The Fear of the LORD Influence on Kenosis



The task of theologizing has often been characterized as an art, a science, or a combined configuration of the two themes, by those who work within the hallowed halls of debating the concepts found within the divine conversation.  As an art, this exchange contains an expressive element that continuously pushes against the borders that attempt to restrict the dialogue’s movement by confining the discussion to previously agreed upon rules and thought patterns.  The theologians who use cognitive thought as an easel in order to create new patterns of contemplation, typically searches for new paradigms that enhances the opportunity for other critical thinkers to embrace their particularly unique perspectives.  This aspect of communicating the divine has afforded an ever increasing view of biblical interpretation.

As a science, the task of the theologian is infinitely more precise.  The conceptual data that focuses upon the revelatory nature of God carries an inherent danger within its material, that when improperly understood, can lead to devastating spiritual conclusions and personal tragedy.  Theologizing is fraught with peril, for it deals with the human soul’s eternal nature and its relationship to the creator.  Balancing the artful expressiveness that language nuances exemplifies, with the precision the linguist must convey, can prove to be extremely difficult, to say the least.

This problem in communicating the values of religious ideology has led to various places of encampment among those who deliberate the divine.  At times, the debate over religious metaphors and expressions has been contentious; at times the points of communication have been lucid; while other aspects of the conversation have been tediously muddled.  This self-contained dimension of difficulty has become painfully evident in the theological constructs revolving around a comprehensive theology of the Old Testament.  Part of this difficulty can be attributed to the varied forms of literary advancement that are found within the pages of Holy Writ’s oldest form of revelation.

Historical narratives from a prophetic view readily clash with a more formalized hierarchical structure.  Poetic imagery sets itself against actual events, occasionally distorting the view, particularly when rules of literalism are applied, on other occasions the poetically inspired language can even be seen as existing within a historical type of symbiotic relationship, thus easing the apparent difficulties.  Songs set themselves against imprecatory dialogue.

Throughout all of this, a divine expression lurks among the shadows, waiting to burst forth as a brilliant means of grace impartation, when given the proper opportunity.  F.F. Bruce advances the difficult place that the Old Testament theological continuum holds in tension, as he points out the fact that: “It is difficult to find one single principle around which a coherent and comprehensive Old Testament theology, doing justice to all the chief forms of Old Testament literature and teaching, can be constructed.[1]” This inability to create a concise theology has created a theological conundrum for the theologians who attempt to explain the biblical message in a consistent format due to the varied themes addressed among the Scriptures and their inability to be viewed with any measure of solidarity as systematic constructs.

Although man tends to live life in a mix format that is often a confusing admixture of experiences that seem to be hap hazardously constructed, without much rhyme or reason, the human approach to knowledge typically comes in a more systematized forum.  The elusive nature of biblical revelation, as opposed to a formal system for comprehensive analysis, is painfully pointed out in the Book of Proverbs, according to Wayne Sterling, in a series of lectures for Liberty University that revolve around the Poetry of the Old Testament, entitled: The Poetry of the Old Testament.  According to Sterling, the Book of Proverbs primary plan consists of a loose collection of sayings attributed to a number of authors, with King Solomon as the primary architect of the dictums.  Sterling does attest to a minor unity of the book in regard to subject matter, which also applies to the other examples of the wisdom genre, but even then the material must be viewed in an exculpatory fashion, often artificially arranged along topical lines[2].  Even then, the majority of the Proverbs serve as self-standing periscopes into the life of faith and community as it related to the developing Jewish faith and practices in the sociological setting.

The goal of the Hebraic words of wisdom had a distinct point to them.  They were meant to help those who heed their lessons in the attainment of the only wisdom that mattered; functional religious understanding that was rooted in God’s truth and practically implemented by the seeker of wisdom’s tutelage.  The sage expounds a knowledge that supercedes theoretical deliberations.  This is a form of understanding that is grounded in the experimental revelation of the Lord.  The recipient of this divinely imparted revelation has a responsibility concerning that which the divine unfolds.  Those who embrace the knowledge of the Most High God are accountable for appropriating revelations power, making it their own as they lay hold of God’s goodness.  But this revelatory understanding isn’t meant to simply rest within the life of the initiate, wisdom is a gift that is meant to be propagated when it is truly acquiesced to as a guiding message that influences the life of the acolyte.

The boundaries of the Wisdom genre are complex, as they provide tools for correct living on a very practical plane, while conversely entertaining multifaceted theological ideas that are made up of a philosophical nature, which primarily revolved around the personification of wisdom in its latter developmental period.  Theory and practicality blend in a subtle mix that truly exemplify the complex issues that make up the theological compendium of an Old Testament theology. Ideas emerge in simple statements in a cavalier fashion that are later found to bear tremendous weight in the community of faith’s life.

To be fair, it needs to be pointed out that the New Testament carries this same problem of an imprecise theological system of thought that make it extremely difficult to clearly articulate a concise schematic process of thought  when attempts are made to systematize the New Testament’s revelation into a cohesive expression[3].  Attempts to create a systematically cohesive New Testament Theology generally are framed within a Pauline framework, which has proved to be a detrimental element to the other writers of the New Testament’s revelation at times.  Paul the Apostle’s prolific contributions to the biblical record stand as an impressive addition to the dialogue regardless of their ability to hamper an understanding of the Spirit inspired views of the other writers. Bruce adds to this points as he asserts that: “Even Paulinism, if that means a systematization of the various documents in the Corpus Paulinum, has to often involve the emphasizing of certain elements in that teaching to the disadvantage of others and a failure to do justice to the many sided versatility of the apostle[4].”

This tension that exists within the theological task of systematically creating a comprehensive chain of thought within the confines of Holy Writ creates an almost insurmountable problem due to the tenuous nature of some of the writings that can appear to be contradictory when viewed through a formalized approach to interpretation.  The Struggles of law and grace, freewill and divine sovereignty, holiness and sin are all conceptual ideas that are not easily resolved within systematized approaches to Scripture, as advocates tend to negate that which stands in opposition to their school of thought rather than attempting to integrate those distinctions.  This is the underlying difficulty that is hard to resolve in most formal approaches to Scriptural understandings that fail to hold the irresolvable ideas in tension rather than simply ignoring their existence or arguing away their importance.

This problem can compound very easily when theology’s attempt to view both the New and Old Testaments as a complete unit.  Disparity’s can manifest within the record of the Law, the Prophets and the Writings.  Loose quotations and allusions to passages of Scripture run rampant among the authors of the New Covenant.  This vagary can create problems in authenticating the methodologies of the communicators of God’s Word.  The human agent behind the Book of Hebrews exemplifies this focal difficulty in interpretive quotes concerning the Old Testament allusions where the author states that: “As He says in another place… (Hebrews 5:6).”  The allusion is to a vague position in the ancient text without fully identifying the reference which proves difficult to understand and impossible to utilize in the modern terms of hermeneutical principles that serve as guide posts to the modern exponent of Scripture.

