Summary Two centuries of archeological discoveries have revolutionized the understanding of biblical covenants. Thus, after defining covenants in light of the ancient Near Eastern context, one can see the close parallels that Israelite covenants share with their ancient Near Eastern neighbors. Hence, one can better interpret and understand the distinctions exhibited by promissory (Abrahamic and Davidic) and obligatory (suzerainty and vassal) covenants. Of course, God is free to use the two types of covenants found in the ancient Near East to create the Israelite covenants.104 The next article will develop in more detail the historical implications and parallels between ancient Near Eastern and Old Testament covenant settings. —End— Text Box Shape 104 Kline, “Law Covenant,” 6, says: “Now since in certain notable instances, particularly but not exclusively in the Mosaic covenants, it pleased the Lord of Israel to describe his covenant relationship to his people according to the pattern of these vassal treaties, no other conclusion is warranted than that ‘covenant’ in these instances denoted at the formal level the same kind of relationship as did the vassal covenants on which they were modeled.”

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