In much of the fine recent work on election in the Old Testament relatively little attention has been given to how the Old Testament’s depictions of election fit with classic Christian theological understandings. In examining the relationship between Jacob and Esau, so prominent in classic articulations of election, the present discussion investigates the interplay between election, grace, and humility in Genesis 32–33. Humility is fostered in Jacob through his vulnerability before Esau. Yet Esau’s behavior serves as a prism through which Jacob can see his own status before YHWH with greater clarity. Humility is fostered not through a depiction of Esau’s misery, but through Esau’s display of magnanimity. Esau’s role in Jacob’s narrative is enriched and questions are posed over how classic Augustinian accounts of election, grace, and humility might be complexified in light of Genesis 32–33.
“Heavy Is the Head”: Election, Grace, and Humility in the Climax of the Jacob-Esau Cycle (Genesis 32–33)
Rory J. Balfour has recently completed a PhD at Durham University, UK. Under Prof. R. W. L. Moberly his dissertation examines the theological significance of the rejections of Esau and Saul within the context of the Old Testament and subsequent interpretation.
Rory J. Balfour; “Heavy Is the Head”: Election, Grace, and Humility in the Climax of the Jacob-Esau Cycle (Genesis 32–33). Journal of Theological Interpretation 1 June 2022; 16 (1): 23–39. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/jtheointe.16.1.0023
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