Duane Boyce has written an excellent article at The Interpreter, responding to what I thought was a rather unconvincing and poor reading of Jacob 7 by Adam Miller, but which what at least some seemed to have feel was rather deep.
I thought the following points were particularly good:
- That we have two major witnesses as to Sherem’s character and conduct other than Jacob himself: Sherem, and the Lord.
- Laman and Lemuel were not somehow sincere and pious, as some people keep suggesting (I respond to the same claim here).
- That our definition of what constitutes Christlike conduct has to be based on the actual words and actions of Christ himself, rather than the rather selective image people use which would actually exclude the real Christ (again, a subject I’ve briefly touched on too). Boyce happens to quote one of my favourite quotes of Jesus to make this point (“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”, Matthew 23:33), but also makes the excellent point that – since he’s presumably the Lord here – it’s Christ who actually strikes Sherem dead!
- The problems we face when we place a “lens” over our reading scripture (again – sorry! – something I mention here). I think Duane Boyce does a thorough job of showing precisely how that has happened here.
- We should be very cautious in attempting moral evaluations of prophets, and run very real risks. I think that should be especially the case when we’re charging them of being judgemental and “un-Christlike”.
- “An unconventional reading of scripture is not equivalent to a deep reading of scripture”.
Read the whole thing here: Reclaiming Jacob | The Interpreter Foundation