Thoughts in the Dark

Trying to Bring Ideas into the Light

Category: Asbury Theological Seminary

Wednesday Afternoon Cults! Freemasonry!

This is bound to upset some people, but I cannot help but share Dr. Steve Tsoukalas’ video (made for Asbury Seedbed) on freemasonry and why it is a non-Christian cult. Enjoy!


Wednesday Afternoon Cults! The Word of Faith Movement!

I want to show a short video here, put out by a group called Seedbed that I have mentioned here before (they are associated with Asbury Theological Seminary, where I received my MA in Biblical Studies). In this video, Dr. Steven Tsoukalas (the husband of one of my very favorite professors of all time, Dr. Sandra Richter) explains how the Word of Faith Movement made popular by Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, and others, is contrary to biblical faith and is not Christianity, but a cult loosely based on some of the ideas within Christianity. Enjoy!

“Fifty Shades of Grey” … It looks pretty black and white to me …

I am not one to think that books should be banned, burned, or censored. I think that freedom of speech and freedom of expression are important.

That said, there are plenty of books that I consider complete trash, and would not read. JD Walt writes a good response to “Fifty Shades of Grey” here at Seedbed. I have to say that I pretty much agree with him. I certainly think that there is media out there that contains content that should be avoided, and this book certainly is one of them.

I should note here that I have NOT read the entire book. A friend had the book and I did read a few excerpts, and that was more than enough to realize that there is nothing good about the book. Everyone must make a choice for themselves, but my advice is simple: if you believe that you shouldn’t watch hard-core porn, then you should not read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” It is that simple.

Note: this is not a call to pull this book off the shelves of the local bookstores or libraries. People need to be able to make their own choices about what they can and will read. I am simply stating my own choice and my advice for others. I also fully encourage others to read JD Walt’s post on Seedbed.

Who is Jesus? Dr. Joe Dongell on Jesus in Mark

Writing Book Reviews

In a conversation that I had at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature a couple of years ago, a fellow Asbury graduate and current PhD student told me that book reviews were a good thing to do because they do add to your CV and can bring a level of familiarity between you and the publisher, possibly opening doors for later articles. He also said, however, not to worry about doing too many because a book review on a CV pales in comparison to a full article.

I disagree with the last point, not because I think that a book review is as good as an article (it surely is not!), but because I think that writing book reviews has value in and of itself. It has been almost two years since I graduated with my MA in Biblical Studies and I have not yet started applying for PhD programs (and it will probably be a couple more years). I also do not have access to a theological library, which makes “staying current” in the field quite difficult, and without a steady stream of income, I am unable to purchase many books.

Writing book reviews allows me to stay current in the field of biblical studies through acquiring free books, as well as honing my writing skills as I review them. The Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament recently sent me a book that would have cost me $150 on I didn’t have to pay a penny, and I now own the book, as well as being able to review it.

For anyone out there in the same situation as me, or even those still in school, I encourage you to read and review as many books as you get the opportunity to review. It will keep you current in your field, and possibly open up new doors and bring new ideas forth that you may not have received in the classroom.

An Exegesis of Joshua 24:12-14

The following is an exegesis of Joshua 24:12-14 that I did during my time in seminary. Please, comment! I want to know if it makes sense, if you agree or disagree with it (and why!), and if you think I have followed a proper exegetical methodology!

Also, I apologize that the Hebrew font did not transfer over. I will look into editing this post with a unicode Hebrew font (which I apparently did not have 4 years ago when I wrote this) when I have time, but the wife and I are taking our 8-month old to visit his grandparents in Florida for 10 days, so I may not have time for a while!



And then I sent the “tsirah” ahead of you, and it drove them, the twelve kings of the Amorites, from before you, not by your sword and not by your bow.

So then I gave to you land in which you did not toil, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them, vineyards and olives that you did not plant, you eat from.

So now fear the Lord, and serve him in absolute faithfulness, and turn away the gods that your fathers served across the river and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:12-14

When reading Joshua 24, on might pause at the incredible command of verse 14. This one verse embodies the single most repeated theme of the entire Hebrew Bible: covenant faithfulness. A covenant document itself, Joshua 24:2-24 has several themes through each of the various sections within the covenant. The historical prologue, or verses 2b-13, elucidates the role of Yahweh in the life of Israel since the time of the Patriarchs. To put it simply, the theme of Yahweh functioning as a Divine Warrior, to the complete exclusion of any human intervention, dominates this passage, and forces the audience into active obedience of the command found in verse 14.

