Merrill Everlasting Dominion Readings (427-64, 127-62)


[Comments on readings in Merrill’s Everlasting Dominion: A Theology of the Old Testament] Merrill’s view on prophecy comes out in his comments on Hannah’s prayer, “But there can be little doubt that she also speaks of a ruler to come in the near future…” (p. 428).  I find it hard to agree that we can know for sure that Hannah was praying for a king “in the near future” because nothing in the text tells us.  Merrill uses the word, “also” and therefore tells us that he believes there is dualism in the prophetic text.  But again, I see no reason to force any dualistic view on Hannah’s prayer in this passage.
Some information that I have never heard is brought up when Merrill points out that “according to His own heart” is “a technical term referring to divine election” (p. 431).  Does this change the meaning of “a man after My own heart” as well?  I always thought it meant that David was aligned with God in His desires – meaning he was godly.  But Merrill really almost seems to strip down the terms of God’s “choice” to be legal and without emotion.  Yet I do not believe God is without emotion.  I believe He loves, with intense feeling.  One only has to look to Jesus to see this.  Jesus felt intense emotions, and love was one of them.  I am not sure why Merrill feels he must strip down God’s emotional side and make Him stone-cold.  But, that being said, I should look more into the meaning of these phrases for perhaps it is true that emotion has no part of them.
Merrill’s link to the royal priesthood is interesting (p. 447).  I don’t believe I have ever heard David being linked with Melchizedek.  I understand his logic in doing so, but I am just not sure if I totally agree on how something like that would come into being.  I mean, David just started doing his own sacrifices because he lived in the same city as Melchizedek (p. 451)?  I think I need a better reason than that.  It is interesting, because Heater in BTOT does not seem to agree with Merrill, for he points out that if Saul had sacrificed himself, he would have been disciplined for such action (BTOT p. 140 compared to Merrill p. 448), but that he most likely did not.  Heater therefore, does not take the text as literally as Merrill (for Merrill states the text says David sacrifices, and therefore we should take it as such).  But in the end, if the link with royal priesthood and Jesus is with David, why would the Hebrew author not mention it?  Why does he only mention Melchizedek and not David?  I believe, while Merrill may be on to something, he needs more proof, more link as it were, to say that the royal priesthood actually began (or continued depending on how you look at it) with David.
Elijah’s challenge to the people of Israel, “If Yahweh is God, follow Him.  But if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21 p. 455) caused me to think about apologetics in the Bible.  Because so much emphasis is placed on logically convincing people that God is God, and yet even in Elijah’s case, the amazing miracle, that gave the people a huge load of empirical evidence, did not change their heart.  Elijah’s depression after the event could really be compared on a small scale with those who go on their first evangelism encounter with all kinds of ways to “convince” people of the truth of the Gospel, and then come back without anyone believing.

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