Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Robert Alter

I love Robert Alter's note, commenting on this place in Genesis, (Gensis: Translation and Commentary p.28 note 5) "Man's evil heart is pointedly meant to contrast to God's grieving heart (the same Hebrew word) in the next verse." The same idea comes out in Jeremiah 9, not only that God grieves, but also the contrast between God and man..."Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories, glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices mercy, justice and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight." God's practices are in sharp contrast to man who "proceeds from evil to evil...heaping oppression upon oppression and deceit up on deceit and "refuses to know me, says the Lord."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

It Grieved Him to His Heart: Genesis 6:6

It is only relatively recently that theology has been able to cast off some of its philosophic shackles and admitted the plain sense of the text: God grieves. We see this even more dramatically in Jeremiah 9 where God says "O that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and nigh for the slain of the daughter of my people!" It continues, " O that I had in the desert a wayfarers lodging place that I might leave my people and go away from them." It has been justly asked whether the speaker is the prophet or God himself, and in my opinion, here in Jeremiah, it could be either. However, when we come to the gospels, we see Jesus going off into the desert for a time alone after the death of the John the Baptist at the corrupt hands of Herod. In other words, Jesus Jehovah fulfills this word in Jeremiah. When he goes off into the desert, it is to weep for the slain, it to grieve for the wickedness of his people.