Exegesis lesson learned
The dating of the events of the bible is helpful in respects to the historical background. For example if one of the prophets is talking about a huge destruction and we can date the writing to around the destruction of Jerusalem we can see the writing in the context of the event.
Obadiah wrote about the judgement of God. It is set around an event of great destruction. In the writing it doesn’t go into the detail of where the destruction was. The “WHY” for that we will come back to. These big huge scholarly types from past and present have presented arguments for the placing of the writing to two events in Old Testament times: 845 B.C, the revolt of Edom against Judah and the Philistine and Arabian attacks on Judah and Jerusalem in Jehoram’s time and 586 B.C., the destruction of Jerusalem. There is 260 years difference and yet there is still destruction.
A bit like now, in the present age, in two hundred years there is a whole pile of destruction and depending on your own point of view depends on where on that timeline you place something.
I was watching “Reeling in the Years” in casualty last night and Bloody Sunday was shown. Depending which side, or which paper ou were reading at the time depends upon your take on the events until…A new version of events was put forward from the Saville Inquiry in 2010, twenty eight years after the event. In the background of the newsreel a song from the year 1972. “The first time ever I saw your face” by Roberta Flack, the three things coincided – the music, the newsreel and my hurt toe and I cried unpretty tears for the loss of life, for things that happened as a result of a skewed sense of history, because I’ll never sing like Roberta Flack, my toe hurt and I was in my fourth hour of waiting in casualty.
How does this help with dating something in the Bible. Two years ago in August I broke my toe, up to Thursday this week if I was to mention “I broke my toe” people would know the event I was talking about: ~August 2010 when I broke my toe, went on sick leave and never returned to work. Now though, I have had two broken toe incidences so in the future I need to qualify which toe event I am referring to.
For example an undated letter mentioning my toe breaking being the worst thing ever to happen in my life could be dated as 2010 because I didn’t return to work or 2012 because (I don’t know yet!) Not being one to see things in terms of the worst thing anymore I would be looking at how in the breaking of a toe a lesson can be learned.
For fullness and to return to Obadiah where I began. For our lives, for the lessons we need to learn because of this writing does the date matter? We can look at how things changed after each event, what is most important to us though, now, is how we need to watch in ourselves against pride and sin. Priide deceives and sends us off sinning which leads us on a path. In the piece complacency leads to participation in the world and of the world. There’s more, I wonder…