1) People theme

1.2.1 Associations of the People theme

God chose a people for himself and separated them from the nations.

Separation from the nations and consecration to Jahweh are but two facets of the same relationship, conceived throughout as one of Covenant, in virtue of which Jahweh becomes Israel’s God and she his People (cf. e.g. Deut 26:16-19; Lev 26:11f). It is the Covenant relationship with the Holy One that makes of Israel a cult-holy community. Her existence as such depends on the abiding presence of the Holy One in her midst (cf. e.g. Hos 11:9 beqirbe qādôš. LXX ἐν σοὶ ἁγιος), a presence that both makes holy and demands holiness, the latter in consequence of the former: God’s sanctifying presence is the indicative that grounds the imperative. p.16

The covenant that guarantees Jahweh’s presence also contains laws that define how the relationship is to be lived out, especially by avoiding “…all contact with impurity of the nations…”p.17

The person who is unfaithful must be excluded from the community. Jahweh’s demand for faithfulness is “…so that he may be recognized for what he is—that he may be God in Israel and before the eyes of the nations. His purpose in electing a People is precisely this: to ‘sanctify his name’ (demonstrate his holiness and glory)…”p.17-18 not just in Israel but also in the sight of the nations.

In summary: God’s holy People is

  1. separated from the nations and set over against them
  2. to belong by Covenant to God, who thus
  3. by his presence sanctifies its members and demands that they be holy
  4. as a cult-community, holy and united,
  5. pleasing God and subject to his dominion, so that
  6. he may be God in his People and before the nations.p.18

Updated 2009-09-27 (build:50) by Andrew Fountain