Jacob’s polygamy

Where did Jacob’s troubles begin? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jacob is the patriarch who embraced polygamy. To be fair, he was kind of tricked into it, but still, he had more than one wife. Unfortunately, as we go through the story, we will see that this leads to trouble for Jacob. After all, some siblings of his will not get along with others and considering they call different women, “Mom” that could explain some of it.

For the positives, it looks like when Jacob comes in at one point, Rachel has borrowed some mandrakes from Leah to increase fertility for herself and says Leah can sleep with Jacob tonight in exchange. Thus, one can understand that it looks like Jacob knew that when he came home that evening, he’d be sleeping with someone.

It wasn’t just Rachel and Leah. They also gave their female servants to Jacob to sleep with to continue their family line. Thus, four different women in the text become mothers and all do so through Jacob.

One reason for this is that Leah was being neglected by Jacob because he had a greater love for Rachel. As a result, God allowed Leah to get pregnant more often and closed the womb of Rachel. Leah is the one who in the end provides Jacob with half of his sons and has a daughter as well.

Still, polygamy is one of those practices that never seems to end well for those involved in Scripture. Rachel always carries a position of the favorite and thus, her children carry positions of favor with Jacob as well. As we go through the history of Jacob and his family, we will see this play out more and more. In the account of the birth of most of Jacob’s children, you find some squabbling taking place and if this was the worst of the effects of polygamy, there wouldn’t be much of a case, but later on, we’ll see more.

It’s also worth noting that Jacob’s brother, Esau, also had married multiple women and they were a source of grief to Rebekkah. Esau’s solution was not to get rid of them, but to marry another woman he thought his mother would approve of. Later on in Israelite history, getting rid of wives that are outside of the covenant would be more necessary.

Thus, aside from perhaps Pharaoh and Abimelech who have harems in Genesis, Lamech, Esau, and Jacob are the only ones I can think of at least that have multiple wives. We don’t know enough about the inner workings of those other families to speak about them, but we do know enough about Jacob.

Polygamy was one of those borderline practices God tolerated in the Old Testament, but in the time of the new covenant, He was much stricter on. Most Jews at the time of Jesus were highly monogamous. Paul will later write that an elder needs to be the husband of one wife and yes, we will look at that passage a lot more when we get there.

For now, just know Jacob has rough times coming ahead.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Sex, Wives, and Warriors

What do I think of Philip Esler’s book published by Cascade books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Men tend to share a lot of common loves. Most men love sex, for example. For those of us who married, many of us love our wives too. Many of us also have a fighting spirit and love warriors, so naturally, a book called Sex, Wives, and Warriors is attractive.

I thought this would be a book about the conquest in the Old Testament since it was about Old Testament narrative. Nope. Still, I’m not complaining. The book is about a number of other passages in the text and giving them a good and hard look.

Esler also writes from a perspective for every person. If you’re a skeptic of the Bible’s historicity, it doesn’t matter. His goal is not to tell you what happened, but how an ancient Israelite would have seen the text at the time. If you’re a believer in the text, this will give you some insight still. If you’re not a believer, you’ll still get something out of it by seeing how the texts fit into the society.

Genesis 38 with Judah and Tamar is covered. This is a passage of Scripture I always found quite strange to have suddenly pop up in the text with no seeming relation to the narrative. After all, this portion of the text focuses mainly on Joseph and none of the other children of Jacob get a look like this, so why Judah?

I still am unsure of that, but this passage is seen in a whole new light. Esler brings out why it is that Judah wouldn’t give his third son to Tamar and why it is she seduced Judah instead. Many of us today are unaware of the social structure of society and are too quick to read our modern culture into the text.

So it goes with other stories in the Old Testament. How should we see the story of Hannah and her son Samuel? Why is Hannah treated the way she is by her husband and her rival wife? Why even have a rival wife?

