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The Day of Yahweh

The Day of Yahweh - The Day of Yahweh Ralph W Klein...

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The Day of Yahweh Ralph W. Klein Concordia Theological Monthly 39 (1968): 517-525. What does it mean for Yahweh to have a day? 1 Sigmund Mowinckel saw it as a day of manifestation or epiphany at the New Year’s festival, including the celebration of Yahweh’s kingship and His saving acts for His people. The eschatological day of Yahweh is only the final and supreme day of Yahweh’s enthronement, entirely secondary to His cult day.2 More recent discussion, however, has focused on Gerhard von Rad’s identification of the day of Yahweh as a pure event of war, with imagery going back to the holy wars of Yahweh in which He appeared personally to annihilate His enemies.3 According to Frank M. Cross, Jr., these diverse interpretations can be reconciled by recognizing that the day of Yahweh is both the day of His victory in warfare and the day of His royal festival. Israel's cult was able to unite imagery from (a) the holy-war conquest traditions with (b) creation-kingship motifs primarily because Yahweh, the heavenly warrior, led the action in both events. Thus Psalm 24 celebrates the kingship of Yahweh and His role as creator in language stemming back in part to processions marking His military victory for early Israel. This wedding of Exodus and creation- kingship themes is best seen in Is. 5 1: 9-1 1, but it also provides the specific metaphors for eschatological passages in general, and the day of Yahweh in particular.4 YAHWEH'S PARTICIPATION ON HIS DAY Among the many titles for this day,5 some deal with Yahweh's extreme displeasure with Israel or with the nations. it is a day of wrath ('ebrâ or qeşep), anger ('ap), fierce anger (charôn 'ap), jealousy (qin'â), rage (chēmâ), and indignation (za'am). Ezekiel suggests a complete break of relations when he says, "An end has come" (7:6). One of the fullest descriptions of the day occurs in Zephaniah: A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation,
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a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry (1:15-16 and compare Joel2:2). A number of these terms imply theophany, and the theophany of Yahweh on His day is central to its interpretation as holy war or cultic festival. Darkness and gloom can express metaphorically the dreadful nature of this day as we see in Amos, the first prophet to refer to this day: "Is not the day of Yahweh darkness and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it" (5:20)? But "darkness" is also a theophanic term, linked with "fire ... .. clouds," and "thick darkness" in the descriptions of Yahweh's appearance on Sinai (Deut. 4: 11; 5:22). According to H. W. Wolff, the fire mentioned in Joel 2: 3 also stems from the theophanic ideology of the day of Yahweh, O while clouds also here serve as the emblem of Yahweh par excellence. Consider the 11 pillar of cloud" and the following passages: "Behold, the glory of Yahweh appeared in the cloud" (Ex. 16: 10); "And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud." (Ex. 24:16) "Thick darkness," whose precise denotation in Hebrew is unclear, is used almost
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