What Scripture Says About...

GOLDEN BOOK © Andrei Contiu | Dreamstime.comIn our popular "What Scripture Says About" series, we perform comprehensive word studies of Scripture to uncover the Biblically-accurate meanings of various concepts and align our understanding of the Word with the One Who wrote it.

What will you do with the answers once you have them?

 

ARK OF THE COVENANT © Jgroup | Dreamstime.com

The next instance of "covenant" found in Scripture refers to the covenant G-d made at Sinai. As one of the most significant and frequently referenced covenants in Scripture we should perform a careful examination of the details of this covenant.

The book of Deuteronomy begins with these words:

Deuteronomy 1:1-4

These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Dizahab. It is eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea. In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that the LORD had commanded him to give to them, after he had defeated Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth and Edrei.

 

The name "Deuteronomy" comes to modern English readers from the Septuagint and the Greek name for this book of the Bible: deuteronomion. The American Heritage Dictionary provides the following definition:

Deuteronomy
A book of the Bible.
[Late Latin deuteronomium, from Greek deuteronomion, a second law (from (to) deuteronomion (touto), Septuagint mistranslation of Hebrew misne hattora hazzo't, a copy of this law) : deuteros, second + nomos, law.]1

 

As the American Heritage Dictionary reveals, we do not find here a "second law" but a re-giving of the Law that was delivered at Mt. Sinai (which is also called Mt. Horev). Moshe makes this clear in chapter 5:

Footnotes

1. Excerpted from The AmericanHeritage© Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition © 1996 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from INSO Corporation; further reproduction and distribution in accordance with the Copyright Law of the United States. All rights reserved. [back]

In the Torah of Moshe, Deuteronomy 29 and 30 detail the covenant G-d makes "in the land of Moav" with Isra'el.

The Covenant

  • Introduction- Deuteronomy 29:1
    • The covenant is G-d's (Deuteronomy 29:12)
    • The covenant is made with the sons of Isra'el (Deuteronomy 29:1), their chiefs, their tribes, their elders, and their officers... all the men of Isra'el, their little ones, their wives and alien who is within their camps (Deuteronomy 29:10-11).

      This is consistent with Numbers 15:16 where G-d instructs that "there is to be one law and one ordinance for you [the Isra'elite] and the alien who sojourns with you" as well as other passages in Scripture.
  • Covenant Responsibilities
    • Required actions
      • Turn to the Lord your G-d with all your heart and soul (Deuteronomy 30:10)
      • Walk in G-d's ways and obey his commandments [mitzvot], his statues [chukkim], and his judgments [mishpatim] (Deuteronomy 30:16). These are outlined in the Sinai covenant.
    • Prohibited actions
      • Turning away from G-d into disobedience and worshiping other gods and serving them (Deuteronomy 30:17-18).
    • Benefits
      • Restoration from captivity (Deuteronomy 30:3-4)
      • G-d will restore his people to the land of their forefathers and prosper and multiply them (Deuteronomy 30:5)
      • G-d will circumcise their hearts and "the hearts of your descendants to love the LORD your G-d will all your heart and all your soul, so that you may live" (Deuteronomy 30:6).
      • Enemies will be afflicted with the curses of the book (Deuteronomy 30:7)
      • G-d will prosper them and rejoice over them (Deuteronomy 30:9)
      Penalties
      • Captivity and bondage (Deuteronomy 30:3)
      • Death (Deuteronomy 30:18)
      • Short days in the Land (Deuteronomy 30:18)
  • Conditions for perpetuation
    • As a "revealed thing", the covenant is declared to belong to its recipients and their descendants forever [olam] (Deuteronomy 29:29). Nothing is specified in Scripture that would ever serve to end the covenant.
  • Enumeration of witnesses - heaven and earth (Deuteronomy 30:19)
  • Covenant sign- none stated. Possibly the Sabbath as part of "the commandments" the Isra'elites were supposed to keep as part of this covenant.
  • Covenant seal - none given

THE DAVIDIC COVENANT based upon OLD BIBLE WITH SWORD © Balazs Toth | Dreamstime.com

As was consistent with his forebears, Scripture does not list G-d's covenant with David first. Instead we find David's covenant with Yonatan [Jonathan].

David's Covenants


David's Covenant with Yonatan

Chapter 18 of the book of 1 Samuel begins with these words:

1 Samuel 18:1-3

Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.

 

This is the first Davidic covenant spoken of in Scripture. The details of this covenant between David and Yonatan are not provided but it provides a picture of the very close relationship between these two men. This covenant is spoken of in 1 Samuel 20:16 and 1 Samuel 23:18. There are parallel passages in 1 Chronicles for this and other Davidic covenants as well.

NAMES AND TITLESNames are not only verbal labels to apply to people and things, they often provide insight into the character and nature of those people. It is in such a way that G-d has revealed His character and nature through the words of Scripture. Not only do we have labels (in both names and titles) that apply to Him and Him alone but through them G-d communicates who He is by condensing His infinite nature ("humbling Himself") into terms that we finite beings can catch a glipse of His glory.

The numbers are an arbitrary system that simply record the order in which the name or title was added.

[T] indicates a title
[N] indicates a name
Numbers in parenthesis indicate how often that name or title is found in Scripture.

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Torah Portion

unknown

 

 

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Today is

Yom Chamishi, 18 Shevat, 5783

Thursday, February 09, 2023

 

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