan or other, has reached justification, the state of grace, by the means we have explained, suppose he later sins mortally. If he just continues to believe it is all right, that he need do nothing about it, will that cancel his mortal sin? Of course not. A mistake does not give absolution.

And yet Paul's confidence expressed in Romans 3:29 that God is the God of all, suggests He has provided a way. Such a person will not make an act of perfect contrition. A pagan hardly even dreams of such a thing. The born-again man thinks there is no need.

Let us present for comment something new. In chapter 33:17-19 (cf. 18:21-22) of Ezekiel God says emphatically that if the just man turns from the just way, he will not live. But he also says that if the wicked man turns from his evil way, he will live. And there is no mention of perfect contrition.

Let us recall that in God there are no real distinctions. We do not say that He has love, but that He is love. Similarly He is justice, He is mercy. If one, thinking of the fact that God is good or morally right in Himself, regrets having done something sinful, that is perfect contrition.

But we need to recall that when we love God, we do not act on the usual definition of love: "To love is to will good to another for the other's sake". No, we cannot will that God we well-off, that He get anything. Instead, Scripture pictures Him as pleased if we obey, displeased if we do not. Of course, our obedience does not give Him anything. He cannot benefit. But still, He wants us to obey, and for two reasons: 1) He loves all that is good, loves objective morality; 2) He wants to give to us - but that giving will be in vain if we are not open to receive. So He wants us to obey so He can give. Since He is Generosity itself, it gives Him pleasure to give effectively to us.

Therefore we get this equation: Love directed to God is in practice the same as obedience to Him, and obedience is love. (Cf. John 14:15 & 21).

So if the wicked man of whom God spoke through Ezekiel turns from his evil way, the man begins to obey, and so he loves, and in effect says: Now I see that this is not good, it is wrong, it is evil, I should not do it, it is not right. So it would seem that this is how God could say that that man will live. In God justice and love are identified - as are all His attributes. So this man, motivated by God's justice (and with the grace He always makes available) is doing the equivalent of acting on the basis of God's goodness. His obedience really is in practice, love of God.

An ancient Jew would recognize that what he had done was not only wrong in general, but was wrong because it offended God, who is "sadiq, [morally righteous], and loves sedaqoth, [things that are morally righteous]" as Psalm 11:7 told him. But what of a pagan who does not know the true God? St. Justin the Martyr's lines can help here: Socrates in accepting what is objectively the Spirit of Christ, did not know what He was accepting. Yet that acceptance, according to St. Justin, made Socrates a Christian. So in a parallel way, the sinner who turns from his evil way will live, as God told Ezekiel, since he bases his turn-about on what is good in itself - but it is God who is good in Himself. The man would not explicitly have all these thoughts in mind. But yet, what he is and does objectively can suffice, just as it would for Socrates. His obedience is in practice the same as love of God.

What we have just proposed is admittedly Scriptural and theological speculation. Yet it seems quite possible God may so act, and this could explain His repeated words through Ezekiel.

3. Scriptural vocabulary for entering the Church:

The chief point is the usage of the words save and salvation. As usual with ancient words, there is a broad spectrum of meaning to these words. There are three possible senses: 1) rescue from temporal evils 2) entry into the Church 3) final salvation. the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament does not list any usage to mean infallible salvation by one act of taking Christ as one's personal Savior.

Some texts in which save means enter the Church:

Rom 9. 27: "But Isaiah cries out in regard to Israel: If the number of sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved". Paul cites Is 10. 22-23 in abridged form from LXX. Isa said only a remnant would return from captivity to rejoin people of God. In parallel, Paul means a remnant of the Jews will join the new people of God.

Rom 10. 10: "For by the heart one has faith [leading to ] righteousness. With the mouth there is profession of faith [leading to] salvation. -- All of Chapters 9-11 of Romans refer to membership in Church.

Rom 11. 25-26 :"A partial blindness has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the gentiles enter [the Church], and so, all Israel will be saved". In context, Paul predicts the conversion of Jews, not final salvation. For Jews could reach final salvation even before the end time - even gentiles could be saved as in Rom 2. 14-16.

1 Cor 7. 16 :"How do you know, wife, if you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, if you will save your wife?" In context: bring into the Church.

1 Ths. 2. 15: The Jews, "did not please God, and were against all men, forbidding us to speak to the gentiles so they could be saved." This does not mean final salvation -- as Rom 2. 14-16 shows, gentiles could reach that even if Paul did not preach to them.

4. God's appearances to Israel:

a) The Fathers thought it was always the Logos who appeared. Cf. Aloys Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition (John Knox, Atlanta 2d ed. 1975) I p. 103 commenting on Justin Apology 1.46: "In his view, the incarnation is merely the conclusion in an immense series of manifestations of the Logos, which had their beginning in the creation of the world." (DS 800 defined: all works outside divine nature are common to all Three.)

Behind this view seems to be the idea that the Father was too transcendent to appear in the world, and so He needed the Logos as a bridge to mankind. Cf. Justin Martyr, Dialogue 127: "He is not moved nor can be contained by place or by the whole world, for He existed before the world was made. How then could He talk to anyone, or be seen by anyone, or appear on the smallest portion of the earth, when the people at Sinai were not able to look even on the glory of him [Moses] who as sent from him?" So the Mediator is the Logos. Quasten, Patrology I p. 208 thinks, "Justin denies the substantial omnipresence of God." Not so. His translation of the Greek was poor at one point, where he said: "He is not moved or confined to a spot in the whole world". It should be as above instead.

Also, Quasten thinks, p. 209, that "Justin tends to subordinationism.... This is evident from Apology 2,6: 'His Son who alone is properly called Son, the Logos, who alone was with him and was begotten before the works, when at first he created and arranged all things by him, is called Christ, in reference to his being anointed and God's ordering all things through him'." This does not prove any subordination. - Justin is groping. He wants to say the Father is transcendent (arretos) but that He employs the Son as Mediator. This is a point of theological method. We at times find two truths, which seem to clash, yet even after checking, we see both are established. Then we must hold both, until we find how to reconcile them (cf. the case of the two sets of statements by the Fathers on the knowledge of Christ, and on membership in the Church). Justin did not find how to reconcile the truths. Nor did various other Fathers who spoke similarly.

Thus Origen has been both accused and acquitted of subordinationism: Quasten II.77: "that he teaches subordinationism has been both affirmed and denied; St. Jerome does not hesitate to accuse him of doing so, while Gregory Thaumaturgos and St. Athanasius clear him of all suspicion. Modern authors like Régnon and Prat also acquit him." - There are two kinds of statements in Origen:

(a) Affirms divinity: In Hebr. Frg. 24, 359: "Thus Wisdom too, since it proceeds from God, is generated out of the divine substance itself. Under the figure of a bodily outflow, nevertheless, it, too, is thus called 'a sort of clean and pure outflow of omnipotent glory' (Wisd, 7, 25). Both these similes manifestly show the community of substance between Son and Father. For an outflow seems homoousios, i.e., of one substance with the body of which it is the outflow or exhalation." (from Quasten, p. 78)

Discussion with Heraclides: "Origen said: We confess therefore two Gods?" (cited from Quasten II, p. 64)

(b) Seems to state subordination: On John 13.25: "We say that the Saviour and the Holy Spirit are without comparison and are very much superior to all things that are made, but also that the Father is even more above them than they are themselves above creatures even the highest." (from Quasten II, p. 79). COMMENT: He says the Savior and Holy Spirit are "very much superior to all things that are made...[and] above creatures" - which seems to imply they are not made and are not creatures. It only affirms the Father is higher - probably means transcendence - again, the problem of theological method with two kinds of statements.

Again, we recall the language of 1 Cor 15: 28 that at the end Christ would be subject to the Father. And in the whole of St. Peter's speech in acts 2 on the first Pentecost there is hardly a hint of the divinity of Christ. Cf. also Paul's speech on the Areopagus.

5. Appearances compared to revelation: Either one, revelation or vision, may come without the other. There are three kinds of appearances:

1) Sensory or corporeal: The senses perceive a real object which is normally invisible. Need not be a real human body that is seen - may be a sensory or luminous form, or God or His agent may produce that image on the eyes of the one who sees the vision.

Note on Eucharistic visions: St. Thomas III. 76. 8 holds that Jesus does not appear in visible form in His real body since the Ascension. The appearances may come: (a) by His working on the exterior senses (usually when only one person sees the vision), so that there is nothing there in external reality. (b) There is something in external reality, but in the case of the Eucharist, there is a change in the figure, color etc. of the accidents of the Real Presence. (This is usual when more than one person sees or when the apparition continues and even is exhibited in a shrine). - St. Teresa of Avila, Relations XV (Peers edition I. pp. 341-42) seems to agree with St. Thomas: "From some of the things He said to me, I learned that, since ascending into the heavens, He had never come down to earth again to communicate Himself to anyone, except in the Most Holy Sacrament." - But others thinks there is a real presence, especially when He appears in proximity to the Sacred Host (cf. also the words cited above for St. Teresa, "except in the Most Holy Sacrament". When elsewhere, some think it is merely moral presence - others think there is a physical presence, and cite the case of St. Anthony kissing the Infant Jesus - a scene witnessed by the owner of the house where it happened: Cf. Poulain, Graces of Interior Prayer, pp. 315-16. On visions in general, cf. Poulain, pp. 301-02, and Royo Marin, Teología de la Perfección Cristiana, pp. 815-19, A. Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life, pp. 701-02.

