Old Testament Survey - Lesson 5

Israelite Covenant

In the lesson, you are introduced to the covenant theology within the Biblical context. The lesson elaborates on various covenants, starting with the Adamic and cosmic covenants, leading to the central focus on the Israelite covenant. These covenants represent God's plan for redemption and the restoration of harmony to a fallen humanity and world. The lesson defines the Biblical Hebrew and Greek terminology for "covenant," emphasizing its theological rather than secular meaning. You will understand how these covenants function as instruments of divine intention and historical destiny in the scripture, culminating in the covenant with Israel that continues through Abraham, Sinai, Moab, and the prophetic visions of a new covenant in Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

Daniel Block
Old Testament Survey
Lesson 5
Watching Now
Israelite Covenant

I. Introduction to Covenants

A. Recap of Previous Lessons

B. Definition and Significance of Covenant

1. Importance of Covenant in Biblical Narrative

2. Introduction to Various Covenants

3. Adamic and Cosmic Covenants Overview

4. Focus on Israelite Covenant

II. Details on Covenants

A. Linguistic Origins of the Word "Covenant"

1. Hebrew and Greek Understandings

2. Distinctions in Biblical Context

B. Types of Covenants in Biblical Context

1. Conditional vs. Unconditional Covenants

2. Sociological Categorization: Parity vs. Disparity Treaties

III. The Israelite Covenant: A Comprehensive Examination

A. Historical Development and Stages

1. Initial Covenant with Abraham

2. Covenant at Sinai with Exodus Generation

3. Renewal with the Desert Generation

4. Full Realization in Future Prophesies

B. The Patriarchal Narratives and their Implications

1. The Central Role of Abraham and his Descendants

2. Theological Significance of Abraham's Actions and God's Promises

IV. Implications and Conclusions

A. The Role of Faith and Obedience in the Covenant

1. The Example of Abraham

2. The Importance of Demonstrating Faith and Obedience

B. The Universal Scope and Blessing of the Covenant

1. Link to Previous Covenants and Future Promises

2. Overall Impact on Humanity and Salvation History

  • Learning about the First Testament's language, geographical, and cultural contexts, and how these factors contribute to its frequent misinterpretation and underappreciation in modern times.
  • Gain insights into the literary and cosmic foundations of grace and glory in the Torah, understanding its role as more than law.
  • Learn that to be made in God's image entails embodying divine qualities and functioning as His representative on Earth, which extends a universal dignity upon all humans and shapes a theological ethic that influences how you treat others.
  • Genesis 1-3 frames human response to divine creation, emphasizing human dignity, work's moral role, free will's consequences, and the persistent grace amid sin.
  • This lesson reviews the Israelite covenant, understanding its stages, implications, and its role in God's redemptive plan.
  • Gain insights into Abraham's covenant with God, exploring his faith and God's promises.
  • Learn how the Exodus from Egypt marked Israel's transformation from a family to a nation under Yahweh.
  • Understand how the covenant at Sinai transforms Israel from slaves into a treasured nation destined for a divine mission, fulfilling God's ancient promises.
  • This lesson covers the covenantal expectations at Sinai. The covenantal agreement provided a constitutional and ethical framework for societal living, focusing on community rights and responsibilities.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into how the tabernacle was both a physical manifestation of God's presence and a profound symbol of His grace, emphasizing the holiness and detailed guidance He provided to the Israelites for worship and daily life.
  • Gain insights into Deuteronomy, recognizing its focus on teaching rather than legislation, and understanding Moses' role as an instructor of Yahweh's will.
  • In this lesson, you explore how to interpret the First Testament's historiographic writings, emphasizing the divine inspiration and literary artistry that guide the selective storytelling and theological themes.
  • Learn how the books of Joshua and Judges illustrate the fulfillment and failure of Israel's covenant with Yahweh, highlighting divine promise, cultural assimilation, and the cyclical nature of faith and apostasy.
  • The Book of Ruth, highlights divine providence, social justice, and personal righteousness while exploring the role of Boaz as a pivotal figure in maintaining the lineage of King David.
  • Samuel had a significant yet complex role in Israel's history; judge, priest, prophet, and crucial figure in establishing monarchy.
  • Learn of David's central role in the Bible, understanding his unique portrayal and the extensive attention he receives compared to other figures.
  • Learn about the Davidic covenant's role in shaping biblical history and theology, emphasizing its eternal impact on Israel and beyond.
