My Angel Joshua

Gustave Dore, "The Children of Israel Crossing the Jordan"
Gustave Dore, "The Children of Israel Crossing the Jordan" (Image via Wikipedia)

Within the narrative of Exodus, identifying the referent of the term מלאך (angel, messenger) in Exod 23:20 is somewhat nettlesome (Ausloos, “The ‘Angel of YHWH,'” VT 58, no. 1 [2008]: 7–10; Enns, Exodus, 473–74), but one reasonable reading is to understand this term as a reference to Joshua (Augustine, Faust., 16.19 [NPNF1 4:226]; Justin, Dial., 75 [ANF 1:236]; Tertullian, Adv. Jud., 9 [ANF 3:163]; Tertullian, Marc., 3.16 [ANF 3:335]; see also Ausloos, “The ‘Angel of YHWH,'” 9n43; cf. Exod 33:12; Gowan, Theology in Exodus, 227–28; Stuart, Exodus, 542–43). Yet, this Joshua does not pardon sins because the name of the God of Abraham is only in him (Exod 23:21; i.e., he acknowledges this God’s renown; cf. 1 Kgs 5:11 [Eng.: 4:31]; see also Mal 1:11Ps 8:2 [Eng.: v. 1]1 Chron 14:17; 2 Chron 20:9). Rather, such forgiveness comes by him who has received this God’s name as his own (Mark 2:1–12; Luke 5:17–26; John 17:11–12; Phil 2:9–11; cf. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, 272–74, 631–45) and in whom Abraham’s offspring inherit not one region only by conquest (Exod 23:24, 31) but the whole world by meekness and rest (Matt 5:5; Rom 4:13; Heb 4:8–10; see also Pao and Schnabel, “Luke,” 300–3).

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