This supposed difficulty of vague allusions to quotations without referral tags being placed as to the specific point of origin can also be seen in the Passion narrative and select statements made by the Christ leading up to His mission’s fulfillment.  Jesus’ predictions concerning His future sufferings connect to the Scriptural concept of the kingdom of God, although these concepts were seen as phases of a greater revelation of God’s power manifested among men. The evangelists portray Jesus as the exemplification of kingdom power, authority and glory, albeit with significant limitations.  Those who viewed the messianic messenger’s travails saw the kingdom as a present reality within their Messiah although they recognized that the present configuration of kingdom manifestation was limited due to the humiliation factor of the cross, as the Scriptures declare that Jesus: 8 “…Made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:7).  The later glory would see all limitations removed as the humiliation resolved itself through resurrection glory and ascension glorification following the resolution of the tension that seems to exist between the ages of the already enacted and the not yet accomplished dynamics of the prophetic revelation.

Jesus statements concerning His Passion’s purpose to the Jewish authorities are the focal point of concern as they relate to the “It is written” clause.  Mark records that: “The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him… (Mark 14:21)” during the Last Supper discourse.  When the arrest takes place in Gethsemane, Jesus states: “But the Scriptures must be fulfilled (Mark 14:49b).”  These statements, among other, point to a question that must be asked: where is it written?  Bruce points out, concerning the apparent discrepancy, that: “There seems to be no convincing argument for excluding this insistence from His authentic sayings.  But if that is so, we may well ask, as he asked His disciples, ‘How is it written of the Son of Man that He should suffer many things and be treated with contempt?[5]’”

The answer to this question seems to be found in echoes rather than direct quotations, as the prophetic voice of the Prophet’s showcases this difficulty.  Daniel’s record does not emphatically refer to the sufferings overtly, although Daniel does imply their veracity in an oblique manner.  The issue cannot be resolved within the; “Atoning efficacy of the suffering of the righteous in the Maccabean martyrologies (II Maccabees 7:37 IV Macc. 6:28, 17:22),[6]” either, as these are not canonically inspired Scriptures, nor are they be to treated as equal the Gospel record’s of the words of Jesus.  The non-canonical writings are beneficial in their own right, as they serve as additional windows into the Hebraic mindset of their particular eras, but the writings have never been given a universal seal of approval by Judaism or much of Christianity, thereby rendering their voice as less than significant in the strictures of the divine conversation.

Logically resolving this dilemma appears to be confined in Qumran community’s identification of Yahweh’s Servant with Daniel’s: “One like a Son of Man.[7]” Using this as the point of resolution creates a tedious approach to the answer however, as the arguments against the non-canonical writings could easily emerge in this discussion.  This doesn’t deter Bruce nevertheless, as this focus on the Essene perspective becomes his word of reconciliation as Bruce points out that: “It is not so much a matter of direct quotation or of verbal echoes of the Servant Songs (of Isaiah, the fourth specifically) among the words of Jesus; it is more the fact that His conception of His life mission, crowned by suffering and death, is anticipated more clearly in those passages than any others in the Old Testament.[8]

This is pointed out, not to disparage Scripture, but rather to highlight the nature of Scripture’s interaction within itself.  At times it is a complex matter when interpreting Holy Writ and likewise attempting to collate the teachings of God’s Word systematically.  Some resolution may be found to this difficulty when the nature of Scripture is examined.  Although Scripture contains theological constructs interspersed throughout its pages, there is a greater configuration that surfaces throughout the record.  This could be identified as the ‘Principle of Personification,’ if a term needs to be coined that highlights this aspect of the construct. C. Hassell Bullock addresses this personification principle and the ancient forms of wisdom literature that emanated from the Hebraic structure as he refers to the Book of Ecclesiaisticus or The Wisdom of Jesus, the son of Sirach’s advancement of the theme of wisdom being understood as a personality made manifest eternally.  Bullock asserts that: “By the time of Ben Sirach… the personification of wisdom in Proverbs 1-9 was moving toward a hypostatization, that is, wisdom having an existence distinct from, though dependant upon, God and possessing consciousness and personality.[9]”  This understanding of the personification of wisdom can be expanded in an understanding of the person of Scripture, as opposed to the wisdom of Scripture, however.  Cohesiveness is contained in the person of Scripture over a systematic theology of Scripture.  It must always be understood that the living God stands behind that which was recorded as being authentic.  This same God permeates the pages of the revelation granting these Words a real measure of life.

The wisdom writings of the Poetic Books exemplify this process of living inspiration as Proverbs elevates the concept of wisdom far beyond the staid technicalities of cerebral mechanizations although in an incomplete place of understanding the deeper meaning of the personality of the Scriptural record.  Solomon grants wisdom, personality and character, presenting wisdom as a feminine companion who was with God at creations starting point (Proverbs 1:20, et. al).  As such, wisdom played a central role within the religious experiences of the ancient Israelis.  The person who desired to know God had a three pronged mission in life.  First, they were to know wisdom in a practical, experiential manner that superceded the mere acquisition of information.  Second, they were to implement wisdom’s expertise, as life would be folly, foolishness and vain, without meaning or measure, if wisdom’s measured responses to life were in abstention.  Finally, wisdom had to carry an implementation element for it to be effective.  Wisdom, when properly applied, became a gift that was meant to be shared with others, benefiting their lives and making them better individuals through the collective experience.

Wisdom is also seen as having a compatriot with whom she often traveled.  This traveling companion has been identified as the fear of the Lord.  Solomon gives sound advice to those who wish to be wise when he declares: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7).”  This acknowledged wanderer along the pathway of the Lord had undergone a transformation of sorts throughout the years during which wisdom was acknowledged as a pivotal form of communicating human needs and divine desires.  John Goldingay in Theological Diversity and the Authority of the Old Testament addresses the topic of the morphing nature of wisdom as he asserts that: “Further grounds for the conviction that the wisdom writings are of rather secondary significance be in the nature of the development which the wisdom tradition undergoes J.L. Crenshaw describes it as ‘first secular, then religious, then theological, then anomalistic (c.f. Crenshaw, Studies).’ Old wisdom…had a purely this world concern with finding the right way to live life this life, it was baptized into Yahwism by being set into the context of the fear of Yahweh.  Then in Proverbs1-9 wisdom is not merely a useful aid to living a successful human life before God, but the very companion of God himself at creation (Proverbs 8:22-31).[10]

Both Goldingay and Crenshaw by proxy, add an interesting perspective to the idea of the progressive nature of revelation, although somewhat unwittingly.  It could be advanced conceptually that if progressive revelation applies to salvation and the unfolding plan of God in guiding history, a similar approach could be inserted into the wisdom literatures dialogue.  This would grant a greater legitimacy to conversations that could grant a broader degree of influence on the genre of wisdoms development, allowing external sources of influence to be inputted into the conversation.  Questions about external source influence are raised by Goldingay as he asserts that: “The wisdom writings are the books of the Old Testament that most likely parallel writings of other peoples, and their understanding of God and humanity reflects the common theology of Mesopotamia, Palestine and Egypt.  Only when they cease to speak in wisdom terms do they begin to speak in distinctly Israelite terms.[11]”  Accepting a larger sphere of influence could be a reasonable response to the constant interaction between the people of varying nations and civilizations among the Fertile Crescent and the Empires they spawned or came into contact with.  This understanding must be confined however, as the divine nature of inspiration cannot be mitigated.  The added view that relegates wisdom to purely secular influences and would perceive the Hebraic expressions of wisdom to exist only within a surrounding civilizations’ sphere of influence may be interesting, but it carries a weight of doubt within its tenants.

