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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Read the Bible for Life: Scholar Series (on Biblical Hermeneutics) Part 2

The next group of videos are from one of the best OT scholars, Bruce Waltke. He has contributed to many works and discoveries in the Old Testament, most notably his recent academic work called An Old Testament Theology: An Exegetical, Canonical, and Thematic Approach. I enjoy reading his books because they provide a refreshing yet vigorous portrait of the OT. His hermeneutical emphasis revolves around how important it is to properly understand the genre of narrative when studying the OT Scriptures. In one of the videos, Waltke explains how to see the literary structure of Genesis 37-50, and goes on to explain how that structure unveils all of the details within the Patriarch narrative of Joseph to be very real, theologically-centered, and devotional to the everyday Bible reader. It is evident that narrative carries massive theological order and significance.

Genesis 37:12-17 says,

"'Now his brothers went to pasture their father's flock near Shechem. And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word.” So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. And a man found him wandering in the fields. And the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” “I am seeking my brothers,” he said. “Tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” And the man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.'"

Waltke points out the framework of the Patriarch narrative of Joseph is saturated in the divine providence of the sovereignty of God. He explains in Genesis 37:15, Joseph is "wandering in the fields" not by chance, but for a purpose. The beginning of the "Joseph story" starts with his dream of valor (Gen. 37), and ends with his reality of valor (Gen. 50). In between, however, Joseph has to endure, by faith in God, all the things that were going to happen to him to bring him to his vizier status in Egypt one day to establish ethnic Israel in Goshen. If Joseph did not "wander in the fields" while looking for his brothers, he would not of bumped into the random man - who saw him to get directions - to meet his brothers (who would later sell him into slavery), ship him off to Egypt, meet Pharaoh's officer Potiphar and be accused of adultery, be thrown in prison to interpret dreams, to receive fame and be brought before Pharaoh to interpret his dream, made a vizier to Pharaoh in Egypt for speaking the truth, bring his entire family to Egypt to establish the twelve tribes of Israel, all for the sole purpose to bring God the glory and set in motion redemptive history (Exodus to Revelation). What a wonderful insight! If Joseph did not wander in the fields, he would not of found his brothers and the rest of the narrative would not of come to fruition. God had Joseph "wander in the fields" for the perfect amount of time based on his divine providence. God was going to use Joseph for great and might things in the future, but he had to wait for the right person to come along and direct him to his destiny. Truly what man meant for evil, God meant for good. Enjoy the videos on interpreting the OT Scriptures!

"'But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.'"
(Genesis 50:19-20 ESV)

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