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    The Antiquity of the Treaty Motif:  Treaty Concepts and Technical Treaty Vocabulary in the Book of Genesis

 Rodger Dalman


            The exegetical implications of the international treaty pattern have been topics of debate in OT studies for over 50 years.[1] Ancient treaties gained academic attention in the 1920's when they were found among Hittite texts from Boğazköy in Anatolia. In 1931, Viktor Korošec presented a paper discussing the legal aspects of the treaties, and he identified vassal treaties among the texts. In 1955, George Mendenhall argued that the vassal treaties in the Hittite texts resembled early material contained in Exodus 19-24 and Joshua 24. He also suggested that Deuteronomy later drew on the same ancient themes.[2] Mendenhall's work became extremely important in the academic debate because of its impact on a struggle that had been raging for decades in the arena of Biblical Studies. For over half a century, the field had been split between those who supported Wellhausen's reconstruction of Old Testament history and those who sought different explanations for the text. Within the framework of the Documentary Hypothesis, Wellhausen had seen the covenant motifs as late and rather unimportant for Old Testament theology. Others had struggled to maintain in some form the traditional assumption that Israel's covenant grew from God's revelation at Sinai. At roughly the same time that the Hittite treaties were becoming available to the academic debate, authors like Eichrodt began arguing that the covenant motif had always been at the center of Israel's faith.[3] Mendenhall's position strengthened the hands of those who were arguing for an early presence of covenant material in the Old Testament. After Mendenhall's contribution, both covenant and treaty motifs were explored in books and articles for over two decades, and the discussion has continued with much less intensity down to the present time. Today, the treaty discussion continues to have currency in the conservative orbit, but it receives less interest in other parts of the field. Noel Weeks published a detailed study in 2004 of the difficulties involved in identifying early treaties and the reasons why so many authors returned to Wellhausen's assumption that covenant material was late. Weeks argued that the discussion began by Mendenhall was unable to sustain itself in much of the academic world because of new discoveries, changing views of the historical merit of the Old Testament, and the inherent contradiction of defending a partial historical basis behind a text that was seen as largely unhistorical.[4]

            Those who argued for a treaty influence on the OT were applying a political custom to a religious milieu. That was not a surprising cultural leap. F. C. Fensham argued that the covenant/treaty stipulations demanded more than simply obedience to a few commands. The stipulations demanded complete loyalty and faithfulness to the High King.[5] The same demand for total loyalty and faithfulness was owed to a nation's gods, and the political treaties were never completely divorced from the religious realm. J. M. Munn-Rankin discussed international relations in the 3rd millennium BC. He noted that relationships between nations were formed by the gods through their human agents, and treaties were used by the gods to express their will. Munn-Rankin argued that wars, victories, and treaties were the gods' wars, victories, and treaties.[6] Since treaties always involved the gods, they were formalized with sacrifice and a religious ceremony. Menahem Haran argued that the covenant ratification ceremony gave the treaty its binding force. Covenant ratification ceremonies were not uncommon both in the Old Testament and in the ancient Near East.[7]

            While 3rd millennium BC treaties like the net-cylinders of Enmetena did not follow a set format, they did include elements like a historical section, stipulations, and curses that would be common in later treaties.[8] Both the regional origin of these treaty features and the process by which they were passed on to future generations are rather unclear. George Mendenhall argued for one approach to this problem that has not been widely accepted. Mendenhall pointed to a text from Byblos that he believed represented the thought patterns of the coastal regions of the Levant during the Early Bronze Age. In this text, a ruler claimed that tribes in his region had formed a covenant with him because of his mighty deeds. Mendenhall claimed that this text already included a historical perspective, generalized obligations, curses, and blessings. Mendenhall argued that the Hittites adapted the basic elements of their treaties from the Levant, and he argued that the covenant structure was already an important part of proto-Canaanite culture in the Early Bronze Age.[9] Treaty imagery was later used at Mari and Tell Leilan.[10] The treaty motif was still used in the Levant in a religious context as late as 1200 BC when vassal treaty imagery was used at Ugarit as an element of the KRT epic.[11] In contrast, it has been argued that the hieroglyphic text of Egyptian New Kingdom treaties used the language in an awkward way, and treaties may not have been a common feature of Egypt's international relationships.[12]

            Ancient treaties contained a number of common elements, although not all treaty elements were found in every treaty. The treaty elements have been a topic of substantial debate for over five decades. Common treaty features included a prologue, historical material, a list of stipulations, blessings and curses, a list of divine witnesses, provisions for preserving treaty documents, and provisions for passing on the treaty relationship to the next generation. The discussion over the exegetical significance of these treaty features is well known. Meredith Kline argued that Deuteronomy was structured along the lines of the international treaties written in the second millennium BC. Kline argued that Deuteronomy did not resemble the treaties written during the Assyrian empire as the Documentary Hypothesis claimed because the Assyrians omitted a treaty historical prologue and treaty blessings.[13] K. A. Kitchen shared Kline's position but added an argument that the treaty pattern required a 19th Dynasty date for the exodus. He argued that the treaty pattern seen in Deuteronomy only came into use with king Šuppiluliuma I whose rule was dated by Kitchen between 1360 and 1320 BC. Kitchen argued that Moses would not have known this pattern if he had stood on Mount Sinai in 1447 BC since that specific treaty pattern was invented half a century later.[14] Since the Hittites had a treaty with Egypt in the 15th century BC that has not survived, the origin of the treaty pattern may be less clear than Kitchen suggested.[15] Whether or not there ever really was a set format for international treaties has also been a highly controversial question.[16]

            Those who argue against a 2nd millennium BC date for Deuteronomy respond in several ways to the arguments raised by Kline and Kitchen. The most common argument has been that Deuteronomy actually did resemble the Assyrian treaties more closely than the 2nd millennium treaties, although that has also been a highly controversial claim.[17] It has also been argued that Ashurbanipal's treaty with the Qedar tribe included historical material that paralleled the historical prologue of Deuteronomy. Yet only a small fragment of that text has survived, and it may be fair to question whether it was a formal treaty. The correspondences of Assyrian rulers were more likely to include historical data than their treaties. It is also fair to argue that the historical data contained in it was still rather far from Deuteronomy's historical prologue.[18] So the position of Kline and Kitchen remains viable and a 7th century BC date for Deuteronomy is unproven.

