The Spirit of the Lord and Obedience to God's Law : an Exegetical, Intertextual, and Theological Study of Ezekiel 36:27
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Religion, Old Testament Studies PhD
Richard M. Davidson
Randall W. Younker
In Ezek 36:27, God foretells that he will put his Spirit within his people and he will “do” so that Israel will obey his laws. Ezekiel 36:27 indicates a close relationship between the Spirit of God and Israel in observing the statutes and judgments of God in the Babylonian exile among the nations and after the exile. In this text, every major phrase and clause has varied interpretations or calls for further investigation. Not only do scholars have different interpretations of the verse, but also the English Bible versions vary in their translations. This leads to the following questions: What is the identity of the Spirit of God? What is the nature of the statutes and judgments of God? What is the precise relationship between the Spirit of the Lord and the people in observing the divine laws? When is the bestowal of the Spirit of God and obedience to the laws of God realized by Israel? The purpose of this research was to conduct an exegetical, intratextual, intertextual, and theological study in order to investigate further the Spirit of God in relationship to Israel in keeping the laws of God in the context of restoration in Ezek 36.
This study uses the final form and close reading of the MT in its canonical text. The method entails analytical, inductive, synchronic, and diachronic approaches to v. 27, involving OT canonical and extra-canonical Hebrew selected texts. In chapter 1, various interpretive views by scholars regarding v. 27 are presented. The views differ concerning the identity of the Spirit of God, the precise relationship between the Spirit of God and Israel in obeying the laws of God, the concept of “within,” what God “does,” the nature of the statutes and judgments of God, and the role of Israel as God puts his Spirit within them. In chapter 2, an exegetical investigation is undertaken for the purpose of examining the identity of the Spirit of God and the nature of the statutes and judgments of God and their relationship. The structure of v. 27 is studied in order to analyze the logical progression of the thought and intent of the author. A semantic study of the meaning of words and phrases as well as the syntax of the text is examined to explore their relationship and how their significance and implication affect the translation and interpretation of the text. Chapter 3 deals with the intratextual analysis in order to examine the connection between Ezek 36:27 and selected texts with similar vocabulary within the book of Ezekiel. In chapter 4, an intertextual study is undertaken to compare v. 27 with other selected texts in the OT with similar vocabulary for the purpose of exploring how the OT texts highlight Ezek 36:27. Chapter 5 deals with the intertextuality of Ezek 36:27 in selected extra-canonical Qumran Hebrew texts to investigate how the Spirit of God and obedience to the laws of God inform the concept of the Spirit of God and obedience to the laws of God in Ezek 36:27. In chapter 6, a theology of Ezek 36:27 is constructed based on the exegetical analysis and intratextual and intertextual investigation stated above.
The conclusions reached by exegeting Ezek 36:27 are that: 1. The Spirit of God is God’s Holy Spirit, a personal being, whom God gives to the Israelites so that they can have abundant life, for they lament that they have no life. The Spirit of God empowers or strengthens Israel to obey the laws of God of life and maintain the life they have received from the Spirit of God. 2. The statutes and judgments of God are the praxis or practical aspects of the principles of the ten words or commandments of God through which God made a covenant with Israel. As Israel obeys the laws of God, they fulfill the principle of the ten commandments of love to God and humanity. 3. God influences the mind and motivation of his people by his Spirit through the word of God as proclaimed by the prophet Ezekiel. By his Spirit, God wants to renew and soften their stony heart to be a heart of flesh in order for them to have new desires, motives, and purposes of observing his divine laws. 4. God “does” or acts through his Spirit for the sake of his holy name, characterized by grace, mercy, forbearance, love, faithfulness, and forgiveness, in renewing the mind of Israel and giving back their land in the process of restoration. 5. Israel plays an active role in the process of responding to the grace, mercy, forbearance, love, faithfulness, and forgiveness of God and their willingness to obey the word of God to return to their land. 6. The bestowal of the Spirit of God is realized by Israel while in exile among the nations but particularly when they are restored to their land.
Bible, Ezekiel 36:2 --Criticism, interpretation, etc, Holy Spirit, Obedience (Law), Spirit of God, Andrews University--Dissertations--Bible, Ezekiel 36:27--Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Mutua, James Waita, "The Spirit of the Lord and Obedience to God's Law : an Exegetical, Intertextual, and Theological Study of Ezekiel 36:27" (2014). Dissertations. 105.
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