Competing Voices in Scripture

I spend the majority of my bible reading time in the Old Testament.  Since I was a young boy I have always been fascinated with the many stories found in this first testament.  When I was a teen, I found it perplexing that Proverbs seemed to have a different message than the prophets and that the prophets had a different message than the historical books, and the historical books a different message than the Torah.  As I have studied more throughout the years, I have begun to understand the reasons behind these different messages and voices.  Here is a list of competing voices:

  • Voice that supports sovereignty of ruling class and kings
  • Voice that places Law/Torah above all else
  • Voice that emphasizes the role of Aaronic priesthood
  • Voice that emphasizes the role of Levitical or other line of priesthood
  • Voice that places the pursuit of wisdom in the world above all else
  • Voice that emphasizes the immediate voice of God against the status quo of society
One can probably list more or group a few into a similar lump.  The point is that as you read through the OT, you find various voices and they each have a message that they elevate above all else.  Voices originate from various social and political situations– the people left in Canaan/Palestine after the captivity, the people who return after the captivity, the middle class, the ruling class, the impoverished in society, etc.  Sometimes they have overlapping messages.  More often, they have competing voices.  Proverbs seems to indicate that wisdom is sought and found by searching creation, nature, life, etc.  Psalm 119 emphasizes the role of God’s law and precepts (which some other passages would attribute to the law given by the king, other the law given by the priests, and for others the idea that a Torah was given in the past and passed down).  The prophets hear a direct message from God and emphasize obedience to this message above all else.  
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