            The specific treaty pattern per se was not a very important motif in the Biblical account. It structured the book of Deuteronomy. It may have shaped part of the Exodus text and Joshua's farewell address to the tribes. It may have been reflected in Ezekiel 18:1-18.[19] Beyond that, the treaty pattern per se was almost unknown in the OT. However, the individual elements of the pattern dominated the Biblical text. God's prophets always placed their revelation within the historical setting of God's past gracious deeds. God's prophets always revealed His demands for obedience and covenant faithfulness, and God's people were always called to faithful service. The text often mentioned a variety of witnesses to God's deeds. The principle of blessings and curses impacted Israel's faith constantly throughout history. So Israel's priest, kings, and prophets continually interacted with the basic elements of the treaty pattern.[20]

            One of the topics that developed from the treaty discussion was the covenant lawsuit motif. The ancient treaties listed gods as treaty witnesses because they were responsible to prosecute violators of the treaties. Abraham Malamat discussed an example of this in the Hittite texts. A plague broke out in Anatolia during the reign of Šuppiluliuma that raged for twenty years. Šuppiluliuma's successor Muršiliš tried to understand the gods' reason for bringing the plague. He was shown a tablet that recorded a treaty with the Egyptians that was written in the middle of the 15th century BC. The Hittites had violated the treaty by attacking Amqa in Egyptian territory and seizing many captives. The treaty had named the Hittite storm god as a witness, and the storm god had brought the plague. Muršiliš humbled himself before the storm god, made sacrifices to him, and prayed that the Hittites' treaty violation be forgiven.[21]

            Yahweh's treaty with his people was a legal obligation. When Israel broke God's covenant, Yahweh brought them to court and charged them with violating his covenant. Biblical covenant lawsuits are called riv patterns. In Biblical riv patterns, God called the witnesses to the treaty to try the case. Herbert Huffmon argued that there were two kinds of covenant lawsuits in the Old Testament. In the first kind, the text depicted a lawyer who accused Israel in court for violating its contract with God. This kind of lawsuit began by describing the court. Then the plaintiff spoke, and he summoned heaven and earth to court as witnesses to the original treaty. As treaty witnesses, they acted as judges for the lawsuit. Next, the judges and defendants were then called to court. When the trial began, the defendants were addressed in the second person. Accusations were made by asking questions of the defendants. Then the defendants’ possible arguments were refuted, and a sentence was announced. Huffmon argued that this kind of lawsuit could be seen in Micah 6:1-8. Huffmon argued that there was also a second kind of treaty lawsuit. In this kind of lawsuit, God simply judged and condemned foreign gods. This lawsuit pattern began with a description of the court. Then God gave a speech addressing the foreign gods as defendants. God then declared that they could have no defense. He declared them guilty and pronounced his sentence against them.[22]

            The judgments pronounced in the treaty lawsuits often reflected the blessings and curses written into the treaties, and the curses of the covenant sometimes directly reflected the Decalogue.[23] Since the Bible only recognized one God, the witnesses summoned to court were typically heaven and earth instead of deities. Dennis McCarthy argued that the covenant lawsuit pattern was reflected in the structure of Deuteronomy 4 and 30.[24] G. Ernest Wright argued that the treaty lawsuit motif also shaped Deuteronomy 32.[25] It could be argued that the whole book of Job centered on Job's search for a covenant lawsuit hearing before Yahweh. While Job had lived a righteous life, he had inherited the curses of the covenant. In response, he continually cried out for his court hearing before El Shaddai.[26] Since the lawsuit motif dominated Job, it is not surprising that the book contained a wide variety of legal terms.[27] The covenant lawsuit pattern also shaped several of the prophets' messages.[28] J. Carl Laney argued that one of the prophets' roles was to serve as the prosecuting attorney in God's covenant lawsuit against the nation. Covenant lawsuit patterns have been proposed for Deuteronomy 32, Isaiah 1:19-20, Hosea 12:2, Amos 3:1-4:13, and Micah 6.[29]


             One of the more exegetically valuable aspects of the treaty discussion has been less widely appreciated than the treaty pattern or the covenant lawsuit motif. That aspect is the use of technical treaty vocabulary. A number of words like covenant and peace were often associated with treaties. However, five rather unexpected words were used as technical treaty terms: know, good, evil, live, die, love, and hate.[30] These words appeared thousands of times in the OT. In the majority of cases, they did not carry a treaty meaning, but treaty usage was surprisingly common.

            The first technical treaty term was "know." In the ancient Near East, rulers who were committed to a vassal relationship with a sovereign knew the sovereign and were known by him. Herbert Huffmon noted that the Akkadian equivalent of “know” was idű, and this word was already used in a treaty context at Mari.[31] Huffmon also noted examples of this usage in Late Bronze Age texts. One text claimed that Šuppiluliuma was only known by his vassal.[32] In the New Kingdom, Abdi-Aširta begged that Amenhotep III know him and protect him.[33] Know was also used this way in a text written by the 19th Dynasty ruler Seti I at Karnak. This text spoke about captives from countries that knew not Egypt.[34]

            Moses used "know" in a covenant or treaty context. In Exodus 1:8, a Pharaoh arose who did not know Joseph. This may suggest that Israel had a vassal treaty with Egypt's Hyksos rulers while Israel lacked a treaty with the 18th Dynasty rulers. They became simply Egyptian slaves. In Exodus 5:2, Pharaoh declared that he did not know Yahweh and would not obey Him. Pharaoh was not claiming that he was unaware of a god named Yahweh. Egyptian topographical texts from this period associated Yahweh with the Shasu Bedouin.[35] Pharaoh was claiming that he did not serve Yahweh and would not obey Him. Frank Seilhamer argued that know was used with a treaty meaning in Exod 33:12 when God said that He had known Moses by name.[36] "Know" was also used in a treaty or covenant context in later OT passages. Perhaps the most commonly discussed example of this usage comes from Amos 3:2.[37] In this passage, Yahweh declared to Israel, "I only knew you of all the earth's families." Since this seems like such an odd claim, the verse has often been translated in other ways by translators who did not recognize its treaty usage. Of all the world's nations, only Israel was in a vassal relationship with Yahweh. "Know" may also have carried a technical treaty meaning in Isaiah 45:1-7, Jeremiah 1:5, 12:3, 31:34, Hosea 4:1; 5:4; 8:2 and 13:4.

