Days 134-141 editorial comment

The books of I & II Chronicles seems to start the whole story we have read through Samuel and Kings all over again. But we will note how different Chronicles is. It’s a more one-sided version of the story of Israel told only from the perspective of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Clearly written during or after the Exile it’s the story of those that were left.


With Paul’s letter to the Romans, we now enter into a very new world, a world fashioned not by Jesus but by Paul. Paul wrote a good chunk of the N.T. although scholars dispute his authorship of all the books attributed to him by tradition. However, Romans is Paul, through and through. His central message is the Jewish Messiah is for everyone and not simply the Jews. Following his dramatic conversion, Paul came to understand that Jesus was God’s surprising ending to the story of Israel. This was an ending that the traditional reading of Israel’s story was not set up to handle.

Jesus himself played fast and loose with Scripture, using it as the scene setting device for taking the story in new and shocking directions from a Jewish point of view. Paul does likewise. He takes the long history of Israel and gives it its most universalist twist. Actually, the universal inclusion of all the nations on Mount Zion was already part of the prophetic tradition evinced by the Third Isaiah. So Paul simply picks up where Third Isaiah left off and moves to his central thesis.

In Romans, Paul spends a lot of time debating the merits and demerits of the Law. Put simply Paul notes that according to Israel’s reading of its own story, failure to keep the Torah was the core problem that led to national catastrophe and exile see the last chapter of II Kings for a heart-wrenching description of this. If Torah keeping was the core of Israel’s struggle, then it seemed logical to the Jewish Christian lobby that Torah keeping should be the gentiles’ problem as well.

In Romans and elsewhere Paul lays out his case, that Torah keeping is no longer the problem for either Jew or Gentile. Sin is a universal human problem, not exclusively a Jewish or Gentile problem. Jesus’ death and resurrection gives a new twist revealing God’s plan is the defeat of sin through death. Henceforth the promise given to Moses becomes the promise to all peoples.