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Book of the Covenant

(306 words)

Author(s): Boecker, Hans Jochen
The Book of the Covenant, which comprises Exod. 20:22–23:19 (or perhaps through 23:33), is the oldest legal code in the Pentateuch. It takes its name from Exod. 24:7 (although it is an open question whether the phrase here refers specifically to the material of the earlier chapters). In the present text the Book of the Covenant is related to the events at Sinai, being put between the theophany depicted in 19:1–20:21 and the covenant described in 24:1–11. Special theological importance is thus ascribed to it. The heading in Exod. 21:1 introduces the specific provisions, but a prologu…

Holiness Code

(409 words)

Author(s): Boecker, Hans Jochen
The Holiness Code, which is found in Leviticus 17–26, is the earliest book of law that forms part of the Pentateuch. A. Klostermann coined the name with an eye to the significance of the concept of holiness in this section (see 19:2; 20:26; 21:8). God’s holiness is here the basis of the demand for holiness that is addressed to Israel (§1). The Holiness Code opens in chap. 17 with rules of sacrifice, which particularly regulate the contact with blood, and closes in chap. 26 with statements about blessing and cursing. In between are various legal regulations, for example, about sex (18), rules f…


(1,191 words)

Author(s): Boecker, Hans Jochen
1. The Decalogue (Greek for “ten words”) has come down to us in the OT in two places: Exod. 20:2–17 and Deut. 5:6–21. It has often been called the classic Decalogue, as distinct from the ethical, or Elohistic, Decalogue in Exod. 34:10–26. In both books the Decalogue shows itself to be an independent entity. This is especially clear in exodus, for the preceding verses in Exodus 19 do not prepare the ground for it, nor do the succeeding verses in 20:18–21 relate to it. They form a transition instead to the Book of the Covenant that follows. In virtue of the location of the Decalogue in Exodus 20, it is…