What about David and Goliath? Is this just a story about overcoming your own Goliaths in your life? (Spoiler alert: No.) What does it mean of David that he goes and fights? What was it that made this fight so spectacular?

What about King Saul’s being crowned king? Why would he go and cut up an ox and run it through the streets of town? Why would there be hesitation on the part of the people if God chose Saul?

What about David and Bathsheba? This is one of those stories that if a film was made about it even if just for TV, you would have to send the kids to bed early that night. What all else is going on behind the scenes that we might not realize?

One outworking of this is the story of Amnon and Tamar. What is going on in David’s family to cause this to happen? What kind of relationship did David have with his kids? How did this affect the kingdom afterward?

We also step out of the Old Testament for a bit, at least if you’re a Protestant, to cover the story of Judith. If you haven’t read this as a Protestant, you should. This is one also that if you don’t believe it to be historical, you can still see how an ancient Israelite would have seen it.

I recommend this one for believers and non-believers alike. Non-believers will not think they are being preached to and won’t get an apologetics approach. This is all about interpretation and not historicity. Christians and others who hold to historicity, such as a number of Jews, will gain further insights into the text.

So if you love stories in the Bible about sex or about wives or about warriors, give it a try.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Deeper Waters Podcast 6/6/2020

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I was growing up playing games on the regular Nintendo, we were told that if your cartridges aren’t working, just blow into them. That will clear out anything and the game will work fine. Most all of us did that. The thing is, it worked. It made sense. Now years later we’re finding out that that really doesn’t work.

Also, before the days of the internet, we had numerous rumors flying around about games. I still remember trying to find the Artemis esper in Final Fantasy VI. How many Pokemon players were trying to move that one truck in an attempt to get Mew?

The age of the internet has made it easier and harder with these kinds of things. With some things that can be easily checked, it’s easy to see that some claims are just false. The claim about Mew would never get off the ground today, and this is even in an age where people can easily fake YouTube videos.

Yet some myths are harder to deal with. Many atheists think today that the idea about whether Jesus existed or not is a hot debate in New Testament scholarship. Not even among atheists is it a debate. Conspiracy theories run amok on the internet.

Even among Christians, there are urban legends. Is Jeremiah 29:11 really a great verse to use in your testimony? Does Isaiah 14 describe the fall of satan? Is Genesis 3:15 really a prophecy of the virgin birth? (Which I do affirm.)

To discuss these and other urban legends of the Old Testament. The book is itself called Urban Legends of the Old Testament. The co-author is Gary Yates and he will be my guest.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Professor of Old Testament at Liberty University School of Divinity for the past 17 years and have taught at the undergrad and grad level for 20 years. I also currently serve as the Pastor of Living Word Baptist Church in Forest, Virginia. 
I have a ThM and PhD in Old Testament from Dallas Theological Seminary and did my dissertation on the book of Jeremiah (looking at the primarily narrative portion of the book in Jeremiah 26-45). 
I have authored or co-authored Urban Legends of the Old Testament, The Message of the Twelve, 30 Days to Jeremiah/Lamentations, and the Essence of the Old Testament and have contributed to numerous other works, including the soon-to-be released, Baker Illustrated Bible Background Commentary. I have published in multiple journals and have contributed to two study Bibles. 
My wife Marilyn and I have been married for 35 years and have three adult children. 

We are nearly caught up on old podcasts. I just really have to get around to uploading them. That blame lies with me. I hope you all are looking forward to it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Urban Legends of the Old Testament

What do I think of Gary Yates and David Croteau’s book published by B&H Academic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I saw this book, I was intrigued by the idea and ordered it, and I am thankful that I did. This is a book that you can either read straight through or go through select chapters. Each chapter is short and starts off with the legend and then a response and then an application that follows.

The book is really incredibly readable. For me, many times when I near the end of the book, I really want to just finish it. With this one, I found myself enjoying each chapter as they were stand-alone in a quite entertaining way. At the same time, they’re incredibly informative.