Within the text of Joshua 2-24, an insightful reader will distinguish various elements of the Ancient Near East suzerain/vassal treaty form. George Mendenhall, in his foundational “Covenant Forms in Israelite Tradition,”[1] specifically outlines Joshua 24 as fitting into that very form. Joshua 24:2b contains the preamble; verses 3-13 explain the historical prologue through the three major periods of Israelite history: the Patriarchal period, the Exodus, and the Conquest;[2] verse 14 contains the single stipulation that stands behind the rest of the law; verse 26 contains a provision for the deposit of the covenant; the people themselves (verse 22) as well as a large stone (verse 27) are the witnesses.[3] The only apparent missing element of Mendenhall’s treaty formula is the list of curses and blessings.[4]

Within this immediate covenant/treaty context, verses 12 through 14 function as a thesis for the book of Joshua. The last two verses of the historical prologue, 12 and 13, summarize Yahweh’s roll within the book of Joshua, and verse 14 is the stipulation that Israel must fulfill, because of the roll that Yahweh has played.

When one moves past the immediate context of chapter 24 and views 24:12-14 within the book of Joshua as a whole, the idea of a theological thesis statement springs forward once again. The centrality of Yahweh in the conquest summary, contrasted to the seemingly ineptitude of the Israelites (in that they did not toil, they did not build, and they did not plant) in the conquest, that led to the blessing of Israel allows the reader to understand the entire conquest narrative (as well as looking back at the history of Israel since the exodus) as an act of mercy and redemption coming from Yahweh alone.[5] A major difficulty in linking chapter 24 with the rest of the book is the seemingly disjunctive relationship between itself and chapter 23. To read these chapters consecutively is repetitive[6] and contradictive in sequence. Chapter 23 seems to be a “farewell speech,” preparing Israel for Joshua’s death, and then chapter 24 moves into another, unrelated speech at a separate venue. Finally, at the end of chapter 24, Joshua dies as one would have expected at the end of chapter 23. Marten H. Woudstra distinguishes chapter 24 as being of “a more official character,” and that the opening verse “points to a formal covenant ceremony.”[7]

Outside the book of Joshua, this segment has many correlations with various other passages throughout the Hebrew Bible. Many scholars have found links between Joshua 24 and the many passages describing rituals at Shechem.[8] A majority of scholars find a link between Joshua 24 and Deuteronomy 27.[9]

Throughout Joshua 24, various textual traditions have arisen throughout time. The Masoretic text, which is used for the popular Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia,[10] is assumed to be the most reliable. Quite often, however, coruptions have cropped up within the text. By assessing the differences between the MT and the various other texts, one can determine the cause of these textual corruptions.

When one reads through the critical apparatus of the BHS for Joshua 24:12-14,[11] he or she would find only a couple significant variants. The first significant difference is found in verse 12. The phrase, “the two kings of the Amorites,” is rendered “the twelve kings of the Amorites” in the LXX versions. J. Alberto Soggin presents an interesting comparison to Assyrian annals, in which the phrase “twelve kings” is used to describe Syria and Palestine together.[12] Because “two kings” is rather ambiguous, one might be inclined to follow the more difficult reading. Soggin’s idea, however, is supported by Assyriology, and therefore certainly needs to be taken into consideration when translating. Because most consider the earliest Greek translations to conform to the Hebrew text,[13] one can safely assume that the LXX translator was working from a different version than those responsible for the MT, which implies that at least two, if not more, traditions behind this covenant ceremony exist.

The other significant variant in this passage is an addition in the LXX versions to verse 14. In an effort to avoid an “uncomfortable” reading, the LXX translators added “touj allotriouj” to “gods.” This word, meaning “strange, foreign, hostile” separates My#IhølTa, a common name used for Yahweh, and My#IhølTa, an identical word that simply is the plural “gods.” The Greek translators were apparently uncomfortable with using My#IhølTa as a term for foreign gods, which the Israelites were supposed to turn away from, without a modifier explicating the foreignness of these gods. The possible confusion of mistakenly telling a reader to turn away from Yahweh seemed too dangerous.

Looking at the actual text of the passage, one sees that 24:12-14 falls in the middle of the larger covenant form of 24:2-24, and lies in the middle of a break between the end of a historical prologue that describes Yahweh’s actions for Israel, and the stipulation on Israel. Because of this location, the passage’s syntax and structure may differ some from an inclusive unit, based on the grammar and morphology of the text.