The same principles would apply to visions of the Blessed Virgin - and we note the varied images in which she appears.

2) Imaginative visions: produced in the imagination by God or angels or Saints, during sleep or when awake. Often an intellectual vision accompanies, which explains the meaning. -- These can be produced in three ways: (1) Awakening of images already present in memory, (2) Supernatural combination of such images held in memory, (3) Newly infused images. -- the devil can work in the first two ways , not in the third.

Such visions may come in sleep or while awake. May deal with things past or future as well as present. Cf. the case of the dreams of Joseph the patriarch. They may also be symbolic.

3) Intellectual visions: There is no sensory image present in these, the effect is directly supernatural on the intellect. There will be more clarity and force than what one would have from the natural powers. May come by way of ideas already acquired but coordinated or modified by God, or through infused ideas . The visions may be obscure , manifesting only the presence of the object, or they may be clear.

These intellectual visions may last a long time, days, weeks, even years. Cf. St. Teresa, Interior Castle 6. 8. 3. The effects may include profound understanding or love. They are apt to bring absolute certitude that they come from God: cf. St. Teresa, Life, 27. 5.

Combinations: In the Damascus road instance, Paul saw with his eyes a sensory vision, with his imagination he saw Ananias coming to him, in his mind he understood God's will.

6. Three kinds of revelations:

(Preliminary: distinguish public, found in Scripture and Tradition, completed when last Apostle died and NT was finished. Cf. Dei verbum § 4 - and private revelations: all else).

1) Auricular: A sound is produced in the air by a good or evil spirit. They may seem to come from a vision.

2) Imaginary: This does not mean false, but rather, a locution not perceived by the ears but by the power of image making. May be received while asleep or awake, and may come from God or a good or bad angel. The fruits produced in the soul - if one examines all fruits, not just some -- can see if the source is good or bad. Satan can afford to produce some seeming good fruits, if in the long run he can get evil results, such as disobedience to the Church over alleged visions, or pride, or may suggest great projects, beyond the ability of the soul, which will later give up all effort.

3) Intellectual: Impressed directly on the mind , with no images received in senses or imagination. There are three classes, according to St. John of the Cross - whom others follow (Ascent of Mt. Carmel II. 28-31): successive, formal, substantial.

1) Successive: These are formed by the soul, reasoning, with much facility, especially during meditation. They are the combined effect of the soul and the Holy Spirit. Illusion and error are quite possible here. St. John of Cross in II. 39. 4 says sometimes pure heresy can come in, created by the imagination of the soul or by the devil.

2) Formal: These seem to come from outside, whereas the successive seem to originate within the soul, even though the Holy Spirit may have a part in producing them. They, unlike the successive, may come even when one is distracted: thus the exterior origin is known. Illusion by the devil is possible here.

3) Substantial: Same as formal, but they produce in the soul the effects they signify, e. g, if God says to the soul: be quiet, be humble. Royo Marin, op. cit., p. 821, thinks no illusion possible in such a case.

Note: 1) These locutions and visions belong to the category of gratiae gratis datae or charismatic, and per se are not necessary for spiritual growth of the soul, even though per accidens they may aid it. They do not even prove a soul is in the state of grace: cf. Mt 7. 22-23. But one should not desire these -- danger of self-deception or devilish deception. St. Teresa of Avila warns (Interior Castle 6. 9): "I will only warn you that, when you learn or hear that God is granting souls these graces, you must never beseech or desire Him to lead you along this road. Even if you think it is a very good one, and to be greatly prized and reverenced, there are certain reasons why such a course is not wise": Lack of humility, open to suggestion by devil or by self, presumption; trials usually go with these; may bring loss instead of gain. Cf. Matt 7, 22-23.

2) St. John of Cross warns on accepting revelations. It is unfortunate to center spiritual life about these - may even weaken faith, which wants to see, instead of believing. Cf. Ascent II. 11; III. 13, and Poulain, op. cit. , pp. 299-399; Garrigou-Lagrange, Three Ages of the Spiritual Life II. 575-88.

7. Transcendence and immanence: God is both immanent, close to us, present within us by grace, and transcendent. He was immanent to Israel by His special appearances (cf. below).

a) Transcendence: He is best known by unknowing. We recall from first section:

Arnobius, Against Nations 1. 31: "To understand you, we must be silent, and for fallible conjecture to trace you even vaguely, nothing must even be whispered."

Pseudo-Dionysius, Mystical Theology 1. 2:God is best known by "unknowing".

St. Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses PG 44. 376: "The true vision of the One we seek, the true seeing, consists in this: in not seeing. For the One Sought is beyond all knowledge." St. Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana 1. 6. 6: "He must not even be called inexpressible, for when we say that word we say something."

St. Thomas Aquinas (In: Maritain, Angelic Doctor, Sheed & Ward, London, 933, p. 51: "Such things have been revealed to me that the things I have written and taught seem slight to me". He never went back to his Summa after that revelation.

Plato, Republic 6. 509B. Good (which probably stands for God) is "beyond being."

b) Beyond categories:

1) Problem of Incarnation: In it, since God is unchangeable, He acquires no relation to the humanity, yet that humanity is assumed into One Person, and the person does suffer in the humanity. Further, all works of the Three Persons done outside the Divine Nature are common to all Three. Reply: The humanity was given the relation to only the One Person, not to all three.

2) God's knowledge:

(a) Active vs passive. Neither mode can work for Him: He cannot be passive, cannot receive anything; but neither is He as limited as a blind man, who knows things move only if he is moving them. Thus St. Thomas, to explain God's knowledge of future contingents always invokes eternity - but stops with that, never says He knows by causality. If it were by infrustrable causality, no need of eternity to make such knowledge possible. We would say: He knows the future free decisions because He intends to cause them. Cf. New Answers to Old Questions, §§ 463-70. esp. §474.

(b) Futuribles: What would be if some conditions would be. Scripture shows He does know them: 1 Sam. 23:10-13; Jer 38:17-23; Lk 10:13. Further, it is universal belief that if one prays for what would be harmful to him, God would not grant it. This presupposes knowledge of futuribles. -- Eternity cannot help here, by making them present, since they never will be -- only would be. If one tried to use infrustrable causality, an almost infinite series of decrees would be needed. Hence many older theologians who insisted on knowledge only via causality, denied that God has certain knowledge of futuribles, e.g., P. de Ledesma, De divinae gratiae auxiliis, a. 18.

3) Eternity: In view of it, since there is no change in God, what seems to us to be past or future is all present to Him - creation is present to Him, return of Christ at end is present.

8. Principal early manifestations to Israel:

1) To Noah: Genesis 6. 13; 9. 1.

2) To Abraham: Genesis 12:1 (leave Haran); 15:1 (Father of many: justification by faith); 17:1 (circumcision ordered); 18:1 (three visitors & promise of birth of Isaac); 18:22 (bargaining over Sodom); 21:17 (speaks of Hagar); 22:1 (call for sacrifice of Isaac).

3) To Isaac: Gen. 25:23 (two nations in womb of Rebekah).

4) To Jacob: Gen. 28:10 (dream at Bethel); 49:10 (prophecy about Judah -- presupposes revelation).

5) To Moses: Ex 3. 4 ff (burning bush, and revelation of divine name, plus words of God before the Exodus); 12:1 (Passover instituted); 13:1 (consecration of firstborn); Exodus 15. 1 ff. (ark of covenant); 19:1:ff (covenant of Sinai and laws). Leviticus 4:1 ff (sheggagah); 16:. 1 (Yom Kippur: Aaron not to enter Holy of Holies often).

6) The Temple: a) prototype was the dwelling in the desert. Ex 25:1 ff. (notice Ex 25:40: "See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain - cf. rabbinic notions that the idea of the Temple was eternal: Talmud. Pesahim 4. 4. 54a): "Seven things were created before the creation of the world, namely: Torah, repentance, paradise, gehenna, the throne of majesty, the temple and the name of the Messiah." Cf. also 2 Baruch 4:2-6 in Charlesworth, Pseudepigrapha of the OT I. 622). -- Divine presence filled the dwelling: Ex 40:34-35: "The cloud dwelled (shakan; LXX epeskiazein- cf. Lk 1. 35, same verb) upon it and the glory of the Lord filled the dwelling (hamishkan) ".

b) Solomon's Temple: David had been forbidden by God to build the temple: compare 1 Chron. 22:8 -- because he shed much blood -- yet in 1 Kings 14:8 God praises David as a perfect man who "followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my eyes." (It was a matter of fittingness, not of morality) -- Warning to Solomon 1 Kings 9. 4ff: "If you live in my presence... I will establish your throne of power over Israel forever... But if you and your descendants ever withdraw from me, and do not keep the commandments and statues... I will cut off Israel from the land... and reject the temple... Israel shall become a proverb... among all nations." So it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II, rebuilt by God's command to Haggai, who promised the new temple would be more glorious (2:9) than the old -- fulfilled when Christ entered the Temple).

On lavish use of gold in first temple, see BAR May/June, 1989, pp. 20-34.

9. Knowledge of future retribution: (Recall comments on nefesh above. It seems that knowledge of future retribution, as distinct from future survival, did not clearly develop until the time of the Maccabees: There seems to have been revelation mediated by contact with Greek ideas of two parts in man (if not known clearly before), and the crisis coming from the final sufferings of the martyrs. Interior illumination or locution could have made the fact clear.

