Jacob or Israel?

יז וַיַּעֲמִידֶ֤הָ לְיַֽעֲקֹב֙ לְחֹ֔ק ׀׀ לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בְּרִ֥ית עוֹלָֽם: — דברי הימים א: טז, יז

It stands for Ya’aqov as law | For Israel it is an eternal covenant.

The version of Divré Ha’Yamim (Chronicles) on the Mechon-Mamre website — http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt25a16.htm — presents this section of Chronicles as liturgical poetry written in parallel columns. Jacob and Israel are the same person. Yet for Ya’aqov “it” stands as law while for Israel “it” is an eternal covenant? What does this mean?

The call —

וַיַּעֲמִידֶ֤הָ לְיַֽעֲקֹב֙ לְחֹ֔ק

It stands for Ya’aqov as law

The response —

לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בְּרִ֥ית עוֹלָֽם

For Israel it is an eternal covenant

Jewish tradition assigns Chronicles to Ketuvim “scripture” rather than to Navi’im “the prophets”. Were Chronicles sought for historical perspective it would be assigned to the library of prophetic books, for historical perspective is the special province of the prophetic books. Chronicles is a liturgy of Israel, as indeed are all of the books listed in the library of 11 scriptural books:

Poetic (3) Tehilim, Mishlé — משלי — and I’yov — איוֹב
Lectional (5) Shir Ha’Shirim — שִיר הַשִירִים ; Rut — רוּת ; É’kha — איכה ; Qohelet — קהלת; and Estér — אסתר
Theological (3) Dani’él — דניאל; Ezra — עזרא; and Divré Ha’Yamim — דברי הימים

Author: rector@metivta.ca

A chaplain, spiritual director, and educator, Arié Chark (“Reb Arie”) is Rector at The Metivta of Ottawa. A strong sense of personal mission has led Reb Arie to convene various civil society projects under the auspices of The Metivta of Ottawa, including the Ottawa Roundtable and the Abrahamic Chaplaincy Board.

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