Building House To House (Isaiah 5:8): Theological Reflection On Land Development And Creation Care -- By: Heath A. Thomas
BBR 21:2 (2011) p. 189
Building House To House (Isaiah 5:8):
Theological Reflection On Land Development And Creation Care
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary And Paideia Centre For Public Theology
Land development is the point of theological critique set within the context of Isaiah’s “Song of the Vineyard.” God’s good land (the vineyard) was marred by a number of sins, one of them being “building” house to house (land development). Within the horizons of the OT in general and Isaiah in particular, the substance of the critique may be understood theologically within the strictures of OT law regarding land allotment. But pressing toward new horizons in biblical theology, how might the substance of the critique be carried forward? This article will reflect on land development and creation care within the horizons of Isa 5:8 and OT law and then move toward a reflection of the same set within the fields of biblical theology and theological interpretation of Scripture.
Key Words: creation care, Isaiah, Synoptic Gospels, parables, biblical theology, theological interpretation, hermeneutics, application
Author’s note: An earlier version of this essay was read at the Institute for Biblical Research Creation Care Section / Society of Biblical Literature North American Congress in New Orleans on
The title of this article is something of a misnomer. Two verbals are employed in Isa 5:8a, neither of which derive from בנה, “to build.” Rather, the terms here used are נגע, “to touch/add,” and קרב, “to draw near/conjoin.” So why include “building” as part of the title? The rationale behind it lies in the theological criticism outlined in 5:8-10, which carries on from the logic of Isaiah’s “Song of the Vineyard” (Isa 5:1-7). The prophet critiques those who are adding “house to house” and conjoining “field to field” (5:8a) at a grave cost—they construct many large and splendid homes (v. 9) at the
BBR 21:2 (2011) p. 190
expense of the land and those who (formerly) live on it. As a result, the land will wither and the finely constructed homes will lie desolate (v. 10). In short, the logic of Isa 5:8-10 may be summarized in te...
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