Verse 12 begins with the past-narrative form[14] of the imperfect verb jlv. This simply marks this verse as continuing a narrative, which is relating events that happened in past time. In this case, it is part of a recounting of what God has done for Israel between the time of Abraham and the conquest. Following the verb, the lamed preposition, followed by the preposition with attached pronoun, meaning “before you,” implies that whatever is being sent is going ahead of, or before, the Israelites. The following word, horx is a little more complicated. In accordance to the ambiguity behind this word as seen in the word study below, simply transliterating the word as “tsirah” will suffice. “Then I sent the “tsirah” ahead of you,” would be the best translation for this phrase.

The next clause, starting with a past narrative form of the Piel imperfect of vrg, meaning “and it drove out,” caries forward the subject, horx. The object, simply a definite direct object marker with an enclitic pronoun, “them,” is followed by the preposition m, attached to “before you.” This phrase should be translated, “and then it drove them out from before you.” The following construct chain, yrmah yklm ynC, “the two of the kings of the Amorites,” defines “them,” modifying the phrase to “and then it drove them out, the two kings of the Amorites, from before you.”

The final phrase in verse 12 is a clarification: “It was not by your sword and it was not by your bow.” Two almost identical clauses, constructed of a negative particle followed by a b preposition attached to a noun with an enclitic second person masculine singular pronoun. Joshua 24:12 should be translated as such:

And then I sent the “tsirah,” ahead of you, and it drove them out, the twelve kings of the Amorites, from before you, not by your sword and not by your bow.

Verse 13 continues the past-narrative idea, with another past-narrative form of a verb, this time Ntn. This verse is obviously continuing the narrative found going all the way back to verse 3. The preposition with a second person plural enclitic pronoun modifies the verb, making the phrase “and then I gave to you.” The object of the verb, what is being given follows: land. The relative clause following the noun modifies it, making it “the land in which you did not toil.” The pronoun attached to the b preposition is functioning as a resumptive pronoun. This sentence should read “And then I gave you land in which you did not toil.”

The following phrase is linked to the first by the ellipsis of the verb “I gave” and adverbial phrase “to you.” The same is true for the third phrase, essentially giving three complete statements but only including the verb and adverbial phrase in the first of the three. The object being given in this second phrase is “cities,” which is modified by the relative clause, “that you did not build.” This phrase differs from the first in that it includes a parenthetical statement, “and you live in them,” formed by a past-narrative verb in the Qal followed by a b preposition with a third person plural enclitic pronoun. By adding this phrase, the author may be trying to balance the number of words in the different lines. The only problem with this idea is that while the third and final line follows the same construction as the second (the verbal and adverbial ellipsis, the object followed by an adjectival relative clause, and a parenthetical phrase closing the line), it contains two objects instead of only one. “Vineyards and olives” are the objects, modified by “which you did not plant.” The parenthetical phrase includes a Qal masculine plural participle this time, instead of the past-narrative form used in the second line, “you are eating.” Joshua 24:13 should be translated as follows:

So then I gave to you land in which you did not toil, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them, vineyards and olives that you did not plant, you eat from.

Separating what follows from the previous segment, a disjunctive w stands at the beginning of verse 14. This is signifying that the recounting of Yahweh’s actions is over, and something new is beginning. “And now,” followed by a plural seems to indicate a causative relationship between the previous recounting of Yahweh’s deeds and the following command to Israel. Because Yahweh did this, now Israel must do that.

A sharp distinction between this verse and the previous verses is the change from past-narrative to future-imperative. After “and now,” the people are commanded, with a masculine plural Qal imperative, to “fear the Lord,” and “serve him,” with “the Lord” and “him” acting adverbially to modify their respective verbs. Also modifying the verb, “serve,” are the two adverbs, tmabw Mymtb. Commonly translated, “in sincerity and faithfulness,” or “in sincerity and truth,” this phrase may hold a deeper meaning. Based on the studies below, I would propose the translation, “in complete faithfulness” or “in absolute faithfulness.” This would render the phrase, “So now fear the Lord and serve him in absolute faithfulness.”

