9 months ago


The Covenant It's useful

The Covenant It's useful and interesting to recall that the expression “Old Testament” indicates a Covenant, the old one, an agreement between an Elohìm who proposed it and a people that accepted it. What is never sufficiently emphasized is that the people could choose to not subscribe to this covenant, they had no obligation to accept it. All commitments are born only after a second party acceptance. In short, the Jews did not have the idea of God as a transcendent and unique entity, and therefore the relationship with him was not perceived as ineluctable; in other words, they could refuse any contract or commitment which was presented to them. The whole history of Israel is full of betrayals, abandonment, cults dedicated to other deities, also called Elohìms, all concrete, all present like the Elohìm leading Israel and with whom there had been this alliance. The Jews would serve him and he would help them conquer the land and become a nation. The same Elohìm repeatedly calls himself jealous, and we wonder: how can one be jealous of a partner if there are no rivals in the relationship? The covenant, or pact, provides for an exchange, a giving and a receiving which only involves the two parties, at the expense of the people who were not included in this absolutely concrete and human alliance. The covenant provided for the exclusion of outsiders, even their total annihilation if necessary in order to achieve the goals common to both Elohìm and Israelites: to conquer and govern over a territory. After the first part of the conquest of Canaan, Joshua asks the people to freely choose whether to continue to serve the Elohìm who was guiding them, or to serve other Elohìms, all of which were real, present, concrete and who provided potential places of worship and service. Only after the people had confirmed their choice to serve the same Elohìm who was called Yahweh the covenant and commitments were confirmed. This contract, The Covenant, had severe consequences if the agreement was broken. 92

The choice was again absolutely free: there are no doubts nor any need for interpretation in the text that tells us about the episode. All this is clearly written in Chapter 24 of the Book of Joshua, verses 14- 25. A highly significant and little-known story, underlining the concrete materiality of the facts, in contrast with our traditional vision of the people of Israel and their relationship with God. In accordance with the concreteness characterizing our journey, we will now examine the passage of the Pentateuch in which the kevód arrives in a special, original, extraordinarily- concrete, and absolutely amazing way. It is the book of Exodus, Chapter 33. Moses and his people were wandering in the desert and, at each resting place, Moses took the conference tent, or meeting place, and pitched it outside the camp, in fact the text specifies - “far away from the camp” (v. 7). Then whoever wanted to meet the Elohìm had to reach this meeting place that was outside the camp. The text underscores that the tent is away from the camp. Throughout the pilgrimage to the Promised Land, a column of smoke/clouds that, overnight, became a pillar of fire led the people and when Moses wished to confer with the Elohìm he approached the meeting tent, entered it and (Exodus 33.9): The Column of cloud descended and stood at the opening of the tent and 93

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