I missed doing the 10th chp of John Goldingay’s Israel’s Gospel (OT Theology) in the month of January. I have to admit it: his chps are well-nigh endless and their lack of coherence a bit annoying to me. Still, Goldingay’s got stuff to say and I learn from him each time.
The theme of chp 10 is “God Preserved” and the events are from the Exile to the end of the First Testament. Perhaps his most interesting insight for me is up front — how did the Exile impact Israel’s perception of history? It led Israel to look back. The odd thing is that the Exile did not lead Israel to tell its story while in the Exile. Decades nearly disappear into the mists of history, though Goldingay’s chp does its dead-level best at piecing together the scraps that do remain.
He touches on these themes, and you might have ideas about Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles, Daniel and Esther:
God abandoned — and here we have to realize that the promises to Israel are either undone by God himself or they are proven untrue. Exodus and Exile are two different experiences of God’s work among God’s people — how do you see their various stories?
God returned demonstrates that the rupture in promise and history will be bridged. A restored community is reframed as priestly, Davidic and a family (good section) and this leads to a worshiping community in a renewed Temple (he’s got one of his little “correct the history” discussions of why “the return from Exile” is not what really happened). This community is a listening community, a distinct (separate) community and a subservient community.
Then Goldingay sketches Ezra and Nehemiah in ways that any preacher could exploit; a section on a wise politician (Daniel) and (very cleverly) and intrepid woman (Esther).