            Two of the technical treaty terms were good and evil. Dennis McCarthy argued that good was commonly used as a treaty term both in Hebrew and Akkadian.[38] Moran and Dupont-Sommer both argued that “good” in the Akkadian Sefîre treaties referred either to treaty fidelity or the amity created by a treaty.[39] Hoffmeier noted nine cases in the Amarna Letters where he argued that the Akkadian “good” and “evil” were used to indicate a treaty.[40] Two examples of this usage can be seen in EA 6, 7-8 and EA 17: 15 where William Moran translated similar wording that was used in making a declaration of friendship between kings.[41] Moran translated part of EA 19:30-33 as, "Let us love, (each other) very, very much, and between us let there be friendship."[42] This usage might also have been used for faithful service in court. Nibamon served Thutmose III in the Egyptian 18th Dynasty. In his tomb inscription, he noted that he had neglected none of his duties and had done no evil.[43] Moses may have used good and evil in a treaty context in Exod 18:9, Num 10:29, Deut 23:7, and 30:9. Good and evil may also have been used in a treaty context in a number of later passages including: Judges 3:12, 4:1, II Samuel 2:6, I Kings 11:4-11, Psalm 73:1, 28, and Amos 5:6-15.[44]

            Two other important treaty terms were live and die. Those who remained faithful vassals lived before their sovereign. Those who broke their vassal treaty died before the sovereign even though they remained physically alive. J. Wijngaards noted several examples of this usage. Muršiliš II included a vassal treaty in his vassal treaty with Manapa Dattas. The prologue noted how Manapa Dattas had been killed by his brothers. Then they drove him from the land. Another treaty by Muršiliš II traced the experiences of Mashuiluwas. Like Manapa Dattas, he had been killed by his brothers and had then been driven from the land. Then he had found refuge with the Hittite king. Wijngaards also noted examples of this from the reign of the Hittite king Muwatalli who had killed a rebellious Amorite vassal named Bentesina by taking him away into captivity. Later, Muwatalli's brother Hattusil III raised Bentesina back to life by restoring him to the throne.[45]

            Moses used live and die in this technical treaty context in Leviticus 18:5, Deuteronomy 8:1-3, 16:20, 30:6-9, 30:19-20, and 33:6. The most interesting of these may have been Deuteronomy 33:6. In Moses' final blessings to the tribes, he blessed the tribe of Reuben by saying, "May Reuben live and not die." As Jacob's firstborn, the patriarch Reuben would inherit the right to leadership in the household. Yet Genesis 35:22 recorded that before Jacob died, Reuben had tried to seize Jacob's control of the family by sleeping with Jacob's concubine Bilhah.[46] Genesis 49:3-4 noted that Jacob removed Reuben's firstborn right for this offense. Moses' blessing in Deuteronomy 33:6 was that the tribe of Reuben may not repeat the patriarch's rejection of his covenant responsibilities but be numbered among God's vassals. Live and die were also used in a treaty or covenant context by the prophets. Hosea used this motif in Hosea 8:1, 2:3, 9:15, and 13:14. In Hosea 13:1-2, the prophet proclaimed that Israel had died by worshiping Baal, and now they sinned more and more.

            Two other important technical treaty terms were love and hate. These words placed treaty faithfulness in emotional language, but treaty faithfulness was the central focus of the terms. Rulers who kept the vassal treaty by definition loved the sovereign while those who violated the treaty hated the sovereign. That was true regardless of the emotional state of any vassal. However, emotions could not be ignored completely. A vassal who had positive feelings for a sovereign was likely to obey him. A vassal who hated and feared a sovereign was likely to break the treaty whenever an opportunity presented itself. So love as a covenant term always involved a combination of emotion, obedience, and commitment.[47]

            Love and hate were often used as treaty terms in the ancient Near East. William noted examples of this usage from the 18th to the 7th centuries BC. He noted a letter written to the king of Mari. The author of the letter declared that he was the king's servant and that he loved the king. The word love was also an important treaty term in the Egyptian Amarna Letters. These letters were written from Canaanite city state rulers to Pharaoh Akhenaten's court asking for military assistance to oppose hapiru attacks.[48] In Amarna Letter 286:18-20, Jerusalem's king asked Pharaoh why he loved the śapiru and hated his own vassals. Steven McKenzie and Howard Wallace argued that the words love and hate in this letter were used in a treaty sense. The king of Jerusalem was asking Pharaoh why he acted as if the hapiru were his vassals instead of the population in Jerusalem.[49] When new rulers took office in the Amarna period, they often promised to love Egypt's pharaoh ten times as much as their predecessors.[50] William Moran noted that the word love continued to be used as a treaty term in the 1st millennium BC when Esarhaddon warned his vassals to love his son Ashurbanipal as they had loved him.[51] It is unlikely that Assyria's vassals had positive emotional feelings about an empire as brutal as Assyria, but they loved the Assyrian kings by remaining faithful vassals.

            Moses used both loving and hating in a technical treaty usage. In Exodus 20:5-6, Moses noted God's decree that He would visit their iniquity to the 3rd and 4th generation of those who hated him. At the same time, He would show mercy to thousands who loved him and kept His commandments. In Deuteronomy, Moses used love in a treaty context over 30 times. Deuteronomy used the word love more often than any other book in the Bible because it was structured with treaty motifs. Love and hate were used in a treaty context especially in Deuteronomy 1:27, 6:4-5, 11:22, 30:6-9, 30:19-20, and 32:41. In Deuteronomy 30:19-20, God called heaven and earth as treaty witnesses that He had set before them life and death, blessing and curse. God called Israel to choose life by loving Him and obeying Him. Loving and hating may have been used in a treaty context in a number of later Biblical passages including: Judges 5:31, I Samuel 18:16, II Samuel 19:6, II Chronicles 19:2, and Hosea 9:15.[52] One of the more striking examples of this usage can be seen in Malachi 1:2-3. Malachi noted that God loved Jacob and hated Esau. McKenzi and Wallace identified this as technical treaty usage similar to the use of love and hate in Deuteronomy.[53]

            After 1970, the treaty discussion began to run out of steam. While a number of books and articles have discussed the material since that time, much of the discussion has built on earlier claims. As this has happened, a number of authors in the field have returned to Wellhausen's claim that covenant material in the Old Testament was late and relatively unimportant. An example of this can be seen in Stephen Kaufman’s article “The Structure of the Deuteronomic Law.” Kaufman saw Deuteronomy as a collection of early sources, and he omitted any reference to the treaty pattern.[54] Even more conservative authors have often neglected the treaty motifs. In 2008, Eric Peels wrote an article about the use of the word hate in Psalm 139:21-22. Similarly, Brian Rosner wrote an article about being known by God. Both of these studies were competent and professional analyses of their topics, but neither author put the words hate or know in the context of technical treaty usage.[55]


Israel's patriarchs lived in a cultural environment where treaties were common. Genesis recorded either treaties or formal relationships between the patriarchs and other rulers in the ancient Near East. Two of these were Abraham's covenant with Abimelech in Genesis 26:28 and Jacob's agreement with Laban in Genesis 31:44. J. A. Thompson argued that these were parity treaties between equals instead of vassal treaties.[56] Jonathan Paradise argued that Jacob's treaty with Laban was a non-aggression pact that centered on the preservation of the rights of Laban's daughters.[57] Jacob's treaty with Laban included a historical context, stipulations, and an appeal to witnesses. The appeal to Yahweh to judge between Jacob and Laban may also imply divine sanctions for breaking the treaty.

