B Gods Reign

Although talk of God's 'kingdom' is relatively scarce in the literature of Second Temple Judaism, the content of the phrase would have been familiar. The data have been reviewed several times recently, so all that is necessary here is to highlight the chief points of significance.40

38. Hengel and Schwemer think 'symbol' is 'zu unverbindlich, variabel und beliebig austauschbar', and prefer to talk of 'gewisse unverausserliche Metaphern' {Konigsherrschaft Gottes 6).

39. Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus 246, 274-76.

40. M. Lattke, 'On the Jewish Background of the Synoptic Concept, "The Kingdom of God'" (1975), ET in B. Chilton, ed„ The Kingdom of God (London: SPCK, 1984) 72-91; D. Patrick, 'The Kingdom of God in the Old Testament', in W. Willis, ed., The Kingdom of God in 20th-century Interpretation (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987) 67-79 (here 72-75); J. J. Collins, 'The Kingdom of God in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha', in Willis, Kingdom 81-95; B. T. Viviano, 'The Kingdom of God in the Qumran Literature', in Willis, Kingdom 97-107; D. C. Duling, 'Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven', ABD 4.49-56; G. Vermes, The Religion of

(1) A Jewish audience would, of course, be familiar with the idea of God as 'king over all the earth, over all the nations, over all the gods. It was, after all, a familiar theme of worship in their psalm book.41 Jewish worshippers would probably be accustomed to the chant, 'The Lord reigns 'The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom (malkuto) rules over all' (Ps. 'Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations' (Ps. 145.13).43 In the Qumran Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice God is regularly praised as 'king of the heavenly/ godlike beings', 'king of glory', and so on.44

(2) Typically Jewish also is the conviction, already implied in several of the passages just mentioned, that only Israel has acknowledged God's kingship. Israel was chosen by God, so that God was Israel's king in a special sense, in a special relationship.45 The Lord reigns on Zion.46 He is the king of Israel.47 Jesus and his contemporaries prayed, 'My King (malki) and my God'.48 Worthy of particular note is the good news to be preached to Zion, even (or especially) in Israel's exile: 'Your God reigns (malak).r (Isa. 52.7) — in echo of the earlier escape from bondage celebrated in the Song of Moses, 'The Lord will reign for ever and ever' (Exod. 15.18), which Qumran in turn referred to its hope of the Temple to be rebuilt 'in the last days' (4Q174 [4QFlor] 1.2-6). The early form of the Eighteen Benedictions accordingly prays, 'Restore our judges as in former times and our counsellors as in the beginning; and reign over us, thou alone' (Shemoneh 'Esreh ll).49

(3) But equally the hope/expectation was cherished that God's reign from Mount Zion, at present acknowledged only by Israel, would soon be manifested

Jesus the Jew (London: SCM, 1993) 121-35; Meier, Marginal Jew 2.243-88; K. Seybold and

H.-J. Fabry, 'melek', TDOT 8 (1997) 365-75; Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus 246-52; more discursively Becker, Jesus of Nazareth 86-100.

41. Pss. 10.16; 22.28; 29.10; 47.2-3, 7-8; 95.3; 103.19 (malkut); 135.6 (as expanded at Qumran — DSSB 568). See further J. Jeremias, Das Königtum Gottes in den Psalmen (FRLANT 141; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1987); B. Janowski, 'Das Königtum Gottes in den Psalmen', ZTK 86 (1989) 389-454.

43. See also Jer. 10.7, 10; Dan. 4.34; Mai. 1.14; / En. 84.2; 1QH 18(= 10).8; 2 Macc.

I.24; Pss. Sol. 2.29-32; 17.3; Wis. 6.4; T. Mos. 4.2.

44. Newsom, Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice 424-26.

45. The first and second usage are, of course, closely linked: 'He stands over against the nations and their gods explicitly as melek of Israel, proving himself in the divine trial as the superior, singular, and unique God' (Seybold, TDOT 8.370).

