“Redeemed From The Curse Of The Law” The Use Of Deut 21:22–23 In Gal 3:13 -- By: Ardel Caneday

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 10:2 (Fall 1989)
Article: “Redeemed From The Curse Of The Law” The Use Of Deut 21:22–23 In Gal 3:13
Author: Ardel Caneday


“Redeemed From The Curse Of The Law”
The Use Of Deut 21:22–23 In Gal 3:13*

Ardel Caneday

DEERFIELD, ILLINOIS

I. Introduction

The NT uses ξύλον with two notable points of reference within the OT. One, which is confined to the Apocalypse (Rev 2:7; 22:2, 14, 19) with its referent in the “tree of life,” continues the imagery of Gen 2:9; 3:22, 24.1 The other (Gal 3:13; Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; 1 Pet 2:24) apparently alludes to Deut 21:22–23.2

Of several NT allusions that apply Deut 21:22–23 to the cross of Jesus, Paul’s citation in Gal 3:13 is the clearest: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become on our behalf a curse for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree.’“ This NT citation of an obscure OT text has been the occasion of several recent studies, beginning with Lindars’s programmatic study.3 He sees Paul’s use of Deut 21:22–23 as a “sharpened form in which this text

*A paper read at the Evangelical Theological Society Midwestern Section Annual Meeting at Bethel Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, March 16–17, 1990.

was already being used by the enemies of the Church.”4 Accordingly, Paul employed Deut 21:22–23 in a creative and ad hoc manner as it served his polemic purpose.5 Kim follows Lindars and summarizes,

So the Jews must have looked upon the crucified Jesus as accursed by God … The allusions to Deut 21.23 in Acts 5.30; 10.39; 1 Pet 2.24 suggest that from the...

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