The second half of verse 14 consists of another command, a hiphil imperative of rws, which seems almost as an exegetical explanation of how to “serve [Yahweh] in absolute faithfulness. The only way to accomplish this amazing feat of “absolute faithfulness” is to “put aside” the only thing that stands in the way: other gods. These specific gods are defined in an adjectival relative clause, “which your fathers served on the other side of the river and in Egypt.” A final command, a Qal imperative, is found at the end of the verse: “And serve Yahweh!” Although the syntax does not necessitate a sequential order, it does not require a stretch of the imagination to realize that one must first turn aside the other gods, and then, secondly, serve Yahweh. One cannot serve Yahweh while he or she is worshiping other gods. Verse 14 should be translated as follows:

So now fear the Lord, and serve him in absolute faithfulness, and turn away the gods that your fathers served across the river and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.

The structure of this passage is twofold; verses 12 and 13, and technically all the way back to verse 3, are held together by a sequential structural relationship. Verse 14, while disjoined from the previous verses, is connected through a causative relationship. Although a “therefore” is not present in the Hebrew text, it is certainly implied. The other major structural relationship found in this segment is a major pivot point in verse 14, which swings the entire chapter a different direction, from a past-narrative shaped historical prologue to a future-imperative stipulation.

In this segment, various words are either confusing or ambiguous, or have specific theological meanings. The following words fall under one of these two categories within Joshua 24:12-14.


Occurring only three times in the Hebrew Bible, the meaning of horx is uncertain. Commonly translated as “hornet,”[15] Exodus 23:27-28 uses ytmya (dread/terror of me[16]) in parallel with horx, which leads one to believe that instead of “hornet” or “pestilence,” which most translations use, a synonym to the noun “terror,” may be preferable.[17] The safest conclusion that one can draw from context is simply that horx is simply a vessel or tool of Yahweh, which he uses against an enemy. All three uses[18] of the word involve the horx being used as a tool to aid in the pursuit and destruction of enemies, and in two of the three uses, this takes place “in front of” or “before the face of” Israel.

The importance of this term is that it signifies a powerful tool of Yahweh, used to “drive out” Israel’s enemies. A sharp contrast is drawn between the horx of Yahweh and Israel’s sword or bow.


The root meaning “to be complete,” or “to be perfect” occurs in Ugaritic, Phoenician, Aramaic, and Arabic. The particular usage in Joshua 24 is as an adjective, occurring in the qatil nominative form, and in this passage, Mymt “characterizes people…[and it] refers to an untroubled human relationship with God.”[19] Commonly translated as “honesty,” Mymt seems to hold a much heavier meaning. Occuring 91 times, the LXX translates Mymt as “without blemish” or blameless.”[20] According to Kedar-Kopfstein, tamim “refers in the first instance to a coincidence of thought, word, and deed that itself harmonizes with the norms governing the life of the human community. It suggests neither sinlessness nor particularistic obedience to a specific legal system.”[21] This word seems to simply mean “right” or “correct,” in that Israel is to choose the “right” or “correct” path in following Yahweh.


Although commonly translated as “truth,” tma actually comes from the root, Nma,[22] with the meaning, “firm, secure.” The definition, therefore, should not be immediately rendered as “truth,” but instead the occurrences of the word need to be looked at in its entirety in order to determine a semantic range of meaning.[23] When one looks at tma in relation to persons, the idea “faithfulness” takes root. The addition of the b preposition, as is present in Joshua 24:14, allows tma to serve as an adverb, meaning “faithfully.”[24] Instead of a simple truth, the idea appears to be something on which someone can rely, or something that is sure to be true in the future.[25]

In order to date this passage, one must address the issues of composition and redaction. Martin Noth views Joshua 24 as a later “Deuteronomistically edited” passage that was added after the “final,” or 23rd, chapter of Joshua. This editor, commonly called Dtr., is thought to have adapted “something which had already come into being as a comprehensive narrative complex or as various lengthy narrative complexes.” [26] Narrowing down the date of composition/redaction depends on identity of Dtr.

While Noth views Dtr. as being an individual person, other scholars, such as Weinfeld and Nicholson, view Dtr. as being an entire “circle of Deuteronomistic traditionalists.”[27] Noth’s single author, he believed, should be dated to the exile. Two other options are prevalent in modern scholarship: multiple exilic redactions, and double redaction. The first is obviously dated to the exile, and the second dates one redactor around the date of Josiah’s reign,[28] and the later redactor during the exile.[29] No matter which theory one ascribes to the redaction of Joshua 24, the final date seems to fall at some point during the exile. Important to note, Dtr. did not compose Joshua 24 from ex nihilo, but instead edited an earlier source document.[30] This is not a random compiling of source material, but a document of a particular genre that was simply amended and adapted.[31] This explains the presence of ancient source material within the chapter. The most likely conclusion to the dating of this passage would be to assume an exilic redaction of ancient source material.

