What should not be missed is that love thy neighbor starts with Yahweh’s redemption of Israel. The motive for loving the outsiders does not begin with humanistic impulse. It begins with Yahweh’s redemption of Israel (Lev 19:34). Redemption motivates love of the other. Love of the other necessitates love of neighbor.
This post concludes this series with another surprise that came out of researching and writing a reference work for students and ministers of the word on the use of scripture within Israel’s scriptures entitled Old Testament Use of Old Testament.. (See parts one, two, three, and four).
Unexpected Observation Five: Well-known Teachings as Culminations of Exegesis within Scripture
A large number of the favorite scriptural passages cited often within the Old and New Testaments—favorites of the biblical authors—are themselves cases of exegetical advancement within Israel’s scriptures. Interpreters often begin with the biblical authors’ favorite passages. But, in many cases, something else comes first. The research for this project forced me to dig deeper. What surprised me is that many favorite passages are not beginnings but are themselves culminations of exegetical advances within Israel’s scriptures.
Cherished passages like the blessing of Judah, the attribute formula in Exodus 34, the ten commandments in Deuteronomy, the song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, the Davidic covenant, the last servant song in Isaiah 53, the new covenant of Jeremiah, and many psalms feature exegetical advances of revelation within them. These passages, and a large number of others, are rightly considered revelation in their own right. But they did not simply drop out of the heavens. These scriptures enjoy deep continuity within the progressive revelation of Yahweh’s will by means of exegetical advancements of scripture. One example will need to suffice for the present purposes.
The commandment to love thy neighbor stands as the culmination of a multistage set of exegetical advances within the Torah.