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Pentateuch the Ten Commandments

Pentateuch the Ten Commandments

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PENTATEUCH
Lecture on the Ten CommandmentsRev. Paul Conway, Associate Professor, 2011
Lesson Summary:
This lesson examines the Ten Commandments in their Ancient Near Eastern Context andChristo-Judaic use and application. Attention is given to history, language and extra-biblical literature.
Outline:I.
 
COVENANT AT SINAI (19
 – 
24)
A.
 
General commentsB.
 
Ex. 20:1-
2 “Preamble and Prologue”
 C.
 
Ex. 20:3-17 THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Objectives:
 1.
 
Examine the Para dynamic nature of law in the Ancient Near East.2.
 
Observe the Theophany nature of this pericope.3.
 
Observe the use of law code throughout the Ancient Near East outside of the Bible.4.
 
Exegete the individual commands from a historic, linguistic and doctrinal perspective.
I. COVENANT AT SINAI (19
 – 
24)
A. General comments1. This is a covenant Theophany encounter with Godi. In the ANE a covenant was made between a King and the people(Suzerainty/Vessel)i. The people pledged loyalty to their sovereignii. The king pledged allegiance to protect and provide for thepeopleii. The two established a reciprocal relationship mutually beneficialiii. There were ingredients to the covenant that are reflective of thecovenants made in this time throughout the ANE (Egypt,Mesopotamia etc..)iv. A handout and detailed analysis of these covenants will beprovided later when we cover the book of Deuteronomy since it isa perfect example of such a covenant treaty.2. The Theophanyi. Was the appearance of the king in powerii. In the case of God he would demonstraight his glory by appearingusually in a cloud or flame of fire in the OT.iii. Man would catch a glimpse of God3. The Law Code had two types of Laws
 
i.
Apodictic “Command” unconditional command with norestriction. “You Shall Not.”
 ii. Casuistic Conditional set as a guideline. Cites a specific case,
specific problem. “If you… I will…”
 4. The Laws were Para dynamic by nature:i. Ancient laws were paradigmatic, not exhaustive. We try to beexhaustive with modern law. Not the ancients. They realized you
can’t cover every situation so they gave guiding principles. For 
example, if a man attempts to break into your house and murderyour family you have the right to defend yourself even by killingthe invader. However, if the intruder escapes out the window and
dies on the lawn he “technically” was murdered on your lawn
rather than you defending yourself in your home. Also if acriminal appears in court and no one shows up to testify againsthim or her, they are let go. There were no such loop holes ortechnicalities in the laws of the ANE.ii. Justice:aa. General E. Lee. There once was a soldier sitting outside
General Lee’s tent during
the civil war. He was trembling.
A man saw him and said, “Don’t worry son, you’ll find justice in there.” The young man replied “That’s why i'mtrembling sir.” God is a just God. He never gives up his
love for his justice nor his justice for his love. The lawmust be satisfied. It is perfect and absolute.B. Ex. 20:1-
2 “Preamble and Prologue”
 
Exodus 20:1-2
And God spoke all these words:
2
"I am the LORD your God,who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.1. This verse emphasizes who is giving the commandsa.
“God spoke all these words,” not man.
 2. It also reminds us of how Israel and YHWH came to be in this relationshipa.
Vs. 2 “
Who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of Slavery”
 3.
There are no “commands or laws” in the o
riginal language. Rather god
spoke “all these words”
~yrI ïb'D>h;-lK' 
cal ha-de-va-
reem.”all thesewords”
 4. Ancient Near Eastern Law Codes:a. Two things reigned in the Ancient Near East. Covenants and LawCodes.i. The Difference between a covenant and a law codeaa. A covenants purpose was to create a newrelationship. (In this case, God, through hiscovenant with Abraham was in relationship with
Israel and brought them “out of the land of slavery”
as he promised.
 
bb. A law code, Dr. George Mendenhall says,
“regulated and perpetuated an existing relationship by orderly means”
1
 cc.
Dr. Brevard Childs comments “The law defines the
holiness demanded of the covenant people.
2
 ii. Covenants:aa. Like the one made by God to Abraham and hisdescendents Gen. 12:1ff.bb.
See “Readings from the Ancient Near East” for 
examplesiii. Ancient Near Eastern Law Codes
3
 aa. Code of Ur Nammu: (2100
 – 
2000 BC) First Lawcode known in history. Written in Sumerian andonly small portions have survived. There is aprologue and twenty-nine laws, all casuistic.bb. Code of Eshnunna: (1980 BC) Eshnunna is a city inBabylon near Modern Baghdad. Oldest codewritten in Babylonian.cc. code of Lipit-Ishtar: (1930 BC) Located In modernIraq, a city-state near ancient Ur (Where Abrahamwas from). Written in Sumerian. Thirty-eight lawshave survived, all casuistic in nature.dd. Code of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC) He was kingof the Old Babylonian Kingdom. Written inBabylonian and is the most famous or mostrecognized extra-biblical law code. It contains 282Casuistic laws.ee. The Hittite law code: (1552-1500 BC) They aredifficult to date but the approx. will do. They arefound on two stone tablets (100 laws on each).ff. the Middle Assyrian Laws: (1115-1107 BC) Theydate to the Time of Tiglath-pileser I. 116 lawspreserved on 11 tablets. The laws contain multiplepenalties in the form of bodily mutilation. Forexample, cutting of the nose or removing a fingerfor a violation. This was not seen in previous lawcodes. This is typical of the violent AssyrianEmpire.iv. General comments on Ancient Law codes.aa. It was not that law codes were foreign to theAncient Near East or even that the battle for the
1
Hamilton, 189.
2
Ibid.
3
Hamilton, 201.

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