Covenant : A Special Type Of Relationship

919 Words4 Pages
COVENANT N THE PENTATEUCH In the clearest sense a covenant is a special type of relationship. Normally practiced in the ancient Near East, covenant making allowed two parties, who were not related by blood, to enter into a special bond. There is considerable evidence to suggest that the concept of covenantal relationship was common in the ancient Near East. J. Arthur Thompson believes that one should keep the idea of covenant sacred, “In translating the word it may be helpful to use different terms such as agreement, alliance, league, or treaty, according to the sense, and to preserve the term “covenant” for the berîṯ between God and man.” The Old Testament uses the covenant concept metaphorically, to convey the idea of the special…show more content…
God took the initiative in entering into a covenant with Abraham. God promised to multiply Abraham’s offspring and to give them a land. This covenant was unconditional. In other words, “The obedience of Abraham was not a condition of the covenant but rather his response inside a religious relationship. There could be no blessings and no fellowship without obedience. Merrill notes as well, “so far only the Lord had sworn his fealty, but this only confirms the nature of the covenant as a grant whose only obligations were on the bestower.” The terms of this covenant were relayed to Abraham in a dream (Gen. 15). The Lord told him to cut sacrificial animals in half. Most interpreters suggest that God invoked a curse upon himself, if he should fail to uphold his end of the bargain. This covenant was sealed with circumcision. This was a common practice, but to the Israelites it had a significant meaning. “Every time a male engaged in sexual intercourse, he would be reminded of his inclusion in the covenant race,” Merrill notes. In all, the Abrahamic covenant was God’s promise that the descendants of Abraham would be the means by which the Lord
Open Document