Although Goldingay’s summation concerning Wisdom Literature’s secondary position is disputable, his analysis of the progressive change of attitude and approach to wisdom is generally correct.  The Hebraic vantage point underwent a significant transformation over the years in their comprehension of Wisdom’s place within their social arena and among their religious lifestyle.  This progressive revelation concerning wisdom seems to be confined to the same stipulations as most of the Old Testament motifs were.  The beginning point of the divine unfolding of Gods interaction with humanity tends to be radically different than the closing argument, as His mind and will are progressively made known to mankind.

Abraham’s ultimate justification as the Patriarch of faith’s people is a sterling example of this.  Born the son of an idol maker and forced to navigate the communities of the Fertile Crescent within the context of his father’s trade, Abram became the recipient of divine encounter of a theophonic nature, as he became acutely aware of the presence of Yahweh.  Responding to this previously unknown voice, Abram embarked on a lifelong journey that witnessed his gradual embrace of wisdom’s essential value as it relates to Yahwism and his departure from the pagan culture Yahweh challenged him to leave behind as God held out a new covenant to the founder of the Judeo-Christian expressions of faith.  From his repeated practices of denying his wife and presenting her as a concubine, to his willingness to cede provisional material and lard to those whom he dwelt among, Abram exhibited the religious polytheism of his day.  His unthinkable actions in today’s level of understanding, which would require an immediate censuring,  were quite common in the cultural world that Abram navigated, such as viewing deity as having geographical limitations, thus forcing a change in the trust factor as land boundaries were breeched.

Yahweh is seen as the guide who lived just out of sight for Abram, leading him into a deeper understanding of God’s solidarity among pagan theological practices, thus excavating Abram’s polytheistic tendencies from his life practice.  These internal conflicts ultimately resolve themselves as Abraham proves the significance of his metamorphosis when he leads his Isaac up to the mountain in order to sacrifice him to the deity in whose employment Abraham found himself indentured to as a servant.  As Abraham prepared to once again to fulfill the role of the priest of his home in a macabre setting that was reminiscent of the cultures that surrounded him, God Himself provided the sacrifice in a substitutionary way, thus alleviating Abraham of his former obligations.[12]  Although this perspective of Abraham’s cultural views concerning an acknowledgement of polytheistic leanings or practices is a hotly contested item due to Abraham’s revered status among Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, the data seems to grant legitimacy to this approach, due to the life-events that mark the Patriarch’s experiential sphere.  This extends into the life of his progeny as well, although a gradual purging transpires among his descendants as they begin to understand the vastness of the knowledge of the Lord. Perhaps the greatest surprise on the mountain wasn’t the substitutionary sacrifice.  Maybe the surprise was the fact that Yahweh didn’t require the first-born to be sacrificed at all.

This purging of Abraham’s polytheistic convictions became a mainstay in the religious development of the Jewish people that ultimately ended for the majority of the Jewish cultic experience, following their post-exilic religious expressions, although the process that was begun with the primary patriarch, did not conclude before many millennia had past.  Viewing Abraham’s life through a polytheistic lens is difficult to imagine and is beset by many detractors who stand against this posture and many scholars who advance this position vociferously.  The difficulty of the text that makes up the Pentateuch and the question of Abraham’s fidelity to one God as a first principle can be seen in the abundant usage of the term Yahweh in the text, although the name of God as the covenant maker is strangely absent from the chronological narrative concerning Abraham. Under girding this perspective is Exodus 6:2-3, which implies that neither Abraham nor the other Patriarchs new the covenant name of the Lord[13].

The dilemma of creating a theological construct that is unified in representation concerning faith in God is as difficult in the life of the Patriarch as it is throughout all of the Scriptural record.  Thus, those who wish to peruse Holy Writ’s primary messages must cull them from the various genres in an abstract methodology, particularly when the Old Testament is the focal point.  Goldingay further delineates this aspect of the theologians work as he observes that: “Writers, teachers, prophets, and traditional lists must work with some understanding of the world and life and humanity.[14]” This unfolding purpose was a seeded thought that under girds the entire Scriptural revelation.

This germinating concept is the ‘Fear of the Lord.’ Holy Writs underlying truth that revolves around God’s desire for the nations to fear Him and experience a never ending relationship with Him.  Kaiser addresses this point as he stipulates his understanding of what it means to fear God. Using Exodus 20:20 as a primary building block, which states: “Fear not, but rather fear the Lord,” Kaiser demonstrates that true fear isn’t found in dread, terror or a frightened countenance.  Rather, true fear, in a godly sense, is expressed as putting: “Your whole trust and faith in the Lord.[15]” Kaiser further amplifies this powerful expression of the fear factor in The Old Testament in Contemporary Preaching when he asserts that: “The fear of the Lord is a stance…an attitude of heart.  It…places an individual in a proper relationship with God.  It speaks of His fellowship… ‘The fear of the Lord’ is probably the only word in the Old Testament for religion…Also, there is not a word for theology.  What we do find in its place, is probably the Old Testament word for the knowledge of God[16].”  Fleshing out a pre-incarnational view of faith must encompass the biblical view of the fear of the Lord.

Sterling adds to this conversation as he points out that the: “Basic ideas of the expression ‘fear of Yahweh’ include and understanding of the Old Testament equivalent of the Salvation experience[17].  Abraham proved his salvific existence as he overcame the test of faith by utterly rejecting sin, showcasing his complete reliance on God and his faith in God as the supplier of all his needs.  Job also expressed the Patriarchal view as Scripture attests to his character.  Job was a complete man of faith who departed from evil’s snares.  In a similar fashion to Joseph, he feared Yahweh and repudiated moral evil.  In the Book which bears his name and chronicles his even if it is only half-conscious and we may validly seek to articulate and explicate their works implicit theology.

