Sep 6, 2008

Dan Wallace on Sinaiticus

See Dan Wallace's
article on Sinaiticus. The article provides information on the past, present, and future of this significant manuscript.

Sep 5, 2008

Bibliographic Resources for Hebrew Reading and Exegesis

Stephen Cook has a helpful annotated bibliography of biblical Hebrew lexicons, wordbooks, and grammars. See it

John Piper on the Book of Ruth

You can download John's recent messages on the book of Ruth
here and here.

Thanks to the Desiring God blog for pointing this out.

Sep 4, 2008

"First Wall" Rediscovered in Jerusalem

Todd Bolen has a nice summary and links to the recent announcement of the rediscovery of a Hasmonean wall around Jerusalem dated to sometime after 150 B.C. Read Todd's summary

Sep 3, 2008

New Testament Links

Milton Stanley has completed his helpful list of free links for resources for the New Testament books. Check it out

Sep 2, 2008

The Destruction of the Canaanites

Justin Taylor has
posted a nice response to the question, "How could God command Genocide in the Old Testament?" In sum, Taylor suggests seven considerations.

1. As the maker of all things and the ruler of all people, God has absolute rights of ownership over all people and places.
2. God is not only the ultimate maker, ruler, and owner, but he is just and righteous in all that he does.
3. All of us deserve God’s justice; none of us deserve God’s mercy.
4. The Canaanites were enemies of God who deserved to be punished.
5. God’s actions were not an example of ethnic cleansing.
6. Why was it necessary to remove the Canaanites from the land?
7. The destruction of the Canaanites is a picture of the final judgment.

I wrote on this topic about a year ago. Here is my discussion.

The extermination of the Canaanites

The complete extermination of the Canaanites evidenced periodically in the Book of Joshua has often troubled interpreters. Furthermore, for some Christian interpreters there is great difficulty in resolving the utter destruction of the Canaanites commanded in Joshua with the teachings of Christ and the gospel. What follows is a very brief reflection on some of the issues that one should take into consideration in working towards a solution.

First, it must be remembered that the extermination of the Canaanites is part of a broader concept related to God’s justice and wrath. That is, God judges sin and metes out the resulting punishment. In the process of punishing sinful people God has the prerogative to use a variety of means, including people to carry out His judgment.[1] Thus the extermination of the Canaanites must be viewed as an extension of God’s sovereignty.

Second, the extermination of the Canaanites must also be viewed within the broader context of YHWH (or Holy)[2] war. The sheer magnitude of the topic is beyond the scope of this argument, however, a few points might prove helpful.[3] By YHWH war we mean a war that YHWH initiates, facilitates, and participates for the fulfillment of His covenantal promises and purposes. Thus, the extermination of the Canaanites in Joshua is not motivated by material greed or by racial or ethnic hatred. Rather, the motivation is tied intimately to the covenantal promises. For Israel to receive the land promised to the Patriarchs, the current inhabitants would have to be displaced.

Third, and related to the second point, is the fact that mere displacement is insufficient. The extermination of the Canaanites is necessary for at least three reasons. First, the Canaanites must be removed for prophylactic reasons. That is, Israel needed to be protected against the spiritual and moral defilement of the Canaanites. As Gleason Archer notes, “The subsequent history of Israel serves to illustrate very pointedly the grave danger that remained for Israel so long as the Canaanites were permitted to live in their midst.”[4] Second, the removal of the Canaanites served a didactic purpose. That is, the judgment of the Canaanites would serve as vivid warning against moral and spiritual transgressions. And third, although it may be a bit difficult to grasp, the extermination of the Canaanites was merciful in the sense that it prevented further and future godlessness.

Finally, it should be noted that the extermination of the Canaanites was a limited event. The contention that the Old Testament contains many such events is simply not true. As Christopher Wright notes, “The conquest narratives describe one particular period of Israel’s long history.”[5]

While these observations do not resolve all the ethical and theological difficulties associated with this issue, and while modern sensibilities and geo-political realities tug at the interpreter, for this writer the above provides a necessary and sufficient context for moving towards a resolution.

[1] God can also use nature (flood, famine, locust invasions, plagues, etc.), angels, or even a person’s own disposition or personality (the hardening of pharaoh’s heart for example).

[2] For discussions concerning the designation YHWH war see Gwilym H. Jones, “‘Holy War’ or ‘Yahweh War’?,” Vetus Testamentum 25 (1965): 654–8; Rudolph Smend, Yahweh War and Tribal Confederation, trans. Max Grey Rogers (New York: Abingdon, 1970) 36–7; P. U. Lilley, “Understanding the erem,” Tyndale Bulletin 44 (1993): 173; Eugene Merrill, “The Case for Moderate Discontinuity,” in Show Them No Mercy, ed. Stanley N. Gundry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), 65.

[3] The classic study of holy war is still Gerhard von Rad’s work entitled Holy War in Ancient Israel, ed. And trans. Marva J. Dawn (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991).

[4] Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, Updated and Revised ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1994), 273.

[5] Christopher J. H. Wright, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004), 474.

How to Prepare a Sermon

Mark Barnes has posted a simple and helpful explanation and demonstration of his sermon preparation process
here. In particular, this pastor shows how he utilizes Logos software in the process. Thanks to the Logos blog for ointing this out.

Sep 1, 2008

Pronouncing the Divine Name

Claude Mariottini has three excellent posts related to the issue of pronouncing the divine name YHWH. The three posts can be found
here, here, and here.

Aug 31, 2008

Witherington on Relating the OT and NT Thought Worlds

Ben Witherington has an interesting post on relating the Old Testament and New Testament thought worlds. This post is a section from his forthcoming volume on New Testament theology. You can read it