The command for the people of Israel, which is made explicit in verse 14, to “now fear the Lord, and serve him in absolute faithfulness, and turn away the gods that your fathers served across the river and in Egypt,” has an immediate context of the historical story of the conquest. The characters in the story had literally just come from Egypt 40 years prior, and their fathers most likely did worship various gods in Egypt. A secondary meaning, if one understands the date of chapter 24’s redaction to be either exilic or post-exilic, would refer to the various gods of Babylon. If read in a late exilic or post-exilic setting, the “gods of your father” could very well refer to Marduk or the other gods from the Babylonian divine family,[32] possibly the gods worshiped by the audiences literal “fathers.” In a post-exilic setting, the goal would be a return to pure worship to coincide with a return to the land. In a late exilic setting, the goal would be either to retain or return to pure worship in an effort to endure hardship. This layered meaning points to the significance of older source material being applied to a later socio-historical situation.

The entire episode in Joshua 24 takes place at Shechem, which lies about 40 miles north of Jerusalem. Shechem was a rarity at the end of the Bronze Age, in that it was one of very few cities not not have an archeological destruction layer. The Israelites seemingly took Shechem without a fight, and the city shows sign of “building activity of poor quality.”[33] Many scholars believe that the covenant ceremony at Shechem may have included the Covenant Code of Exodus 20-23.[34] Many scholars view this ritual ceremony at Shechem to be a link between Joshua 24 and Deuteronomy 27.[35]

When trying to understand the theology of Joshua 24, one comes across a rather perplexing issue. Verse 14, stating “turn away the gods that your fathers served across the river and in Egypt,” echoes verse two: “On the other side of the river, your father’s dwelt from old; Terach, father of Abraham and father of Nahor, and they served other Gods.” This idea of a polytheistic past certainly does not make Abraham look like the monotheistic hero that the modern-day church understands him to be. This polytheistic past was used as an example in an effort to prevent the people of Israel from amalgamating with local Canaanites and their religion.[36] The covenant stipulation in verse 14 is a call to monotheism, or at the very least a strict henotheism, in order to keep the Israelites separate from the Canaanites. If one reads on to verse 24, it becomes apparent that Israel “accepts her place in the suzerain-vassal relationship,”[37] meaning that they will heed the call to monotheism.

Another theological theme in this passage is the role of Yahweh as a Divine Warrior. In his study, The Divine Warrior Motif in the Psalms, H. Wayne Ballard has described eight characteristics that are commonly associated with a divine warrior in Ancient Near Eastern texts.[38] In Joshua 24, Yahweh fits five of the eight characteristics. The scope of his involvement in this particular text is limited to military engagements. Yahweh is associated with one particular type of weaponry: horx. Because of his role in the conquest, Yahweh will now rise to power in Canaan. Yahweh is closely associated to Joshua, and to Moses before him. Yahweh is involved in the jural issues of the settlement and distribution of the land.

The connection between these two theological ideas is simple: Because Yahweh has acted as a Divine Warrior for the benefit of Israel, Israel must now put aside other gods, bringing Yahweh to the forefront and into power. If Von Rad is right in his assessment that the presence of the Divine Warrior motif is a sign of a later redactor, the implication would be that a later Deuteronomistic redactor, or redactors, most likely did edit and amend and older text. [39] More important than the matter of authorship is the meaning of the text, which lines up with the basic idea of a suzerain/vassal treaty: because of what Yahweh did, Israel must now do.



[1] Mendenhall describes the various elements of covenant forms as (1) a preamble, (2) a historical prologue, (3) stipulations, (4) provision for deposit in the temple and periodic public reading, (5) the list of gods as witnesses, and (6) the curses and blessings formula. For more on this, see George E. Mendenhall, “Covenant Forms in Israelite Tradition,” The Biblical Archaeologist 17, no. 3 (1953): 58-61; Jon D. Levenson, Sinai & Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible (1st ed.; San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1985), 28-30; Trent C. Butler, Joshua (1st ed.; Word Biblical Commentary; Waco, TX: Word Books, 1983), 268.

[2] Levenson, Sinai & Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible, 32-33.

[3] Mendenhall, “Covenant Forms in Israelite Tradition,” 67-68; Richard D. Nelson, Joshua (1st ed.; The Old Testament Library; Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997), 266-267; Butler, Joshua, 266.