But generally the Old Testament material does not take the form of a series of discussions or presentations of such a world view or theology, as: “this is not the expressed message of the writer’s work[18].”  Thus: “Deuteronomy emphasizes both the general attitudes of trust, fear, and commitment and…recourse solely to the shrine which Yahweh chooses.  The Psalms are much more concerned with the life of prayer and praise lived by the believer and the believing community.  The pre-exilic prophets…stress justice and faithfulness father than temple worship…and they can be portrayed as rejecting the latter altogether…the post-exilic successors take…a different attitude to the temple.  Meanwhile the wisdom writers, while not ignoring morals or even worship, show more interest in the living of everyday life in a successful and satisfying way, an interest markedly different from the prophets who urge their hearers to trust Yahweh rather than in worldly wisdom.[19]”  Goldingay then utilizes Von Rad’s approach to the problem of diversity as he discusses the history’s view of the post for significance, the prophetic view to the future for meaning and the wisdom’s empirical, existential vantage point as a means of buttressing the other two primary modes of revelatory importance[20].  Interestingly, this theological take could be seen as a type of random selection, applying the attributes of chance evolutionary theory to religious development, as a system of random progressive discovery assigned to primitive cultures.

For a different spin on the same topic, Walter Kaiser Jr.’s Mission in the Old Testament offers an interesting take on the importance of wisdom literature’s importance among the people of faith; found within a discussion on election and the viability of international expressions of importance.  Kaiser, points out that: “God’s call to service and His election as instruments of His grace brought with it the obligation and responsibility to be a blessing to all the families of the earth.  Exodus 19:4-6 describes Abraham’s seed as a ‘moveable treasure, a kingdom of priests, ’and a ‘holy nation’ to carry out God’s purposes.  Especially significant is the description of Israel as a priesthood of believers.  The priesthood was to serve God and minister to others.[21]”  Following this train of thought leads to a powerful conclusion: the Lord’s plan consisted of a universal call to the Nation’s, with the seed of Eve as the primary focal point for the Fear of the Lord to appear before.

Kaiser then raises a salient question about the application of national purpose and the revealed mind of God found throughout the religious personification and their growing importance to the divine plan.  Was the national witness to be silent, taking a role of passivity in a centripetal manner, solely focusing on their personal development with little or no regard for those to whom they come in contact with, or were they to take on a centrifugal role in expression moving into the role of aggressor and actively portraying their faith as something that was attainable to those who surrounded them?  Although the challenge to effectively witness to the world is not a dominant statement in the Old Testament, it does exist within the context of the writings, particularly in the Psalms; i.e. Psalms 67, 40, 51, 46 and 126.  This ‘hidden concept’ of world concern would fully manifest in the person of Jesus and the perpetual mandate that all of His followers are to enact (Matthew 28:16-20), when the evangelistic Psalms are examined, an effective bridge is build that connect the older understanding of God’s peoples’ purposes and the newer revelation that was found in the Christ and clarified throughout the writers of the New Testament as fear and salvation effectively blend into a conceptual mix.

Kaiser points out that: “To fear the Word of the Lord was to believe in Him and to action the basis of what He had said.  Salvation was coming to the Gentiles because they responded obediently to the Word of God.[22]” Thus, the national importance centered upon a willingness to serve as ambassadors as opposed to selected personnel who enjoy a place of privilege.  Israel was elected to make known the mysteries of God to the world.  Found within personal struggle of faith, Job is seen as a witness to the fear of the Lord as he agrees with the other writers of wisdom by explicitly stating that: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Job 1:1; 2:3; 28:28).”

An interesting side note that bears the need of further research revolves around Job’s understanding of fear’s primacy in the religious experience of faith and Job’s five advisors who stand apart from God at the end of the revelation.  Job’s wife epitomizes the narcissistic approach to life’s difficulties as she consults Job and admonishes him to end his miserable condition by cursing God and expiring (Job 2:9).  Although most works on the Book of Job only identify four advisers as consulting Job, but it should be noted that his wife acted as his first admonisher by urging him to put himself in the way of death’s beckoning embrace.  Eliphaz takes a more ethereal approach by exposing his confidence in an experiential relationship to God as opposed to fearing Him.  Eliphaz’ novel view for religious authority is based on experience, thus a reliance on dreams and encounters with other-world entities.  This approach is vaguely similar to those who have held to an understanding where experience is the primary instructor of divine revelation over knowledge and can be readily viewed among many Charismatic Pentecostal oriented groups today.

Bildad’s reliance upon tradition makes up the third expression of man’s religious attitudes, laying claim to the summation of religious tradition as the final authority concerning man’s questions about God and his quest for answers about life’s difficulties.  Again, it is interesting to note how this view continues to dominate the religious landscape of the world and can be found within the varied religious traditions of mankind among the Judeo-Christian mind thoughts and the non-Judeo Christian religious expressions as well.  Within the portals of Christianity, the high church expressions find a comfortable home here.

Job’s fourth advisor, Zophar, places his religious stake firmly in the soil of a legal interpretation of religious writings against the fear of the Lord.  Zophar’s reliance upon the written articles is a fascinating position in light of modern Protestant perspective, which generally relies upon the Word as the final authority in religious matters.  This perspective has to faint echo in the Syrian School at Antioch, led by Theodore of Mopsuestia (c. 350-428), of the early churches Patristic era.  The Syrian School: “Staunchly defended the principle of grammatical-historical interpretation, i.e., that a text should be interpreted according to the rules of grammar and the facts of history.[23]

It is interesting to see how God rebukes this train of though just a vehemently as the others in the whirlwind dialogues found in the epilogue of Job (38:1-42:6).  It would appear that his divine rebuke reappears in the evangelists where Jesus reminds those who lay their authority in religious activities (Matthew 7: 21-23).  Jesus’ stern rebuke of: “Depart from me, for I never knew you” should stand as a warning against an over reliance on legalistic approaches to systematic theology’s safety over a healthy fear of God for a generation that espouses a belief in the Word while denying it’s right to intrude into the individual’s character development.

Elihu takes the fifth position among the participants who try to convince Job that his suffering is a result of wrong behavior or improper allegiance to a systematic approach to God’s corrective hand.  Taking a stance that criticizes Job view of God as being too small, Elihu represents God in an existential fashion which is vaguely familiar to those who see God from the deistic perspective.  As such, Elihu lays claim to a position that sees God as an unknowable being who defies mortal man’s meager attempts to comprehend Him.  It is amazing to observe how all five views, the narcissistic/atheistic approach, the experiential approach, the tradition approach, the authority of the Word approach and the separatist view are all still dominant religious patterns today, even as they were back then.  Truly there is nothing new under the sun, as Solomon asserts in the wisdom of Ecclesiastes.  As an addendum, it would appear that the subtle, influencing power of the Old Testament resonates within the pages of the New Covenant’s exposition and although it may not carry the same weight of importance, the potency of religious and cultural observations are just as relevant in the religious communities that have been spawned in it’s life giving waters, regardless of the numbers of millennia that may separate the people who identify with Yahweh and His Son.

