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Covenants of the Old Testament

Whether it is one covenant expressed in different contexts and hence different forms, or it is different covenants with different persons, depends to a certain extent on individual interpretations” (Poon 42). God has made covenants with certain persons in the Hebrew Bible and some of these covenants could be unconditional or could clearly depend on the loyalty or fidelity of the human partner. God established covenants with notable people in the bible like Noah, Abraham, Moses and David (Brueggemann 91). It is important to note which of the covenants that God established with these persons in the Hebrew Bible that is unconditional and the ones that are conditional. In the book of Genesis, God made a covenant with Noah after he (God) had used flood to destroy the people of the earth except Noah and his family. According to the bible, God told Noah that, I solemnly promise you and your children and the animals you brought with you- all these birds and cattle and wild animals- that I will never again send another flood to destroy the earth. And I seal this promise with this sign: I have placed my rainbow in the clouds as a sign of my promise until the end of time, to you and to all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will be seen in the clouds, and I will remember my promise to you and to every being, that never again will the floods come and destroy all life. For I will see the rainbow in the cloud and remember my eternal promise to every living being on the earth. Gen. 9:8-17 In the covenant that God made to Noah, it is clear that God did not like the fact that he had to destroy the people that he created with flood and due to the love that he had for Noah and his family, he had to establish this covenant with Noah and his generation. God promised not to open the floodgates of heaven and use water to destroy the world again. He promised that he would not destroy humans and animals with flood as he told Noah that the rainbow that appears in the cloud is the sign of the covenant that he (God) made with Noah and his generation. The rainbow shows that, to every covenant, there is a sign. The rainbow is also a reminder to man of God’s promise never to use flood to destroy the world again. This covenant could also be referred to the covenant of the preservation of life (Harris & Platzner 14). God gave Noah this covenant to assure him of his steadfast love for the human race. However, it should be noted that, the covenant that God made with Noah is an unconditional one as it did not in any way depend on the fidelity of the human partner. At this point, it is also pertinent to take a look at the covenant that God made with Abraham, who was a descendant of Noah. Abraham was a man of faith; he was a man that walked with God. As a result of Abraham’s faithfulness, God had to establish a covenant with him. God bestowed a great blessing upon Abraham that has made people to be blessed through him. In the fifteenth chapter of Genesis, God tells Abram (as his name was called then) that, “I have given this land to your descendants from the Wadi-el-Arish to the Euphrates River. And I give to them these nations: Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaim. Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, Jebusites.” (Gen. 15:18-21). This was the covenant that ...Show more

Summary

Name of of Lecturer Course 19 October 2011 Covenants of the Old Testament The term, Covenants of the Old Testament as used in the Hebrew Bible is the communal agreement between two or more individuals to do something and the covenant could be conditional or unconditional as each covenant actually varies depending on the circumstances that surround the making of the covenant…
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