Stephen D. Ricks on “Covenant and Temple in Psalm 105”

This is a presentation which was given at “The Temple on Mount Zion” Conference on September 22, 2012.  (We apologize for the blurriness.)

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One thought on “Stephen D. Ricks on “Covenant and Temple in Psalm 105”

  1. Dear brother Ricks,

    In reading your essay “Psalm 105: Chiasmus, Credo, Covenant and the Temple,” a question arose. I have been studying the Abrahamic Covenant for some time. In that process I have become aware of two articles by David Noel Freemen (“Divine Commitment and Human Obligation: The Covenant Theme,” Int 18 (1964): 419-31, and more recently with David Miano, “People of the New Covenant,” in The Concept of the Covenant in the Second Temple Period, edited by Stanley E. Porter and Jacqueline C. R. de Roo. Atlanta: SBL, 2004, pp. 7-26.) in which he argues there are only two types of covenant in the Bible, i.e., an unconditional covenant in which the terms are imposed upon the human part by God, and the conditional covenant which has which has stipulations that must be met for the blessings to be given. He considers the Abrahamic Covenant an example of the first and the covenant at Sinai the second.

    When you list the six steps of an Israelite covenant, the appear to be those of the second or conditional type which we as LDS are most familiar with. And you liken these steps to the Sinai experience. Yet Psalm 105 refers to the Abrahamic covenant and I notice that you do not give a detailed exposition of the six steps in this passage as you do in Exodus and King Benjamin’s address.

    I would like your thoughts about Freedman’s taxonomy and how applicable it really is to the Abrahamic Covenant. In another essay in the same volume by Jacqueline de Roo (“God’s Covenant with the Forefathers”), she twice says “In the Hebrew Bible, no direct connection is made between Abraham’s obedience and the covenant God ratified with him,….” (p. 195, see also 197). I have read others who have said the same thing. Fundamentalist and evangelical Christians like this notion, because it fits well into their notion of grace. That is, some believe there were no conditions placed on the Abrahamic Covenant–its blessings are granted by grace alone. As a sealer in the temple that concept grates on me as you may imagine. Can you shed further light on the matter?

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