Friday, July 10, 2009

Old Testament Law and Justice

I am going through the lectures on Old Testament given by Prof Iain Provan at Regent College, Vancouver. He said some things about the Ten Commandments that are very interesting and important. Here are a few things I note (according to my understanding of Provan's lecture).

The Ten Commandments are not an exhaustive set of laws for human behaviour, and hence cannot be a simple and precise measure of good human behaviour and ethics. For example, when the Rich Ruler said to Jesus that he had kept all the Commandments, the Lord asked him to sell everything and give to the poor. This implies that the requirements of God go much further than keeping the Commandments. Indeed Jesus summaries the Law with the love commands of loving God and one's neighbours.

Then Provan says that even in the Old Testament we see how the ethical requirements of God can be summarised in terms of what should be done to reflect his values: Do justice and show mercy.

Here I am reminded of Micah 6:8, Deut 10:12-22, and Jeremiah 9:23-24 (and more in Isaiah 1, Amos, and Zechariah).

Something for us to ponder on.

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