10. The Divine Names: El/il. Found already at Ebla, probably around 2500 BC: cf. G. Pettinato, The Archives of Ebla (Doubleday, 1981): p. 72(date), and pp. 276-77 (theophoric names with il and ya). Cf. Akkadian ilu (late 3rd millennium) and Babylonian bab-ilu -- gate of the god(Babylon). Also known at Ugarit (c. 1600BC). -- Almost out of use in OT, except in theophoric names and a few special combinations, such as El shaddai and El gibbor.

Elohim. The most frequent OT word for God, but also used for pagan gods, for angels, and even for human judges. It has plural ending, most likely plural of majesty or intensive plural.


a) Meaning: debated. Most likely a verbal form of haya (Originally perhaps hwy = "to be". Some think it a hiphil form meaning "cause to be".

If we take it as meaning I am, the sense is almost metaphysical or abstract. Yet we meet something similarly almost abstract in St. Paul's focusing esp. at Rom 8:7: "The flesh is not subject to the law of God, for it cannot be: those in the flesh cannot please God." Cf. 1 Jn 3:9: "Everyone who is begotten of God does not sin... and he is not able to sin, since he is begotten of God." On focusing cf. W. Most, "Focusing in St. Paul", in Faith & Reason, fall, 1976. II. 2. pp. 47-70. (Given as research paper at Catholic Biblical Association convention, Douglaston, NY in 1973).

b) Occurrence: It is probably found at Ebla - cf. Archives of Ebla , pp. 276-77. Also found on the Moabite stone (9th century BC) and may be an element in Egyptian, Ugaritic, Nabatean and Mari texts of 2nd millennium BC.

Postexilic Jews developed such a reverence for the name that they would not pronounce it in public reading, except that the High Priest could say it on Yom Kippur (other uses by priests: debated). The Dead Sea Scrolls use the Paleo-Hebrew script for writing it. In the Masoretic text it has the consonants yhwh, but the vowel points for adonai, "lord", so no one would inadvertently pronounce it. In the 16th century AD this led to the mistaken form Jehovah. Modern Jews often use the expression: hash-shem = the name, to avoid saying it.

c) Revelation: There is a problem: Gen 4:26:"Then men began to call upon the name of Yahweh." in contrast to Exodus 3:14 and 6:3. In 6:3 God told Moses: "And I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as El Shaddai, and my name Yahweh was not known to them." (In 3. 14 the burning bush vision God revealed the name to Moses).

Solution: Dahood, in Archives of Ebla, pp. 276-77 suggests that the name was known to northern or Syrian tradition early on, but not known to Egyptian tradition until later. It is also possible that we have an updated form anachronistically inserted at Gen 4:26. It is also possible that the name was known to the first men, later forgotten, by the time of Abraham. Some have suggested that Jethro, father-in-law of Moses, a priest of Midian (cf. Ex. cap. 18), introduced him to the Midianite name of God - but this denies the reality of the burning bush vision.

11. Scriptural account of the patriarchal age:


Chapter 12: Abram (later Abraham) came from Ur in Mesopotamia to Haran in NW Mesopotamia, at the command of God, who promised to make him into a great nation. In 12:3 God promised: "All the families of the earth shall be blessed in you." [Ambiguous Hebrew: either as given, or: Shall bless themselves through you" i.e., in blessing shall say: "May you be blessed as Abraham". But the NT in Gal 3:8 and Acts 3:25 understands it as in the way we first gave it. St. Paul takes it to mean those who have faith in Jesus will be the real children of Abraham in the spiritual sense, imitating his faith. Lot, his nephew, went with him. He built an altar with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east, and called upon the name of Yahweh (12:8: cf. the problem of the revelation of the name -- seems like an anachronism here).

He went to the Negeb, but because of a famine, went into Egypt. Abram told Sarai to say she was his sister -- for, as expected, the king's men took her to the king. Abram received rich presents because of her. But then (Gen 12:17): "God struck Pharaoh and his household with great plagues because of Abram's wife Sarai." So, the king called Abram: Why did you not say she was your wife. Take her and go.

Chapter 13: Abram came back to the Negeb, now a rich man, and continued toward the place between Bethel and Ai where he had built an altar. Lot too was rich, and so they decided to part, because of quarrels of their herdsmen. Lot went to Sodom. Abram settled near the terebinth of Mamre at Hebron, and built an altar to Yahweh.

Chapter 14: Four kings, including Amraphel of Shinar, made war, captured Lot. Abraham heard of it, took 318 of his retainers, pursued the kings, rescued Lot. Then Melchizedek king of Salem offered bread and wine as a priest of El Elyon. Abram gave him a tenth of all he had.

Now, in chapter 15, Abram worried he had no heir. God promised him descendants as numerous as the stars. His faith was credited as righteousness (sedaqah). In assurance, God had him take a heifer, a ram , and a turtle dove and pigeon, and split them, with each half opposite. Abram had a trance. God promised him the land, but not until the fourth dor [time period], for the wickedness of the Amorites had not yet reached its fullness.

Chapter 16: Sarai was sterile, so she gave Hagar to him to have children. After she became pregnant, she ridiculed Sarai. Sarai complained to Abram, and Sarai abused Hagar so much that she ran away into the desert. God promised Hagar her descendants would be a great nation. Abram was now 86.

In chapter 17, God told Abram: Walk in my sight and be blameless. God changed his name to Abraham, saying he would be the father of a host of nations. He then commanded circumcision (after Abraham was already just, in chapter 15. St. Paul stresses this timing. God also promised Sarai would have a son, Isaac, when she was 90, Abraham was 99.

Chapter 18: Abraham sees three men, gives them a meal. One of the men, God, promises again she will bear Isaac. As the men left, God stayed behind, and said He intended to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham haggles until God agrees to spare the cities for 10 just men -- they are not found.

Chapter 19: Two angels come to Lot in Sodom. The Sodomites want to abuse them sexually. Lot offers two daughters. But the angels strike the men of Sodom blind. Then they tell Lot to leave Sodom. Then God rained down sulphurous fire on the cities. On leaving, Lot's wife looks back, becomes a pillar of salt.

Lot lives for a time in a cave. His two daughters get him drunk, have intercourse, to have children. One had a son named Moab, the other a son named Ammon.

Chapter 20: Another episode like that with Pharaoh: Abimelech takes her, thinking her Abraham's sister. God threatens him in a dream, and he does not touch her. Rather, he gave 1000 shekels of silver to Sarah, and many slaves to Abraham who prayed for Abimelech, and the sterility of his household was removed.

Chapter 21: When Abraham was 100 years old, Isaac was born to Sarah. Abraham then sent Hagar and Ishmael away. Abraham stays in the land of the Philistines many years.

Chapter 22: God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac carried the wood for the sacrifice, but at the last moment, an angel told him not to kill Isaac. Abraham found a ram, offered it instead. God renewed the promise to Abraham, who returned to Beersheba.

Chapter 23: Sarah died at Hebron at age 127. Abraham was then 137. He bought the cave of Machpelah from Ephron the Hittite to bury her.

Chapter 24: Three years after his mother's death, Isaac married Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel, son of Nahor -- Abraham had sent a servant to his own land, to Nahor, in Aram Naharaim, to get a wife for Isaac. God guided the expedition. (Nahor is in the vicinity of Haran, the name appears often in the Mari letters under the name Nahur. Abraham died at age 175, and Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the same cave as his wife.

Chapter 25: Tells of his marriage to Keturah. Not sure if it is in chronological order -- if he married her after the marriage of Isaac he would have been 140 and would have had children at that age.


Chapter 25: Isaac was 40 when he married Rebekah, whom Abraham's servant brought from Mesopotamia. She, like Sara, was barren, but obtained twins by Isaac's prayer. Before the twins were born, God foretold: the elder shall serve the younger. Esau and Jacob were born when Isaac was 60. Esau became a hunter. One day, when he returned very tired, he asked for food Jacob was cooking- had to give up his birthright for it.

Chapter 26: Isaac fears Abimelech, king in Gerar, where Isaac had come because of famine. So like Abraham, they say she is his sister. Abimelech would have taken her, but happened to see Isaac fondling her, concluded she was wife, not sister. Abimelech reproached him: "You would thus have brought guilt on us" if one of the men of Abimelech had taken her in good faith. -- After a quarrel over wells Isaac had reopened, he fled back to Beersheba. God renews the promise to him. Isaac builds an altar there.

Chapter 27:When Isaac is old and blind and near death he tells Esau to bring him a meal of game and he will bless him. The mother overhears, has Jacob take a kid from the flock. Jacob gets the blessing. Esau comes back too late. Esau planned then to kill Jacob, so his mother sent him to her brother Laban in Haran.


Chapter 28:Isaac called Jacob, blessed him, told him to go to the household of Laban in Haran and pick a wife there. Esau became more envious. At Bethel on the way, Jacob say the vision of a ladder with God standing at the top, who renewed His promises.

Chapters 29-31: Jacob reaches Haran, There he helps the daughters of Laban water their flock. Laban is tricky, said he would give him Rachel as his wife, for seven years service, really gave Leah. Then after another 7 years he got Rachel also. Jacob had 11 sons and one daughter. By Rachel he had Joseph. Laban told Jacob he must serve more to get his flocks. Trickery by Laban is foiled. Jacob secretly fled from Haran with his household. Rachel stole the household gods. Laban pursued. But Laban and Jacob made a covenant in the hills of Gilead that neither would harm the other. Jacob returned home.

