Homer Heater A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament Readings (115-55)


[Comments on readings in A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament – chapter by Homer Heater] Homer Heater does a great job summarizing the theology of Samuel and Kings; truly the books are, “two marvelous compositions showing God’s rule among men and, more specifically, the men and women of Israel” (p. 116).  He states that the Davidic Covenant is the “centerpiece” of Samuel and of Kings (p. 120), and that by acknowledging this centrality one picks up on the argumentation of 1 Samuel and “how it moves inexorably toward 2 Samuel 7” (p. 120).  I am not sure if Heater showed this argument very clearly, and for such a bold statement, I would have expected more from him.
When Heater refers to the problem of high places in Samuel and Kings, he brings up an issue that caused me to have some questions in my mind.  The writer(s) of Samuel had no problem with high places as long as they were dedicated to the Lord but the writer(s) of Kings were opposed to them (p. 126).  First of all, Heater brings up a quote from someone who seems to be a liberal and doesn’t really give a reason for quoting him, only a brief comment that the author of the quote is obviously arguing in a “circle” (p. 126).  But my question really has to do with how far one takes the author’s words as his own, and delineates them from God’s own Word.  These are the narrators we are talking about.  So when can we know what God thinks about the matter, if the authors were humanly opposed?  Can we only take direct prophecy as the actual thoughts of God?  Heater opens up a huge box here, and does not close it.  I mean, for example, are the Psalms just thoughts of men, or can we take them as the authoritative Word of God?  There is a fine line here, in delineating between authors, and then ignoring the one author of Scripture, the Holy Spirit; and I am not sure Heater does us a service in his commentary on the matter.
Samuel’s first interaction with God would make an interesting study for as Heater quoted, “the word of the Lord was rare” (p. 129).  What are ways to know of God’s voice today.  Many claim they hear Him.  Eli’s instructions were quite simple, and it did not take long for him to catch on that it was God.  How did Old Testament saints know when God spoke to them?  They did not have the Bible as we have it today, and so by what method could they affirm anything dogmatically?  Was it through signs, or did God just make them know supernaturally it was really Him?  With all the charismatic dogma going around these days, such a study could prove helpful.
Heater makes a good point about the easy cross-over from Yahwism to Baal worship, in the fact that Yahweh could be called Baal.  As someone interested in translation, this also makes a good point, that just because a name is used of a false God, it does not mean it cannot be used for the true God.  Though great care must be taken in translation, this sheds some biblical light on the issue, rather than most arguments that I have heard which are purely based on man’s own reasoning.

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