The 3 Covenants
This week (Sept 30) on Shabbat Night Live, could it be that not all 12 tribes were among those who escaped Egypt? Did some leave before the Exodus? And if they were not part of the Exodus, how did those missing tribes become part of the covenant at Sinai?
Aaron Lipkin presents some eye-opening, sacred cow crushing evidence for a major revision of our assumptions about the Exodus story!
Watch the episode — included on this blog post.
While you watch, consider the questions below. The timeline for each discussion topic in the video is noted on each question. Post your answers in the comments section and let’s get some discussion going!
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 16:00) Why is it important for today’s believers to recognize the presence of Ephraim and Manasseh in Canaan prior to the Exodus? How can they, like isolated Jewish settlers in Mandatory Palestine, be viewed as foreshadowings of the ultimate Jewish inheritance of the Promised Land in 1948?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 20:00) Similarly, how might the covenant of Moab become a significant juncture for many of the faithful, despite its ostensible secondary relationship to that of Mt. Sinai? How does the renewal of YeHoVaH’s original covenant suggest a divine gesture of unification that has been overlooked amid the plethora of Christian denominations and the egalitarian spirit of personal interpretation?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 24:00) As has been mentioned previously in this forum, how does this historical pattern of continual inclusion of disparate peoples also serve to direct attention to Israel as a locus of divine influence and revelation, despite its limited public identity as a controversial center of geopolitics? How does the recurrent presence of this region and its people in historical epochs serve to belie the agnostic notion of secular political economy?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 28:00) How has willful ignorance of much of the Old Testament prevented many believers from recognizing the importance of tribal lineage in Hebrew culture with regard to piety or heroism? Specifically, how does “skipping over” or dismissing as irrelevant such a text as The Book of Chronicles deprive us of the larger significance of Joshua as a descendant of Ephraim or Caleb as a member of the tribe of Judah?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 31:00) Similarly, how has the latter-day popularity of the names of these two figures among Gentile families served as an ironic reflection of their function and deeds as the vanguard of the Hebrews’ entrance into the Promised Land? How has this superficial treatment served to obscure their examples of resourcefulness, stealth, and warrior spirit in the annals of Judeo-Christian culture?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 36:00) How does the recognition of the lineage of Joshua and Caleb further demonstrate the process of revealed doctrine in scripture? How has our tendency to view the Bible as a single, monolithic text kept us from perceiving progress to salvation through an accretion of narrative examples, through what T. S. Eliot described as “a sense of the timeless as well as of the temporal and of the timeless and of the temporal together”?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 40:00) How does the obscure feast described in Judges 21:20-21 offer insight into the Ephraimite culture of native Israelis that developed independently from that of the children of Moses? How does its connection to the harvest of grapes suggest its affinity to other major feasts and also provide further support for the Hebrews’ possession of the Promised Land?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 44:00) Similarly, how has contemporary biblical scholarship provided support for the recognition of this event as a foreshadowing of the coming of the Messiah? How does this interpretation further demarcate the Bible as a divinely-inspired compilation of texts that reveal a progression of doctrinal truth that we must continually seek and explore through exegetical history?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 48:00) The historicity of our received text of the Bible – particularly its synthesis of oral and scribal traditions – is often lost in the welter of translation or paraphrase that seeks to render it more accessible to the largest possible readership. How has this resulted in the unintended consequence of loss of faith by many former believers, who find its testimonies to be implausible or even fictional by contemporary standards?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 52:00) How is the historical difficulty of the Hebrews to maintain their monotheism against the temptation of paganism – a possible result of influence from the native Canaanites – representative of the dilemma faced by today’s faithful whose convictions are threatened by a sophisticated but agnostic civilization? How have many otherwise steadfast believers incorporated the equivalents of such figures as Baal into their contemporary practices of prayer or worship?