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God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: The Commentary Within the Old Testament

April 2, 2014 3 comments

James Hamilton’s God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment reads as an overview commentary on the whole Bible, from beginning to end, with the Old Testament in its original Hebrew sequence. Along the way, many parallels are brought out, as we see that parts of the Old Testament act as commentary on other sections. Thus far I have read through the Torah, the former prophets, and some of the Latter Prophets section — the Pentateuch books, then Joshua through Kings (excluding Ruth); then Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve (minor prophets books).

A few interesting points here, showing how later Old Testament books provide commentary on other sections.

The Former Prophets comment on the Torah. Example: the book of Kings (1 Kings and 2 Kings)

In order to understand Kings, however, readers must be aware of the terms of the covenant in order to see the justification for the visitation of the curses of the covenant. It seems that what the author of Kings has chosen to include is largely informed by the teaching of Torah, such that while the law of the king in Deuteronomy 17:14–20 is not overtly mentioned, 1 Kings 10:14–11:8 shows Solomon breaking these laws point for point (horses, wives, excessive silver and gold, disregard for the Torah he was to copy and keep).

The latter prophets likewise “provide an explanatory commentary on the narrative story line of the Torah and the Former Prophets.” As for instance, the early chapters of Jeremiah

depict the exodus from Egypt and the covenant at Sinai as a wedding between Yahweh and his virgin bride, Israel (Jer. 2:2; cf. Hos. 2:17–18, ET 15–16). While a virgin bride’s memories of the glory of the wedding day would keep her faithful to her husband, Israel has forgotten Yahweh “days without number” (Jer. 2:32). Jeremiah calls the people to repent of their spiritual adultery. The horror of covenant infidelity, forsaking Yahweh and turning to idols (1:16), should be recognized by the fruit it will bear.

Hamilton’s book should be interesting as it looks at the later Writings section (I haven’t read that far yet). From my own genre reading, one or two chapters each day from several sections of the Bible — and reading the Old Testament according to the original Hebrew section, the same order Hamilton prefers — I have noticed similar commentary, in the later Writings section, upon both the Torah and the Latter Prophets. Why does Nehemiah make such emphasis upon closing the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath, even turning away those who show up at the gates on the Sabbath and threatening physical force against them if they do it again (Nehemiah 13:15-21). Jeremiah 17 describes the very same scenario – in reverse. Jeremiah exhorted the people, (verse 21) “Thus says the Lord: Take care for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem,” promising (verses 24 -27) “But if you listen to me, declares the Lord, and bring in no burden by the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy and do no work on it, 25 then there shall enter by the gates of this city kings and princes who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And this city shall be inhabited forever.But if you do not listen to me, to keep the Sabbath day holy, and not to bear a burden and enter by the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and shall not be quenched.’”  Nehemiah alludes to what the people had done in the days before the exile, a later “commentary” upon Jeremiah 17:19-23.