Job’s manifold purpose that lies behind the time of testing, to try his faith and strengthen it, to prove the Devil a liar, to move the theological understanding of suffering away from a necessary correlation to sin in a proportional manner,, and the advancement of his personal witness are powerful reasons to agree with Paul’s submission to Job’s message when he states that he is content in all positions of life.  It doesn’t matter if there is abundance or deprivation, freedom or imprisonment, accolades or scorn: acceptance of the conditions that God allows is of primary importance.  It would also appear that this theme of wisdom’s influence one the New Testament’s personalities bears the need of further research, which will be undertaken soon as a corollary to the production of this paper.

David also advances the notion of the fear of the Lord as he connects reverential respect to the God of the Covenant Yahweh, to the Covenantal manuscripts known as Scripture in Psalm 19.  David espouses the magnificent revelation that God has granted all to witness when the inquisitive heart looks at nature.  Building upon a case for natural revelation, David then proceeds to Torah as a natural step up from nature’s expressive voice.  David, in musing about man’s position in creation and before God, declares that the fear of the Lord is clean, or has an eternal dynamic to it.  Even creation, as immense and complex as it is must bow before the Lord in mute worship.  The king then produces a string of synonyms for the Torah which includes testimony, judgments, commandments, and the rather esoteric depiction of Torah as the fear of Yahweh.     Sterling points out the sheer importance of this revelatory nuance as he divulges that: “To reverence Torah is to reverence YHWH; to reverence YHWH is to reverence Torah.[24]” The truth is clear: if a reverential respect exists for the Lord, that which He has inspired in the divine text will serve as an ongoing guide within the life of those who serve Him.  This aspect of faith enacted is underscored by Job’s approach to God’s dealings with him as an individual.  Throughout the various postern’s of his advisors, Job became angry with them and conversely with the God to whom they appeared to represent.  This led to his appeal to an audience with God Himself, as Job states that: “God might kill me, but I cannot wait.  I am going to argue my case with Him, (Job 13:15).”  Although Job had indicated that he would, in essence, let God hear his full lament, when the strategic moment arrived, Job acted in silence (Job 40:3-5).  This was a bowing of sorts, to the God that he feared, not as a retributive agent, but rather as the one that Job truly loved to serve in fear and trembling, thus resolving God’s second claim that Job is a man who: “Is the finest man in all the earth-a man of complete integrity .  He fears God and will have nothing to do with evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you persuaded me to harm him without cause, (Job 2:3).”  His silence stands as a testimony to his heart felt respect for Yahweh that continues to inspire true God fearing people to this day.

Job, David and his son Solomon as well as the other writers of the Book of Proverbs issue at least twelve factors that make up the meaning of the fear of the Lord according to Sterling.  These beliefs include such ideals as trusting in Yahweh with all of the heart.  This isn’t a challenge to circumvent knowledge as it relates to natural human understanding. Rather, it is a challenge to place human intellect in a subservient role to the fear of God and the wisdom that Yahweh imparts (Proverbs 3:5, 6).  The factor of a healthy fear of God also should embrace a departure from sin as an ongoing lifestyle using Yahweh as the bench mark for the conduct that the believer is to aspire toward.  Again, the life of Jesus illustrates the truth of Proverbs 3:7,which states: “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.  Instead, fear the Lord and turn your back on evil.” Scripture attests to the positive side of sins repudiation when Jesus states that: “I only do what I see my Father doing (John 5: 19).”  He who is the perfect Lamb of God acted in accordance to the revelation of Torah’s truest impact: a fear of the Father that produces acts of intimate kindness among those who were created in God’s image, but wear the manacles of sin.

A fear of the Lord is to also create a data base of knowledge about God that comes in a combination format.  Information is to be connected by experience, if true fear is to be enacted.  When the fear of the Lord is understood, meaningful knowledge is found.  A religious motto could be developed around this theme that could, in essence, state: “Understand Fear; Find knowledge,” Proverbs 9:10 and 15:33 connect to show the believer that as fear is the beginning of wisdom, knowledge and understanding, these components of truth are only garnished through fears ongoing tutelage.  Paul attests to this aspect of character and conduct when he stipulates how the impact of the incarnation is to affect the believer in Philippians 2:12, as the Apostle tells his beloved friends to: “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, not only when in my presence, but now much more in my absence.”  Paul utilized the Old view of wisdom’s ally, fear, to instruct this body of believers in Philippi to aggressively live out Torah’s revelation.

F.F. Bruce makes a significant contribution to the Pauline view of fear’s connection to salvific impartation in this passage of Scripture, as he points out that: “In this context Paul is not urging each member of the church to keep working out his or her personal salvation; he is thinking of the health and well-being of the church as a whole.[25]”  It may not be much of a stretch in attributing Paul’s statement concerning the concept of fear and trembling to the long shadow of the Proverbial Wisdom writings of the Old Testament.  This may be particularly true when the nature of the proverbial sayings is examined.  Ted Hildebrandt attests that: “A proverb is usually a short, salty, concrete, fitted, paradigmatic, poetically-crafted saying.  Each of these features plays a part in giving the proverb its punch.  Proverbs are short.[26]”  This may be particularly fitting concerning the Pauline context, as Hildebrandt further points out that: “A proverb often appears to be a fixed formula, a stagnant cliché, commonly known and accepted by many.  Often a familiar, seemingly, overused saying is played on as a user seeks to give the proverb a new twist or to fit it more closely to a particular situation…Proverbs present life in the form of paradigms, patterns, and stereotypical generalizations.  The sages did not see the order of the world as mechanistic or deterministic, but rather as proof that God’s mysterious reign penetrates and permeates everything (see Prov. 16:9;21:30).  The fear of the Lord is where the sages’ world view began and ended (see Prov. 1:8; 31:30).[27]

An under explored area that may be coming to light through this research paper is the possible influence of Wisdom’s advancement of fearing the Lord as salvation’s experiential quality and the Old Testament’s equivalency of religion[28] on the Apostles admonition to the church at Philippi.  Further research needs to be done concerning this passages origin (Phi. 12:12-18) and its influencing agency, particularly the Wisdom literature of Hebraic sages.  C. Hassell Bullock contributes to a budding understanding of this principle as he states: “At the risk of confusing the issue by modern use (or abuse) of theological terminology, the fear of the Lord denotes piety in the most positive sense of the word, a spiritual disposition that may be described as a proper relationship to God and one’s neighbor.  It is wisdom’s comprehensive term for religion…The knowledge of human frailty and divine strength is endemic to the fear of the Lord (Prov. 3:5-7).  It is a balanced perspective on God and man…It would not be inaccurate to say that comprehensively the fear of the Lord is a world view that attempts to synthesize the element of human life and work.”  In this light, the fear of the Lord is meant to bring a balance to the person that holds religion as an invaluable asset, as he interacts between his surround sand the God the whom he owes his allegiance and salvation too.

