Kingship of God (Judaism)

For an overview see Kingship and kingdom of God

The concept of kingship of God appears in the Hebrew Bible with references to "his Kingdom" and "your Kingdom" while the term "kingdom of God" is not directly used.[1] "Yours is the kingdom, O Lord" is used in 1Chronicles 29:10-12 and "His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom" in Daniel 4:3, for example. It is tied to Jewish understanding that through the messiah, God will restore the Kingdom of Israel, following the Davidic covenant.

The "enthronement psalms" (Psalms 45, 93, 96, 97-99) provide a background for this view with the exclamation "The Lord is King".[2] However, in later Judaism (after the destruction of the First Temple) a more "national" view was assigned to God's kingship in which the awaited messiah may be seen as a liberator and the founder of a new state of Israel.[3]

1 Kings 22:19, Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1 and Daniel 7:9 all speak of the Throne of God, although some philosophers such as Saadia Gaon and Maimonides interpreted such mention of a "throne" as allegory.[4]

Second Temple Judaism

The phrase "kingdom of the LORD" occurs in the Greek Septuagint where the Hebrew Bible has Solomon reigning over the "kingdom of YHWH."

Hellenistic Judaism and Alexandria

The phrase "kingdom of God" occurs once in the deuterocanonical books of the biblical apocrypha, in Wisdom of Solomon 10:10, where Wisdom shows a straying man "the kingdom of God."[5][6] This is similar to Philo who refers to "kingdom of God" in a sapiential, wisdom-sense "formed in the image of its archetype the kingdom of God" (On The Special Laws 4:164)[7]

Palestinian Judaism and Dead Sea scrolls

The pseudepigraphical Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs refer to the "kingdom of the Lord" (Testament of Benjamin 9.1)[8] The "kingdom" in the War Scroll of the Dead Sea scrolls, and other mentions of "kingdom" and "rule" are linked with Messianic expectations, and the establishment of a military-political kingdom on earth.[9][10]

Aramaic Targums

The Aramaic Targums, paraphrase-translations of the Hebrew Bible for use in Palestinian synagogues, contain several expansions and additional references to "the kingdom of God" not emphasized in the Hebrew Masoretic Text. An example is Targum Neofiti's paraphrase of Exodus 15:18. Where the Hebrew has only "The LORD shall reign for ever and ever", the Aramaic paraphrase has "How the crown of the kingdom (Aramaic "kingdom" malku מַלְכּוּ, corresponds to Hebrew malkut מַלְכוּת) becomes you, O Lord! ... Of the Lord is the kingdom before the world and forever and ever." The turning of Hebrew Bible references to God "reigning" into concrete references to a "kingdom" of God occurs in many Targum passages.[11]

Rabbinical Judaism

Listings of kingdom references in the Mishnah and subsequent rabbinic literature can be found in Dalman, Words of Jesus, pages 96–101, and Hermann Leberecht Strack, Paul Billerbeck Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch (1965).[12]

See also

References and notes

  1. Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible by Kevin J. Vanhoozer, N. T. Wright, Daniel J. Treier and Craig Bartholomew (20 Jan 2006) ISBN 0801026946 page 420
  2. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery by Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit and Tremper Longman III (Nov 11, 1998) ISBN 0830814515 pages 478-479
  3. Encyclopedia of Theology: A Concise Sacramentum Mundi by Karl Rahner (Dec 28, 2004) ISBN 0860120066 page 1351
  4. Bowker 2005, pp. Throne of God entry
  5. An introductory dictionary of theology and religious studies - Page 1147 Orlando O. Espín, James B. Nickoloff - 2007 "Although the phrase "kingdom of God" does not occur in the Old Testament, and only once in the deuterocanonical literature (Wisdom of Solomon 10:10), the theme of God as a ruling king is prevalent.
  6. The Dead Sea scrolls after fifty years: a comprehensive assessment Volume 2 Peter W. Flint, James C. VanderKam - 1999 "Wis 10: 10: "When a righteous man fled from his brother's wrath, .."
  7. The book of Daniel: composition and reception: Volume 2 - Page 496 John Joseph Collins, Peter W. Flint, Cameron VanEpps - 2002 "... my pride and my glory, which nothing can rival, an ensign of sovereignty which none can impeach, formed in the image of its archetype the kingdom of God ton Theou basileian
  8. Exploring the origins of the Bible: canon formation in historical, ... Craig A. Evans, Emanuel Tov - 2008 "The Wisdom of Solomon 10:10 refers to “the kingdom of God [basileian theou].” The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs mentions the “kingdom of the Lord [basileiakyriou]” (Testament of Benjamin 9.1). The War Scroll mentions “the kingdom” .
  9. Benedict Thomas Viviano, “The Kingdom of God in the Qumran Literature, ” in Wendell Willis, ed., The Kingdom of God in 20th-Century Interpretation (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987), 97- 107
  10. Qumran-Messianism: studies on the Messianic expectations in the ... - Page 14 ed. James H. Charlesworth, Hermann Lichtenberger, Gerbern S. Oegema - 199 "from the Book of Daniel (historically seen very close to the beginnings of the Qumran Community), would start a victory tour from the Books of Enoch to the Gospels. ... The poet hopes for the coming of the Kingdom of God, ..."
  11. The book of Daniel: composition and reception: Volume 2 - John Joseph Collins, Peter W. Flint, Cameron VanEpps - 2002 Page 496
  12. Jonathan T. Pennington Heaven and earth in the Gospel of Matthew footnote Page 266 - 2007

External links

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