Monday, September 12, 2016

There's an narrow opening

Verse 15, in which YHWH is said to change his mind (נחם) even before David intercedes, makes the reader wonder how important David’s intercession was to YHWH’s ultimate decision. According to 1 Chr 21:15, “God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but as he was about to destroy, YHWH saw and changed his mind about the calamity and said to the destroying angel, “Enough! Now let your hand fall!” YHWH does not annul the danger with this instruction, however: the sword still hangs over Jerusalem until YHWH has accepted the sacrifice. It appears that YHWH stays the angel’s hand to give David a chance to intercede, much as he presents openings for intercession in other texts (e.g., Gen 18:17-21, Exod 32:7-10 and Deut 9:12-14). Unlike Abraham’s intercession in Gen 18:23b-32a, David’s intercession is successful: not only does YHWH spare Jerusalem but he exacts no further punishment on David or his household.

Overall, David’s intercession parallels others in that YHWH presents an opening for intercession, David argues for protection of the innocent, and the intercession succeeds. Even its two unique features—confession and a link to ritual—follow biblical precedent: as in Lev 5:1-6, the guilty party must realize his sin, confess, and offer sacrifice before his sin is expiated (נשלח).—Forestalling Doom page 198

<idle musing>
I guess the question is, how sensitive are we to the openings that God gives us to intercede? Are we too busy condemning the guilty to hear God say, "Intercede!"?

Just an
</idle musing>

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