This paistorical books Judges 2: 7, 10 and 1 Samuel 2:12 have been chosen to develop the central theme of this essay. Such verses are similar to some other verses from poetic and wisdom books in the meaning of the knowledge of God. The same happens with other verses that are excluded. In the case of 1 Chronicles 28: 9, this text contemplates the recognition of God and his service. The verse bears some similarity to 1 Samuel 2:12 in meaning. Another similar case is 1 Kings 8:43, this is discarded, due to the similarity to Proverbs 2: 5. Both verses designate the right behavior towards Yahweh (cf. 2 Chron. 6:33). In all cases, contemporary Christians should develop their knowledge of God in all of these dimensions and by getting insights from the Old Testament scriptures.
a) Juper discusses a biblical theology of knowledge of God in the Old Testament based on two representative passages, selected because of their meanings (Judg. 2: 7, 10 and 1 Sam. 2:12). No texts are added from the Pentateuch, because some will be cited for reference. The same happens with other texts in the prophets, since most are parallel or serve to complement the ideas developed. As will be seen, the theme is developed mainly in historical, poetic and wisdom genre on literature, in both the pre-exilic and exilic period. As we mean the same God in the Old and New Testaments, contemporary Christians can be equipped with knowledge of God through reading the Old Testament. We will try to analyse what it really means to know God and advise how a Christian can benefit from that knowledge found in the Old Testament.
These hdges 2: 7, 10
To understand the meaning of the knowledge of God in Judges 2: 7, 10, it helps to compare the lived experience of the two generations mentioned in those verses and see what a Christian can draw from the literature. The first generation was the one that remained faithful to Yahweh; because they had seen His great works in the conquest of Canaan (2: 7). With the help of Yahweh, this generation crossed the Jordan (Jos. 3). They observed the fall of the walls of Jericho (Jos. 6). They experienced defeat at Ai for the sin of Achan for the first time, but achieved victory by obeying Yahweh (Jos. 7-8). This generation defeated the five kings at Gibeon and saw how they stopped the sun (Jos. 10)1. Something characteristic of Joshua's generation is that they Served Yahweh (2: 7). Why was it like this? Will Yahweh still need to break the walls of Jericho for a contemporary Christian to experience Him? Let us see what happened to the next generation.
On the contrary, the second generation did not have such experiences2. Verse 10 points out that such a generation “ After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10 NIV). This declaration marks a turn or contrast3 between both generations regarding (1) situation and (2) covenant relationship with Yahweh4. There were a number of reasons. First, the new generation was already established on earth. Doubtless, they lived in cities that their fathers had conquered, some of them walled. Some of them had their own houses and were dedicated to agriculture and livestock care. Furthermore, they did not constantly face the danger of war like their predecessors5. Second, the priests probably failed in instructing the people (Lev. 10:11) in devising a system of festivals, memorials, and other customs to enrich the spirituality among the people (Deut. 6:20)6. This does not mean that the new generation would not have heard of Yahweh's exploits in past generations (Jud. 3: 1-2; 6:13)7. In this case, it does not mean that they ignored, but that they had not experienced Yahweh's power in war and the sustenance of the nation as stated above8. Third, during the period between the two generations, the people began to enter into sin9. Fourth, due to the lack of demonstration of Yahweh's power the people became vulnerable to other influences pagan10. Because of what was said, the new generation did not learn to trust Yahweh (Deut. 8)11. The rejection of responsibilities towards Yahweh increased according to the stipulations of the pact12. This led them to perform idolatrous practices that were they mention from 2:11, and the lack of "recognition of Yahweh" as leader, conqueror and sustainer of the nation13. Was Yahweh still there to be experienced? Why did not this generation experience Yahweh or see demonstrations of His power? Is their knowledge of Yahweh guiding their decisions?
By way of conclusion, the knowledge of God in these verses has several connotations. The biblical writer points out that knowledge of God can be theoretical or intellectual, related to its power and action, but it is different from the experimental one, that is, to experience firsthand what He does. Lack of "recognition of Yahweh" may be caused by lack of instruction, testimony, unbelief, and evidence of His actions. Do we see any of these threats in our contemporary Christian Community? If we do not take the testimony from Israel, then we may end up not recognizing Yahweh as well. Can we learn from Israel’s unbelief? Do we have to stick to our theoretical knowledge of God? Do we know God really? To what extent does a contemporary Christian know God in relation to the above dimensions?
b) 1 Samuel 2:12
Moving to 1 Samuel 2:12, let’s look at what happened to the sons of Eli, which can also happen to us, if we don’t take heed to the Scriptures. As we read 1 Samuel 2:12 and define what it means to know God, it contains some details that are expanded in light of the context (2: 12-17). Verse 12 reads like this; “Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord”. In the first part of the verse, the biblical writer shows a clear example of "alliteration" by repeating some Hebrew consonants. The alienation highlights the poor priestly exercise of the sons of Eli. The second part points out that the priestly exercise not only goes hand in hand with the correct execution of the priestly regulations, but with the proper relationship with God. Eli's sons "despised" Yahweh's offerings and did not follow the instructions regarding the specific manner of offering sacrifices. Verses 13-16 indicate that they demanded to receive their portion of the meat before it was cooked and dedicated to Yahweh. In addition, they did not settle for the portions of meat stipulated by law (cp. Lev. 7: 28-36; Det 18: 3)14. The Hebrew word used that translate "irreverence"(cp. KJV) of verse 17 points out that they despised Yahweh's offerings. Similarly, they were disobedient to God by rejecting Eli's admonition (2: 22-25). Eli rebuked them because the people discussed fornication with the women who served at the door of the tabernacle (vv. 22-24). For this, he warned them of divine punishment (v. 25a). However, God decided to punish them with death (v. 25b), and with taking away priestly for their descendants (vv.27-36).
1 George Foot Moore, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges, International Critical Commentary (1958): 65.
2 C. F. Keil, y F. Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I & II Samuel (1975): 268.
3 Barnabas Lindars, Judges 1-5: A New Translation and Commentary (1975): 97.
4 Robert G. Boling, Judges, tomo 6A de Anchor Bible (1975): 72.
5 Gary Williams, Jueces y Rut: Dios Permanece Fiel, Estudio bíblico ELA (1995): 16.
6 Daniel I. Block, Judges, Ruth, tomo 6 de New American Commentary (1999): 122.
7 Williams, Jueces: 16.
8 Ibid., 16-17.
9 Lindars, Judges 1-5: 97.
11 Williams, Jueces: 17.
12 Duane Lindsey, Jueces, en El Conocimiento bíblico: Un comentario expositivo, Antiguo Testamento (1999) 2: 161.
13 Foot, A Critical: 67.
14 McCarter, Jr. I Samuel: 83.
- Quote paper
- Dr. Sixbert Sangwa (Author), 2021, The usefulness of old testament theology for the present age, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1030191