This doesn’t mean that I agree with every assessment the authors have. For instance, I am still prone to see the Angel of the Lord as a Trinitarian precursor. Some items in particular I was very pleased to see. I was pleased to see the Harbinger and Isaiah 9:10, the Isaiah passage about how God’s word will not return void, and of course, Jeremiah 29:11.

Others I think they did a good job on but still left open to a kernel of truth. Perhaps Psalm 22 is not a prophecy of the crucifixion, but perhaps it can depict Jesus as the ultimate unjust sufferer who is handed over to His enemies as is the case in the Psalm. Perhaps Ezekiel bread really is a very healthy bread, but it might not be that just because it’s a meal described in the Bible we should eat it.

Some I think many people might be astounded by today, but the case I thought made was quite good. Could it be that Genesis 3 really doesn’t contain a prophecy of the virgin birth (Which I do affirm)? Could it be that maybe the Arabs aren’t the descendants of the Ishmaelites and that wars between Muslims and Christians today aren’t a result of that dispute thousands of years ago?

Some of these correct false teachings that need to be corrected, but at the same time provide a better teaching. What about training up a child in the way he should go? Does Proverbs 31 give a mandate for every wife to be like that woman? Is Song of Songs really best seen as describing dating?

Also, the authors don’t really try to go after controversial debates in the Old Testament as urban legends. How old is the Earth? Nothing said about it, although there is something said about NASA supposedly finding Joshua’s missing day. The issues here should be ones that Christians largely can agree on.

I really found this book to be a fascinating and engaging read and I highly recommend it. You’re bound to find something of interest in here and I have deliberately left out many of the conclusions just so you can discover them for yourselves. The book is also definitely layman-friendly and would be a great resource for small groups.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 6/29/2019

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of the most talked about biblical movies of all time is the Ten Commandments. These ten laws have become enshrined in our culture. You can see them at the Supreme Court building and they are often seen to be the moral foundation of our civilization.

We want to say that, but then it gets confusing. Is the fourth commandment required in our society and if so, why do we observe it on Sunday instead of Saturday? What about other laws that are there? If your wife is having her period, is it wrong to have sex with her? Should we wear tattoos if we’re Christians? And geez, doesn’t the Old Testament allow for slavery?

The law is confusing.

What if we’re misunderstanding it? What if the Law, while often containing good moral principles for us, really isn’t even, well, Law? What if it is something different? What could we see about it if we compared it to other cultures in the Ancient Near East?

And if there’s any Old Testament scholar who knows how to do that, it’s my guest this Saturday. After all, this is the man who has had his hand in a continued series on this very topic. Book after book has come out opening readers to a new world in the Old Testament. Well, maybe a new world isn’t the best way to describe it. After all, every book in this series refers to a lost world. The author of this series is, of course, John Walton, and he returns once again this Saturday to talk about his book The Lost World of the Torah.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

John H. Walton (Ph.D. Hebrew Union College) is Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School where he has taught for almost twenty years. Dr. Walton has published nearly 30 books, among them commentaries, reference works, text books, scholarly monographs, and popular academic works. He was the Old Testament general editor for the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (NIV, NKJV, NRSV), and is perhaps most widely known for the “Lost World” books (including The Lost World of Genesis One,The Lost World of Adam and Eve, and The Lost World of the Flood). His areas of expertise include the importance of the ancient Near East for interpreting the Old Testament as well as the dialogue between science and faith.

I hope you’ll be listening as we discuss the Old Testament Law and how we are to understand it. What does it mean for us as Christians? Do we apply it across the board or not? If it’s not in effect, does that mean we can totally ignore it? What moral principles can we get if any from the Law?