Chapter 32-33: On the way back Jacob meets Esau, and was afraid at first. Before meeting Esau, Jacob wrestled with a strange being, had to limp. The strange man gave him the name Israel. Afterwards, he made peace with Esau.

Chapter 34: Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob was raped by Shechem, son of Hamor, chief of the region of Shechem. Simeon and Levi lied, said Shechem could have their sister as wife if the males in the city would be circumcised. They did so, but when they were recovering, Simeon and Levi massacred all the males. Jacob was displeased.

Chapter 35: Jacob went back to Bethel, where God renewed the promises to him, confirmed the name Israel. They set out for Bethlehem. Rachel died after giving birth to Benjamin.

Isaac died at 180. Esau and Jacob buried him in the cave of Machpelah where Sarah, Abraham, and Rebekah had been buried.

Joseph: His brothers, envious of him, for his dreams, sold him as a slave into Egypt. He was put in charge of the house of Potiphar, captain of the Pharaoh's guard. The wife of Potiphar wanted sex with Joseph. He refused. She accused him of attacking her. He went to prison;there he interpreted dreams for two former royal officials. One was restored to court, then forgot Joseph until the king had two dreams. Joseph was called out, interpreted the dreams to mean 7 years of bumper crops, then seven of crop failure:advised they should store grain. The Pharaoh made him vizier. When the famine came, it struck also the land of Jacob. He sent sons to buy grain in Egypt. Joseph toyed with them, finally made them bring Benjamin. He finally broke down, admitted he was their brother. The king invited the whole household of Jacob to move to Egypt. There Jacob died at age 130, was buried in the cave of Machpelah.

12. Patriarchal age - historicity and dating:

We are not sure of the centuries in which the patriarchs lived. There are chiefly three tendencies, depending on where we date the Exodus from Egypt:

a) Early dating of Exodus: 1 Kings 6. 1 says 480 years from the Exodus to the start of construction of the Temple in 4th year of Solomon. Scholars usually say Solomon died in 930 plus or minus 10 years. Thus the beginning of the temple would be about 966 BC. Figuring backward we get:

2091, Abraham left for Canaan

1876, Family of Jacob goes to Egypt

1446, Exodus from Egypt (probably under Pharaoh Thutmose III)

966, Start of the Temple

b) Later dating of Exodus: Dating of Exodus is often given as about 1290 BC, under Ramesses II. Calculation starts with Ex 1. 11, which says the Israelites built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Raamses. Raamses may be Per Ramesese, which is probably same as Avaris-Tanis. Avaris was deserted after 1500, and was reestablished by Seti I(1318- 01). Rameses II began in 1301, so he is Pharaoh of Exodus. Ps 78. 12 and 43 say Hebrews were at Tanis (also called Zoan) when royal court was there. If they left in 1290, would enter Palestine c 1250. Then still 20 years to reach west Palestine and be met by Merneptah (cf. his stele). So they entered Egypt c 1720, about time of entry of Hyksos.

c) Loose theories: Some think there never was an Exodus, just a peasants' revolt in Canaan. Others deny Scripture means to give us any data.

We will return to theories of the date of the Exodus below:

13. Theories on the Patriarchal Age in relation to other ancient data:

The core question is that of the genre of the patriarchal stories. Are they perhaps something like the genre of epic? The Church has not settled this question for us thus far, so we may consider many possibilities.

a) The patriarchs are largely eponyms, not historical persons: cf. H. Shanks, Ancient Israel, Biblical Archaeology Society, 1988, pp. 4-5. Even if so, what are the traditions behind the narratives? We know memories could be accurate for centuries, as shown by the case of King Tudiya, first on the Assyrian King list. For long the early sections were thought to be artificial or corrupt or merely invented. Now it is known from Ebla that he made a treaty with Ebrum, king of Ebla, around 2350 B.C. The Assyrian King list dates from about 1000B.C., so the gap is about 13 centuries: Cf. G. Pettinato, Archives of Ebla, Doubleday, 1981, pp. 103-05.

b) Albright, Speiser and G. E. Wright: They reason that some details in the stories correspond to known features of 2nd millennium culture in Mesopotamia, Syria, and Canaan. This reconstruction is widely influential even today, but much doubt has been cast upon it. Cf. Biblical Archaeologist, 42. 1 (Winter 1979) for two articles, favorable and unfavorable, pp. 37-47. Also H. Shanks, op. cit., pp. 9-11.

This school holds that an urban culture flourished in Syria and Canaan in Early Bronze Age, much of 3rd millennium. But late in this millennium, this civilization collapsed, was replaced by dominantly nonurban, pastoral culture. Records of Dynasty III of Ur complain of chronic trouble with nonurban peoples. There may have been an invasion or at least massive immigration of nomadic peoples from edges of desert - they were called Amurru or Amorites. This is the Amorite Hypothesis. The patriarchs then are Amorites, and Abraham's movements belong to the Amorite movements. This Abraham phase would be 2100-1900 BC, which is Middle Bronze I.

The next period, MB II A is age of unwalled villages in Syria and Canaan. The 12th dynasty kings of Egypt who were strong encouraged gradual development of a system of city-states in Syria and Canaan. But then in MB II B Egypt began to weaken, at the time of Jacob. This was the Old Babylonian period in Mesopotamia, time of Hammurabi and his successors. It is the age of Mari in Syria. New ruling dynasties in cities of Syria and Mesopotamia have typically Amorite names. Yet a substantial population of nomads remained which was also Amorite.

For views of W. F. Albright, see his Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan, chapter 2 and From the Stone Age to Christianity;The Biblical Period from Abraham to Ezra.

Some of Albright's students did not go so far as he did in this precision. Would say only that the patriarchal stories are best understood in setting of early 2nd millennium. Cf. Wright, in Biblical Archaeology, rev. ed. 1962; Wm. G. Dever,"Palestine in the Second Millennium BCE: The Archeological Picture" in J. M. Hayes, and J. M. Miller, Israelite and Judaean History, 1977, esp. pp. 70- 120; Roland de Vaux, The Early History of Israel, 1978, pp. 161-287.

Names like those of the patriarchs are common in materials of first half of second millennium. Abram and Jacob are actually found, but not Joseph or Isaac. Also, the Nuzi tablets showed similar customs in many, not all things.

John Bright, History of Israel, 3d ed. , 1981, esp. pp. 67-102, gave a classic modern outline of the view of Albright.

E. A. Speiser, in Anchor, Genesis, using chiefly Nuzi archives, gave a largely Hurrian interpretation of the activities of the patriarchs. Cf. esp pp. xxxix ff. and 86 ff and passim.

C. H. Gordon, in Journal of Bible and Religion 21 (1953), pp. 238- 43 and elsewhere (cf. K. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament [1966] p. 42. n. 36) proposed a 14th century date, thought Abraham was a merchant-prince. Similar are views of O. Eissfeldt, in Cambridge Ancient History, 2d ed. II. 26a, 1965, p. 8.

c) Criticisms of the Albright proposals:

1) The pastoral peoples were present even earlier too, alongside of urban centers - so it is not likely their invasion or immigration caused collapse of cities. Possibly: overpopulation, drought, famine.

2) Circumstances of what is now called late Middle Bronze I (Alright's MB II A) could have been a suitable context: nomads and cities were side by side in Syria and Canaan. This is called a dimorphic pattern = urban and nomadic culture side by side. This dimorphic pattern has been common in Middle East even to modern times.

3) Nuzi patterns seem to reflect widespread Mesopotamian practices rather than distinctively Hurrian customs which might have been assumed to have penetrated into Canaan. The Nuzi type in which a barren wife provides a bondwoman is not unique to Nuzi - is found in Old Babylonian, Old Assyrian texts too, and also in a 12th century Egyptian document.

4) Names like Abram are not certainly attested in Middle Bronze Age (or in Ebla) but are found later, in Late Bronze. The name type to which belong Isaac, Jacob and Joseph are the most characteristic type of Amorite name.

d) Martin Noth and Albrecht Alt: Alt was teacher of Noth. They worked about same time as Albright. They believe Israel was formed from an amalgamation of various clans and tribes, which happened gradually during the period of settlement in Canaan. Noth tried to reconstruct things by history of traditions - derived from work of Hermann Gunkel, inventor of Form Criticism. A major clue to the origin of an element of tradition is its connection with a region, place or other geographical feature. Abraham is associated with the oaks of Mamre near Hebron. Isaac dwells at oases of Beersheba and Beer-lahai-roi. Jacob most closely tied to Shechem and Bethel. So Noth thought traditions about Abraham came from the Judean Hills, those on Isaac from SW Judah and Negeb, and those on Jacob from central hills of Ephrem. Thought the Jacob stories are the oldest component. These three traditions were blended when the stories were transmitted orally , before the composition of J. Dates proposed for J range from 10th to 6th centuries BC. Fact that Abraham was said to be oldest shows the combining took place when Judah was in ascendancy. Could not have been complete before 11th century. -- Note that in this view we can thus trace the development of the traditions, but have only indirect information about the patriarchs themselves.

e) Criticism of Noth theories:

1) Noth thought a story with a complex structure was surely late -- but more recent study shows this need not be true at all. Cf. the notion that Mark had to be early for similar reasons: cf W. Most, The Consciousness of Christ, pp. 215-16, and Frank M. Cross, :"The Epic Tradition of Early Israel... ." in The Poet and the Historian. Essays in Literary and Historical Biblical Criticism, ed. R. E. Friedman, 1983, esp. pp. 24-25. Very probably Homer was an oral poet -- as also were the Ugaritic myths and epics - but the narratives are extended, with a complex structure.