  • The books of Kings and Chronicles use historical events to underline theological themes, highlighting the role of scribes in documenting Israel’s history.
  • In this lesson on 1 and 2 Kings, review the downfall of Israel through kings' forgetfulness of God's covenants.
  • Learn about Solomon's temple's historical and theological significance, its divine design and purpose, and its role in Israelite worship and communal life.
  • Gain insights into the transformation and resilience of the Judean people during their exile in Babylon from 586-539 BC, exploring their struggles and adaptations in a new socio-political and religious context.
  • Learn about Daniel's exemplary life in Babylon, his integrity, and his prophetic visions, which highlight divine sovereignty and the vindication of the faithful amidst calamities.
  • Review the Persian period's impact on the Jewish diaspora, analyze the Book of Esther's literary and theological significance, and reflect on divine providence and cultural identity.
  • Explore the crucial roles of Ezra and Nehemiah in reconstructing the Jewish community and faith post-exile, understanding their historical significance, source materials, and theological insights.
  • Gain insight into the roles and significance of prophets in ancient Israel, learning about their historical context, and their critical function in guiding and correcting the nation through direct communication from Yahweh.
  • Learn about the lives and ministries of prophets Amos and Hosea, their calls for justice and return to divine covenant amidst Israel's political and spiritual turmoil, through prophetic books that blend personal biography with national prophecy.
  • This lesson reviews Jonah's struggle with divine grace and Micah's advocacy for justice and the messianic hope.
  • In this lesson, you learn how Isaiah's vision portrays the Messiah as king, servant, and conqueror, emphasizing his divine roles and global mission.
  • Learn of the political and social contexts of Jeremiah and Ezekiel's exile, including Babylon's rise, Jerusalem's fall, and the crisis of faith portrayed in Lamentations, emphasizing hope amid despair through God's faithfulness.
  • Learn about Jeremiah's life and prophetic ministry, navigating challenges with kings, themes in the Book of Jeremiah, and profound passages on true religion and a future covenant, offering lessons on prophetic burdens, God's faithfulness, and spiritual transformation.
  • Explore Ezekiel's life as a priest in exile, his bizarre actions, and profound messages revealing Yahweh's passion and eternal promises of judgment and restoration.
  • Learn about Nahum and Joel's prophecies on judgment, hope, and Yahweh's character. Explore the day of the Lord and the expansion of the covenant community.
  • Explore Obadiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah's prophecies. Discover themes of judgment, faith, and restoration in God's plan.
  • Gain insight into Haggai's role in motivating temple rebuilding during the Persian rule. His brief yet impactful ministry fosters hope and action amid community disillusionment, recoginizing God's presence and reign.
  • Gain deep insight into Hebrew poetry: its forms, parallelism, acrostics, and emotional depth. Explore its celebration and lamentation of Yahweh's glory.
  • Gain insight into Psalms which reflect diverse emotions and experiences. Structured into five divisions, attributed to various authors, their interpretation involves understanding Torah context, literary devices, and applying timeless principles to life.
  • Explore biblical wisdom's depth: from practical skill to moral insight, rooted in the fear of Yahweh. It contrasts with secular knowledge, emphasizing God's order and universal application.
  • Engage with Proverbs to unravel its diverse wisdom, from aphorisms to discourses. Understand its practical guidance for righteous living and leadership.
  • Discover the Song of Songs, a rich exploration of love's nature. From its allegorical interpretations to its celebration of covenantal love, it examines human relationships with wisdom and depth.
  • The book of Job offers insights into faith and suffering, exploring theological themes and character dynamics. It emphasizes trust in God amid life's most difficult trials.
  • Uncover Ecclesiastes' profound journey from despair to hope. Koheleth's existential ponderings contrast with the narrator's faith, urging a shift from worldly pursuits to finding fulfillment in God's sovereignty.

This Old Testament Survey course offers a deep exploration of the Old Testament's literary structure, divine covenants, and historical context. Lessons cover the Pentateuch, emphasizing its narrative over legalistic interpretations, and extend through key biblical figures like Abraham and Moses. Topics such as the covenant at Sinai, the concept of imago Dei, and the tabernacle rituals highlight the continuity of God's grace and the ethical implications of divine laws. The course critically addresses common misconceptions, the role of the Torah as instruction, and the portrayal of God’s plan, underscoring the relevance and complexity of these ancient texts.

