Merrill Biblical Theology of the Old Testament (157-205)


It is amazing to think of how God actually does “relate to His creation,” and, “in ways that are perceptible” (p. 159).  So often I take the Bible for granted, but I must constantly remind myself of the amazing truth, that it is God’s Word, His communication to me, that I might know Him intimately, and glorify Him for His great purposes.  This perspective that Merrill draws out for the book of Chronicles is a very good start, to get my mind right with the text.

The covenants in the Old Testament are very complex, but I have enjoyed studying them and observing new details that I had never seen before.  Merrill states the fact that in Chronicles, the writer does not emphasize the Sinaitic Covenant, but rather stresses the Davidic Covenant (p. 162).  This is interesting, because of the nature of the Sinaitic Covenant, being conditional in nature.  Its purpose “was to fulfill the promise to the patriarchs concerning a nation and to provide a kingdom over which the Judahite sovereign could reign” (p. 167).  The purpose was to create a nation who would model “what it meant to be the dominion of the Lord” (p. 167).  It was never meant for personal salvation – it was never a mode of gaining right standing before the Lord – this is critical!  So when Israel failed to provide this kingdom, the termination of the Sanaitic Covenant could be anticipated, but the purposes of the Lord to bring this kingdom would continue – and still through Israel for the promises were to Israel.  This is even brought out in how the names invoked in regards to God are “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (p. 170).  The continuity between covenants is beginning to make sense.

The tracing of Adam to David in the genealogy in Chronicles is also an interesting element that I never thought about before (p. 169).  The whole concept of dominion as an overarching theme in the Bible really comes out.  I still am not fully able to see the connection in my mind, but it is beginning to make sense.  What other reason would the chronicler want to show the line from Adam to David?  This especially makes sense with Jesus being in the line of David, as being the second Adam.  Obviously, all humans are related to Adam, but to specifically bring out the point does seem odd unless there was a point to it.
Merrill’s understanding that David saw himself in direct relation to Melchizedek is somewhat difficult to see (p. 177) biblically.  Especially because of the connection those Psalms are used in the New Testament for Jesus and not so much for David (I always thought them to be prophetical, not about David).  “And the Lord said to my Lord,” I really do not think refers to David at all.  “My Lord,” would mean David’s Lord, not himself.  And yet Merrill thinks David is referring to himself (“my Lord [i.e., David]” p. 181).  I do not understand where Merrill gets that; especially with the New Testament in-depth explanations of that passage.

Again, Merrill’s understanding of David and the priesthood is not totally convincing.  This time he focuses on the wearing of the ephod (p. 180).  In regards to another king (Uzziah) being disciplined because of doing something a priest could do, he says, “His sin was not in functioning as a priest but rather in intruding into the domain of the priests of Israel” (p. 181)  I am not sure how that differs from functioning as a priest.  If  David did things that only priests were allowed to do, then why would Uzziah not be able to get away with it?

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