Israel's patriarchs also expressed their faith in covenant or treaty motifs. J. A. Thompson argued that God's covenants with Noah and Abraham resembled both ancient Near Eastern treaties and Israel's Sinai covenant. Thompson argued that a historical prologue, blessings, and curses could be seen in Genesis 12-17.[58] Covenant or treaty stipulations were always a part of God's covenant with His people. Covenant stipulations appeared in Genesis as early as Genesis 2:15-17. God charged Adam and Eve with tending the garden, but He forbid them from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the patriarchal age, covenant stipulations became more detailed and better known.

Moses did not record the giving of laws per se in Genesis, but he did claim that at least part of the Sinai law was known and obeyed in the Patriarchal Age. In Genesis 18:17-19, God declared that He had known Abraham so that he would command his descendants to keep Yahweh's way. Only by passing on obedience to his descendants would God's covenant promises be fulfilled. Then in Genesis 26:5, God declared that Abraham had obeyed God's charge, commandments, statutes, and laws. It is important to remember that Moses wrote both Genesis 26 and Deuteronomy 11:1 where Moses urged Israel to love Yahweh their God and keep his charge, statutes, judgments, and commandments. Three law words were repeated in both passages, but surprisingly, Moses used law in Genesis 26:5 but judgments in Deuteronomy 11:1. Moses used repeated law words in Deuteronomy 5:31, 6:1, 7:11, 8:11, 26:17, and 30:16. By using similar wording in Genesis 26:5, Moses claimed that Abraham had known and obeyed at least the heart of God's revealed law. Abraham's obedience was a central feature of his covenant with Yahweh. While the giving of a law code was not described in Genesis, the text did contain divine commands which were loosely associated with the covenant. Such commands were recorded in Genesis 1:28, 3:3, 7:1-4, 17:1-2, and 17:11. Several passages like Genesis 4:4 and 39:9 also implied an understanding of later legal traditions.

                        Another key element of the treaty pattern was the inclusion of blessings and curses for those who either respected or violated the terms of the treaty. Moshe Weinfeld argued that blessings and curses were not just an element of ancient treaties. They were also used in all types of legal settlements, grants, land transactions, oaths of succession, and other oaths.[59] In the treaty structure behind the book of Deuteronomy, the blessings and curses appeared especially in Deuteronomy 28. Blessings and curses played a key role in the composition of Genesis. Both God's blessings and the patriarchs' blessings were mentioned in Genesis 1:22, 1:28, 5:2, 14:19-20, 17:15-20, 18:18, 24:27, 24:31, 25:11, 26:12, 26:29, 27:4-7, 28:1-6, 30:27-30, 31:55, 32:26-9, 39:5, and 47:7-10. The corollary of blessing was cursing which was also a common theme in Genesis 3:14-17, 4:11, 5:29, 8:21, 9:25, 12:3, 27:12-13, 27:29, and 49:7. Beyond that, Moses used patriarchal history to teach the wilderness generation that the principle of blessings and curses in Deuteronomy 28 was already at work in the lives of the patriarchs.

            One key blessing in Genesis was the promise of a land. Divine control of land was not an unusual idea in the ancient Near East. Daniel Block noted an early Sumerian belief that Enlil established the boundaries of Ningursu and Shara, giving them the land.[60] In 2300 BC, Sargon claimed that Dagan had given him all of the Amurru lands which were the traditional homelands of the West Semitic people.[61] Moses warned Israel in Deuteronomy 28 that the promise of a land was conditioned on obedience. Deuteronomy 28:36, 28:41, and 28:62-8 promised that God would tear Israel from the land and drive them into captivity when they rebelled against Him. Magnus Ottosson argued that the Biblical promise of a land was grounded in what he considered to be the myth of Eden.[62] Moses taught Israel in Genesis 3:23-24 that God had driven Adam and Eve from Eden into a land that was under God's curse because of their sin. Running through Genesis was always the promise of Genesis 3:15 that the curse would one day be lifted. Michael Fishbane argued that Adam's loss of Eden created a “profound inner-biblical nostalgia for spatial harmony” that created the desire for a promised land and the Zion motif.[63]

            When Moses wrote Genesis, he included in the text several examples of people either coming to the land or leaving it again. Henrickus Renckens argued that the first example of the comings and goings appeared in Genesis 2:15. Adam was not created in the Garden of Eden. He was created outside of it and was brought to the Garden by God. So the human race began with a man brought to a promised place. Renchens argued that this idea developed into the theme of a promised land.[64] In the Genesis account, God promised the land to Abraham's descendants as long as they remained faithful to Him. This promise was repeated in Genesis 26:1-3, 35:12, and 48:4. Yet the parallel curse was also present. In Genesis 49:7 Jacob cursed the anger of Levi and Simeon saying that they would not receive a land inheritance but would be dispersed among the tribes. As the Genesis account unfolded, the patriarchs lived with the tension of whether they would be able to remain in the land. Within the line of promise, God usually brought people back to the land after their failure. This can be seen in Genesis 12:6-20, 14:9-12, 26:1-3, 27:43, and 33:18 Outside of the line of promise, people usually left the Promised Land forever. This can be seen in Genesis 16:6-13, 21:14-21, 25:6, and 3:16. Possession of the land in Genesis was always tenuous, and possession of the land was often tied to righteousness and faithfulness. This pattern climaxed with God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 15:12-21 that his descendants would live in a foreign land for 400 years before God would bring them home. Then in Genesis 46:5 when Jacob finally moved his family south to Egypt. Thomas McComiskey argued that the promise of a land must have seemed an empty hope to Israelites in Egypt before the exodus.[65]