Dr. Daniel Block 
Old Testament Survey
Israelite Covenant
Lesson Transcript


In our last lesson, we concluded by looking at the Table of Nations, how this strange, fascinating document functions as a transition from the primeval history to the history of God's chosen people. That is, chapters 1 to 11, 26, and then the new section, 11, 27, to the end of Genesis, that takes care of the patriarchs. Now, before we get going on the story of Abraham, and God's covenant with Abraham, and God's relationship with Abraham, we need to lay the foundations for our discussions by talking specifically about covenant.

In my previous lesson, we mentioned briefly, all too briefly, we talked about the Adamic covenant. God makes a covenant with Noah that we call the Adamic covenant, which echoes, brings us back to where we were at the end of Genesis 1 and 2. Not that there was a covenant there, they didn't need one, but it takes a covenant to get us back there, and I call that the Adamic covenant. And we also refer to the cosmic covenant, which God makes with the world and promises never again to destroy this world.

Those two topics are far bigger than we could have handled here. In fact, they are covered in a recent book that I have produced on covenant, the framework of God's grand plan of redemption. There's a full discussion of the cosmic covenant on pages 13 to 43 in this book, and then on the Adamic covenant 44 to 63, for those who are wanting more information.

But for now, we need to have a conversation introducing us to what I call the Israelite covenant. We've had Adamic covenant, cosmic covenant, now the Israelite covenant. By way of preamble, we must begin by saying, without question, the Lord's covenant with Israel's ancestors and the attendant benefactions, promises, blessings, and the mission represent the focal point of the patriarchal narratives, which suggests that we should interpret every episode in Genesis 11, 26 to 50, 26 in light of the covenant.

It is basic. God's plan of redemption for a fallen humanity and a fallen world represented his gracious solution to the curse that has plagued his creation since the day we rejected the Eden that he had intended for us. The skeleton of that plan, God's plan of redemption, involves a series of communal and administrative covenants by which he seeks to lift the curse from the world and restore the shalom that he intended for his creation from the beginning.

Through his chosen people, Israel, God revealed himself and his intentions for the earth and its inhabitants, and through the sacrifice of Jesus, Messiah, the son of David and the son of God, God's fury ignited by our rebellion has been satisfied and our eternal life with him guaranteed. This is the covenant, and all we can say is, hallelujah, what a God, and hallelujah, what a Savior, saving us from the consequences of our own sin and from the wrath of God. But let's talk about covenant a little bit more focussedly now for a few minutes.

Covenant, this is an English word derived from an old French verb, covenantier, to settle or contract. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as a mutual agreement between two or more more persons to do or refrain from doing certain acts, a compact, a contract, a bargain, sometimes the undertaking, pledge, or promise of one of the parties. That's how we understand the word covenant.

But when we're dealing with covenant in the Bible, English definitions of the English word actually turn out to be irrelevant because they didn't know English. They weren't writing in English. They weren't speaking in English.

They were writing in Hebrew. So we need to ask ourselves, what are the biblical words for this? Well, the Hebrew word is brief. The etymology of this word is unclear, but we don't know exactly where its roots come from.

But this exclusively Hebrew expression seems to be related to an Akkadian word. This is a cousin language from Mesopotamia, biritu, which means clasp, fetter, hence coming to mean in the abstract abond, Hebrew birith. In Greek, the word is diatheke.

In classical Greek, this involved the disposition of property by means of a will and testament. That's the classical word of this. Without exception, it's that except one exception in Aristophanes in his poem on the birds, he uses it more in the biblical sense.

In biblical Greek, with two or three exceptions, Galatians 3, 15, Hebrews 9, 16 to 17, this word is used theologically of both divine and human covenants. But its classical sense is remembered in Galatians 3, 15, where Paul speaks about a testament that's left over after somebody dies and you have the heirs getting the property and the status of the deceased parents. But everywhere else except for these three occurrences in the New Testament, like in the First Testament, the Greek word diatheke represents Hebrew birith, and it's always a theological agreement.

