During the day of the prophets,the whole of Israel was guided by the knowledge that God had chosenIsrael as His people, and had entered into a covenant with her.According to Ezekiel 20:5-7, God reveals that He had chosen Israel,lifted His hand in an oath (covenant) to the descendants of Jacob,and made Himself known to them in Egypt. As such, He prohibits theIsraelites from defiling themselves with the idols of Egypt. Prophetssuch as , were men of the covenant and messengerswho were aware of the significance of Israel’s election andcovenant relationship. Considerably, they experienced challengeswhile trying to break through Israel’s fatuous concept, which wasworn out owing to a false view of her election as God’s chosennation. In essence, the covenant was a two-way agreement which couldbe broken, but Israel’s glorious destiny was only achievable if sheremained obedient. However, Israel was unfaithful she broke thecovenant and thus instead of receiving divine favor, she would besubjected to doom and judgment.
Perhapsthe most interesting thing was the manner that the prophets declaredtheir message of doom and judgment they would utter their cursesthrough their prophecies of woe, and refer to the covenant. Forinstance, in Ezekiel 5:10, the prophet Ezekiel declares that fatherswould eat their sons in their midst, and sons would eat their fathers(HendericksonPublishers, 2008).In addition, judgment would be declared upon the Israelites, and allwho remained would be scattered to the winds. Due to the fact thatIsrael had broken the covenant with God, the time arrived when hertemple, kingdom, people, and homeland were taken away from her(Peterson, 2012). Essentially, this is where the book of Danielopens.
Inherently, the entire conceptof Daniel 9 is based on the covenant that existed between God and theIsraelites (Collins, 2002). Accordingly, Daniel prays for the renewalof the covenant, which the people of Israel have broken by sinningagainst the Lord, which illustrates that the prophet was aware thatIsrael was suffering due to breaking the covenant. To guide theIsraelite nation into the future, Daniel pronounces that God’srighteousness means the forgiveness and renewal of His covenant withthose who would repent, as illustrated in Daniel 9:15-19(HendericksonPublishers, 2008).Intrinsically, it is here that God promises that He would send aMessiah who would take away sin and reaffirm His covenant. Inpraying, Daniel is asking for the restoration of the Jews fromcaptivity, as well as the reaffirmation of God’s covenant.
Conclusively,the prophets, Ezekiel and Daniel, make use of the covenant conceptsas a way of interpreting the events of their day, and as a way ofguiding Israel into the future. Inherently, they exist at a time whenIsrael has entered into a covenant with God, but has defiled it bybeing unfaithful. In essence, both prophets use covenant concepts towarn the people and pronounce the coming judgment due to theirunfaithfulness, and to declare the coming salvation. In Ezekiel16:60-62, Ezekiel pronounces that he foresees the remembrance of thecovenant by God, and declares that God would regather His people,establish an everlasting covenant with them, atone for theIsraelites, and make an everlasting covenant of peace. In retrospect,this is how the prophets use the covenant concept to steer theIsraelites into the future.
HendericksonPublishers. (2008). TheHoly Bible: King James Version. Peabody,Mass: Hendrickson Publishers.
Peterson,B. N. (2012). Ezekielin context: Ezekiel’s message understood in its historical settingof covenant curses and ancient Near Eastern mythological motifs.Eugene,OR: Pickwick Publications.
Collins,J. J., Flint, P. W., & VanEpps, C. (2002). Thebook of Daniel: Composition and reception. Boston:Brill Academic Publishers.