                        A second key blessing in Deuteronomy 28 was fruitfulness. While the blessing of a promised seed was always Christological,[66] the blessing of fruitfulness also had significance for the Israelites' lives. Deuteronomy 28:4 promised that obedience would bring blessings of the ground, herds, flocks, and descendants. In Genesis, promises of fruitfulness and abundance were repeated in Genesis 1:28, 9:1, 12:2-3, 15:15-20, 22:17-8, 24:35, 35:11, 48:4, 48:16, and 49:25-6. Deuteronomy 28:23-4, 30, and 38-40 also warned that disobedience would turn the skies to bronze and the land to iron. The rains would become dust. Seed, vineyards, and olive trees would be planted, but little harvest would follow. The population would suffer and die because of their revolt. Yet Genesis also warned that disobedience brought loss of abundance and suffering. This theme can be seen first in Genesis 3:17-19. God warned Adam that he would have to earn his living by the sweat of his brow. He would have to struggle for existence in a land that God had cursed because of Adam's sin. The fruitfulness of Canaan was as tenuous during the Patriarchal Age as the patriarchs' presence in the land. By an 18th Dynasty based chronology, Abraham entered Canaan near the end of a drought that had lasted for 300 years. Droughts and famines returned in Genesis 26:1 and 41:56.

                        Perhaps the greatest example of God removing the land's fruitfulness in judgment can be seen in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Rast saw the motif of treaty blessing and curses behind their destruction. Rast noted that fire and brimstone fell on Sodom, and God overthrew the city. Rast argued that “fall” often appeared in treaty curse formulas, and the Assyrian treaties described fire and brimstone falling on the cities that rebelled against the king.[67] While Rast used this usage to imply a late date for the text, a much earlier parallel to Genesis can be seen in a hymn recorded by Sargon's daughter Enheduana in 2300 BC. This hymn claimed that the goddess Inana had rained down blazing fire on the land while a storm and flood brought destruction.[68] So the Near Eastern parallels are not very helpful in dating the account of Sodom's destruction.

                        Another common blessing in Deuteronomy 28 was God given dominance. Deuteronomy 28:1 and 28:7 promised that Israel would be lifted up above the nations and their enemies would be defeated before them. On the other hand, Deuteronomy 28:25 and 28:47-57 warned that rebellion would lead to their defeat. If Israel refused to serve God with a glad heart, they would serve the nations in hunger, thirst, and the lack of all things. The question of dominance was important throughout Genesis. It can be seen in Genesis 1:28, 9:26-7, 14:15, 24:60, 27:29, 27:40, 35:11, and 49:8. In Genesis 23:6-11, Abraham was recognized as a "Mighty Prince" in the region. Wiseman argued that Abraham functioned as a district governor, or shapitum. Wiseman noted that this office was well known from the Mari texts. He argued that such governors acted for the high king. Wiseman argued that Abraham served as Yahweh's vassal because Yahweh had granted him the land. Wiseman noted that Abraham had been commanded in Genesis 13:17 to walk about in the land. Wiseman claimed that this amounted to a command to act as a judge in it. Wiseman argued that as Yahweh's vassal, Abraham was expected to maintain justice, law, and order in Canaan. As a vassal ruler, Abraham settled disputes in Genesis 13:17 and 21:25, and he took military action to protect the land in 14:15.[69]

                        In Genesis, dominance was dependent on obedience. In Genesis 49:4, Reuben's dominance in the household was removed because of his rebellion against his father. Part of Moses' message for the wilderness generation may have been the blessing of dominance seen in the life of Joseph. Unlike his brothers, Joseph was faithful to God in everything that he did. As a result of his faithfulness, Joseph became vizier in control of the Egyptian government. According to verses like Ezekiel 20:5, the Israelites fell into idolatry in Egypt. Ezekiel reminded the Israelites that God had judged the nation in Egypt before the exodus for their idolatry. Righteousness led to dominance over Egypt while sin and rebellion brought defeat, slavery, and suffering.

                        Two other common treaty features in Genesis were an appeal to witnesses and the treaty lawsuit pattern. An appeal to witnesses can be seen in Genesis 21:30 and 31:44-53. The treaty lawsuit pattern can be seen in several passages of Genesis. Meredith Kline argued that the treaty lawsuit pattern could be seen in Genesis 3:9-13 and 3:14-24 as God brought both Adam and the serpent into court. Kline argued that Yahweh also brought Cain into court in Genesis 4:9-15.[70] Joseph Blenkinsopp also argued that Genesis 18-19 depicted a judicial process used against Sodom and Gomorrah.[71]


            When Moses wrote Genesis, he often used technical treaty vocabulary. That may seem to be anachronistic. Adam did not speak 2nd millennium BC West Semitic in the Garden of Eden. The principle of inspiration means that Moses accurately recorded the meaning of earlier dialogue in the language of his own day. To understand theological motifs in Genesis, it is important to understand what those words meant when they were written by Moses. It is also possible that the international treaty pattern grew from principles of cultural interaction that were as old as the human race. One treaty term used in Genesis was the verb "know." Herbert Huffmon argued that this usage could be seen in Genesis 18:19.[72] In this verse, Yahweh claimed that He had known Abraham so that Abraham would instruct his sons to obey God. Only by this obedience would God bring on Abraham's descendants the covenant promises and blessings. Treaty usage may also stand behind the name of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis 2:17. The expression "knowing good and evil" was later used to describe the ability to administer a government responsibility in a competent manner. It was the ability to serve as an able vassal or manager. It may have described the ability to determine the things that were in keeping with the will of the sovereign or of God. This can be seen in II Samuel 14:17, 19:35, and I Kings 3:9. This usage might also stand behind Gen 24:50. Laban and Bethuel told Abraham's servant that Yahweh had chosen Rebekah, so they could not say good or evil. Since Yahweh had made the decision, they had lost their ability to decide the question. W. Malcolm Clark argued that “knowing good and evil” was a legal phrase indicating the ability to make a decision in court. Clark associated the tree of knowledge with the J material in Genesis and claimed that it referred to the ability to exercise judicial authority. Clark contrasted Adam's seizure of authority with Solomon's reception of authority as a gift from God.[73] If the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is seen in the context of treaty usage, the issue may not have been intellectual understanding. The issue may have been vassal obedience. The tree was the tree of choice. By choosing not to eat of the tree, Adam was choosing to remain a faithful vassal ruler of the earth serving the high king Yahweh.

            Genesis also used good and evil more widely as treaty terms. In Genesis 1:4, God created light and called it good. As creation progressed, God declared good everything that He made. McCoy argued that Scripture depicted creation as the formation of a covenant relationship between God and all of the earth.[74] McCoy's position could be supported by Jeremiah 33:20 which mentioned God's covenant with the day and night. There was only one thing God created that He declared to be not good. That was the fact that Adam had no mate to share his life. Why would God declare Adam's life to be not good? At the end of the OT, Malachi 2:14 defined marriage as a covenant relationship. Perhaps Adam's single state was not good because he had no mate with whom he could live in a covenant relationship.