So whatever the words mean, that is etymologically, here's how I am using the word as used in Scripture. This is my working definition. In my world, a covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, activates, or governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that may have been broken or may have disintegrated.

Now historically, we have divided the covenants into different kinds. For instance, in biblical studies, the traditional categories are conditional versus unconditional covenants. Conditional covenants depend upon the response of the vassal, whereas unconditional covenants depend only upon the response of the suzerain, and on those grounds, people will argue that the Abrahamic covenant is an unconditional covenant in contrast to the covenant made at Sinai, which is conditional, or the Davidic covenant, apparently unconditional versus conditional covenants.

Those are categories. We also have sociological categories where we talk about suzerain-vassal treaties or parity treaties. I prefer the two words, a parity treaty versus disparity covenant.

A parity covenant involves partners of equal status. This is marriage in the New Testament. Here is Malachi 2, 13 to 14.

This is a second thing you do. You cover the Lord's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning, because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, why does he not? Because the Lord was witness between you and wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.

This is a marriage as a parity covenant, or Proverbs 2, 16 to 17. So, you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God. That's ESV.

In socio-economic relationships, we have parity covenants. Jacob and Laban, after Jacob has finally extricated himself from his father-in-law's clutches and has fled with his wives and his children and the flocks that he has, shall we say, commandeered, Laban catches up with him in the ram, and they make a covenant. And finally, Laban has to accept Jacob as an equal, and the two of them sign an agreement of non-aggression.

They have now become equals. It's not father-in-law against son-in-law. We are equals.

We're on the same terms. In political terms, this is represented by a treaty like the one between Ramesses II and Hatshepsut III in the mid-13th century BC at the Treaty of Kadesh. They had been fighting for more than a decade, and their war was always landing up as a draw.

And finally, they decided it's time for us to stop this nonsense, and they sign a non-aggression treaty where they agree to let the other person have the territory they have and accept what they have and are satisfied with that. These are parity treaties. Disparity covenants, Susan Vassal, involve parties of unequal social status.

Here's an illustration. Tiglath, Pileser, and Ahaz of Judah. Second Kings 16, 5 to 9. Then Rezon, king of Syria, and Pekah, son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to wage war on Jerusalem, and they besieged Ahaz but could not conquer him.

At that time, Rezon, the king of Judah, recovered Elath for Syria and drove the men of Judah from Elath, and the Edomites came to Elath where they dwell to this day. So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath, Pileser, king of Assyria, saying, I am your vassal and your son. The Hebrew word evid, vassal, servant, means vassal, and your son.

You are my papa. This is Susan Vassal language. Come up and rescue me from the hand of the king of Assyria and from the hand of the king of Israel who are attacking him.

Ahaz also took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king's house and sent a present to the king of Assyria, and the king of Assyria listened to him. The king of Assyria marched up against Damascus, took it, carrying its people captive to Kir, and he killed Rezon. Second Kings 16, 5 to 9. That's a disparity treaty.

Ahaz recognizes Tiglath-Pileser as the big boy, and I am subject to you. Then we have another category of sociological category, and these are communal or missional versus as administrative covenants. Communal covenants are focused on the creation and maintenance of the health of the group.

That's why we call them communal. It's a community. And God's mandate for them, hence missional.

Biblical communal covenants are not about the community. They're about the mission this community is supposed to be involved in, and here we have the cosmic covenant is communal, and the Israelite covenant is communal as well. On the other hand, we have administrative covenants.

These involve appointments of individual vassals to specific administrative and governmental functions. And of course, here we can talk about the Adamic covenant. Noah is put into the place of Adam to govern the world for Adam as God would were he personally present.

The Davidic covenant fits in here. David is chosen, and God makes a covenant with David specifically to administer Israel as his covenant community. And you can see how these covenants relate.

I have on this screen the administrative role of Adam, humanity in the divinely ordered cosmic order. The cosmic covenant is among God, the world, and all living things. That's the triangle, the covenantal triangle.

Into that triangle, God inserts humanity as the administrator of that covenant to keep that machine well oiled and operating smoothly. The Davidic covenant is a microcosm of the Adamic, just as the Israelite covenant, as we will see, is a microcosm of the cosmic covenant. So, David is to Israel what humanity is to the cosmos.