2) Robert Oden, in: "Jacob as Father, Husband, and Nephew: Kinship Studies and the Patriarchal Narrative" in: Journal of Biblical Literature 102 (1983) pp. 189-205. He has shown that kinship patterns are very often the central factors in the social structure and self-definition of a community. He sees two kinds of genealogies: one is linear, from Abraham to Jacob, which defines Israel in relation to other peoples, second, a laterally branched genealogy starting with the 12 sons of Jacob, which defines Israel internally. We note that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all marry within the larger family group.

f) T. L. Thompson in The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives (Zeitschrift für alttestamentlich Wissenschaft, Supp, 133. 1974), wants to give priority to literary and form criticism, and virtually drop archaeology. He dates the patriarchs to the first millennium! J. Van Seters, Abraham in History and Tradition, Yale, 1975, agrees on literary and form criticism instead of archaeology, and also dates patriarchs in 1st millennium.

Criticisms of Thompson: The chronological details are simply impossible. For example, . Van Seters thinks camel nomadism was not possible until the first century B.C. But he admits (p. 17) that there was "limited domestication [of camels] in Arabia in third millennium." Cf. K. Kitchen, op. cit. , p 79-80.

g) Conclusions: 1. Most scholars are convinced that the stories about the three patriarchs contain at least a kernel of authentic history, though they are reluctant to mark which details are authentic. Yet they say the narratives may be more ideology than history -- to make a political and theological statement about the Israelite nation. We comment: Yet it is safe to assume that the Israelites, like many other nations, did have a tradition about their past, perhaps embellished, as in epic. The case of Esau fits a frequent pattern -- his line is descended from a brother of the great ancestor, Abraham, having suitable marriages, Esau not. Ethnic separateness is one of the strongest features of the tradition, so the Israelite nation did not arise out of a coalition of outsiders, even though some others, probably of half Hebrew , half Egyptian ancestry joined the Exodus on the way out (Exodus 12. 38;cf. Num 11. 4). As to the Exodus itself, it is unlikely a people would invent the story of their having been slaves for centuries, and then recount also their manifold infidelities during the desert wandering and after that as well.

2. An objection comes from McCarter, in Ancient Israel, pp. 18-19, who thinks the twelve tribe entity did not come until David's time. He cites Judges 5:14-18 saying it shows no mention of Judah and Simeon, and says also Manasseh and Gad are also missing, while two tribes Machir (Judges 5:14) and Gilead (Judges 5:17) are given which are not in the later list. COMMENT: The list does not profess to give all tribes - just those who fought against Sisera. Manasseh is represented by Machir, a place name. Gilead is representing Gad. Gilead as a place name sometimes represents all Israelite Transjordan (cf. Joshua 22:9), or at times (cf. Num 32:29) it means only the areas between the Jabboc and Arnon rivers (i. e, Reuben and Gad) or (cf. Joshua 17:5) between the Jabboc and Yarmud (i.e., Manasseh). Judah and Simeon were simply too distant to join the campaign, and were not needed - enough without them.

3. Many believe the story of Joseph, Gen 37 and 39-47, originated independently of the stories about the three great ancestors. Yet the general outline of the events in the story of Joseph is likely to have an ultimate basis in historical fact, even if, as some think, some details are not historical. The story shows only a limited knowledge of the life and culture of Egypt. Thus Gen 41:23 & 27 speaks of a hot east wind scorching the grain, but in Egypt it is the south wind that does this. The titles and offices the story assigns to various Egyptian officials fit better with known parallels in Syria and Canaan than with Egyptian parallels: cf. Donald Redford, A Study of the Biblical Story of Joseph, Vetus Testamentum Supplement #20, Brill, 1970, and R. De Vaux, The Early History of Israel (tr. D. Smith, Philadelphia, Westminster, 1978), pp. 301-02. There are some authentic Egyptian details, but they seem to fit the period after the time of the Hyksos. K. A. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, pp. 52-53: "... the price of twenty shekels of silver paid for Joseph in Genesis 37:28 is the correct average price for a slave in about the eighteenth century BC [cites Hammurabi code and Mari texts]: earlier than this, slaves were cheaper (average, ten to fifteen shekels), and later they became steadily dearer."

14. Details of historicity of the Exodus:

(1). Number involved: Exodus 12. 37-39 speaks of about six hundred thousand men, on foot, besides women and children. A mixed multitude also went up with them, and very many cattle, both flocks and herds. - This number seems impossibly high.

Possible solutions:

a) Some today tend to think a much smaller group was involved - perhaps represented by the tribe of Levi. Other proposals include : elements of the Leah, Rachel and the so-called concubine tribes. Others suppose two stages of escape - one as early as the expulsion of the Hyksos, c. 1550 - or in some other division resulting from the Pharaoh's hesitations about letting them go.

b) The best view is that the genre is much like epic, and Hebrews tend to exaggerate even without that. It is multiplying by a factor of ten. Cf. R. B. Allen, Numbers, in Expositor's Bible Commentary, (Regency, Zondervan, 1990 2, pp. 680-91

(2) The wall of water: An inspired author could record two variant traditions, without affirming either one - this seems true in the case of the crossing of the Red sea - two woven together in Exodus 14. Vv. 21-25 say the Lord drove the sea back with a strong wind- but yet says the waters were like a wall on the right and the left. And vv 26-29 speak of the deep waters coming onto the Egyptians. Compare chapters 16 & 17 in First Samuel, on David meeting Saul for the first time (On variant traditions, cf. Free From All Error, pp. 87-88. The inspired writer found two sources, did not know which was true, affirmed neither, only asserts he found the two: here they are.)

Gulf of Suez is 15 miles wide, but 217 miles long, high mountains on each side of it, which could funnel wind from NW down onto the gulf water at around 10 MPH on an average day. Oceanographers Doron Nof of Fla. State Univ. and Nathan Paldor of Hebrew University in Jerusalem say if the winds went to about 45 mph they would push the gulf water ahead of them. In ten hours there would be enough water cleared from gulf to drop water level by eight feet. (Discover magazine of Jan 1993, p. 62. But 8 feet reduction in depth would not be nearly enough.)

(3). The route taken is extremely hard to determine. Many now think the Red Sea really was the Sea of Reeds, perhaps a papyrus lake. Cf. Oxford Bible Atlas, pp. 58-59.

One possibility is a southern route, along east coast of Gulf of Suez. We can tentatively identify some sites on this e.g., Marah and Elim. The vagueness of later stopping points may be due to rugged southern terrain where copper and turquoise mines were found. Then Mt. Sinai (Horeb) would be probably Jebel Musa. Then they headed NE to Kadesh-barnea.

A northern route would cross the narrow sandy spit between Lake Sirbonis and the Mediterranean, and then go SE to Kadesh-Barnea, and a Mt. Sinai in the north, perhaps Jebel Magharah or Jebel Halai. A major problem with this view is the difficulty of crossing the dunes between Lake Sirbonis and Kadesh-barnea.

They stopped at Kadesh-Barnea while spies scouted the land - Numbers caps. 13-14. Because of their faithless reaction there, God condemned them to wander for years, so none of the generation there would enter the promised land, except Joshua and Caleb. There is a problem of lack of remains near the probable site of Kadesh-Barnea: Cf. R. Cohen, "Did I excavate Kadesh-Barnea" in BAR, May- June, 1981. Pp. 21-33. However, Frank Moore Cross, retired from Harvard, in an interview in Bible Review, August 1992, pp. 23-32, 61-62 thinks the Israelites really wandered in the area of Midian, where many remains have been found. Also, Moses had the vision of the Burning Bush in Midian, and seemingly Sinai was there. Moses married a woman from Midian.

Modern Debates on the Date of the Exodus:

(1). Early dating, 15th century B.C. probably under Thutmose III: John J. Bimson, David Livingston, "Redating the Exodus" in BAR, Sept-Oct. 1987, p. 40ff. Would date Exodus to 1460 BC, with conquest at about 1420. This entails changing date of end of Middle Bronze II to just before 1400, instead of traditional 1550. See (3)(b) below: Bietak, for Egypt, dates end of MB II to 1500-1450.

Starting point is 1 Kgs 6. 1, saying Solomon started temple in his 4th year, 480 years after Exodus. They admit the numbers may be round or somewhat artificial. But it fits with their proposal.

This proposal solves most problems of remains of cities conquered: At end of their MB II we would find Jericho, with a wall, destroyed at this point (newer data on Jericho reported below, (4)(b), on Wood ). On Gibeon: Joshua 9:27 records no conquest, it was abandoned, but it was there at end of MB II. There would be signs of destruction at right time, of a city with a wall for: Hebron, Lachish, Hazor. They argue that Ai belongs at Khirbet Nisya - which will show a site abandoned at the right point, with at least some occupation indicated at right time. Similarly they place Arad at Tell Malhata - surface finds indicate occupation there. They think Bethel is not Beitin but Bireh - MBII pottery found in surface surveys -- other things not yet found.