            Good and evil may also have been used in a treaty context in Genesis 4:7. Yahweh warned Cain to do good or sin would crouch at his door. Treaty usage might also provide one key to Genesis 6:2-4. Genesis 6:2 claimed that the sons of the gods saw that the daughters of the man were good, and took whoever they desired. Whatever this nebulous and difficult passage may mean, it could refer to the corruption of the tradition of faithful service by violence. Good and evil were used again in Genesis 26:29. In Isaac's treaty with Abimelech, they agreed to do no evil toward each other but only good. Treaty usage may also have been used in Genesis 44:4. When Joseph's servant looked for his cup in his brothers' sacks, the servant asked them why they had returned evil for good.  

            Live and die were also important treaty terms. In Genesis 2:17, God warned Adam and Eve that they would surely die in the day that they ate from the tree. Adam and Eve did not in fact die physically on that day, and there has been an ongoing discussion about why not. R. W. L. Moberly argued that God simply got it wrong while the serpent spoke the truth.[75] If die is understood as a treaty or covenant term, the issue at stake was not physical life. God warned Adam that eating from the tree would break his vassal relationship with God. Adam would die to the covenant by his revolt, and he would loose his place as God's earthly vassal.

            That may shed light on the serpent's encounter with Eve. In Genesis 3:4-5, the serpent claimed that Eve would not die by eating the tree. Instead, her eyes would be opened and she would be like God, knowing good and evil. If Isaiah 14:12-5 and Ezekiel 28:12-8 are understood partly as descriptions of Satan's primal revolt, the Serpent had been Yahweh's most important heavenly servant. He had rebelled and had lost his God given position. He had not lost his existence. He had only lost his relationship with Yahweh, and he tried to rule in God's place. The serpent encouraged Eve to do the same. The serpent claimed that Eve would not die any more than he had died when he rebelled against God. The serpent encouraged her to rule the earth independently and autonomously instead of ruling the land as Yahweh's vassal. If the tree is understood in terms of treaty usage, Adam and Eve died by eating the tree because they lost their positions as Yahweh's vassals. Then they were brought back to treaty life by God's grace through confession, repentance, sacrifice, and faith. The Tree of Life (or Lives) may also have been named with treaty terminology. While the tree of knowledge has received little academic attention, the Tree of Life has been a popular topic of debate.[76] It is unclear whether the Tree of Life was the same tree as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is also unclear what the physical and spiritual consequences of eating from the Tree of Life might have been.

            It is possible that the idea of covenant life may have been grounded in creation itself. Genesis 2:7 noted that God formed man from the ground, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. For the human race, life began with God Himself. So faithful vassal service to God should have characterized covenant life. "Live" may also have been used in a treaty context in Genesis 17:18. Before Isaac was born, Yahweh promised Sarah that she would have a son. Abraham loved his child Ishmael, and prayed, "Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!" Abraham was grieved that Ishmael could not be the promised son of the covenant. So "live" in this verse referred to membership in the covenant and participation in its promises.

                        The last two treaty terms were love and hate. Deuteronomy used love in a treaty context more than any other book in the OT. Moses used love and hate in a treaty context in Genesis as well. In Genesis 26:27-8, Isaac noted that Abimelech hated Isaac. The situation was resolved when Isaac made a new treaty with Isaac like the treaty that he had with Abraham. Treaty usage might stand behind Genesis 24:60. This verse gave Rebekah the blessing of dominance by promising that her descendants would possess the gates of those who hated them. Possessing the gates referred to military and political domination. Another example of this usage may have been Genesis 29:31-33. This section noted that Jacob hated Leah. This seems a strong emotion for the patriarchal household. If understood as treaty usage, it may just mean that Jacob did not treat Leah as if she were his wife by covenant. Support for this interpretation may come from Genesis 44:27. In this verse, Jacob wailed that his wife had only borne him two sons. That suggests that Jacob did not consider either Leah or the concubines to be true wives.

                        This discussion can be summarized by noting that Moses did not record a specific treaty pattern in Genesis. However, he did assume that treaty concepts and terms were being used in the patriarchal age, and he implied that this usage was grounded in roots that went back to the beginning of human history. The similarity between covenant motifs in Genesis and treaty motifs in the ancient Near Eastern may support the claim that the Genesis text fits comfortably into the cultural milieu of the ancient Near East before the 1st millennium BC. The treaty parallels do not prove that the Genesis text is historically correct, but they are consistent with that conclusion.

[1] For an overview of the literature and the texts, see Kenton L. Sparks, Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible: A Guide to the Background Literature, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2005), 435-448.

[2] George E. Mendenhall, Law and Covenant in Israel and the Ancient Near East, (Pittsburgh, PA: The Biblical Colloquium, 1955), 5-6, 21.

[3] See the overview of this period in Robert A. Oden Jr., "The Place of Covenant in the Religion of Israel," 429-447 in Patrick D. Miller, Jr., et al, eds., Ancient Israelite Religion, (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987), 430-31. Kenneth A. Kitchen, "The Fall and Rise of Covenant, Law and Treaty," Tyndale Bulletin 40.1 (1989): 118-121.

[4] Noel Weeks, Admonition and Curse: The Ancient Near Eastern Treaty/Covenant Form as a Problem in Inter-Cultural Relationships, (London: T & T Clark International, 2004), 6, 136-42.

[5]  F. Charles Fensham, “Clauses of Protection in Hittite Vassal-Treaties and the Old Testament,” Vetus Testamentum 13 (1963):138.

[6] J. M. Munn-Rankin, "Diplomacy in Western Asia in the Early Second Millennium B.C." Iraq 17 (1955): 68-72.

[7] Menahem Haran, "The Bĕrît 'Covenant': Its Nature and Ceremonial Background," 203-219 in Mordechai Cogan, et al, eds., Tehillah le-Moshe: Biblical and Judaic Studies in Honor of Moshe Greenberg, (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1997), 204, 212.

[8] William W. Hallo, "Sumer and the Bible:  A Matter of Proportion," 163-175 in James K. Hoffmeier and Alan Millard, eds., The Future of Biblical Archaeology, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004), 171. Dennis J. McCarthy, Treaty and Covenant: A Study in Form in the Ancient Oriental Documents and in the Old Testament, (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1963), 15-21.

