It has now been almost 5 months since my last post. My absence has been due to 1) moving to a new country, 2) not having internet in our home for the first 3 months, 3) starting a doctoral program, and 4) not being sure how to fit the concept of blogging into my life as a PhD student.

In essence I’m questioning how much time and effort I should put into ‘joining the online discussion.’ I’m working hard to just do my PhD stuff, learn French and German, keep building my Greek and Hebrew skills, not to mention work on my research. If I keep up with this blog I think it will become a place I will post thoughts about my research, book reviews or things like that. I have decided that I feel no pressure to ‘join’ any community. This blog is a place for me to put down some of my thoughts. So, as good as the discussion online is, I feel no pressure to comment on other people’s blogs or to necessarily respond to everyone who comments on mine. I welcome all people to read my thoughts, but I have to be careful that my blog be an addition to my ongoing education not a detraction from it.

All that is to say, I’m not sure where this blog is going, but I’m not quite ready to give up on it. We’ll see.

Well, we have now made it to Durham and we are beginning to settle. I haven’t quite managed to get into a routine of research yet, but I think that I will really like it at Durham. It really is a fantastic place. For example, so far in my few weeks here I have had class with Francis Watson on Theological Hermeneutics, had lunch with and had class with Walter Moberly and have spent a morning with Jimmy Dunn helping him move and chatting about all things Bible and faith (for those of you who are up on theological or biblical studies at all, you know that what I’ve just done there is name dropping). So far so good.

As for this blog, obviously I haven’t posted in quite some time. However, we’ve made the move and life is beginning to settle in a routine so I hope to use this blog as a forum to discuss topics related to my research and interests. Thus, I hope to be blogging on things I’m reading and thinking about in the areas of: 1 Samuel, Septuagintal Research, narrative criticism and theological hermeneutics. Hopefully, this will become a good place to ‘host’ some of my thoughts.

Update: And I have now sat through a presentation from J. Cheryl Exum (Sheffield University) on the Song of Songs.

We are now sitting at Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle, WA. We are on our way to Durham! It is exciting that this is finally here. Hopefully, I will be able to pick up more blogging after the move. Thanks to all who helped us get here whether by actions or by prayer!

Jim West and John Anderson have posted their reflections on 9/11/2001. Though this blog post may say 9/12, it’s still 9/11 (albeit 10:17 pm) where I am in the Northwest US. I still remember 9/11 too, and I thought I’d offer my reflections.

I was a freshman, living in dorms at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC, Canada. I remember my RA coming into my room and waking me up quite frantic. “They’re bombing the World Trade Center,” he said. I got up in half a stooper and joined the half a dozen other American students from my floor. We went to our RD’s office (the closes TV with cable) and watched as they showed, over and over again the second plane hitting the south Tower. 

I remember having to go to my intro to philosophy class. My professor was so affected by the events that he said he didn’t know what to say. So we spent a few minutes in prayer and then he dismissed the class. Soon after that, a notice from the university was sent out canceling classes for the whole day.

I went back to my dorm, still in shock, and watched more of the news. I must have seen that second plane hit the south tower three dozen times that day. 

Shortly after that, that same day, they held a special chapel. There was a short message (from the President of the University, I think). Then, they asked all of the American students to stand up. The Canadian students and faculty then gathered around us and prayed for us. I remember being very moved and feeling that the whole experience was very surreal.

The rest of the day was busy finding out about this friend and that friend’s family member who was in New York, and figuring out if they were ok.

I remember most, being an American in Canada and the feeling when the Canadians in chapel prayed for us. It was a profound moment. I felt the sense of tragedy most, when us Americans were prayed for by our fellow Canadian students. Strangely, I felt that I could deal with that sense of tragedy best in that same situation. Maybe it was their sense of empathy. Maybe it was because in that moment we were not Americans and Canadians, we were humans. I’ll never forget it. I still remember too.

I have not found time to post on this blog since my wife and I are currently in the middle of our move to England. I don’t see any blogging light on the immediate horizon so I doubt that I will be blogging much of anything over the next few weeks. Hopefully, however, I will resume blogging as an official PhD student with reinvigorated posts on Hebrew narrative, theological interpretation of Scripture, and the character of David.

In his article, “How May we Speak of God? A Reconsideration of the Nature of Biblical Theology,” Tyndale Bulletin 53/2 (2002): 177-202, R.W.L. Moberly offers the following definition of biblical theology (from a Christian perspective): “Biblical theology is thus, in some form or other, the endeavour to speak and/or write truthfully about God via the interpretation of Scripture where God’s self-revelation to Israel and in Christ is to be found” (p. 178). It is, in other words, an attempt to speak about God via the revelation of Scripture. I find this definition helpful on multiple levels. In the first it recognizes the importance of both of the testaments, and the purpose of speaking “truthfully about God” presupposes not only a descriptive function but also a confessional function, for it implies the confession that the revelation of Scripture speaks truthfully about God. 


This article is an excellent example of Moberly’s interpretive program and I recommend it highly to everyone. In this post, however, I want to examine one aspect of Moberly’s suggestion: the use of Exod. 34:6-7 to set a paradigm for biblical theology. I find this to be a very helpful exercise and worthy of reflection. (more…)

In a previous post I looked at 1 Sam. 2:25b and noted the difficulty it raises in regards to divine sovereignty and human free will. In this post I want to look at the second difficulty that that verse raises, the troubling assertion that God is good, though he apparently desires the death of Hophni and Pinchas. The idea that God would desire someone’s death seems very problematic to our usual theological categories for God.


1 Sam. 2:25b

ולא‭ ‬ישׁמעו‭ ‬לקול‭ ‬אביהם‭ ‬כי־חפץ‭ ‬יהוה‭ ‬להמיתם


Trans.: But they did not heed the voice of their father for YHWH desired to kill them (my translation).



It is possible to read this phrase with the NRSV as “it was the will of the Lord to kill them.” But as far as I can tell, the word חפץ‭ ‬most regularly carries the connotation of “to desire” or “to take delight in” or “to take pleasure in” (cf. BDB, I do not have HALOT with me so I am curious what it says). It is probably possible (more…)