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Shalom in the Messianic Prophetic Texts

Hong, Seong Hyuk 1

1서울신학대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

What is the meaning of shalom? The use of the word is quite varied and c omplicated in the Old Testament. Although the basic meaning of shalom is ‘wholeness,’ the derivatives of the word are very comprehensive: welfare, completeness, reward, prosperity, satisfaction, health, and so for th. So it is not easy to set its meanings in orde r. Moreover, scholars vary in their opinions of the meaning of the word. Nevertheless, the interpretations given it by most scholars can be generally classified into two categories. One way to understand the various meanings of shalom is in terms of ‘relationship,’ and the other is in terms of ‘state.’ The meanings of shalom, therefore, can be grasped in terms of both ‘relationship’ and ‘state.’ On the basis of the two categories, this study intends to analyze the meanings of shalom and its theological significance in the prophetic texts. First, the various opinions of scholars are reviewed in order to set out the g eneral meanings of shalom and their categories. Then, the meanings of shalom are deciphered within the selected prophetic texts. Finally, two selected messianic texts (Isa 9:6-7 [MT 9:5-6]; Zech 9:5-10) are analyzed. I seek to analyze whether the definitions and theological significance of shalom changed through time, based on what is emphasized in these two messianic texts, one of which is from the 8th century BCE, while the other is from the post-exilic period. In the course of exegesis, first of all, I will show that shalom in the messianic texts refers increasingly more to ‘wholeness’ in relationship with God, which can be completed only through His intervention. I propose that, although shalom refers to ‘state,’ ‘health,’ ‘prosperity,’ it is de fined more w ithin a relationship w ith God, and t hat it s accomplishment rests upon God. This is supported by the fact that righteousness (hqdc) and justice (jpvm), representing the relationship with God, are closely related with shalom. I suggest that, although the messianic texts predict the coming of a human messiah for bringing shalom to fr uition, his role is limit ed in ope ning the age of God’s shalom. Nevertheless, I assert that his participation in bringing shalom to fruition is necessary, because his limited role functions as a lens through which God’s shalom can be anticipated. Finally, I will str ess that we should make every effort to accomplish a harmonious ‘relationship’- oriented shalom in a world full of persecution and injustice resulting from self-interest.

Citation status

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