We begin the month with a look at John Goldingay’s Israel’s Gospel (OT Theology), chp. 8, focusing on the period from Joshua to Solomon and the theme of God’s accomodating himself to Israel and life on planet earth.
How about … aren’t some of the stories from Joshua until Solomon some of those stories we don’t preach on, we don’t particularly like, and frankly don’t always know what to make of them?
It is like Goldingay to dive right into these.
We’ve got a monarchy and a temple now and neither of these are exactly according to God’s plan to rule over the nation without Temple and without King. This is the theme of accommodation.
We’ve got one people and one God, but we’ve got a people that abandons God. And God abandons the people. Israel cries out; a leader arises. God intervenes; the land is back at rest. The “egalitarian” (his word) society is disorderly. The egalitarian arrangement, he says, doesn’t work.
He has a lengthy suggestion on leadership — the Hebrew word for “judges.” Often YHWH chooses the odd person: we are taught to “resist social convention and resist eldest-ism, able-ism, racism and sexism” (540). These people are not very relational and not very insightful and they need a king but there is a problem with kings. But God gives them a king.
He traces (races through) Samuel and Saul and David and Solomon and the Temple.
For me the best section of this chp begins with 8.6 Being Human where he deals with the stories we find uncomfortable. Like Jephthah and Samson and Saul. How to explain?
1. YHWH’s plan for his people transcends these odd individual stories.
2. Maturity and goodness develop in response to contingent experiences and pressures.
3. Saul … and others … are not examples. They dramatize real human life, but not as examples.
Then he dwells on “being men” and “being women.”
Finally a section on YHWH’s Acting:
1. People do things without YHWH being involved.
2. People act and YHWH was behind the act.
3. People act and YHWH makes things work out in accordance with peoples’ aims.
4. People act and YHWH strengthens them.
5. YHWH may use the natural thing.
6. YHWH may take an overt initiative.
7. YHWH’s spirit may come on someone.
8. YHWH may act directly.