What God is doing with Israel is creating a microcosm of his dreams for the world. So, those are the categories of the covenants. Now, we must talk about the primary covenant that occupies the attention of the biblical, shall we say, narrators and hymn writers and prophets, and that is the Israelite covenant.

And I recognize that in some of my interpretations of this particular issue, I am off on my own. I view things differently than a lot of other people do, but bear with me and we'll try and clarify what's happening. I think about God's covenant with Israel as a complex covenant developed over time in four discrete stages.

Stage one, God makes a covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15 and 16. This is a covenant with Abraham, yes, but in chapter 17, the Lord makes it very clear, I will establish, confirm this covenant with you and your descendants. And that's what happens in stage two.

At stage two, the covenant that God began with Abraham is established at Sinai with the Exodus generation of Abraham's descendants. This is Exodus 19 to Leviticus 27. Stage three, that's with the Exodus generation.

Stage three, but that generation was wiped out in the desert. They died. They're all buried.

Only Joshua and Caleb represented, they represented those who survived. But before the new generation crosses the Jordan and enters the land that God had promised the ancestors, whether they are the Egyptian, the ancestors living in Egypt or the patriarchs, God had promised it to them before they cross over. God renews the covenant with a desert generation so that they cross as the people of Yahweh and not just as a band of marauders coming in from the other side of the Jordan.

And then stage four, it's full realization in the distant future. This is Jeremiah 31 to 33 and Ezekiel 34, 36 to 37. It's usually spoken of as the new covenant, but when we get to that point, you will see that this is, there's very little A, there's very little new here, and that the scope of the covenant in the prophets, both Jeremiah and Ezekiel, is totally parochial.

It is about Israel, and so I view that to be stage four. That doesn't mean there are no other implications, but the biblical text will have it as stage four. Here in this diagram, I offer a bird's eye view of the evolution of the Israelite covenant.

Stage one, the cosmic covenant with Abraham, Genesis 15, I mean, not the cosmic covenant, the covenant made with Abraham, Genesis 15, 17. Stage two, the covenant with Israel at Sinai, Exodus 19 to 24. Stage three, the covenant renewed with Israel at Moab, Deuteronomy, and four, the renewed Israelite covenant, Jeremiah 31.

That's the bird's eye view. It starts small and it expands, and here is a sheep's eye view of this. It's the covenant made with Abraham in Canaan, Genesis 15, 17.

Then it's established with Israel at Sinai, a different Hebrew verb. It is renewed with Israel in Moab and Deuteronomy, and it is realized in Christ, Jeremiah 31, 27 to 40. This is the skeleton.

This is the way I view the structures of these covenantal narratives. So, let's make a few comments now, general comments on stage one of the Israelite. Most of us call it the patriarchal covenant or the Abrahamic covenant, but in my mind, it's stage one of the Israelite covenant.

After Genesis 11, 26, the book of Genesis is taken up with a single issue, God's election of Abraham and his descendants to be the bearers of his blessing to the world that languishes under the curse of sin. God's special relationship with Abraham and his promises to him represents the heart of the patriarchal narratives. These promises are referred to once as the blessing of Abraham, 28, 4. Elsewhere, they represent the essence of the covenant that God makes with him, especially in chapters 15 and 17, and the oath that God swears to Abraham in 22, 16.

The stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph were not written primarily for their human interest. They are interesting, but there's a Or for the examples, these men represent for godly living. They often act in very ungodly ways, but they are preserved for us.

They are written for the theological significance and to highlight God as the principal actor. The purpose of these stories is to declare how God fulfills his promises to the fathers, all as part of the history of salvation for the human race. You have references to the divine promise or blessing, the covenant oath pronounced upon the patriarchs to Abraham in half a dozen texts, reiterated to Isaac in 26, twice, and to Jacob in 28, 35, and 46.

This is the heart of the patriarchal narratives. The terms of the promise or blessing and covenant oath are actually quite clear. Let's look at these in terms of the divine obligations.

This is a disparity treaty covenant. God is the suzerain. Abraham and his descendants are vassals.

What are suzerain's obligations? God's covenant with Abraham is monergistic in nature and in form. That is, it's put into effect from one side alone as a suzerainty covenant defining a relationship between a superior who is acknowledged as Yahweh and his vassal who acknowledges his subject status and he is called often the servant of God. This is a covenant of grace.

