COVENANT Covenant Definition Treaty

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       Covenant- Definition
• Treaty
• Formal agreement between two (or more)
• Mutual benefit
• Mutual responsibility
          “Hittite Treaties”
• Usual title.
• Between Hittites (Asia Minor/Turkey) and
• Written in Akkadian (language of
  Mesopotamia)- the lingua franca of the
  2 Ancient Near Eastern Types
• Parity treaty- on a par; between equals
• Vassal/suzerainty treaty- between two
  unequal parties
     Vassal/suzerainty Treaty
• Inferior (vassal) bound by oath to superior
  (suzerain- called the “Great King”)
• Mutual obligation- but obedience of vassal
  is given greater weight than the opposite.
• Stipulations are laid on the vassal
• Promises to help vassal are promises, not
  legal: based on trust/ good-will
     Theological Significance
• Israel is related to Yahweh in legal,
  covenant terms
• God is Great King
• Israel is vassal
• Important at start of Israelite monarchy-
  Judges 8:23
6 Elements of an ANE Covenant
               I. Preamble
• Parties are identified: These are the words
  of the Sun, Suppiluliumas, the great king,
  the king of the land of the Hittites, the
  valiant, the favorite of the Storm-god.
• Exod 20:2a; Deut 1:1-5; Josh 24:2
       II. Historical Prologue
• Previous relationships between the parties
• Why should we enter into covenant?
• Previously the king of Egypt and his
  cronies were hostile to the Sun…but you
  parted from them and joined with me.
• Ex 20:2b; Deut 1:6-4:49; Josh 24:2b-13
   III. Stipulations: general and
• He who lives in peace with the Sun lives at
  peace with you, but he who is an enemy to
  the Sun is an enemy to you.
• No foreign relationships allowed (only 1
  covenant) No enemies among vassals
• Respond to call to arms
• Lasting loyalty to the king
      Stipulations (continued)
• Ex 20:3ff; Deut 5-26; Josh 24:14-21
      IV. Curses and Blessings
• May Ashur, king of the gods, decree for you an
  evil, unpropitious fate, and not grant you
  fatherhood and old age.
• May Ninurta fell you with his fierce arrow, and
  fill the plain with your corpses, give your flesh to
  eagles and vultures to feed on.
• May all you teeth fall out except one, and may it
  be abscessed.
        Curses and Blessings
• Exod 23:20-33; Deut 27-30
• Basis for the message of the prophets
  (Deut 27-30 and Amos 4)
   V. Deposit or Tablet Clause
• What to do with the finished covenant
• Often omitted in ANE
• Deut 31:9-13; Josh 24:26
            VI. Witnesses
• Deities who are to bring about the
  blessings or curses
• The treaty which he has made binding with
  you before Jupiter, Venus, Saturn,
  Mercury, Mars, and Sirius; before Ashur,
  Enlil, Ea and Marduk…
      Witnesses (Continued)
• Problem for Israel’s covenant with god?
• Deut 30:19; 31:26; Josh 24:22

• Henotheism- each people has own gods
  who is responsible for them.
      Formal Oath Ceremony
• Covenant not self-standing: has ritual
  context in real life
• Not part of Hittite treaty documents
  (history as writing more important than
  history as event)
• OT- both audio (legal text) and video
  (ceremony described)- Exod 24:4--11; Josh
    Abrahamic Covenant- Genesis
              15, 17
• Different form from others
• God obligates himself, Abraham not
• Rituals (Gen 15) done by God
• No future acts for Abraham (circumcision
  = sign of, not obligation of covenant)
• Parallels ANE royal grant: an
  unconditional gift

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