Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Year: Ex 23-25 for Jan 23

How to predict what it will be like when God comes down to "the top of a mountain": don't try to predict it .... (Ex 19:20).

Don't abridge it. For example, don't have a version of your Bible where you write "skip 20:22 - 23:19."

Don't evolve it. For example, don't say "we call abc in this verse here a primitive form of a'b'c', which is what is really what it is now."

Don't rank it. For example, don't say "this is cultic, this is politic, this is theologic: first, second, and third in importance."

But by all means observe it! We haven't looked at the difference between the famous "And God spoke all these words, saying" section (20:1ff), and how 21:1 starts (and continues in our chapters today): "Now these are the rules."

Rules is rules, as the saying says. We're way out of our league here. If we're at a place where mountains need to be consecrated (19:23), and the angles of eyesight need to be protected (20:26), we're not dealing with the familiar.

If a genre-guess can be permitted, we can guess that the rulings of Ex 18:13ff. are possibly what 21:1ff. includes. They read as an ephemeron of rulings. Thus, one verse passes from what is right for the Lord, to what is right for the pot in the kitchen (23:19). Indeed, this conflation itself may be intentional, to show that the Law is for "top to bottom."

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