46. Pss. 24.7-10; 48.2; 149.2; Isa. 6.5; Jer. 8.19; Jub. 1.28.

47. Pss. 146.10; 149.2; Isa. 33.22; 41.21; 43.15; 44.6; Zeph. 3.15; Pss. Sol 5.19; 17.1.

over all the world and acknowledged by all (willingly or unwillingly).50 Daniel's vision of the great statue representing four successive kingdoms climaxes in the vision of a stone 'cut from a mountain by no human hand' which would smash the statue and grow until it filled the whole earth (Dan. 2.35, 44-45). The theme became a favourite in post-biblical writing. In particular, Qumran looked to God to display his kingship over Israel's enemies, and for the wealth of nations to flow into Zion (1QM 6.6; 12.7-16) in fulfilment of Isaiah 60. The third Sibyl predicts that 'the most great of the immortal king will become manifest over men' (Sib. Or. 3.47-48) and that God 'will raise up a kingdom for all ages among men' when 'from every land they will bring incense and gifts to the house of the great God' and 'there will be just wealth among men' (3.767-95). The Psalms of Solomon 17 expects 'God's eschatological rule as king (to be) manifested and realized through the rule of the Son of David, the Lord Messiah'. And the Testament of Moses envisages a climactic denouement when God will rise from the throne of his kingdom, and 'his kingdom shall appear throughout all his creation' (10.1, 3).54

From this range of material we can gain a fairly clear idea of what reverberations talk of God's kingship would set off within the convictions of 'common Judaism'. Noticeable is the strength of the conviction regarding Yahweh as king. Whatever happened on earth, Israel comforted itself with the assurance that God's kingship, his kingly rule, is still in effect. Psalmist and prophet strengthened the faith conviction that whatever Israel's failure, and exile notwithstanding, Yahweh was still Israel's king. Reality as experienced in human perspective did not necessarily reflect reality seen from God's perspective. At the same time, the hope for the future, however symbolic in expression, evidently looked for a tangible effect in the life of Israel. Also to be noted is the fact that Israel's understanding of God's kingship embraced, as we might say, all three tenses (past, present, and future). We may conclude at once that for Jesus to talk of 'the kingdom of God' would not have been strange to a typical Jewish audience in first-century Palestine and would certainly have evoked a range of faith convictions and hopes such as are illustrated above.

50. Isa. 24.21-23; Ezek. 20.33; Mic. 4.1-7; Zech. 14.9, 16-17.

51. S. Schreiber, Gesalbter und König. Titel und Konzeptionen der königlichen Gesalbtenerwartung ini frühjüdischen und urchristlichen Schriften (BZNW 105; Berlin: de Grayter, 2000) notes how the thought of God as king served as an antithetical image to hostile political domination and 'a depraved or hybrid kingship' (141).

52. Sib. Or. 3 is usually dated to the middle ofthe second century BCE with first-century BCE additions (Collins, 'Kingdom' 84-85).

53. Meier, Marginal Jew 2.258.

55. Similarly Jeremias, Proclamation 98-100; cf. Caird, New Testament Theologych. 4.

c. A Larger Story?

That a larger picture is in view in each of the range of usages just indicated is already implicit (in some cases explicit) in the passages cited. The understanding of Yahweh as king over all is obviously an expression of Israel's monotheistic faith and creation theology: to say that God is one is to recognize that he is the sole ruler of all creation. To say that God is 'our/my King' is an affirmation of God's election of Israel to be his people chosen from out of all the peoples on the earth. It will be recalled that monotheism and election are two of Israel's most fundamental convictions (§9.5). But the third aspect, that God's royal rale will be manifested to all, is a summary of a much more diffuse and diverse expectation. And since the future tense of God's kingdom is one of the most contested features of the Jesus tradition, it is well to say a little more about this expectation as part of the context within which Jesus' teaching would have been heard. Here too I make no attempt to provide a comprehensive survey or to offer new insights; my concern is simply to cate the various clearly attested and most relevant motifs which suggest the sort of expectations that were and may have been evoked by Jesus' kingdom talk among Jews living in the land of Israel in the first century CE.56

1. Based on Deut. 30.1-10, there was a widespread belief that after a period of dispersion among the nations, the outcasts/scattered of Israel would be gathered again and brought back to the promised land, the unity of the twelve tribes reestablished, and the relation of Israel as God's people, and Yahweh as Israel's God, restored. Wright summarises it as the hope of return from exiled

2. Bound up with this was the hope for a renewed and abundant prosperity (Deut. 30.5, 9), 9 the removal of disabilities and defects,60 and/or in effect

56. I will focus on pre-70 Palestinian literature for the most part. Cf. Sanders, Judaism 289-303 for a similar survey.

57. Isa. 49.5-6, 22-26; 56.8; 60.4, 9; 66.20; Jer. 3.18; 31.10; Ezek. 34.12-16; 36.24-28; 37.21-23; 39.27; Zeph. 3.20; Zech. 8.7-8; Tob. 13.5; 14.5-6; Sir. 36.11-15; 48.10; Bar. 4.37; 5.5; 2 Macc. 1.27, 29; 1 En. 90.33; Jub. 1.15-18; Pss. Sol 11.1-9; 17.31, 44; 11Q19 [Temple] 59.9-13; Shemoneh Esreh 10. The theme of sin-exile-return is particularly prominent in T. 12 Patr. (T. Levi 14-16; T. Jud. 23; T. Iss. 6; T. Zeb. 9.5-9; T. Dan 5.4-9; T. Naph. 4; T. Ash. 7; T. Ben. 9.1-2); see H. W. Hollander and M. de longe, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (Leiden: Brill, 1985) 39-40, 53-56.

58. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God also Jesus, Index, 'Return from exile'. See also J. M. Scott, ed., Exile: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Conceptions (Brill: Leiden, 1997).

59. Isa. 32.14-20; 35.1-2; 44.3; Ezek. 34.25-29; 36.29-30, 33-36; Joel 2.18-26; 3.18; Amos 9.13-14; 1 En. 10.19; Sib. Or. 3.744-54; most exuberant in 2 Bar. 29.5-8.

60. Isa. 29.18; 35.5-6; 42.7, 18. Qumran saw the holiness of the community as depen a restoration of paradise61 as variations.

3. Although this hope is often referred to as 'the messianic age',62 the involvement of a particular (messianic) figure or divine agent seems to be more like another variation.63 The imagery of a great feast is independent, though sometimes linked — hence (misleadingly) the description 'messianic banquet'

4. Some envisaged a renewed covenant, of a turning from transgression, a fresh outpouring of the Spirit, and a level of law-keeping and holiness not known before.65

5. A further variation brought to the fore by Sanders and deserving of special mention is the hope for the building of a new temple.66

6. Wright has drawn particular attention to another element within the various scenarios envisaged — the return of Yahweh to Zion,67

7. Within a widespread conviction of Israel's vindication and final triumph the future of the other nations/Gentiles was a matter of some speculation and disagreement.68 A few could envisage only their destruction.69 More commonly the expectation was for the Gentiles to come in pilgrimage to Zion to pay tribute70 or to worship God there ('eschatological prose-

dent on the exclusion of those with such defects (lQ28a [lQSa] 2.3-10; 11Q19 [llQTemple] 45.12-14).

61. Isa. 11.6-8; 25.7-8; 51.3; Ezek. 36.35; Jub. 4.26; 23.26-29; 1 En. 25.4-6; 1QH 16[= 8] .4-11). See further D. S. Russell, The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic (London: SCM, 1964) 283-84.

62. A popular description.

63. See, e.g., Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus 531-37, and further below, §15.2.

64. Isa. 25.6; Ezek, 39.17-20; lQ28a (lQsa) 2; 1 En. 62.14. See further D. Smith, 'Messianic Banquet', ABD4.788-91. Even in the Jesus tradition the imagery is not strictly of a messianic banquet; see below, §12.4f.

65. Isa. 44.3-4; 59.20-21; Jer. 31.31-34; Ezek. 36.25-29; 39.28-29; Joel 2.28-3.1; Zech. 14.16-21; CD 8.21; 19.33-34; lQpHab 2.3-4; 1Q34 2.5-6. See also H. Lichtenberger, 'Alter Bund und neuer Bund', #7541 (1995) 400-14, on the Qumran texts (401-406).

66. Tob. 14.5; Jub. 1.15-17, 29; 1 En. 90.28-29; 91.13; 11Q19 (llQTemple) 29.2-10; T. Ben. 9.2; Sib. Or. 3.294. See Sanders, Jesus and Judaism 77-87; and further J. Ädna, Jesu Stellung zum Tempel: Die Tempelaktion und das Tempelwort als Ausdruck seiner messian-ischen Sendung (WIJNT 2.119; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000) 25-89.

67. Isa. 24.23; 25.9-10; 40.3-5, 9-10; 52.7-8; 59.20; Ezek. 43.2-7; Zech. 2.10-12; 8.3; 14.4; Mal. 3.1; Jub. 1.26-28; 11Q19 (llQTemple) 29.3-9; Shemoneh Esreh 16. See further Wright, Jesus 616-23.

68. Cf. the survey in Sanders, Jesus and Judaism 213-18,

69. Ps. 2.8-9; Zeph. 2.9-11; Sir. 36.1-9; Bar. 4.25, 31-35; Jub. 15.26; 1 En. 90.19; 1QM Pss. Sol. 17.24; and understandably in the aftermath of Jerusalem's destruction in 70 CE — 4Ezra 12.33; 13.38; 2 Bar-. 40.1; Rev. 19.17-21.

