God’s ‘Repentance’ In Light Of The Covenantal Relationship Between שׁוּב And םחנ In Jeremiah 18:1−10 -- By: Allen Bythel Marsh

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 26:1 (Sep 2018)
Article: God’s ‘Repentance’ In Light Of The Covenantal Relationship Between שׁוּב And םחנ In Jeremiah 18:1−10
Author: Allen Bythel Marsh


God’s ‘Repentance’ In Light Of The Covenantal Relationship Between שׁוּב And םחנ In Jeremiah 18:1−101

Allen Bythel Marsh

and

Bill Domeris

Keywords

Jeremiah 18 Repentance Potter Clay Covenant Relationship

About The Authors2

Allen Bythel Marsh

PhD student at the South African Theological Seminary (graduating October 2018).

Bill Domeris

PhD (University of Durham) Bill is a Biblical scholar and a Senior Academic at the South African Theological Seminary. He is also a research associate at the University of Pretoria and the University of the Free State.

This article: https://www.sats.edu.za/marsh-domeris-gods-repentance

Abstract

This article addresses the relationship between two Hebrew verbs found in Jeremiah 18:7−10 that may shed light on the subject of God’s ‘repentance’, especially when the Hebrew verbs words are viewed from the context of the covenant. We see that the main point of the passage shifts from the potter’s unilateral control and sovereignty over the clay to the flexibility of the potter to work with his clay. The significance is that in this covenantal context, the author(s) used שׁוּב (shub) and נָחַם (nacham) to demonstrate that God sometimes, but not arbitrarily, relents in response to the decisions of his people, meaning that the response of the nation had an influence on God’s actions.

1. Introduction

The concept of the ‘repentance’ of God makes for an interesting roundtable discussion among scholars. If it were not for the numerous examples in the Old Testament that portray God as having changed his mind or relented, it would be easier to simply overlook these texts or classify them as nonconsequential in the grand scheme of theology. It was, however, this recurring pattern that piqued my curiosity enough to draw a seat to the table. Nowhere is the concept of God’s relenting better exemplified than in Jeremiah 18:7–10. Here, repentance is illustrated by the usage of the Hebrew verbs שׁוּב (shub) and נָחַם (nacham). The first verb, שׁוּב (<...

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