[4] Jon D. Levenson argues that the curses may be found in 24:20, and that the blessings are simply the implied continuation of the interceding of Yahweh for Israel as found thoughout the historical prologue. See Levenson, Sinai & Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible, 35.

[5] Marten H. Wouldstra, The Book of Joshua (1st ed.; The New International Commentary on the Old Testament; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1981), 343; Butler, Joshua, 272.

[6] Cf. 23:2 “…Joshua summoned all Israel, their elders and heads, their judges and officers…” and 24:1 “then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel.”

[7] Wouldstra, The Book of Joshua, 340; Nelson, Joshua, 268-269.

[8] Richard Nelson Links passages based on their similar usages of “tree” (Genesis 12:6; 35:4; Deuteronomy 11:30; Judges 9:37), “tree and standing stone” (Judges 9:6), and putting aside alien gods (Genesis 35:1-4). Read below, page 14. Also See Nelson, Joshua, 267; Butler, Joshua, 266-267.

[9] J. Alberto Soggin, Joshua (Revised.; The Old Testament Library; Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1972), 229.

[10] Karl Elliger and Willhelm Rudolph, Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Compact.; Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).

[11] For comprehensive translation notes including attention to the critical apparatus for the full passage of Joshua 24:2-24, see Appendix A, below.

[12] If taken as two kings, oftentimes they are viewed as Og and Sihon. Cf. Josh 2:10b. See Soggin, Joshua, 235.

[13] Ernst Wurthwein, The Text of the Old Testament (trans. Erroll F. Rhodes; 2nd ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995), 54-55.

[14] Commonly refered to as “vav consecutive.” For more on the proper understanding of Wayyiqtol verbs, see John A. Cook, “The Semantics of Verbal Pragmatics: Clarifying the Roles of WAYYIQTOL and WEQATAL in Biblical Hebrew Prose,” Journal of Semitic Studies 49, no. 2 (Autumn 2004): 258.

[15] Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (trans. M.E.J. Richardson; vol. 2, Study.; Boston: Brill, 2001), 1057.

[16] Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (trans. M.E.J. Richardson; vol. 1, Study.; Boston: Brill, 2001), 41.

[17] Augustine thought that “wasps” or “hornets” might be used as a metaphor for “the sharp stings of fear,” or “invisible spirits of the air, as it says in the psalm, “through wicked angels.” He also believes that “not everything which took place has been written down,” and there for an incident with actual hornets may have taken place. See John R. Franke, ed., Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (vol. 4; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 95.

[18] Exodus 23:28; Deuteronomy 7:20; Joshua 24:12.

[19] K Koch, “tmm To Be Complete,” in Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (vol. 3; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1997), 1426.

[20] B. Kedar-Kopfstein, “tamam,” in Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (vol. 15; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006), 701.

[21] Ibid., 707.

[22] Jensen views aman to most likely be the source of emeth, if only due to a lack of other options. See Alfred Jepsen, “aman,” in Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (vol. 1; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974), 310.

[23] H. Wildberger, “’mn firm, secure,” in Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (vol. 1; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1997), 152.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Jepsen, “aman,” 310.

[26] Martin Noth, The Deuteronomistic History (2nd ed.; Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Series; Sheffield, England: University of Sheffield, 1981), 8.

[27] Commonly known as the “Deuteronomistic school.” See Steven L. McKenzie, “Deuteronomistic History,” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary (vol. 2; New York: Doubleday, 1992), 162.

[28] Late 7th century.

[29] McKenzie, “Deuteronomistic History,” 164-165.

[30] This source material was most likely an “E” document. See Robert G. Boling, “Joshua, Book of,” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary (vol. 3; New York: Doubleday, 1992), 1007.

[31] Gerhard Von Rad, From Genesis to Chronicles: Explorations in Old Testament Theology (ed. K.C. Hanson; 1st ed.; Mineapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 5-6.

[32] Marduk, Sarpanitum, or Nabu. In 555 B.C.E., Marduk was abandoned for Sin, only to be restored when Cyrus of Persia claimed Babylon. See Lowell K. Handy, “Marduk (deity),” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary (vol. 4; New York: Doubleday, 1992), 522-523.

[33] Lawrence E. Toombs, “Shechem (place of),” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary (vol. 5; New York: Doubleday, 1992), 1184.

[34] Joseph Blenkinsopp, Wisdom and Law in the Old Testament (2nd ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 94.

