Monday, June 10, 2013

Daily Old Testament and Early Christian Writings: Judges 5 and Origen's De Principiis: Book VI (4)

Judges 5 – There follows a poetic celebration of the victory of Deborah and Barak—it includes a brief retelling of “the story.

“[W]hen you marched from the region of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens poured, the clouds indeed poured water.  The mountains quaked before the Lord, the One of Sinai, before the Lord, the God of Israel” (5:4-5).

“The peasantry prospered in Israel, they grew fat on plunder, because you arose, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel.  When new gods were chosen, then war was in the gates . . .Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys, you who sit on rich carpets and you who walk by the way” (5:7-10).

“Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan; and Dan, why did he abide with the ships? Asher sat still at the coast of the sea, settling down by his landings.  Zebulun is a people that scorned death; Naphtali too, on the heights of the field” (5:17-18).

“The stars fought from heaven, from their courses they fought against Sisera” (5:20). Jael is praised: “Most blessed on women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, of tent-dwelling women most blessed” (5:24).

The mother of Sisera is imagined as waiting for him to return with the spoils of war. “So perish all your enemies, O Lord! But may your friends be like the sun as it rises in its might” (5:31). The land rested for forty years.

Origen (185-254 AD)
De Principiis (First Principles)
Chapter VI – On the End or Consummation
4 – Origen tries to look into what it is that makes something “visible and temporal” while others are “invisible and eternal.” Are things “temporal” because nothing like them will be part of the “coming world” – the second creation or restored first creation? Or are they called that because just “the form of those things. . . passes away” but their “essential nature is subject to no corruption.” He thinks Paul is of the latter view and David as well in Psalm 102: “The heavens shall perish, but Thou shalt endure; and they all shall wax old as a garment, and Thou shalt change them like a vesture, and like a vestment they shall be changed.”

He believes Isaiah also believed this when he spoke of there being a  “new heaven and a new earth.” “'[T]his renewal of heaven and earth, and this transmutation of the form of the present world, and this changing of the heavens will undoubtedly be prepared for those who are walking along that way which we have pointed out above, and are tending to that goal of happiness to which, it is said, even enemies themselves are to be subjected, and in which God is said to be ‘all and in all.’”

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