They have answers for the dating based on Exodus l. 11-- Site shows some building in 19-17 centuries BC at Pi-Ramesse. At Pithom some signs of brutal treatment by Hyksos.

An important footnote on p. 52 indicates a variation possible for Jericho, which would still help the problem by extending the occupation of MB II C cities down through LB I. (Also, see (4)(b) below on Jericho by Bryant Wood).

(2) General Objections to early dating: 1). If we take these figures we would have to accept the ages given for the patriarchs: Abraham 175 yrs (Gen. 21. 7); Isaac 180 years (Gen. 35. 280); Jacob 147 years (Gen. 47. 28); Joseph 110 (Gen. 50. 26). Many reject ages so great- But Science News, Nov. 7, 1987, p. 301 proposes shift in length of years.

2) Moreover, the 480 years looks like a symbolic number: 12 x 40.

Moreover the length of stay in Egypt is unclear. Exodus 12, 40 in LXX and Gal 3. 17 say 430 years from Abraham's entry into Canaan at age 75 and the Exodus. But Exodus 12, 40 in Hebrew (Masoretic text) gives 430 years in Egypt, while LXX would have only 215 years.

3. Moses and Aaron were fourth generation descendants of Jacob's son Levi (1 Chron. 5. 27-29). The 430 years assigned to slavery in Egypt is high for three generations, an average of 143 yrs each. -- And this clashes with what 1 Chron. 7. 20-27 tells: Joshua, a younger associate of Moses was a 12th generation descendant of Levi's brother Joseph. Then the 11 generations from Joseph to Joshua would average 39 yrs each. -- We reply that genealogical lists are not always complete, and genealogies in Scripture need not be like ours: R. R. Wilson in Biblical Archaeologist, Winter, 1979. 42, pp. 11-22, and also R. Wilson, Genealogy and History in the Biblical World, Yale, 1977, p. 166.

(3). Articles objecting to early dating:

(a) "Radical Exodus Dating Fatally Flawed", by Baruch Halpern, in BAR Nov. -Dec. 1987 pp. 56-61 -- a slashing attack on Bimson. Many attacks followed on Halpern in March-April BAR, in letter section. Especially the following:

(b). Comment on Bimson proposal to move date to MB II: BAR. March-April, 1989, p. 54 (report by Hershel Shanks on annual meeting of BASOR and other societies): "Dever and Bietak [one of world's leading Egyptologists, director of excavations at Tell el-Daba, eastern Delta] disagree by between 100 and 150 years on the dating of the Middle Bronze Age II. Bietak dates this period from about 1700 to l500-1450 B.C. Dever and other archaeologists working in Israel place the end of the Middle Bronze age about 1550 B.C. The end of the Middle Bronze Age also marks the beginning of the Late Bronze Age, the period immediately preceding the Israelite emergence in Canaan... . the basic issue is whether Bietak has correctly fit three strata of pottery from Tell el-Daba into Egyptian chronology. Unfortunately, Bietak's pottery is still unpublished. Moreover, say those who support Dever, we must also look at synchronisms with Mesopotamian chronology, which, like Egyptian chronology, also provides absolute dates. The relative dating evidence from Canaan also somehow bears on the outcome of the debate." [a note gives references to previous articles on the matter, BAR and others].

(4) Support for early dating:

(a) BAR, March-April 1990. Bryant G. Wood, "Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?" He says yes, about 1400 B.C. K. Kenyon could not find such evidence, said Jericho City IV was destroyed at end of Middle Bronze Age (c. 1550 B.C. ). Wood argues: (a) Kenyon depended on not finding imported Cypriote ware which would point to Late Bronze I. But she dug in a poor part of the city, very limited - two squares 26 ft on a side each. She should not expect to find expensive ware in such a place. But Garstang has found it elsewhere in Jericho. (b) She thought the destruction was associated with Egyptian pursuit of Hyksos. But why would the Hyksos destroy a city when fleeing? And there are no records indicating Egyptians came that far - farthest point was Sharuhen in SW Canaan. Further, Egyptians always destroyed by siege -- no sign of that at Jericho. And Egyptians started campaign before the harvest, so supplies of food would not be enough to stand a siege. But Garstang found much grain in jars at Jericho, so it was not starved out (Joshua attacked after spring harvest). (c) The cemetery there shows a continuous series of Egyptian scarabs from the 18th through the early 14th centuries BC. So it was not abandoned after 1500 as Kenyon thought. (d) Radiocarbon test of burnt debris there shows date of 1410, plus or minus 40 years.

(b) Attack on proposal of Wood: BAR Sept-Oct. 1990, Piotr Bienkowsi attacked Wood, agreed with Kenyon. But in same issue Wood answers - seems to have the better of the argument. Also, Kenyon has been caught in a large mistake in the City of David- cf. next item (c) below:

(c). Attack on work of Kenyon at Jericho: "Yigal Shiloh. Last Thoughts" in BAR March-April, 1988, pp. 15-27 - an interview before his death. In the fall of 1987, he was awarded the prestigious Jerusalem Prize in Archeology for his work on the City of David in Jerusalem. BAR, p. 15 says, "Shiloh confounded the skeptics and uncovered spectacularly informative remains that brought him world-wide fame and adulation."

He found serious defects in the previous work of famous Kathleen Kenyon. On p. 25, with picture, BAR reports: "Before Shiloh excavated the City of David, the stepped-stone structure had been only partially excavated. Kathleen Kenyon who excavated in the City of David from 1961 to 1967, dated it to no earlier than the sixth century B.C." She was also, noted for her work at Jericho.

p. 23: "When we excavated in this depression, we found Early Bronze material, Middle Bronze material, Late Bronze material, even Chalcolithic. Do you understand? This proves again and again what I said about the defects in Kathleen Kenyon's system of working. You could work five years in one area. For example, in the southern part of Area E, we worked for five years. For five years, we found material only from the eighth century, the seventh century. But once we moved farther north, just three meters, there was a depression. We looked down and instead of bedrock we found Middle Bronze and Early Bronze material."

p. 27: "As we mentioned earlier, when Kathleen Kenyon finished her excavations here, she in effect said good luck to anybody who follows her, but they will not find much." But Shiloh found a lot, as we saw.

(d). Goedicke's Thera theory: "The Exodus and the Crossing of the Red Sea, according to Hans Goedicke" by Hershel Shanks. BAR Sept/Oct. 1981, pp. 42-50. P. 45: "In 1477 B.C. during the reign of Pharaoh Hatshepsut, the volcano on Thera erupted; a huge tidal wave rolled across the Mediterranean and drowned the Egyptian army south of Lake Menzaleh; the fleeing Israelites escaped into Sinai." Goedicke translates, on p. 49, a document of Hatshepsut: "I annulled the former privileges [that existed] since [the time] the Asiatics were in the region of Avaris of Lower Egypt. The immigrants (shemau) among them disregarded the tasks which were assigned to them.... And when I allowed the abominations of the gods [i.e., these immigrants to depart], the earth swallowed their footsteps!" -- Proposed change of date of Thera eruption to 165 BC, In: Myth becomes History by Carol G. Thomas, Publications of Association of Ancient Historians #4, pp. 31-37.

(e). Attack on Thera theory of Goedicke: "A Critique of Professor Goedicke's Exodus Theories"[As in d above, BAR Sept/Oct. 1981] by Charles R. Krahmalkov, in BAR Sept/Oct. 1981, pp. 51-54. On p. 53:"Krahmalkov's Theory. Embarking on ships from the Red Sea Port of Qoseir, the Israelites successfully crossed the Sea to Arabia or Sinai, while their Egyptian pursuers drowned in a storm."

(5) Support for late dating, about 1290 under Rameses II: in addition to archeological work on two cities built by Hebrews):

(a) Adam Zertal, "Israel enters Canaan" in BAR Sept/Oct. 1991, pp. 30-47 after 12 years of surveying and excavating the tribal territory of Manasseh, found a trail of pottery showing Israel entered Canaan at the end of the Late Bronze Age (13th century BC) and continued into Iron Age I (1200-1000 B.C. ) He found 116 sites from MB IIB (1750-1550), but then for LB 1550-1200) only 39 sites. The number rose again for Iron Age I (1200-1000) to 136. Iron Age people used the soil differently than the earlier group -they had to work on the hills. Zertal says pottery shows some of the Israelites entered near Schechem - Moses had told the to build an altar as soon as they crossed the Jordan, at Mt. Ebal (Dt. 17:1-11) which Joshua did. Others would have crossed near Jericho. Epic genre can easily accommodate such a pattern.

We have already explained that long oral transmission is possible: cf. G. Pettinato, op. cit. pp. 103-05.

(b) Kenneth Kitchen in BAR March-April, 1995, pp. 48-57, 88-96,"The Patriarchal Age: Myth or History?" gives what BAR calls "an extraordinary demonstration" that certain things in the stories of the patriarchs are found in early 2nd millennium BC - and at no other period. He shows that at least some elements of those narratives are time-specific, and the times indicated are those which the Bible gives for them.

NEW FINDINGS: L. Williams, The Mount Sinai Myth, Wynwood Press, N. Y. 1900, With a companion he visited the real site of Mt. Sinai, Jabal al Lawz in Saudi Arabia. Found the top of the mountain blackened, saw the 12 pillars of Moses He got George Stevens of Horizon Research to check the French sattelite pictures with infrared, found path of Hebrews in gulf of Aqaba and in area of the Mountain. This confirms the video of Wyatt in "Presentation of Discoveries". Wyatt Archeological Research (from Ed and Herbette Smith, 25025 Waterfall Rd. , Haymarket, VA 22069) on Sinai, leaves debatable video of Wyatt on Noah’s ark-- since a Pentagon General I know has seen high resolution photos of the ark from space, finding it farther up on Ararat, in snow.

