Sunday, June 16, 2013

Jeremiah 31:32 and Metaphors

"not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day of my taking them by the hand, to lead them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah" (Jeremiah 31:32 Darby Bible Translation).

Notice that Jehovah said he was a "husband" (masculine) to their "fathers" according to this translation. Now we've already talked about that expression "fathers" on this blog previously, but what about the term "husband" when it is applied to Jehovah? Should we take this expression literally or is it metaphorical?

God was the husband of a holy nation. Nations aren't people, but they're constituted of people. God was a figurative spouse to Israel as Christ is a symbolic husband to the Christian ecclesia. I would (and have) argued that the term Shepherd (as applied to God) is also metaphorical. The 3/15, 2004 WT reasons thus:

"The Law covenant later made with the Israelites showed that in a covenant relationship, Jehovah can be thought of as a husband and the other party as a wife. (Jeremiah 31:32)"

Compare Isaiah 54:4-6.

2 comments:

aservantofJehovah said...

Right,a nation is not a literal woman and so cannot be a literal wife.Interesting digression(with or without a point)

Edgar Foster said...

My point is that Jehovah qua husband is clearly metaphorical, so what's that hard about viewing shepherd language regarding him as metaphorical? It seems that you want to take the the shepherd imagery literally. Yet God is arguably not a male, does not have a staff, has no crook or garb befitting a shepherd. And the Bible shows that the shepherd language for God and Christ is metaphorical. See John 10:1-16.