The universal dynamic of wisdom needs to be addressed in this discourse for it may shed additional light on wisdom’s advancement of Pauline thought in the Book of Philippians.  Proverbs are universal in their application and within cultural expressions.  They convey truth in an easily understood format for the people who live within a cultural mixture.  Proverbs in the ancient Middle Eastern era typically were continued to four settings:  the family, the royal court, schools and scribes.[29]  These pithy admonitions were characterized by their poetic qualities which included variables in word order; phonetic repetition; semantic balance; rhetorical enhancement and parallelism, which appear to be the dominant forum concerning Hebraic poetry.  Parallelism was marked by four primary expressions, which included: “the synonymous parallel; the antithetical parallel; the emblematic parallel and the synthetic couplet.[30]”  Hildebrandt notes that a common mistake exists when interpreting poetic proverbial wisdom.  This exegetical mistake revolves around the use of distinctly separate meanings between two words that are meant to be understood synonymously.

Philippians chapter two may have more in common with the ancient genre of wisdom than interpreters have given credit too.  Paul appears to utilize the concept of wisdom personified as an extended couplet, connecting Philippians 2:5-11 to Proverbs 8:22-26.  In the Proverbs passage, wisdom is granted to distinct personality, i.e. wisdom is personified.  Here, wisdom is characterized as the feminine companion of the Lord at creation, thus granting wisdom a pre-creation existence.  Although this has been previously noted in this paper, it is important to re-open an examination of wisdom’s characteristics at this juncture, as it is germane to the topic of Philippians 2.  Wisdom’s influence extends beyond creation and understanding however, as she is shown to possess a dynamic relationship with the father, that is perpetual in its ongoing expression (Prov. 8:27-30).  She also exhibits a profound interest in humanities well being, as it is declared that wisdom: “Delights in the sons of men.”

Sterling connects the personification of wisdom to John’s Logos in the first chapter of the evangelists Gospel account of the life of Jesus.[31]  The Messiah enjoyed a pre-creator existence in His existence in His eternality.  His concern was and is the salvation of humanity.  Jesus is in obvious relationship with the Father.  He who was in the beginning with God, was God, and He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).”

This prefiguring or prototypical expression about wisdom and the Christ that is exemplified in John 1 also exists in Philippians 2:5-11.  Paul informs his readers that the Christ had a mindset that dictated His behavior, comporting Himself to wisdom’s mandates.  This way of deliberate thinking was to influence the believer, causing the Christian to have a paradigm shift.  Christ existed in the morph of God and did not struggle with His true identity.  Although Jesus served in the form (morph) of a human, He always remained true to that which He in essence was: God. Wisdom’s fruit of humility led the Christ in His identification with the race He had formerly created and in His humiliation during His Passion.  This humbling experience caused the Father to elevate His Son to the highest place, granting Him the “Name above all names,” allowing Jesus to receive the first fruits of sacrificial praise for those who head the New Testament’s challenge to enter wisdom’s embrace by accepting that: “This way of thinking must be adopted by you, which was also the way of thinking adopted by Christ Jesus.[32]

This explicit statement by the Apostle Paul is probably best understood as a thematic expression of the First Adam-Second Adam aspect of the work performed by Jesus[33].  Some have argued against this based on the second use of the noun morph in v. 7 due to the sequestered view of Jesus work in the hymn as primarily being concerned with His earthly existence and not His eternal nature.  An argument should exist for an understanding in this manner however, as Paul is specifically referring to the Philippian believers behavior as recipients of salvation throughout the entirety of the second chapter of Philippians.  This in no way negates the eternal nature of Christ as God the Son.  However, it does place the discussion squarely within the Pauline context of wisdom’s primary goal: affecting the behavior of those who embrace its tenants.

Gerald Hawthorne adds another dynamic to the discussion of Philippians chapter two’s wisdom properties in his comments on the various translational words of the fifth verse of this passage.  Although he does not directly attribute the chapter’s direct influence to the genre of wisdom, he does assign a common characteristic of Hebraic poetry to the text[34]; as he translates the key sentence in an expanded format as such:

Tau`to frone]istqw e]n u[umi]n

O[ kai] e]frone`ito e]n Kristwi ]Ihso`u

Hawthorne justifies this expansion by pointing out that Tau`to (this) is the beginning of the verse and serves as a backward looking transitional clause, not a forward looking connective clause.  In this light: Tau`to and it’s context of data which follows, appears to be found within the Pauline exhortation of commendation wherein Paul encourages his addressees’ to continue to preserve in their faith, regardless of his personal condition. Paul is commended a body of believers to whom he is endeared too; rather than criticizing them for a floundering expression of faith, which would be the indication of the text if Tau           `to were a connective point to the Christological hymn instead of to the badge of honor that Paul bestows upon these believers.

Hawthorne indicates that ‘tau`to tofronhm’ “stands for this frame of mind’ that Paul just described and it serves as the subject of the imperative, froneisqw (thinking) ]en u[mi`n, which modifies phronei]sqrw, a passive, is best understood now as expressing personal agency (‘by you’).  The clause which follows-[o kai] e]n Kristw]i ]Iesou` (‘which also in Christ Jesus’) is elliptic in that its verb is missing and must be supplied, probably with e]fronei`to (Lightfoot). Upon adding this verb, Moule discovers another of Paul’s balanced sentences, the neatness which has been obscured through compression.[35]” The following arguments that Hawthorne issues address the pending opinions that are set against his construction of the Greek text and its impact on the meaning of the Pauline thought.  His comments revolve around the fact that his considerations adopt an ‘inferior’ reading of fronei]sqw as opposed to fronei`te, and argues against faking e’nKristw`i ]Ihstw`i in the usual Pauline sense of ‘in Christ.[36]

This is a compelling way of viewing this passage however, as the use of fronei]sqw brings a balance and symmetry to this one verse that was lacking such attributes in a field of verses that carry this resonant note of equilibrium. Hawthorne points this out as he declares that: “The clear parallel nature of the two halves of this sentence, which demands that e]n u[mi`n and e]n Xristw`]I ]Ihsou` be treated grammatically alike-‘in you’ ‘in Christ;’/ ‘by you’/by Christ,’ etc. – pushes one inevitably to these and at the same time give to e]n Xristw`I ]Ihsqou` the incorporation of the ‘in Christ’ meaning so common to Paul in other contexts.[37]

It is interesting to note that the supposed superior verbal usage masticates the contextual parallelism of the entire passage and rendering the meaning quite differently when the compressed version appears.  This problem is pointed as Hawthorne stipulates the lack of flow and application of translations which do not yield to his cautionary stance, such as the Revised Standard Version and the New English Bible, or Moule’s personal reflections in: The Epistle to the Philippians as Moule translates the passage: “as though it were possible to think or adopt an attitude anywhere else but within oneself![38]”  When frone`te is forcefully used, it must mean ‘among you,’ toward one another,” in your mutual relations with one another.[39]

F.F. Bruce’s attribution to the community affixation of chapter 2:12 and the work of the church, as opposed to the work of the individual makes sense when the overriding rule of application.[40]  It does present a significant contextual problem however, as the Pauline context demands an ‘in you’ approach to the passage’s totality (2:1-30), particularly in the Pauline conclusion, as Paul once again resorts to Hebraic parallelism in describing those who make up the church as brother, fellow worker, fellow soldier (a]delfoj, sunergoj, susi`, ratwtej). These three nouns are bound together grammatically with a single definite article heading up the list, and the personal pronoun mou (my) adding the connective material to the parallel thought of laboring together.

