Last week I had the privilege of witnessing the presentation of a surprise Festschrift to Dr. Daniel Block (Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College) at the 2013 national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Baltimore, MD. The project was organized and edited by Dr. Block’s former students and friends, Drs. Jason DeRouchie, Jason Gile, and Kenneth Turner, and it is titled For Our Good Always: Studies on the Message and Influence of Deuteronomy in Honor of Daniel I. Block(Eisenbrauns, 2013). Dr. Block’s surprise was touching, and hearing the reflections of former students and colleagues simply confirmed Block’s longstanding reputation as a faithful Christian and outstanding scholar.
With a voice shaking from emotion, Dr. Block reflected upon his own career asking his audience, “What could be more delightful?…What could be more sobering?” He is exactly right. These two notions get at the heart of evangelical scholarship: delight and reverence. Seriously studying the Bible is dangerous business. Sin, pride, and familiarity can slowly transform the most powerful biblical truths into trite platitudes ensued by a condescending yawn. But anyone who has heard Dr. Block speak of the Old Testament Scriptures realizes that “yawning” is not his normal modus operandi! I pray the Lord will enable me, as well as many others, to one day reflect on a career that is centered around God’s Word and is characterized by delight and reverence. Thank you for the example Dr. Block.
Few in my mind could be more worthy of such an honor, and the essays represented here appear to be of the caliber that would indeed honor Dr. Block. I can’t wait to work through them all! Here is Eisenbraun’s description and table of contents:
With a title adapted from Deut 6:24, For Our Good Always is a collection of 25 essays from evangelical scholars on the message of Deuteronomy and its influence on Christian Scripture. No other book colors the tapestry of biblical thought quite like Deuteronomy. It synthesized the theology of the Pentateuch, provided Israel with a constitution for guiding their covenant relationship with Yahweh in the promised land, and served as a primary lens through which later biblical authors interpreted Israel’s covenant history. Recent advances in scholarship on Deuteronomy and developments in biblical interpretation are raising fresh questions and opening new paths for exploration. This collection of studies wrestles with Deuteronomy from historical, literary, theological, and canonical perspectives and offers new questions, presents original discoveries, and makes innovative proposals.
The volume is offered in honor of Daniel I. Block on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Few Old Testament scholars have worked so ably, carefully, and intentionally to help the church and the academy grasp the message of Deuteronomy. Block’s own studies always exhibit an admirable balance of exegetical rigor, literary and theological awareness, and pastoral care, and for well over a decade he has, like the priest-scribe Ezra, devoted himself to the study, practice, and teaching of the deuteronomic torah (Ezra 7:10), helping and urging others to hear the life-giving gospel of Moses in Deuteronomy. The international group of specialists that contributed to this volume consists of Daniel Block’s colleagues, friends, and former students. It is their hope that these studies will in various ways supplement Daniel Block’s work, serving the church and the academy and honoring the God of Israel.
Peter J. Gentry
The Publications of Daniel I. Block: Overview and Bibliography xxi
Tributes from the Block Family xxxiii
Part 1 – The Message of Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy and Ancient Hebrew History Writing in Light of Ancient Chronicles and Treaties 3
“Because of the Wickedness of These Nations” (Deut 9:4–5): The Canaanites––Ethical or Not? 17
Richard S. Hess
Admonitory Examples in Hittite and Biblical Legal Contexts 39
Harry A. Hoffner Jr.
“These Are the Words Moses Spoke”: Implied Audience and a Case for a Pre-Monarchic Dating of Deuteronomy 61
Peter T. Vogt
Laws and Ethical Ideals in Deuteronomy 81
Gordon J. Wenham
Counting the Ten: An Investigation into the Numbering of the Decalogue 93
Jason S. DeRouchie
“Keep These Words in Your Heart” (Deut 6:6): A Spirituality of Torah in the Context of the Shema 127
J. Gordon McConville
The Rhetoric of Theophany: The Imaginative Depiction of Horeb in Deuteronomy 9–10 145
For Your Good Always: Restraining the Rights of the Victor for the Well-Being of the Vulnerable (Deut 21:10–14) 165
Deuteronomy’s Theology of Exile 189
Kenneth J. Turner
Part 2 – The Infuence of Deuteronomy
The Impact of Deuteronomy on the Books of the Deuteronomistic History 223
Michael A. Grisanti
Deuteronomy and Isaiah 251
H. G. M. Williamson
The Enduring Word of the Lord in Deuteronomy and Jeremiah 36 269
Deuteronomy and Ezekiel’s Theology of Exile 287
The “Revealed Things”: Deuteronomy and the Epistemology of Job 307
Christopher B. Ansberry
“Fear God and Keep His Commandments”(Eccl 12:13):An Examination of Some Intertextual Relationships between Deuteronomy and Ecclesiastes 327
The Influence of Deuteronomy on Intercessory Prayers in Ezra and Nehemiah 345
Gary V. Smith
Testing God’s Son: Deuteronomy and Luke 4:1–13 365
Grant R. Osborne
Paul’s Reading of Deuteronomy: Law and Grace 389
Part 3 – The Lasting Significance of Deuteronomy
Making the Ten Count: Reflections on the Lasting Message of the Decalogue 415
Jason S. DeRouchie
Welcoming the Stranger: Toward a Theology of Immigration in Deuteronomy 441
M. Daniel Carroll R.
Sermonizing in Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, and the 21st Century 463
Elmer A. Martens
The Prophet Who Is Like and Greater Than Moses: A Sermon on Deuteronomy 18:15–22 485
Daniel L. Akin
Stealing Souls: Human Trafficking and Deuteronomy 24:7 495
The Book of the Torah as a Gospel of Grace: A Synthesis of Daniel I. Block’s Biblical Theology of Deuteronomy 511
Thomas H. McClendon Jr.
- Rusty Osborne