I am working on getting the shows for this month updated. We are having some problems with the web site. Please be patient as I am working on things and in the meantime, you can check to see some of them on YouTube. Please also leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast on iTunes.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament

What do I think about John Walton’s book published by Baker Academic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For some time, John Walton has been one of my favorite Old Testament scholars if not my favorite. When I see a book from him coming out, I make a request for it immediately. Going through his book that he wrote now on thought from the ANE and the Old Testament, I was not disappointed.

To be fair, portions of this book seem to cover material that exists in his other books, which isn’t too surprising. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you’ve read the series of books for his Lost World ideas, then you will see a lot of material repeated.

You will also see material that you haven’t seen before. For example, I have not seen a work from Walton dealing very much with the concept of death and the afterdeath, as I prefer to call it, in his other books. You will find that here. Overall, the aim of the work is to give you a look at how the world was for Israel and its neighbors.

Some ways of thinking were similar. Some were different. Israel was much more focused on the idea of a covenant. Other societies couldn’t do that as much coming from a polytheistic background. One individual god might make a covenant, but no other people had one god that made them an everlasting covenant and refused any other gods.

Walton goes through to show what the similarities and differences are. This comes through in five different sections that include comparative studies, literature, religion, cosmos, and people. The third one might be misleading to some as it is the section that focuses on religion as religion, but all the other sections definitely had something to do with religion as the deities were involved with everything.

The book is also written in a layout whereby you don’t have to go straight through. If you want to study just one section, you can do that and not be missing out because you didn’t read earlier chapters. There are several sidebars that give interesting information that you can read if you want to, but I would not think they are required. The book is also easy to understand for the layman so you don’t need specialized knowledge to get at what Walton is getting at.

Christians who are wanting to understand the Old Testament better in light of the surrounding culture and how Israel saw its place in the cultural stream will want to read this book. I would also encourage skeptics to read this so they can have better informed disagreements instead of trotting out the usual concordist approach to the Old Testament. Frankly, just anyone wanting to understand the Old Testament should read this book.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 4/13/2019: Jonathan Greer

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Those who do not learn from history are often condemned to repeat it. At the very least, they are condemned to misrepresent it. In our day and age, it’s incredibly easy for internet atheists to proclaim themselves experts on the Old Testament because they can read it.

Sadly, Christians can do the same thing. It’s easy to just lift up a text from somewhere and treat it as a prooftext. It’s easy to confuse law and gospel and the relation between the two. Even worse, it’s easy to make a Gospel presentation where you have the fall of Adam and Eve take place and then jump straight to the story of Jesus because, you know, the history of Israel really has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity. Right?

The Old Testament is a difficult work to understand because it takes place in a time and a culture that is so foreign to what we live in. When they wrote the text, they assumed that the culture was understood by the readers. For us, it isn’t. We don’t know many of the places and many of the terms or the language or the culture.

In order to better understand the culture then, we need the work of those scholars who have invested in the culture. Fortunately, there are several of them who are also committed to Jesus. Even better, many of them have worked together in a volume that has been compiled by three such scholars to help us. The work is Behind The Scenes of the Old Testament and one of those editors is joining us tomorrow and his name is Jonathan Greer.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Jonathan S. Greer is Associate Professor of Old Testament and Director of the Hesse Memorial Archaeological Laboratory at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, Cornerstone University. He holds M.A. degrees in Old Testament and Biblical Languages from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University where he focused on Hebrew Bible, ancient Near Eastern studies, and archaeology. He is also the Associate Director of archaeological excavations at Tel Dan, Israel, and has published a number of works on the relationship of the Bible to the ancient world.

We will be discussing the way the Old Testament world was and why it matters to us. We too often understand the Old Testament just through the lens of the New Testament instead of understanding the Old Testament on its own entirely. We need to approach the work on its own. The book covers so many of the minor details of life in the Ancient Near East, far too many to cover in even two hours. This is how massive the world is and hopefully, you will get a better understanding of it.

