Sunday, July 10, 2005

God the Father of Israel-Part 2

YHWH is also father to the King of Israel. (2 Sam 7:12-14; Ps 2:6-7; Mal 2:10). The nomenclature “sons of God” was familiar in the ancient Near East, particularly in Egypt.[1] Hence, YHWH’s designation of Israelite kings as “sons,” is not wholly surprising.[2] God begets the king in that he installs him upon the divine throne as the God-given leader of Israel (1 Chron 28:5; 29:23).[3] The name “Father” assures God’s people that the promise found in Psalms 2:7 is binding and immutable respecting Israel’s human ruler: the Davidic promise will inevitably come to fruition (Isaiah 55:1-5). Even in its Messianic sense, the term “Son” in the second psalm only has reference to the king’s function; it does not convey the thought of a divine generatio but rather “an investiture with royal dignity.”[4] Artur Weiser points out that the OT rejects the notion of God literally procreating a kingly human son (Ps 89:26).[5] The psalmist, he observes, excludes the view of God physically generating the Israelite king by employing the word “today” and the familiar adoption formula “you are my son” in connection with the generative language of Psalms 2:7. The King consequently becomes God’s Son through the process of enthronement. He is thus God’s vice-regent and figurative royal offspring.[6] The language in the second psalm turns out to be metaphorical.[7] The foremost ruler for whom God is “Father,” however, evidently is the Messiah (Psalms 2:1-6). But this text does not substantiate the eternal generation doctrine.

[1] ABD 6:128-129.

[2] O’Collins, The Tripersonal God, 14.

[3] Ibid, 15. Cf. Vermes, Jesus in His Jewish Context, 29.

[4] Brunner, Dogmatics, 1:210.

[5] Weiser, The Psalms, 113.

[6] Ibid.

[7] add note.

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