The Law of the Covenant: An Exposition of Exodus 21-23

James B. Jordan, The Law of the Covenant: An Exposition of Exodus 21-23 (1984).

From the inside flap: How relevant are the laws of the Old Testament for today? God said that Israel was to be a light to the nations (Hebrews 42:6). That someday all nations would come to Jerusalem to receive the Law (Micah 4:2). That in His Law, "every transgression and disobedience receives a just recompense" (Hebrews 2:2). That all peoples would marvel at the wisdom and justice of Israel's laws (Deuteronomy 4:6-8). Yet, with the change from the Old to the New Covenant, there are clearly changes in the Law, "for when the priesthood changes, there must also take place a change of law" (Hebrews 7:12). How, then, are we to approach the many laws found in the Old Testament? Some of them are obviously superior to our modern law today (such as restitution instead of imprisonment for theft.) Some of them have obviously been superseded in Christ (such as the sacrificial system). Some of them seem overly harsh (such as the death penalty for "cursing" parents). Some of them seem weird and strange (such as the prohibition on boiling a kid in its mother's milk). In this book, Mr. Jordan provides four introductory chapters of the nature of Biblical law, on the redemptive historical context in which the law was first written, and on the overall changes in the law system which the New Covenant brings. Then, moving to the concrete, Mr. Jordan provides the first truly in-depth commentary on the case laws of Exodus 21-23, the Book of the Covenant. The laws are taken up one at a time. In each case, the question is asked, "What did this law mean to the people of the Old Testament age?" Then the question is asked, "What relevance might this law have for the Christian faith today?" Finally, the question is asked, "How does this law shed light on the work of Jesus Christ, of whom all Scripture speaks? That is, how can we preach Christ from this law?" In his preface, Mr. Jordan states that he has not tried to say the last word on these chapters of Scripture, but that he has tried to say a first word, and to challenge the Church to look further into these verses to find the wisdom for today. No preacher and no student of the Word can afford to be without this study.

Note: This book, published by the Institute for Christian Economics, is a worth-while introduction to a theonomist view towards Exodus 21-23. One should be sure to read the Introduction by John M. Frame. Pages 93 – 130 address Criminal Law, and pages 131 – 144 address Property Law.

The book is available for download here, or here (PDF).

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