I hope you’ll be looking forward to the next new episode. We’re working on others. We have had some issues, but they are being worked on. Please also go on iTunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Lost World of the Torah

What do I think about Walton and Walton’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Several years ago, Weird Al came out with a song called “Everything You Know Is Wrong.” One could say that if the Waltons are right, everything you know about the Law is wrong. The Waltons come with a new way of reading the Torah that is not without controversy, but those who disagree will still have something to think about.

The book starts the usual way with the idea that Torah is an ancient document. This seems like something so simple and obvious, but it is easily missed. Too many times, we take the text and then thrust it into our modern context and assume the writers of the Old Testament were writing from the same cultural context that we are.

What is important in understanding any ancient work is not just what is said, but the world in which it is said. The background knowledge of the text makes all the difference. There are some things my wife and I can say to each other that will make each of us laugh that you are not likely to understand as an outsider. The reason is the simple word or words bring out memories that are funny based on our background knowledge.

Getting into the meat of the matter, the first major section is that the law codes are not legislation. If we took just one law in America in all of its fullness, it could very well be longer than the Torah itself. We cover every possible rule and scenario we can think of. Not so in the ancient world. It was more guidelines there. It could be seen as wisdom literature. One scenario I was surprised was not mentioned at this point was Solomon. Solomon wanted to know how to rule over the people. He never figured, “I have the Law so I have everything that I need.” No. He asked for wisdom and in his famous scenario of the two prostitutes and the baby, that wisdom won the day.

The next is that other cultures had rituals serving to meet the needs of the gods. The gods needed food and everything else and man was meant to supply them in exchange for blessings from the gods. Not so with YHWH who needed nothing. Israel was chosen for entirely different reasons.

Instead, Israel was chosen and rituals were done to maintain covenant order, which is the next major point. We should read the Law as a covenant. In this, the recipients of the covenant would swear loyalty to the sovereign and in exchange, the sovereign would give them blessings. Covenant is so huge in understanding the Law that we will go wrong if we do not see it that way. If we see it as just a random set of rules to be followed, we miss the point.

From there, we get to the ongoing usage. For one thing, the New Testament quotations of the Law do not show how it was necessarily understood by its first recipients. The purpose of the Law was also not to provide salvation. It also should not be divided into different kinds of law such as ceremonial and cultic. Most challenging today perhaps is that we should not go and get prooftexts to settle moral disputes today. We should read it as it was written.

There is also a very helpful section at the end dealing with the Ten Commandments. It’s a quite thorough look that can actually deal with many atheistic statements about the Ten Commandments one encounters today. The Waltons show how the Ten Commandments fit into a covenant system.

I thought it would have been helpful to have more examples of how the Torah should be read. Perhaps take a section and show how we read it today and then give an explanation from there on how they would have understood it. There is much in the book that will be debated and I can’t say I’m entirely sold on it yet, but there is certainly a lot of food for thought to consider.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Tendency To Be A Marcionite

Do we all have a tendency to go that way? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It was within the past couple of weeks that I came to this conclusion. I was going to sleep at night praying myself to sleep as I usually do and I started thinking about my prayers to God. I started thinking about how the Father seems so unapproachable and things of that sort, and many of us I think do think that way.

Then the realization came to me. If Jesus is the one who showed the Father to us, then if we can approach Jesus, we can approach the Father. The thought hit me then that I had been being a Marcionite and I hadn’t even realized it. Was I not implicitly saying God was a God who was ready to judge?

I thought then of the many passages I have read on prayer. We are told to boldly approach the throne of grace in Hebrews 4. That is quite a serious claim. You don’t just come to the throne. You come with courage and confidence. You have all right to be there. God has granted you that privilege because He has adopted you as a son or a daughter.

And what does that tell us? God is supposed to be one that we approach as Father. The New Testament seems to go to great pains to get us to realize that. Jesus tells us in Luke 12:32 that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. He before this even tells us to fear not. Could it be we are told to fear not because we fear the opposite from God?