[9] George E. Mendenhall, "The Suzerainty Treaty Structure: Thirty Years Later," 85-100 in Religion and Law: Biblical-Judaic and Islamic Perspectives, (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990), 94.

[10] Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament, 323.

[11] F. Charles Fensham, "Notes on Treaty Terminology in Ugaritic Epics," Ugarit Forschungen 11 (1979): 265-74.

[12] Ogden Goelet Jr. and Baruch A. Levine, "Making Peace in Heaven and Earth: Religious and Legal Aspects of the Treaty between Ramesses II and Hattushili III," 252-99 in Boundaries of the Ancient Near Eastern World, (JSOT, 1998), 257.

[13] Meredith G. Kline, Treaty of the Great King: The Covenant Structure of Deuteronomy, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1963).

[14] Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2003), 309.

[15] Abraham Malamat, "Doctrines of Causality in Hittite and Biblical Historiography: A Parallel," Vetus Testamentum 5 (1955): 1-12.

[16] D. J. Wiseman, "'Is It Peace?' – Covenant and Diplomacy," Vetus Testamentum 32.3 (1982): 312. Weeks, Admonition and Curse, 174.

[17] R. Frankena, “The Vassal-Treaties of Esarhaddon and the Dating of Deuteronomy,” Old Testament Studies 14 (1965): 122-54. Moshe Weinfeld, “Traces of Assyrian Treaty Formulae in Deuteronomy,” Biblica 46 (1965): 417-27. Ronald S. Hendel, William W. Hallo, and Kenneth A. Kitchen, "The Kitchen Debate," Biblical Archaeology Review 31 (2005): 48-53.

[18] Simo Parpola and Kazuko Watanabe, eds., Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths, (Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1988), 68-69.

[19] Nahum M. Sarna, Exploring Exodus: The Heritage of Biblical Israel, (New York: Schocken Books, 1986), 136. Walter Beyerlin, Origins and History of the Oldest Sinaitic Traditions, (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1965). Klaus Baltzer, The Covenant Formulary in Old Testament, Jewish, and Early Christian Writings, (Philadelphia: Fortess, 1971), 63-5. John B. Geyer, "Ezekiel 18 and a Hittite Treaty of Muršiliš II." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 12 (1979): 31-46.

[20] Gordon H. Johnston, "Nahum's Rhetorical Allusions to Neo-Assyrian Treaty Curses," Bibliotheca Sacra 158 (2001): 415-36. Kevin J. Cathcart, "Treaty-Curses and the Book of Nahum," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 35.2 (1973): 179-87. Michael Fishbane, "The Treaty Background of Amos 1:11 and Related Matters," Journal of Biblical Literature 89.3 (1970): 313-18.

[21] Malamat, "Doctrines of Causality in Hittite and Biblical Historiography: A Parallel," 1-12.

[22] Herbert B. Huffmon, “The Covenant Lawsuit in the Prophets,” Journal of Biblical Literature 78 (1959): 285-95.

[23] Moshe Weinfeld, "The Decalogue: Its Significance, Uniqueness, and Place in Israel's Tradition," 3-47 in Religion and Law: Biblical-Judaic and Islamic Perspectives, (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990), 21.

[24] McCarthy, “Covenant in the Old Testament: The Present State of Inquiry,” 224.231-32.

[25] G. Ernest Wright, "The Lawsuit of God: A Form-Critical Study of Deuteronomy 32," 26-67 in Bernhard W. Anderson and Walter Harrelson, eds., Israel's Prophetic Heritage: Essays in Honor of James Muilenburg, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1962).

[26] Job 5:8-9; 9:14-20; 9:32-33; 13:15-18; 23:3-7; 31:35; 35:14; 40:1, and 40:6-8.

[27] F. Rachel Magdalene, On the Scales of Righteousness: Neo-Babylonian Trial Law and the Book of Job, (Providence, RI: Brown Judaic Studies, 2007). Shalom M. Paul, “Unrecognized Biblical Legal Idioms in the Light of Comparative Akkadian Expressions,” Review Biblique 86 (1979): 235-36.

[28] Huffmon, “The Covenant Lawsuit in the Prophets,” 285-95.

[29] J. Carl Laney, "The Role of the Prophets in God's Case against Israel," Bibliotheca Sacra 138 (1981): 316-21. Wright, "The Lawsuit of God," 44. Julien Harvey, "Le 'Rib-Pattern' requisitoire prophetique sur la rupture de l'allilance," Biblica 43 (1962): 172-96. Gemser, B. "The Rib-or Controversy-Pattern in Hebrew Mentality," in Wisdom in Israel and in the Ancient Near East, Presented to H. H. Rowley, (Supplements to Vetus Testamentum #3), (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1955), 120-37. O'Raurke Boyle, “The Covenant Lawsuit of the Prophet Amos: III 1 IV 13,” 338-62. Douglas Stuart, Hosea-Jonah 31 Word Biblical Commentary, (Waco: Word Books, 1987), xxxii. G. Ernest Wright, "The Lawsuit of God: A Form-Critical Study of Deuteronomy 32," 26-67 in Bernhard W. Anderson and Walter Harrelson, eds., Israel's Prophetic Heritage: Essays in Honor of James Muilenburg, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1962), 44.

[30] Oden, "The Place of Covenant in the Religion of Israel," 433.

[31] Herbert B. Huffmon, “A Further Note on the Treaty Background of Hebrew YĀDA.” BASOR 184 (1966): 36.

[32] Herbert B. Huffmon, “The Treaty Background of Hebrew YĀDA.” BASOR 181 (1966): 31.

[33] Huffmon, “The Treaty Background of Hebrew YĀDA” 33.

[34] ARE, II:317; III:54.

[35] Astor, "Yahweh in Egyptian Topographical Lists," 17-33.

[36] Frank H. Seilhamer, "The Role of Covenant in the Mission and Message of Amos." 435-51 in Howard N. Bream, et al, eds., Old Testament Studies in Honor of Jacob M. Myers, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1974), 441.

[37] Herbert B. Huffmon, "The Treaty Background of Hebrew YADA," BASOR #181 (1966): 34. Frank H. Seilhamer, "The Role of Covenant in the Mission and Message of Amos." 435-51 in Howard N. Bream, et al, eds., Old Testament Studies in Honor of Jacob M. Myers, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1974), 441. Marjorie O'Rourke Boyle, "The Covenant Lawsuit of the Prophet Amos: III 1 - IV 13," Vetus Testamentum 21 (1971): 338-62

[38] Dennis J. McCarthy, Treaty and Covenant, (Rome: Biblical Institute, 1981), 171, 289. Tryggve N. D. Mettinger, King and Messiah: The Civil and Sacral Legitimation of the Israelite Kings, (Lund: CWK Gleerup, 1976), 147.

