[b-hebrew] Dying, you will die Gen 2:17

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Wed Apr 11 16:19:51 EDT 2007

On 11/04/2007 20:08, Harold Holmyard wrote:
> K Randolph wrote:
>> That non-Jews should be accepted if they accept God's covenant goes
>> back to the Torah itself.
> HH: I realize this. The law says the following in Numbers 15:
> ...
>> Torah was always for all peoples. Only a tiny percentage follow it.
> HH: Actually, the Mosaic law was given to a specific people, not all 
> people. It was given to the descendants of Jacob (not, for example, to 
> the descendants of Esau, who were excluded). But of course others could 
> and did join them. You are right that foreigners could participate in 
> the Israelite religion, but they had to act like Israelites if they were 
> do so:
Indeed, Harold, and this is the background to my suggestion that Isaiah 
56:3-8 may simply be a restatement of this principle, that foreigners 
are welcome to participate in Israelite religion, that it was never 
intended to be a simply racial religion.

By the way, I am taking Isaiah 56 as the start of a new section, as many 
scholars do, and not so much linked to chapters 51-55. How far these are 
intended to be future is another issue. I don't see the distant future 
in chapter 55; verses 12-13 are what will happen (symbolically) in the 
immediate future to those who accept the invitation of verses 1-7. I 
don't see 56:1 "close at hand ... will soon be revealed" as temporal at 
all, there is no "soon" in the Hebrew but only QAROB which means "near", 
usually in space. Perhaps the "foreigners joined to the LORD" of 56:3 
felt their position under threat, or felt unwelcome in the temple, but 
the prophet writes that they should not do, that their offerings are 
also acceptable. I don't say that this has no future relevance, but it 
has a future relevance because it is timelessly true, at least while the 
temple stands.

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://www.qaya.org/blog/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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