Returning to Hawthorne’s rendition of Philippians 2:5, it would read:

“This way of thinking must be adopted by you,

This also was the way of thinking adopted by Christ Jesus;[41]

this preserves the grammatical parallelism that runs rampant throughout the text.  Contextually, the parallels between the couples are striking.  ‘The way’ is duplicated, as is the process of ‘thinking’.  Adoption is connected to the procedure of ‘adopted’.  ‘You’ formally affixes to ‘Christ Jesus’, the prime example of Christian conduct, both in action and in deliberations.  By applying a synonymous parallelism to the textual rendering, Hawthorne adds to an argument that could support Philippians chapter two and particularly the subject divisions of vv.1-5, 6-11, 12-18, 19-24, and 25-30 as objects of wisdom’s influence.  It is fascinating to consider that at least a partial portion of this Epistle may contain a New Testament variation of the sagely wisdom writings of the First Word of Covenantal revelation.

Fear of the Lord the — is in the Old Testament used as a designation of true piety (Prov. 1:7; Job 28:28; Ps. 19:9). It is a fear conjoined with love and hope, and is therefore not a slavish dread, but rather filial reverence. (Comp. Deut. 32:6; Hos. 11:1; Isa. 1:2; 63:16; 64:8.) God is called “the Fear of Isaac” (Gen. 31:42, 53), i.e., the God whom Isaac feared.

A holy fear is enjoined also in the New Testament as a preventive of carelessness in religion, and as an incentive to penitence (Matt. 10:28; 2 Cor. 5:11; 7:1; Phil. 2:12; Eph. 5:21; Heb. 12:28, 29).


An understanding of this magnitude could easily tie the common meanings of the ‘Fear of the Lord’ taken ad hoc from the Book of Proverbs and the other Wisdom pieces of Scripture to the Pauline expressions of Philippians Two, granting an interpretive dalliance that places the context within a Hebraic mindset as opposed to a Grecian composition.

Fear of the Lord, the awe that a person ought to have before God (Prov. 5:7; Eccles. 12:13). As such it can be said to constitute ‘true religion’ (Ps. 34:11). This ‘fear of the Lord’ is represented by the ‘fear and trembling’ with which Paul exhorts the Philippians to work out their salvation (Phil. 2:12). It describes the piety of the growing church in Acts 9:31. However, it may also carry overtones of judgment (2 Cor. 5:11; 1 Pet. 1:17).

Harper’s Bible Dictionary p. 305 Libronix [43]

Rendering it as such would more readily fit the New Testament’s origins and would radically lend a sense of importance to a holistic approach to both Words that make up the Scriptural record: The Old and New Testaments.  Applying this view could compel the reader of the epistolary writings, as well as the evangelist’s to trust in Yahweh more fully, to repudiate sin more readily, to receive wisdom from Yahweh more comprehensively, and to become more keenly aware of Yahweh’s presence continuously.

Additionally, the believer should then honor Yahweh with material stewardship, receive Yahweh’s chastisement more easily, receive Yahweh’s physical blessings without guild and implement the valve system Yahweh has advocated for His followers.  This would then lead to the acquisitioning of character qualifies from Yahweh’s spiritual storehouse, finding satisfaction in serving Yahweh fully, becoming morally stable through Yahweh’s indwelling presence existing within Yahweh’s protective embrace.

At a minimum, the passage which directly precedes Philippians 2:12 carries all of the classic elements of a Hebrew Mashal[44] such as the use of repetition in a synonymous fashion represented by the two winged couplet, the typical usage of the contrasting thoughts in a antithetical expression and the supplemental utility of a line (s) continuing the thought of the preceding passage. Philippians 2:12 appears to be a transitional connective passage, weaving together the potential early hymn that was sang among the primitive church that is found in verses 6-11 of the second chapter of Philippians to the extension of thought that applies the powerfully transformative nature of conversion.  If the logical extension of Wisdom’s influence is applied, sense is made of the Pauline use of the poetic devices of antithetical contrasts, synonymous repetitions and supplemental equations.

It has already been pointed out how the fifth verse falls under this jurisdiction, but a question must be asked: are there other readily discernable parallels that exist within the text?  The answer should be yes if other inclusions do exist.  Hawthorne dealt with the Christological passage in a conclusive manner, but the parallels should be pointed out nevertheless.  Paul contrasts the application of the Christological reality as he leads his readers into the truth about Christ’ existing in the ‘form of God’/’equal with God’.  He adds to this presentation what could be considered an extended couplet by connecting the concept of robbery’s lack with the mitigation of reputation.  This is an interesting parallel, as the hymn’s writer shows the denigration of reputation attaches to kenosis and not the sin of pride, which would be interpreted as laying claim to equality under less than appropriate measures.

Paul then uses a standard cultural expression that everyone would understand in the ancient would as it pertained to the employment of life’s mission: slavery.  The salty use of the bondservant’s connection tot eh commonality of Adam’s entire race is a telling exposition of God’s perspective of man and his stationary accomplishments.  Whether one is a king or a pauper, a scholar or ignorant, all falls under the purview of vanity with Christ’s Liberating influence, for all are enslaved by sins nefarious impact.  The contrast between Adam’s rebellion and Christ’s submissive obedience is then brought to light, as both obedience and rebellion, death and the cross, are connected or contrasted in the passage.  The parallel between the Adamic sentence of universal death because of sins fruit and universal freedom is powerful.  Next, Paul synonymously parallels the reward of obedience: exaltation/worship received.

Moving into the next series of contrasts parallels, Paul utilizes personal presence against absence, human work versus God’s work, God’s will and God’s pleasure and the double entendre fear and trembling.  In keeping with Hildebrandt’s caution it may be wise to view these parallel words as synonyms designed to advance a point, rather than two distinctly separate words that can muddle the author’s original intent.

The text proceeds to use an antithetical parallelism, as the Pauline challenge utilizes complaining disputation against blameless/harmless, which readily adapts to the fruit of wisdom’s application, according to the genre’s formal teachings.  This if further clarified with Paul’s identification of these believers, as God translates them out of that which they had been confined within prior to Christ’s inclusion into their lives.   A synonymous parallel is then presented, as Paul represents them as shining lights and holding fast to the revelation of the Word.  This connects them as the faithful, both in internal development and as witnesses to the perverse culture in which they found themselves dwelling among.

