Sunday, March 15, 2009

The rest of the acts of Manasseh, his prayer to his God, and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, can be found written in the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

His prayer and how his supplication was heard, all his sins and his infidelity, the sites where he built high places and erected sacred poles and carved images before he humbled himself, all can be found written down in the history of his seers.
1 -- 2 Chronicles 33:18-19 (NAB)
"For I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no more." -- Hebrews 8:12 (NAB), quoting Jeremiah 31:34.
We finished last week with Manasseh's conversion, if you will, as captured in 2 Chronicles. And it struck me as odd that his sins, which God has promised to forget, were recorded, set down in writing, in a work that, as it happens, has been lost to history.

But the biblical account of his sins endures. Are the sins really forgotten?

Whose sins can we recount? David's, certainly. Those of Peter and Paul, yes. Those of the church at Corinth? Yes. And the church at Laodicea? Sure.

To paraphrase 2 Peter 3:4, where is the promise of His forgetting?

For another study, I read from the NJBC on Hebrews 7, on Melchizedek [p. 932]:
"According to a principle of rabbinic exegesis, what is not mentioned in the Torah does not exist."2
Which may be the principle at work in Mary's sinless reputation, among other things.

Myself, I am beginning to see how Marcion may have come up with his canon.

1 see Hozai

2 [H. Strack and] P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch (6 vols.; Munich, 1922-61), 3. 693-95.


Matt said...

"Which may be the principle at work in Mary's sinless reputation, among other things."

Mary's sinless reputation is not a matter of scripture but that of Tradition right? Also, its a little odd to think of Mary having a "reputation". Hrm...

As far as God forgetting Manessah's sinfulness; God doesn't "forget" anything, but its not out of the scope of understanding that by "forget" is meant "forgive" or some such meaning. In short, I doubt the word "forget" is meant to be taken literally.

The Rabbinic principle that if something is not in scripture then it does not exist sounds like southern styled Christian fundamentalist stuff and Sola Sciptura.

Moonshadow said...

I appreciate your comment.

This is reading scripture in the "plain sense," without faith.

I agree that "forgive" and "forget" may be a "synonymous parallelism".

Mary's reputation? I would put her in Hebrews 11.

Moonshadow said...

Well, so I asked my faithless question this morning at Bible study at the Alliance church because our lesson took us to Jeremiah 31:34 and Hebrews 10:17. At the risk of everyone thinking I'm not a Christian ... well, I'm Catholic, so there you go ...

I said, "Look, I'm hung up on God forgetting sins because this Bible is chock full of a memory of personal sins, through the New Covenant."

One lady offered that we may remember our sins but God forgets them. I almost snarked back, "So, we know more than God." The whole whitewash of sin (Protestant justification) was presented as explanation. That's not an image of God I can accept.

Somebody said that I must remember that Scripture is written for our instruction. I pondered a rehash of my sins somehow being instructive for anyone? (I just bought Wills's translation of Augustine's Confessions the other day. I'm exited about reading it ... and maybe actually understanding it). I'm not of that caliber.

Another lady said she's beginning to forget the sins she's confessed over the years. As I struggle with memory issues myself, I can relate but that doesn't address the sins recorded in the words of Scripture.

Then finally another lady suggested, as you have and as I suspected, that forget is a synonym of forgive. She used Protestant language of "God doesn't reckon our sin against us." Fine. That's fine. I'm looking forward to that day, of forgive and forget.