[35] See Von Rad, From Genesis to Chronicles: Explorations in Old Testament Theology, 29; Not all scholars, however, feel that such a connection is necessary, cf. J. Gary Millar, Now Choose Life (1st ed.; New Studies in Biblical Theology; Leicester, England: Apollos, 1998), 88.

[36] Joseph Blenkinsopp, Treasures Old and New: Essays in the Theology of the Pentateuch (1st ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004), 69.

[37] Levenson, Sinai & Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible, 39.

[38] These characteristics are (1) an association with a storm god, (2) limited in scope to mythological struggles or military engagements, (3) a close association with various types of weaponry, usually meteorological or human, (4) usually closely related with the fertility aspects of a religion, (5) the rise of power of the Divine Warrior, (6) a close association between the Divine Warrior and the earthly king, (7) the settlement of jural issues, and (8) sometimes associated with acts of creation. See H. Wayne Ballard, The Divine Warrior Motif in the Psalms (BIBAL Dissertation Series; Texas: D. & F. Scott Publishing, 1999), 27-29.

[39] Von Rad, Old Testament Theology, 329.


Appendix B – Works Cited


Blenkinsopp, Joseph. Treasures Old and New: Essays in the Theology of the Pentateuch. 1st ed. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004.

—. Wisdom and Law in the Old Testament. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Boling, Robert G. “Joshua, Book of.” Pages 1002-1015 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

Butler, Trent C. Joshua. 1st ed. Word Biblical Commentary. Waco, TX: Word Books, 1983.

Cook, John A. “The Semantics of Verbal Pragmatics: Clarifying the Roles of WAYYIQTOL and WEQATAL in Biblical Hebrew Prose.” Journal of Semitic Studies 49, no. 2 (Autumn 2004): 247-272.

Elliger, Karl, and Willhelm Rudolph. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Compact. Hendrickson Publishers, 2006.

Franke, John R., ed. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Vol. 4. 14 vols. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005.

Handy, Lowell K. “Marduk (deity).” Pages 522-523 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

Jepsen, Alfred. “aman.” Page 479 in Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974.

Jouon, Paul. A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew.  Translated by T. Muraoka. 2nd ed. Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 2008.

Kedar-Kopfstein, B. “tamam.” Pages 699-711 in Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006.

Koch, K. “tmm To Be Complete.” Pages 1424-1428 in Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1997.

Koehler, Ludwig, and Walter Baumgartner. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament.  Translated by M.E.J. Richardson. Vol. 2. 2 vols. Study. Boston: Brill, 2001.

—. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament.  Translated by M.E.J. Richardson. Vol. 1. 2 vols. Study. Boston: Brill, 2001.

Levenson, Jon D. Sinai & Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible. 1st ed. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1985.

Liddell, Henry George, and Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon. 9th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968.

McKenzie, Steven L. “Deuteronomistic History.” Pages 160-168 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

Mendenhall, George E. “Covenant Forms in Israelite Tradition.” The Biblical Archaeologist 17, no. 3 (1953): 50-76.

Millar, J. Gary. Now Choose Life. 1st ed. New Studies in Biblical Theology. Leicester, England: Apollos, 1998.

Nelson, Richard D. Joshua. 1st ed. The Old Testament Library. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997.

Noth, Martin. The Deuteronomistic History. 2nd ed. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Series. Sheffield, England: University of Sheffield, 1981.

Soggin, J. Alberto. Joshua. Revised. The Old Testament Library. Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1972.

Toombs, Lawrence E. “Shechem (place of).” Pages 1174-1186 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

Von Rad, Gerhard. From Genesis to Chronicles: Explorations in Old Testament Theology.  Edited by K.C. Hanson. 1st ed. Mineapolis: Fortress Press, 2005.

—. Old Testament Theology. Vol. 1. 2 vols. 1st ed. The Old Testament Library. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1962.

Waltke, Bruce K., and M. O’Connor. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. 1st ed. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990.

Wildberger, H. “’mn firm, secure.” Pages 134-157 in Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1997.

Wouldstra, Marten H. The Book of Joshua. 1st ed. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1981.

Wurthwein, Ernst. The Text of the Old Testament.  Translated by Erroll F. Rhodes. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.


Ben Witherington weighs in on John Piper and “masculine” Christianity

I added a post recently about John Piper’s call for a more “masculine” Christianity. Just this morning, Dr. Ben Witherington III added his own very well thought out response.

