Monday, June 22, 2020

He's there, hiding in plain sight

Yet a fuller recognition of chance as a divine look-alike for YHWH in ancient Israel serves to highlight the strong account of providence evident throughout the biblical witnesses. The HB is drenched in a providential understanding of God’s activity within the world. At the same time, it offers what might be termed a realistic understanding of how divine providence works. Sometimes there are indeed miracles: God is not restricted by the world’s standard operating system. However, God often chooses to act more locally, more incrementally, and more indirectly, working through human agents, social institutions, inherited customs, and ordinary circumstances. This hidden quality of YHWH’s work had the effect of compelling an interpretation of current events on the part of YHWH’s Israelite worshipers, a pressure that is now actually preserved even in the literary style of biblical poetics. The Bible is written so as to pose the character of God’s action as a question to its readers. Even a random arrow may kill a disguised king and thereby fulfill God’s sure prophetic word (1 Kgs 22:34, 38; cf. 21:19). So too, God’s express will may occur in the form of an accident.—Stephen B. Chapman in Divine Doppelgängers: YHWH’s Ancient Look-Alikes, 197

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