[39] W. L. Moran, "A Note on the Treaty Terminology of the Sefîre Stelas," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 22 (1963): 173.

[40] Hoffmeier argued for this usage in EA 2,9-13; 4,15; 6,8-12; 8,8-12; 9,7ff; 17,15; 19,32; 41,19-20 and 67,13-16. James K. Hoffmeier, “The Wives’ Tales of Genesis 12, 20 & 26 and the Covenants at Beer-Sheba,” Tyndale Bulletin 43 (1992): 93, 99.

[41] William L. Moran, The Amarna Letters, (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), 18, 41.

[42] Moran, The Amarna Letters, 44.

[43] ARE, II: 303.

[44] Seilhamer, "The Role of Covenant in the Mission and Message of Amos," 446. Delbert R. Hillers, "A Note on Some Treaty Terminology in the Old Testament," Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 176 (1964): 46.

[45] J. Wijngaards, "Death and Resurrection in Covenantal Context (Hos. VI 2)," Vetus Testamentum 17 (1967): 226-39.

[46] M. J. Selman, "Comparative Customs and the Patriarchal Age," 91-139 in A. R. Millard & D. J. Wiseman, eds. Essays on the Patriarchal Narratives, (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1983). B. J. Van Der Merwe, "Joseph as Successor of Jacob," 221-32 in Studia Biblica et Semitica, (Wageningen: H. Vecuman & Zonen, 1966).

[47] Munn-Rankin, "Diplomacy in Western Asia," 94.

[48] William L. Moran, "The Ancient Near Eastern Background of the Love of God in Deuteronomy, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 25 (1963): 77-87.

[49] Steven L. McKenzie and Howard N. Wallace, "Covenant Themes in Malachi," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 45 (1983): 556.

[50] Christer Jönsson, "Amarna Diplomacy: The Beginnings of International Relations, (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), 193.

[51] Michael Fishbane, "The Treaty Background of Amos 1:11 and Related Matters," Journal of Biblical Literature 89 (1970): 313-18. For another example of this usage, see Frances Reynolds, ed., The Babylonian Correspondence of Esarhaddon and Letters to Assurbanipal and Sin-Šarru-Iškun from Northern and Central Babylonia, (Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 2003), 4.

[52] Dennis J. McCarthy, “Covenant in the Old Testament: The Present State of Inquiry,” Cathholic Biblical Quarterly 27 (1965): 224. Norbert Lohfink, "Hate and Love in Osee 9, 15," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 25 (1963): 417.

[53] Steven L. McKenzi and Howard N. Wallace, "Covenant Themes in Malachi," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 45 (1983): 556.

[54] Stephen A. Kaufman, “The Structure of the Deuteronomic Law,” MAARAV 1-2 (1978/79): 105-09.

[55] Eric Peels, "'I Hate Them with Perfect Hatred' (Psalm 139:21-22), Tyndale Bulletin 59.1 (2008): 35-51. Brian S. Rosner, "'Known by God' the Meaning and Value of a Neglected Biblical Concept," Tyndale Bulletin 59.2 (2008): 207-30.

[56] J. A. Thompson, “Covenant Patterns in the Ancient Near East and Their Significance for Biblical  Studies,” Reformed Theological Review, 18 (2959): 67-8.

[57] Jonathan Paradise, "What Did Laban Demand of Jacob? A New Reading of Genesis 31:50 and Exodus 21:10," 91-98 in Mordechai Cogan, et al, eds., Tehillah le-Moshe: Biblical and Judaic Studies in Honor of Moshe Greenberg, (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1997), 91, 98.

[58] Thompson, “Covenant Patterns in the Ancient Near East and Their Significance for Biblical  Studies,”68.

[59] Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomy School, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), 61.

[60] Daniel Block, The Gods of the Nations: Studies in Ancient Near Eastern National Theology, (Jackson: Evangelical Theological Society, 1988), 9.

[61] George Mendenhall, "The Nature and Purpose of the Abraham Narratives," 337-56 in Patrick D. Miller Jr. et al, eds. Ancient Israelite Religion, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987), 344.

[62] Ottosson, "Eden and the Land of Promise," 177-88.

[63] Michael Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), 369.

[64] Henricus Renckens, Israel's Concept of the Beginning: The Geology of Genesis 1-3, (New York: Herder & Herder, 1964), 200, 213.

[65] Thomas Edward McComiskey, The Covenants of Promise: A Theology of the Old Testament Covenants, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985), 42-55.

[66] Paul Williamson, “Abraham, Israel and the Church,” Evangelical Quarterly 72 (2000): 99-118.

[67] Walter E. Rast, "Bâb Edh-Dhrâ and the Origin of the Sodom Saga," 185-201 in Leo G. Perdue, ed. Archaeology and Biblical Interpretation, (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1987).

[68] Black, et al, The Literature of Ancient Sumer, 316.

[69] Wiseman, "Abraham Reassessed," 151-52.

[70] Meredith G. Kline, "Oracular Origin of the State," 132-41 in Gary Tuttle, ed. Biblical and Near Eastern Studies: Essays in Honor of William Sanford LaSor, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1978), 133.

[71] Joseph Blenkinsopp, "The Judge of All the Earth: Theodicy in the Midrash of Genesis 18:22-33," Journal of Jewish Studies 42 (1989): 146.

[72] Huffmon, “The Treaty Background of Hebrew YĀDA” 34.

[73] W. Malcolm Clark, “A Legal Background to the Yahwist's Use of “Good and Evil” in Genesis 2-3,” Journal of Biblical Literature 88 (1969): 269.

[74] Charles S. McCoy, “Creation and Covenant: a Comprehensive Vision for Environmental Ethics," in Covenant for a New Creation, (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1991), 213.

[75] R. W. L. Moberly, "Did the Interpreters Get it Right?  Genesis 2-3 Reconsidered," Journal of Theological Studies 59.1 (2008): 23.

[76] Paul Watson, "The Tree of Life," Restoration Quarterly 23 (1980): 232-38. Howard N. Wallace, The Eden Narrative, (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1985), 101-41. Helmer Ringgren, "Israel's Place among the Religions of the Ancient Near East," 1-8 in Studies in the Religion of Ancient Israel, (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1972).


Copyright © 2009 Dr. Rodger Dalman
Last modified: 08/11/09