Dr. Witherington starts out with an excellent point:

“What Dr. Piper says is not merely bad theology in various ways, its dangerous theology”

He then goes on to explain that in a variety of ways. The arguments that I want to highlight are as follows:

“Well let’s start with the orthodox Christian point that GOD IS NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE IN THE DIVINE NATURE. The Bible is clear enough that God is ‘spirit’, not flesh and gender is always a manifestation of flesh. In the book that Laura Ice and I wrote some time ago, entitled The Shadow of the Almighty we made reasonably clear that: 1) there are plenty of both masculine and feminine images and metaphors applied to God in the Bible; 2) that interestingly enough it is not true that God is much called Father in the OT. In fact such language is rare, with almost no examples of God ever addressed as Father in the OT in prayer or entreaty…”

One of my basic arguments was that God does not have male or female traits, but that males and females have “God traits,” in that both male and female were derived out of God, not the other way around. Dr. Witherington touches on the difference between spirit and flesh, which is also an excellent explanation.

Do yourself a favor – read Dr. Witherington’s post on this topic. It is well worth the read.

Asbury Seedbed: The Kingdom of God is at Hand; Repent and Believe the Gospel

Asbury Seedbed, a site where you can find many resources, recently posted a thought from JD Walt (kind of the Seedbed guru):

“Jesus first sermon, his inaugural address clocked in at appx. 8 seconds. It was every bit of 17 words.

The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Gospel.

So what is the Gospel? I think I’ve finally seen the obvious, which is to say I’ve had an epiphany. The Gospel is simply this, “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” The call to action is “repent.” So if the in-breaking Kingdom of God is the Gospel, what does repent mean?

I have many thoughts about this. I wonder what yours are.”


I would like to take a moment to share my thoughts on this.

First, I agree that the Gospel message is that the Kingdom of God is here and now! It broke into our time and space with Christ and has been present ever since. The Kingdom of God is also “not yet,” because it has yet to be fully realized. The world is still broken, Christians still fail in their primary goals of making disciples and making sure that the hungry are fed, the naked are clothed, and the thirsty are given water. We are living in the Kingdom of God, but we are not living in the Kingdom of God.

To repent means, in my humble opinion, to turn away from the way we have been living and to truly live in the Kingdom of God. Way too many people view the Kingdom of God as existing in heaven. They view it as reachable only when we die, and therefore feel that the Sermon on the Mount, as well as other of Christ’s teachings, are not applicable yet. This is not an acceptable hermeneutic! The only way to interpret the Sermon on the Mount is to see it as Kingdom Living for TODAY!

Repentance is to turn away from self-focused living, and to turn to Kingdom Living as taught in the Sermon on the Mount (as well as elsewhere in the teachings of Christ).

More about Mark Driscoll and his Oppression of Women

I recently posted about Mark Driscoll and an awkward quote that was floating around the interwebs. A great blog post that I ran across highlights some major points of an interview that Driscoll did in England. I recently commented on a popular Driscoll quote, and I am afraid that after reading and listening to this interview, most of the positive things I attempted to say about Driscoll have been washed away.

If our goal as Christians is to “make disciples,” and Driscoll’s goal is to make masculine men, who “work their jobs, eat their meat, [and] drink their beer,” then I am not sure that Driscoll is on the same page as the Christian faith!

Personally, my desire is that which I think is the closest to the desire of Christ. To steal Driscoll’s original quote structure and change around the wording:

“My desire as a Christian is to see churches raised up as communities of grace ruled by Jesus and led by his humble, servant hearted men and women, who daily put the needs of others before their own, oppose injustice, and be ever aware of the present Kingdom of God.”

Now, I am not saying that my desire is perfectly in line with the will of Christ. I am saying, however, that my hopes for the church come directly from my understanding of the teachings of Jesus. The quote put forth by Driscoll, again in my opinion, is misleading and corrupting a generation of young people by causing them to fight for masculinity, and not fight for Christ.

Here is another blog post I ran across by a fellow student during my time at Asbury about what it really means to be a man. It is really a great post, and after hearing the garbage that Driscoll spews forth about being a man, I recommend this particular blog post by Kaleb Heitzman to all my readers!

Do you think that people should dress up for church?

This question is asked in response to reading a recent Christianity Today article, in which the author argued that people should dress up for church. I, personally, like to dress up (not necessarily a suit every week, but at least a neck tie and a sweater, sometimes a bow tie).

Also, if you would be so kind as to leave a comment addressing why you voted one way or the other, I would appreciate that as well! Thanks!