On a personal note, Paul utilizes the same device in his life’s mission by contrasting the vain race labor in ran versus being poured out in a meaningful fashion as an offering to the Lord in sacrifice and service, thus pointing out Solomon’s wisdom which is found in Ecclesiastes.  All of life is vanity outside of fearing the Lord.  This headed point of wisdom brings gladness and rejoicing, which is vaguely reminiscent of the David in Psalms of Joy.

The opening verses could be viewed as an extended double wing couplet, as Paul utilizes terminology such as consolation/comfort, fellowship/Spirit, affection/mercy, Joy/love, like-minded/one-accord/ one-mind, ambition/conceit, others/himself. Even though vv 19-24, 26-30 may not fit this application of wisdom’s characteristics entirely within the framework of poetic expression, Paul does link his love for Timothy and Epaphroditus to wisdom’s implementation within their personal lives.  Paul accomplishes this by pointing out their encouraging character, like-mindedness, father/son service and the tri-union of nouns: brother/worker/soldier.  Following through with this connection produces the empowerment principles that Scripture designates as the fruit of the Spirit as exemplified in Galatians 5:22-26: “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Here there is no conflict with the law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.  If we are living now by the Holy Spirit,  let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.  Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another,”  which uses similar synonyms to identify the impact of conversion in the specific life of the disciple and contrasts itself with the preceding passage that identifies the desires of the sinful nature that are to be renounced.

It appears that the conceptual rules that dictate the use of Hebrew poetic language may be interspersed through out the New Testament, which would make sense, when the revelatory nature of the culture is taken into consideration.  It was the Jewish religious system of Law, Prophets and Poetic Wisdom that had birthed the expectation of Messianic intervention.  When the power of wisdom is thoroughly applied to the life of the believer, an effective methodology of witness is allowed to surface, both in the believer and in the Christ.  Wilf Hilderbrandt advances the prophetic nature of the servant/ruler’s ability to influence both the Nation’s and the believer as he suggests that: “When this ruler appears, the Ruah Yahweh will rest on him and provide him with the abilities required for the kind of leadership Yahweh intended from the beginning.  Wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord will be on him (Isaiah 11:2).  The Ruah on the servant of the Lord will equip him to bring justice.[45]

Hilderbrandt continues by expounding upon the interventional nature of the Lord that is expressed in Psalm 18 theophonically as the preservative for the people of God.  This is the essence of wisdom applied: preserving the people as their sphere of influence expands.



[1]New Testament Developments of Old Testament Themes,  Bruce, F.F., Eerdman’s Press, Grand Rapids MI, 1968, p. 15

[2] OBST 620 Worktext, The Poetry of the Old Testament, Sterling, Wayne, LUDLP, Lynchburg VA, 2004, p. 96

 [3]___ ibid., Bruce, p. 15

[4] ___ ibid., Bruce, p. 15

[5]___ ibid. Bruce, p. 29

[6]___ ibid. Bruce, p. 29

[7]___ ibid. Bruce, p. 29

[8]___ ibid. Bruce, p. 30

[9] An Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic Books, Bullock, C. Hassell, Moody Press, Chicago ILL, 1979, 1988, p. 51

[10] Theological Diversity and the Authority of the Old Testament, Goldingay, John, Eerdman’s, Grand Rapids MI, 1987, 1995, p. 207 , C.f. James Crenshaw, Studies in Ancient Israelite Wisdom, NY: Ktav, 1976

{11] ___ ibid, Goldingay, p. 207

[12]___ ibid, Sterling, Lesson 20, pp. 99, 100

[13] F or an excellent discussion on this subject, see Paul Williamson’s article on: Abraham, in the Dictionary of the Old Testament Pentateuch, Alexander, T. Desmond & David Baker, eds., Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove ILL, 2003, pp. 8-17

[14]___ ibid, Goldingay, p. 5

[15]Mission in the Old Testament: Israel as a Light to the Nations, Kaiser, Walter, Jr., Baker Books, Grand Rapids MI, 2000, p. 33

[16] The Old Testament in Contemporary Preaching, Kaiser, Walter, Jr., Baker Books, Grand Rapids MI, 1973, p. 120

[17]___ ibid, Sterling, p. 99

[18]___ ibid. Sterling, p.99

[19]___ ibid, Goldingay, p. 13

[20] ___ ibid, Goldingay, c.f. Von Rad, Problem of the Hexatuech, p. 253

[21]___ ibid,  Mission in the Old Testament, p. 9

[22] ___ ibid, Kaiser, Mission in the Old Testament, p. 22

[23] Hermeneutics, Virkler, Henry, Baker Books, Grand Rapids MI, 1981, p. 62

[24] ___ ibid, Sterling, p. 99

[25] New International Biblical Commentary, F. F. Bruce, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody MA, 1989, p. 81

[26] Cracking Old Testament Codes, Sandy, Brent & Ron Giese, Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville TN, 1995, p. 234

[27] ___ ibid, Sandy, p. 249

[28] An Introduction to the Poetic Books, Bullock, C. Hassell, Moody Press, Chicago ILL, 1979, 1988, p. 24, c.f. Bernard Baumberger: Fear and Love of God in the Old Testament, HUCAG, 1929, pp. 43-47

[29] ___ ibid, Sandy, p237-8

[30] ___ ibid, Sandy, p. 236

[31] ___ ibid, Sterling, p. 112

[32]Word Biblical Commentary, Hawthorne, Gerald, , Word Books, Waco TX, 1983, p. 75, ( For an in-depth analysis of this passage, see an unpublished paper on Peccability vs. Impeccability, written by the author of this paper, submitted to Liberty University)

[33] ___ibid, Hawthorne, p. 82

[34] ___ ibid, Hawthorne, pp. 80, 81

[35] ___ ibid, Hawthorne, p. 80

[36] ___ ibid, Hawthorne, p. 81

[37] ___ ibid, Hawthorne, p. 81

[38] c. f., The Epistle to the Philippians, Moule, C. F., Cambridge University press, 1897, p. 265

[39] ___ ibid, Hawthorne, p. 81

[40] ___ ibid, Bruce, NIBC, p. 81

[41] ___ ibid, Hawthorne, p. 81

[42]Easton, M. (1996, c1897). Easton‘s Bible dictionary. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[43]Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row, P., & Society of Biblical Literature, 1985, Harper’s Bible dictionary. Includes index, 1st Ed… San Francisco: Harper & Row

[44] ___ ibid, Sterling, p. 96

[45] An Old Testament Theology of the Spirit of God, Hilderbrandt, Wilf, Hendrickson Press, Peabody MA, 1995, p. 24

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