What about Elijah? James tells us that Elijah prayed and it didn’t rain for years. He prayed again and the rain came. Before this, he says Elijah was a human being just like us. The prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

And if this is the case, the other danger of seeing God wrongly is that we don’t see Him truly. We miss who He really is. If we see God in this way, how can we present Him as truly a God of love?

This isn’t to say that He’s not a judge either. There is some of that judgment in Jesus as well. Just see what Jesus did in the temple or read the book of Revelation. Jesus can be quite tough on those who oppose Him. The Father we are told disciplines us because we are sons and He loves us.

If we see God as a father, what kind of father is He? Jesus tells us that if we ask our fathers for fish and eggs, will we get snakes and stones instead? What kind of father would do that? Yet sometimes we treat God as someone we have to beg and beg just to get one good thing from and we live in constant fear begging for mercy over and over.

And maybe you’re reading this and realizing you’ve had the same tendency. I think it shows up in people who come to me and struggle with doubt. They think that if they didn’t say or do the exact right thing, God will abandon them and say they’re not really Christians. He wants to keep them out of eternity on a technicality. Is that not the same sort of problem? The cross should show us God is willing to do what it takes because He does desire to forgive. Heaven is not for God but for us. God doesn’t need Heaven. He needs no place to dwell. We need a place if we are to be with Him.

So now, I am in the mental process of working on rethinking issues relating to prayer and who God is and thinking more and more about the awesome privileges that come to us who are Christians. I hope some reading this who have the same struggle are starting to rethink. If we are to tell the world about the goodness of God, we need to believe it ourselves.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 12/22/2018: Richard Averbeck

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters to find out.

If there’s any dark spot in the history of America, it’s slavery. When we think about the Civil War, we think about slavery. While it was defended and sadly, even an organization like the SBC was founded to defend it, today, you will have a hard time finding anyone who supports the practice.

Yet we find so many people talking about it today for one reason. It’s in the Bible! When we read the Bible, it looks to many people like God approved slavery. Does that mean what went on in the Civil War had his stamp of approval? How are we to understand texts in the Bible about slavery?

After all, the text says at times that you can beat your slave if he is disobedient. It says that a person who leaves his master will not be able to take his wife and kids with him. It says that slaves can be bought from the surrounding nations and they are slaves for life.

Can we defend any of this? Is this what we can expect from the supposed loving God revealed in Jesus Christ? Surely God could have given us a better system than this couldn’t He?

To discuss these matters, I’m bringing on a specialist in slavery in the Bible with an emphasis on the Old Testament. We’ll be talking about the Bible and slavery. Did what happen in the Bible match the New World scenario? What was life like in the Ancient Near East? Does that make a difference when it comes to slavery? To discuss these questions, I’m bringing on Richard Averbeck to discuss them.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Richard (Dick) grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and came to know the Lord when he was 18 years old at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. About two years later (January, 1972) he transferred to Calvary Bible College in Kansas City where he began his academic study of the Bible, theology, and the biblical languages (Greek and Hebrew). It was there that he met his wife, Melinda.  

 

After his graduation from College in 1974 Richard and Melinda were married and moved to Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. In 1977 Richard completed the Master of Divinity program at the Seminary and they moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to pursue the Doctor of Philosophy program in ancient Near Eastern Studies and biblical Hebrew at the Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning (now known as the Annenberg Research Institute of the University of Pennsylvania).

 

In 1980 Richard completed his class work for the Ph.D. degree and they moved back to Grace Theological Seminary where he took a position as a professor of Old Testament Studies and taught until 1990. During that time Richard and Melinda became the parents of two boys, Nathan and Micah. They now have two grandsons: Jaycob 17 and Levi 4 ½. He finished his dissertation on the Gudea Cylinders, a long Sumerian temple building hymn (from about 2100 BC), and received the Ph.D. degree from Dropsie in 1987.

