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Council and Lot Casting the Peace-Making Institutions in the Old Testament.

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2019, 25(4), pp.84-107
  • DOI : 10.24333/jkots.2019.25.4.84
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology
  • Received : September 29, 2019
  • Accepted : October 29, 2019

Kee, Min Suc 1

1침례신학대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The present study examines the social arbitrating mechanisms achieving the settlement of the conflicts in society to make peace; especially those attested in the literatures of ancient Israel and its neighbouring nations. Though primitive the societies were, they consciously struggled to preserve the human rights and justice in community. This spirit seemed to be advanced to institutionalise a kind of ‘democratic’ decision-making process in the ‘council’ (assembly). It was the elders who were responsible for the enactments in the council, both in the cities and the royal palace. In the former, they were conciliating conflicts, and, in the latter, advising for policy making. As for the former, the institution of the ‘city of refuge’ in the Old Testament is the best example to witness the conciliating mechanism. It was the authority of the elders in the council that actually made the process of conciliating be carried out. Usually discussion and counselling were initially made in a council by a number of members; and, afterward, the head of the council made an ultimate decision. Unlike today, decision by majority was not what commonly carried out to make a decision in the council. The reverence for the authority of the head of the council, therefore, was the key for conciliating the troubles in society. Furthermore, the divine authority was employed to sort out more complicated and hardly-soluble problems. The mechanism for it was ‘lot drawing’, of which institution was resorting to ‘chance’. In the primitive and ancient world, chance was not understood as accidental happening but as an intervention of the divine will. In conclusion, it was the authority of the elders, which is of tradition, and the divinity, which is of religion, that could possibly facilitate the arbitrating and conciliating process to settle conflicts in the ancient Israelite society.

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