A Brief Theology of Genealogy | Peter J. Leithart | First Things

via A Brief Theology of Genealogy | Peter J. Leithart | First Things


Psalm 28

This seems like a direct riff on Moses’ song in Deuteronomy 32. It starts out with the same Rock language, and speaks of reactions to the LORD’s deeds and the LORD’s inheritance.

What kind of rock is God? Is he like the silent idol rocks of the nations? If so then there is no hope for David.

There’s a lot of vocal/hearing language in this Psalm:

  • I cry
  • be not silent
  • hear my voice
  • who speak peace, but…
  • the LORD hears my voice
  • my song

The wicked talk the talk, but their hearts are full of themselves. But David trusts the LORD, and his heart is filled. The wicked remember their own plans/work/hands instead of God’s plans/work/hands (see Deuteronomy 32:27). They judge themselves and are judged because of it.

David does not want to be “dragged” away with the wicked, but instead to be ruled/fed/shepherded. These actions seem similar – they both involve moving a creature to a new destination. The questions is which group David is in – the inside group (sanctuary) or the outside group (pit).

Ultimately David clings to the promise that Israel is the LORD’s inheritance (Deuteronomy 32:9), and that the LORD is forever faithful to his people. He asks that the LORD continue to do what he has always done (Deuteronomy 32:10-15).

This appeal to Deuteronomy 32 is frightening, because Deuteronomy 32 is talking about the people of Israel becoming God’s adversaries. So are the wicked in Psalm 28 being “dragged away” from national Israel? And is David then appealing for the reformation of a new Israel? Verse 5 might play into this – the wicked are torn down but not rebuilt; does this mean that the definition of righteous Israel is one who is torn down but also being rebuilt (i.e lifted up) – and one who is so humble that they recognize their need to be torn down and rebuilt?


The big theme here is “kindness”. Ruth is a Moabite, so the immediate connection is to the Deuteronomy 23 prohibition of the Moabites within the congregation because of their lack of “kindness” to Israel. If not clear enough, the writer also mentions leaving Bethlehem (house of bread) for Moab, again tying back to the Moab story, where the Moabites withheld bread from Israel.

This also goes back deeper into the origin of Moab. The Boaz/Ruth threshing floor scene reminds us of scene with Lot and his daughters. Both times the man (Lot/Boaz) is drunk. Both times the women (Ruth/daughters) are looking to preserve the family line.

The story also reminds us of Judah and Tamar – again because of Tamar’s need to preserve the family seed – but also because of the connection between Judah and Boaz. Both of them have an encounter with a widow, and both have a family duty to fulfill.

The author of Ruth wants us to see the backstory of the relationship between Moab and Israel, and the familial duty of Israel. So Ruth is a redux in which the story has a different outcome –  as the current actors course-correct the sins of their ancestors.

Upon entering the land, Lot (Ruth) refuses to separate from Abraham (Naomi) as was done in the past (Genesis 13). In a time of need, the Moabites (Ruth) bring Israel (Naomi) bread, displaying kindness. The widowed/barren/bereft daughter (Ruth) does not deceive to be filled, and instead trusts in the provision of the LORD. Presented with a needy/seductive woman, Israel (Boaz) happily pursues the responsibility of headship.