(6). Proposals of very loose genre:

(a) Mattanyah Zohar, Dept of Archaeology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. In BAR Mar. April 1988. pp. 13 and 58:Argues that we know the pattern of epics from Serbia, Troy, Finland, Persia, Japan, Ireland, and others, that it is quite loose, floats in time and space, yet has a kernel in it - so we should treat the whole tradition of the Exodus. Hence on p. 13 speaks harshly: "... Bruce Halpern... takes seriously the esoteric dating of John Bimson and David Livingston... . This simply does too much honor to the 'lunatic fringe' growing around the archaeology of Palestine." We comment: The intemperate language is unworthy of a scholar. (NB also p. 104 above, Hershel Shanks' report on proposed change of dating of Middle Bronze II).

(b) Continuous Exodus theory: "How not to create a history of the Exodus - a Critique of Professor Goedicke's Theories" (cf. p. 106 above) by Eliezer D. Oren in BAR Nov/Dec. 1981, pp. 46-53. on p. 53:"The actual events were, no doubt, much more complex than the Biblical narrative indicates. All we can do in the present state of our knowledge is to suggest that the various traditions interwoven in the Biblical narrative imply that the Egyptian episode must be seen as a continuous process of migrations, settlement and movement on various occasions and along different routes, by small and large groups between Egypt and Canaan. At the same time, many people of the same ethnic stock remained in Palestine and never went to Egypt."[italics in original]. Oren was a prominent Israeli archaeologist and chairman of Dept. of Archaeology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

(c). Proposal of loose genre on Exodus: "A Bible Scholar looks at BAR's coverage of the Exodus", by Yehuda T. Radday (of Technion Institute). BAR Nov. /Dec. 1982, pp. 68- 71. p. 68:"... the aim of the biblical historiography was not to 'tell history' as we moderns understand the telling of history. The Biblical authors were not historians in any modern sense of the term... . The purpose... was to promulgate certain specific religious, moral and social concepts... . . [p. 69] Almost everyone admits that an Exodus occurred. But the details of the journey are presented in such a way that relating them either chronologically or geographically to known historical data is indeed difficult... . . [p. 71]. Archaeology can neither sustain nor refute the Bible."

(d). Attack on loose genre theory of Exodus: Siegfried Herrmann, A History of Israel in Old Testament Times, tr. J. Bowden. Fortress, 1975 (dedicated to Albrecht Alt), p. 60: "The theory that a group of workers, presumably composed of different elements, finally escaped from Egypt and, despite their probable ethnic complexity, attached themselves to groups in the Sinai desert who later went on to Palestine, seems to be logically correct."

(e). Further attack on loose genre theory of Exodus: Nahum Sarna, "Israel in Egypt" in AI, p. 51: "The cumulative effect of several varied lines of approach tend to support the historicity of the slavery in Egypt, the reality of the migration from that country and the actuality of the subsequent Israelite penetration and control of much of Canaan. Had Israel really arisen in Canaan and never been enslaved in Egypt, a biblical writer would have had no reason to conceal that fact and could surely have devised an appropriate narrative to accommodate that reality were he given to fictional inventiveness. We are at a loss to explain the necessity of fabricating an uncomfortable and disreputable account of Israel's national origins, nor can we conceive how such a falsity could so pervade their national psyche as to eliminate all other traditions and historical memories, let alone be the dominant and controlling theme in the national religion."

(7) Various added articles on Exodus:

(a)."Ancient Records and the Exodus Plagues", in BAR Nov/Dec. 1987. , on text of Ipu-wer on plagues in Egypt.

(b)."Lachish-Key to the Israelite Conquest of Canaan?" BAR Jan/Feb. 1987. pp. 18ff.

(c)."Did I excavate Kadesh-Barnea?" by Rudolph Cohen, BAR May/June, 1981 pp. 21-33. -Uncertain if that is the site - if so, seems to have no remains of use by Israel during the desert period, when they stayed there a long time. Springs there are richest and most abundant in the Sinai, watering the largest oasis in N. Sinai. Many acres today of fruit and nut trees. Has remains of three ancient fortresses, earliest probably of time of Solomon. But if we put the wanderings in Midian there is no problem. Cf. report on views of Frank Moore above on p. 103.

(d) BAR Sept/Oct. 1988: three articles pp. 34 ff on Israelite origins.

(e) Charles R. Krahmalkov, "Exodus Itinerary Confirmed by Egyptian Evidence," in BAR, Sept/Oct. 1994, pp, . 54 62, and 79. -- Shows that hieroglyphic inscriptions on the Temple of Amon at Karnak give lists of places, that fit remarkably with the Exodus itinerary in Scripture. A list there by Thutmoses III from Late Bronze Age I mentions Iyyin, Dibon, Abel and Jordan, all of which appear in Numbers 33, and in the same order as the list of Thutmoses III. A list by Ramesses II has Heres, Qarho (Dibon) Ikanu and Abel, which match some of the place names from Numbers 33. So the Israelite invasion route described in Numbers 33:45b - 50 shows an official, heavily traveled Egyptian road through the Transjordan in the Late Bronze Age. The City of Dibon was a station on that road at the time. Ramesses says he sacked Dibon. Also, the Mesha Stela from 9th century BC, records that King Mesha conquered Israelite territory east of the Jordan and humiliated the tribe of Gad. Among towns mentioned is Qarbo, seemingly Biblical Dibon, showing that a Dibon did exist then, even though remains have not yet been found there.

Archaeology :

(1). Kenneth, Kitchen, The Bible in Its World: The Bible and Archaeology Today , Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL 1977, pp. 10-15:

a) Notes that the mid-brick buildings of the ancient Near East could easily be gradually swept away by wind, sand and rain.

b) Not always is a site completely excavated, for it is costly. For example, Ashdod covers about 70 acres of lower city area and another 20 acres of acropolis. By l977 only 1, 1/2 acres had been excavated. - Only 1/10 of the site of Et-Tell, which some think was Ai, had been excavated. - Only a small portion of Jericho had been excavated.

ADD: J. A. Callaway, in Ancient Israel, p. 61:"The kidney-shaped mound of ancient Jericho still has about 70 feet of occupation layers intact, dating from the earliest settlement, about 9000 B.C., beside the spring known today as Ain es-Sultan." And on p. 63:"At Ai. . John Garstang excavated eight trenches in 1928. In 1931 he wrote that 'A considerable proportion of L. B. A. [Late Bronze Age I. ending about 1400 B.C. ]' wares were found, including 'A Cypriote wishbone handle' and that they were left 'in the collection of the American School (Now Albright Institute). ' This pottery has never been found... . Thus nothing of Garstang's 'Late Bronze" evidence is available for a 'second opinion' of his interpretation."

c) Site shift is possible. Jericho was abandoned from Hellenistic times and moved to near the springs of Ain- Sultan, onto the site that became modern Jericho (Er-Riba). But in Hellenistic and Roman times, palaces and villas were constructed at still a third side nearby (Tulul Abu el-Alaiq). So today there are three Jerichos.-R. Brown (Recent Discoveries and The Biblical World Glazier, Wilmington, 1983, pp. 68-69 admits: "Aharoni, the excavator argues that in Canaanite times Arad was not at Tell Arad but at Tell el-Milh (Malhata) 7 miles southeast of Tell Arad, while Hormah was at Khirbet el-Meshash (Masos) 3 miles further west."

(2). See 15, (8) and (9) above.

17. Covenant of Sinai:

a) Relation to Hittite Treaties: George Mendenhall in Biblical Archaeologist, 17, 1954, pp. 26-46 and 49-76 (same in Law and Covenant in the Ancient Near East, Pittsburgh, 1955) noted that there is a well defined pattern 1) preamble - Hittite king is presented, titles given. 2) Historical prologue: gives foundation for obligations of the vassal. 3) Stipulations. List of obligations of vassal. Vassal is often directed to avoid "murmuring", and must love the Sun (Hittite King). 4) Deposit and public reading -- perhaps 3 times a year. 5) List of witnesses- numerous gods. 6) Curses and blessings. -- Some then tried to find same elements in Sinai covenant, esp. W. Moran, "De foederis Mosaici traditione": in Verbum Domini 40, 1962. 3-17. But D. J. McCarthy, Treaty and Covenant, Biblical Institute, 1963 thought otherwise, said similar conditions in two places can give similar responses. He also noted that Israel was not so much a vassal as family member - cf. berith and goel.

b) Sinai as bilateral - cf. W. Most, in CBQ Jan 1967. Also Cyrus Gordon notes the Apology of Hattusili III who made a bilateral covenant with Ishtar: in The Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilizations. NY, 1965, p. 96. He also notes cases in pagan Greek literature of such agreements, bilateral. -- Those who would make it unilateral said God took on no obligations - but cf. Exodus 19:5. They are probably influenced by Protestant notions that we do nothing towards our salvation.

Covenant of Sinai was at first thought of only for temporal favors - but in later centuries, was reinterpreted to mean eternal salvation.