Actually, all God's covenants are covenants of grace, but it's monergistic. Notice God initiated it. God referred to it as his covenant.

It's never Israel's covenant. It's never Abraham's covenant. The one about David is never David's covenant.

It's always God's covenant with the party. God chose the covenant partner. God defined the terms.

They're not negotiated. God established and fulfills it. God alone establishes the standards of fidelity and infidelity for himself and his subject, and God defines its purpose.

To what did God commit himself to doing for Abraham and his descendants? Look at all these promises. If this isn't grace, if we don't recognize this as grace, we're asleep or in a coma. God says, I will bless you by making you a great nation.

God says, I will make you an agent of blessing by making your name great. God says, I will protect you. I will give you the land of Canaan as an eternal possession.

I will give you innumerable descendants. I will be your God and the God of your descendants. I will be with you.

This is amazing. All those promises that God lavishes on his covenant people. But what's the response of the vassal? Although no behavior or action can qualify a human being to merit the favor of God in being named a covenant partner, acceptance of the privilege and the responsibilities that come with a covenant must be demonstrated in specific responses clearly spelled out.

One, faith. Abraham believed God. The word amin means to put one's full confidence in something, someone, in this case God, specifically that he would keep his word.

Faith. Second, obedience to the call and command of God. Abraham demonstrated his obedience most dramatically in two contexts.

His call, Genesis 12, and long before the narrator recognized and Abraham believed in God and he counted it for righteousness, this is in chapter 15, long before that Abraham demonstrated his vassal status by obeying God and getting up and leaving his family and going to the land that God had said he would give him. And then of course, the sacrifice of Isaac. We'll talk about that one some more in a bit.

Entrance into the presence of God. This expression, Genesis 17, the Lord says to Abraham, walk before me. That does not mean walk with me.

Noah walked with God. Enoch walked with God. That speaks of fellowship.

But walk before me has a different sense. This was an official invitation, commission of Abraham, authorizing him to enter God's presence and then to leave as his representative. Abraham functioned in this way in his intercession on behalf of Gomorrah, Sodom and Gomorrah in chapter 18, and his intercession for Abimelech.

Fourth, circumcision. This was widely practiced in the ancient Near East, but in Israel it had special significance as a sign and seal of one's acceptance of the covenant promises and obligations for oneself and his household. Circumcision.

E, five, a blameless life, 17, one, walk before me and be blameless. As the stories of Abraham demonstrate, the word tamim does not mean sinless perfection, but having a heart that is totally devoted to God. See especially Genesis 26, five.

In fact, if you follow the life of Abraham, you will recognize that he was anything but perfect. But as we graph the life of Abraham, you will see that while there are ups and downs, he lands up in an unbelievable place in chapters 22 and chapter 23. What a man of faith this was.

In the meantime, of course, he had his downs too, and I was asked at one point to do a sermon on Abraham, walking with God by faith. By the time I had read aloud the whole story of Abraham, I thought, really, walking with God? Or is it stumbling along in the life of faith? That's what I see in Abraham, but that's what happened. A few further observations on the promises, the blessings of the covenant.

As a blessing, the promise of numerous progeny links this covenant with the blessings pronounced on Adam. Be fruitful and multiply, and then renew to Noah, Genesis 9. Second, by the covenant ritual, Genesis 15, 8 to 17, and the oath 22-16, God stakes his very life on his fidelity to his word. You remember that interesting scene in chapter 15, where Adam kills an animal, puts the two parts side by side, and then he's in a coma, but in this coma, he sees the torch representing God passing through these two parts.

In this way, God declares, so be it to me if I ever break my word. God binds himself. Third, like the Noahic covenant, the Abrahamic covenant is universal in its scope.

Abraham was not called for his own sake. He was called because God had the world in view, to be an agent of grace and blessing to a cursed world. Conclusion.

The promise, blessing, covenant, oath is without question the focal point of these narratives. Every episode in chapters 12 to 50 must be interpreted in that light, but the significance of the issue goes far beyond this book. The promise to the patriarchs is the foundation for Israel's later exodus from Egypt, the conquest of the land, the kingship of David, the messiahship of Jesus, and ultimately in the salvation of the world.

In Abraham, all the nations of the earth are truly blessed. Thanks be to God.