Dd – The Mosaic Covenant

The Mosaic Covenant
19: 3-25

Thanks to the discoveries of ancient Near Eastern texts we now know quite a bit about the literary composition of covenants and treaties. Near Eastern treaties generally fall into two broad classes: The parity treaty and the suzerainty treaty. Parity treaties were, in effect, two treaties in opposite directions in which two kings of more or less equal importance bound each other to identical obligations. The suzerainty treaties, on the other hand, were imposed by strong kings on weaker rulers. Such suzerainty treaties usually had nine elements including a preamble, historical introduction, general conditions, specific conditions, a deposit of some sort of recording, divine witness, curses and blessings, the subject’s oath of allegiance and a formal ceremony as seen in this chart.343

The Mosaic Covenant Compared with Suzerainty Treaties344

Nine Elements   Given at Mt Sinai    Given in Transjordan    Given in Canaan

Preamble             Exodus 20:2a            Deuteronomy 1:1-4         Joshua 24:1-2a

Historical             Exodus 20:2b            Deut. 1:5 to 4:43              Joshua 24:2b-13
Introduction

General                  Exodus                         Deuteronomy                   Joshua
Conditions            20:3-17                         4:44 to 11:32                      24:14-15 and 23

Specific                   Exodus                         Deuteronomy
Conditions             21:1 to 23:19               12:1 to 26:15

Deposit and           Exodus 25:16,21        Deuteronomy 31:9-13   Joshua 24:25-26a
Recording

Divine                                                              Deuteronomy                   Joshua
Witness                                                           30:19 and 31:28               24:22 and 26b-27

Curses and              Leviticus 26               Deuteronomy 27-28       Joshua 24:19-20
Blessings

Oath of                      Exodus 24:3                                                              Joshua
Allegiance                                                                                                       24:16-18, 21, 24

Formal                      Exodus 24:4-11
Ceremony

Our Bible is divided into two Covenants, the TaNaKh and the B’rit Chadashah. The word covenant implies a significant and intimate relationship between two parties (whether collective or individual). Many Scriptural passages compare and contrast the TaNaKh with the New Covenant (see the commentary on Jeremiah, to see link click EoThe Days are Coming, declares the LORD, When I Will Make a New Covenant with the People of Isra’el). Although the Bible, the particularly the TaNaKh, describes many covenants in detail, the one we are about to study is referred to as the Mosaic Covenant (especially see Second Corinthians 3:14-15 and Hebrews 9:15-20). The TaNaKh is basically the story of redemption ratified by the Mosaic Covenant. The B’rit Chadashah was instituted by Jesus at the Passover Seder in Luke 22:20. Both covenants became effective only through the shedding of blood (Exodus 24:8 and Matthew 26:28).345

 

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