Integral part of ceremony was cutting an animal in two, and walking between the pieces- cf. Abraham in Genesis l5:9 ss: "Just as this is cut up, so may X be cut up - if he breaks the berith. Hence probably the term "to cut a covenant".

c) Covenant law: May have been influenced by Code of Ur-nammu of Ur c. 2100 BC, and Hammurabi, 18th century.

How is it possible to say that the Biblical law was revealed, and yet seems borrowed from earlier codes?

Let us make a comparison in the style of revelation God used to bring to thee Jews the knowledge of future retribution. Up to the time of the persecution of Antiochus IV of Syria, they seem not to have understood. Thus e.g., Psalms 72 bravely said he was disturbed at the prosperity of the wicked, until he entered the sanctuary and found what an end they cam to. , Now this was true many times-- but not at all times. Now the terrible deaths of the Maccabean martyrs in 2 Mc shows the need of an agonizing reappraisal. Joined with this would be the early contact with Greek thought which clearly spoke of two parts in man --- even though the concepts were not precisely the same as ours. These were the means it seems by which God gradually lead them to understand retribution in the future life.

Something quite parallel seems to appear in chapter 3 of Ezekiel, where God orders him to eat a book. Physically that was not impossible, but terribly difficult. So it must have meant that God filled Ezekiel with God's spirit and understanding of things, so that he could confidently say: "Thus says the Lord" - when He had not received a special revelation.

Similarly Moses the greatest and most intimate of the prophets, was filled with God's Spirit and so could write these laws.

Two kinds of law: (1) Case law, casuistic, (2) and prescriptive or apodictic laws.

Two major collections: 1) Those associated with Sinai: Exodus 19 - Num 10:10. 2) Those given in plains of Moab in Deuteronomy.

18. Mosaic authorship of Pentateuch: On June 27, 1906 Biblical Commission was asked about theory "that the work, conceived by [Moses] under divine inspiration, was entrusted to another or to several to be written... and that finally the work done in this way and approved by Moses as the leader and inspired author was published." They found this theory permissible. - Cf. Eugene Maly in Jerome Biblical Commentary, 1968, I, p. 5. par 24:"Moses... is at the heart of the Pentateuch and can, in accord with the common acceptance of the ancient period, correctly be called its author."

19. Joshua vs. Judges: The genre of Joshua seems something like epic - brilliant victories everywhere, and miracles. But in Judges there is a more factual genre, and so there is need of more fighting, as we see in chapter 1. In 1:21, Jerusalem is in the hands of the Jebusites "to the present day". David finally took it, 2 Sm. 5:6-9.

Purpose of Judges is to show God rewards when they are faithful, punishes when they are not.

20. The Ban: God called for wiping out the Canaanites for two reasons: 1) to guard against danger Israel would fall into idolatry. 2) to punish the Canaanites for their sins- cf. Gen 15:16. - What of killing children? Life is a moment to moment gift from God. Whether He simply stops giving, or uses a human agent for the same effect, no problem. Evil of murder is violation of rights of God. But when He orders, the problem no longer arises.

21. The first kings: Saul was rejected from kingship - not necessarily from final salvation. Again, there are two accounts of his sin - perhaps both are true, perhaps neither is affirmed as final: 1 Sam. 13:1-14 and 15:1-31. David also sinned, greater sins, but was not rejected from kingship - favors in external order not conditioned by human merit. Cf. Romans 9:15. Instead, God promised an everlasting dynasty to David - really fulfilled in Christ.

22. Problems of the chronology of the Kings. Good solution to these in Edwin R. Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, Zondervan, 1983 (new revised edition).

23. Babylonian Captivity. Nebuchadnezzar II of New Babylonia in two waves- 597 and 587, destroyed city and temple, took many into captivity. This deportation was not entirely new - the Assyrians had done same before this time. During the Exile, the great prophecy of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31ff.

24. Return: Cyrus of Persia in 539 encouraged return. Most did not return. Were sluggish in rebuilding temple, , so in 520 BC God warned through Haggai: "You have sown much but have brought in little. You have eaten but have not been satisfied... ." It means that things do not produce results since you are unfaithful. Also in 2:6-9: "One moment yet, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land... and the treasures of all the nations will come in. And I will fill this house with glory. Greater will be the future glory of this house than the former... And in this place I will give peace." Instead of "treasures of the nations" St. Jerome read "the one desired by all nations". Hebrew is unclear. It has singular hemdat with a plural verb. But Jerome was following rabbinic tradition, and so his version is very respectable. Even if we take the reading that treasures will come in, it should probably mean the messianic age. This was written in 520 B.C., and yet it is only a moment.

25. Persecution by Antiochus Epiphanes IV: In 167 Antiochus banned circumcision, religious study, observance, and ordered Jews to eat pork. He introduced idols into the Temple. It was all part of a program of Hellenization to homogenize his loose empire. Some Jews gave up their religion; some died wretchedly, some formed an army but refused to fight on the sabbath, were all slaughtered. But the Maccabees did put up resistance with an army, and this made possible, humanly speaking, the survival of Judaism.

The terrible deaths of the martyrs helped bring on an agonized reappraisal: the Jews had to see that God does not make things right always in this life - so they had to think of future retribution. This was aided by contact with Greek thought on two parts in man (had they ever strictly held for one part in man? Not in the sense usually intended. Cf. treatment on nefesh above in these notes).

The Hasamonean rulers ruled 142-27 BC. They became corrupt by the end.

In 41 B.C. Rome appointed Herod tetrarch. In 37 by taking Jerusalem he became king. For the first time a ruler from the tribe of Judah failed - Herod was nominally Jewish by religion, but by birth was half Idumean, half Arab, and surely not of the tribe of Judah. Hence Jacob Neusner writes, Messiah in Context, p. 12 that there was "intense, vivid, prevailing expectation that the Messiah was coming soon." On p. 242:"It is difficult to imagine how Gen 49:10 can have been read as other than a messianic prediction.", and ibid. : "In the days of the King Messiah, the enmity between the serpent and woman will come to an end (Gen. 3:15... )."

We already saw earlier the Messianic prophecies, and saw that from the Targums the Jews in general understood them. When the Magi came, Herod's theological advisers had no difficulty in telling him the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, based in Micah 5.

26. Date of Birth of Christ: A recent study, E. L. Martin, The Star that Astonished the World (ASK Publications, Portland, Or. 25000, 1991) shows that Jesus was born in 3 B.C., probably in the fall. The time hinges on one thing, the fact that Josephus puts the death of Herod just after a lunar eclipse. Martin shows we must pick the eclipse of Jan. 10, 1 B.C. because all the events that Josephus says took place between Herod's death and the next Passover would take about 12 weeks. The only other eclipse that gave enough time would be that of Sept 15, 5 BC. But since Herod then was very sick, and in Jericho at the time of the eclipse, he would not have stayed in Jericho - extremely hot at that season, while Jerusalem would have been comfortable. But Jan 10 would be comfortable in Jericho. Further, there are secular sources that show there was an enrollment in 3 B.C. to take an oath of allegiance to Augustus (cf. Lewis & Reinhold, Roman Civilization, Source Books II, pp. 34-35 since in 2 B.C. he was to receive the great title of Father of His Country.

The real governor of Palestine would have gone to Rome for the great celebration. He needed someone to take care of the country in his absence. Since Augustus got the honor on Feb. 5, 2 BC, the governor would have to leave before Nov 1 of 3 BC- Mediterranean was dangerous for sailing after Nov 1. But Quirinius had just completed a successful war to the north, in Cilicia, against the Homonadenses. So he could be an ideal man to put in charge. Luke does not use the noun governor, but a verbal form, governing. Still further, there has been an obscure decade 6 B.C. to 4 A.D. whose events were hard to fit in if we took the birth of Christ to have been in the range 4 to 6 B.C. But with the new dating all these fall into place easily. E. g. Augustus in 1 AD received his 15th acclamation for a victory in 1 AD. If we picked 4 BC for birth of Christ, we cannot find such a victory, but if birth of Christ is 3 BC, then the war would b e running at about the right time and finished in 1 AD.

Martin's work has received fine reviews from astronomers his work is based on astronomy, and over 600 planetariums have modified their Christmas star show to fit with his findings) and from Classicists, who were concerned about the obscure decade.

Objection: a) Josephus says Herod had a reign of 37 years after being proclaimed king by Romans, and had 34 yrs after death of Antigonus, which came soon after Herod took Jerusalem. b) Further, his 3 successors, Archelaus, Antipas and Philip started to reign in 4 BC. So Herod died in 4 BC.

Reply: a) That calculation would make the death of Herod fall actually in 3 BC - scholars have had to stretch the date, since there was no eclipse of moon in 3 BC. - But, Herod took Jerusalem late in 36 BC (on Yom Kippur in a sabbatical year, so it was well remembered - and Josephus says Pompey had taken Jerusalem in 63 which was 27 yrs to the day of Herod's capture of Jerusalem). Using the common accession year dating, we see Herod started his 34 years on Nisan 1 in 35 BC, and those years would end on Nisan 1, 1 BC. So 34 years after 35 BC yields 1 BC for death of Herod after eclipse of Jan 10. -- b) As to the 3 successors, Herod lost favor of Augustus in 4 BC, on a false report, was no longer "Friend of Caesar", but "Subject". Antedating of reigns was common - reason here was to make the three seem to connect with the two "royal" sons, of Hasmonean descent, Alexander and Aristobulus, whom Herod executed on false reports from Antipater (do not confuse with Antipas).