70. Isa. 18.7; 45.14; 60.3-16; 61.5-6; Hag. 2.7-9; 1QM 12.14; 4Q504 4.9-12; Pss. Sol. 17.30-31; Sib. Or-. 3.772-76.

This was often linked with the hope of the ingathering of the scattered tribes of Israel (1); but factions within Second Temple Judaism also included other Jews among the practitioners of evil to be defeated and judged.72

8. In some tension with the above sequence centred on the land of Israel (as in Isa. 60.21) was the broadening out of the concept of inheriting the land (promised to Abraham and his descendants) to embrace the whole earth.73

9. In analysing the message of John the Baptist we have already noted the expectation of a climactic period of tribulation, 'a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence' (Dan. 12.1-2), of the transition to a new age likened to the 'birth-pangs' of a woman in la-bour.74 Presumably that can be tied into the motif of the suffering and vindication of the righteous present in Daniel 7 but also elsewhere.75

10. Closely related are strands which seem to envisage cosmic disturbances,76 even the destruction of creation,77 and a new creation.78

11. Of a piece with much of the above was the hope for a (final) destruction of evil and defeat of Satan.19

12. Also included was the theme final which developed to in-

71. Pss. 22.27-28; 86.9; Isa. 2.2-4 = Mic. 4.1-3; Isa. 45.20-23; 56.6-8; 66.19-20, 23; Jer. 3.17;Zeph. 3.9-10; Zech. 2.11-12; 8.20-23; 14.16-19; Tob. 13.11; 14.6-7; 1 En. 10.21; 90.3036; Sib. Or. 3.715-19. See further J. Jeremias, Jesus' Promise to the Nations (London: SCM, 1958) 56-62; T. L. Donaldson, 'Proselytes or "Righteous Gentiles"? The Status of Gentiles in Eschatological Pilgrimage Patterns of Thought', JSP 7 (1990) 3-27.

73. Sir. 44.21; Jub. 22.14; 32.19; 1 En. 5.7; Rom. 4.13. See also n. 17 above.

74. See above, § 11.4c. See further particularly D. C. Allison, The End of the Ages Has Come: An Early Interpretation of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985) 5-25.

76. Isa. 13.9-10, 13; 24.23; Jer. 4.23; Ezek. 32.7-8; Joel 2.10, 30-31; 3.15; Amos 8.9; Zeph. 1.15; Hag. 2.6, 21; 1 En. 80.4; 1QH 11(= 3).35-36; T. Mos. 10.4-6; Sib. Or. 3.675-84.

77. Ps. 102.25-26; Isa. 34.4; 51.6; Zeph. 1.18; 3.8; Jub. 23.18; 1 En. 10.2; 83; 91.16; 1QH 11[= 3].29-36; Sib. Or-. 2.196-213; 3.80-92.

78. Isa. 65.17; 66.22; Jub. 1.29; 4.26; I En. 72.1; 91.16-17; 1QS 4.25. See further Russell, Method280-82.

79. Isa. 24.21-22; Jub. 5.6; 10.7-11; 23.29; 1 En. 10.4,11-13; 13.1-2; 14.5; 18.16; 21.36; 69.28; 90.23; 91.16; 2 En. 7.1-2; T. Mos:. 10.1; T. Levi 18.12; T. Zeb. 9.8; T. Dan 5.10-11; Jude 6; Rev. 20.2-3.

80. Isa. 66.15-16; Dan. 7.10; Zeph. 3.8; Mai. 4.1; Wis. 3.7, 18; 4.18-19; 5.17-23; Jub. 5.10-16\1 En. 1.7,9; 10.13-14; 22.4, 11; 90.20-27; 91.7, 9, 14-15; 1QS 4.11-14; 5.12-13; 1QH 12(= 4).20,26-27; CD 7.9/19.6; 8.1-3/19.13-16; lQpHab 12.14; 13.2-3; Pss. Sol 14.9; 15.10, 12; 4 Ezra 7.33-43; see also the motif of the day of the Lord as a 'day of anger' (chapter 11 n. 116 above). The most thorough recent study is that of Reiser, Jesus and Judgment Part One elude interesting sub-themes of heavenly books to be consulted on the day of judgment,81 and the expectation that God will give judgment of the Gentiles into the hands of Israel.82

13. The related belief in resurrection evidently emerged in explicit thought only in the latter half of the Second Temple period.83

14. Sheol/Hades, from being understood as the abode generally of the dead, comes to be seen as a place of retribution for the wicked often equated with the fires of Gehenna (the valley of Hinnom).

I repeat: the above outline is not intended to be complete or to include all relevant texts. The concern is simply to fill out what we might call 'the context of expectation' within which Jesus' preaching about the kingdom of God would have been heard. But even such a cursory review raises several important issues.

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