Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pay the debt

“Although the suet portions of a well-being offering constitute an ‏אשה “food gift” (Lev 3:9–11, 14–16), the suet of a purification offering does not. No purification offering is called an אשה.

“If the suet of a purification offering is food that is transferred to YHWH, but it is not a gift, what is its function? Milgrom comments on Lev 4:35: “The logic is clear: the Lord is surely pleased with the offering of the repentant wrongdoer (v 31), but it is not a gift; it is his humble expiation.” While a purification offering could be regarded as a gift in the broader sense that it is something given to YHWH, it is not a gift in the more common sense, because it is not voluntary. Rather, it is a mandatory payment of an obligation or “debt” to YHWH, whose order has been violated. This explains why a purification offering belonging to the same ritual complex as a burnt offering must be performed before the latter (see, e.g., Lev 9:7–16): a debt must be paid before a gift can be accepted.”—Cult and Character, pages 65-66

<idle musing>
I thought this thought was central: "a debt must be paid before a gift can be accepted." Take that to the New Testament and Hebrews (especially) for some profound Christology...

Have a happy and joyous new year!
</idle musing>

1 comment:

pruittcommunications said...

J.I. Packer discussed in Knowing God the idea of propitiation. I read it some 20 years ago. I sticks with me, but thanks for the reminder and the fresh perspective.