 

From 1987 to 1989, while continuing to teach full-time in Old Testament Studies at Grace Theological Seminary, Richard engaged in the study of biblical counseling under his colleague at the Seminary, Dr. Lawrence J. Crabb, Jr. He received the Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling (MABC) degree in 1989, and is presently a “Licensed Professional Counselor” in the State of Wisconsin. From 1990 to 1994 Richard taught full-time at Dallas Theological Seminary in the fields of Old Testament Studies and Biblical Counseling, and carried on a part-time private counseling practice. In 1994 the Averbecks moved to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin for Richard to take-up his present ministry as a full-time professor in the Old Testament and Semitic Languages Department at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), Deerfield, Illinois. In 2010 he also took on the Directorship of the PhD program in Theology Studies at TEDS.  

 

Richard was the Director of the Spiritual Formation Forum for about ten years from 1997 to 2007. The major concern of the Forum was to assist in the development of spirituality and spiritual formation ministries in Evangelical Christian institutions such as Seminaries and Graduate Schools, Colleges, International Ministries, Campus Ministry Groups (on secular campuses), and Church Denominations as well as individual local churches. Richard continues to preach, teach, and publish in the field of Spiritual Formation.

 

Richard has published numerous articles in the fields of ancient Near Eastern Studies, especially Sumer and Sumerian literature, the relationship between ancient Near Eastern Studies and the Old Testament, the Old Testament Law, especially the ritual law and priestly theology of the Old Testament (Leviticus, the tabernacle, the sacrificial system, etc.), the latter in Walter Elwell’s Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Baker, 1996); Willem VanGemeren’s New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (Zondervan, 1997); and David W. Baker’s and T. Desmond’s Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (InterVarsity Press, 2003). He was Chair of the Biblical Law Section of the Society of Biblical Literature from 2004 to 2010, and serves on several other professional society committees. Richard also co-edited and contributed to Crossing Boundaries and Linking Horizons: Studies in Honor of Michael C. Astour on His 80th Birthday (Bethesda, Maryland: CDL Press, 1997), he was the main editor and a contributor to Life and Culture in the Ancient Near East (Bethesda, Maryland: CDL Press, 2003), has published on the Gudea Cylinders and Sumerian Creation Texts in The Context of Scripture volumes 2 and 4 (the latter forthcoming), and has published numerous other articles in these fields.

 

In recent years, Richard has become engaged in the renewed scholarly discussion about the early chapters of Genesis. He was one of the five main speakers at the Bryan Institute symposium on reading Genesis 1-2, September 29-October 1, 2011, Chattanooga, Tennessee, along with Todd Beale, C. John Collins, Tremper Longman III, and John Walton. Richard’s chapter is entitled: “A Literary Day, Inter-Textual, and Contextual Reading of Genesis 1 and 2,” in Five Views on Genesis 1 and 2, ed. Daryl Charles (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, forthcoming 2013). He is also the author of “The Three ‘Daughters’ of Baal and Transformations of Chaoskampf in the Early Chapters of Genesis,” in Chaoskampf in the Bible and the Ancient Near East, ed. JoAnn Scurlock (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, forthcoming 2013). Most recently he has been appointed a co-director of the “Evangelical Theology and the Doctrine of Creation Project” funded by the Templeton Religion Trust through the Henry Center for Theological Understanding at TEDS.

 

Richard is currently committed to several book writing projects including: A Priestly Theology of the Old Testament; The Old Testament Law and the Christian; A Rest for the People of God: Reading the Old Testament for the Christian Life; and commentaries on the books of Leviticus (in the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary forthcoming from Logos Research Systems) and Numbers (in the Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation Commentary Series forthcoming from Broadman & Holman).

I hope you’ll be looking forward to this episode. If you’ve done any internet discussions on Christianity, you’ve probably come across this topic. May this episode equip you to better understand the Bible and slavery. Please also go on iTunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters