Title: The Divine Council in the Pentateuch
Author: Michael S. Heiser
Publisher: BlindSpot Press
Back Cover: The Divine Council of the Pentateuch
Dr. Heiser’s 2016 paper presented at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society.
Book Review: The Divine Council of the Pentateuch
This is a presentation that Michael Heiser did and put it in a short book format. In this book, The Divine Council of the Pentateuch, he discusses God’s divine council and its Biblical basis. He also shares who makes up the divine council and why God created a council. He searches through ancient texts as well to see what they have to say about this divine council. It’s only 25 pages long in Kindle.
My thoughts about The Divine Council of the Pentateuch
This book open up my eyes more to the concept of God’s divine council. You may be asking the same question I did, “Why does God need a divine council to consult on matters?” In short, I believe He doesn’t need the divine council anymore than He needs us to do what He chooses to do through us. I’m confident that there is a greater purpose that we can’t see fully on this side of heaven, but the speculations in this book are interesting nonetheless.
I originally wrote this full review and felt uneasy about it. I had to ask my husband to go back and read it, to give me his impressions of it. I thought Heiser was saying one thing, but knew that couldn’t be right. I thought he was saying that he believed that Ba’al was Yahweh in the form of flesh, but that made no sense and so I wrote a post to argue why that could not be true, despite what the Mesopotamian and Ugaritic texts say. My husband has a masters in divinity and has been through a lot of scholarly works over the years. So, I knew that he would be able to weed through the information to get a good grasp of what Heiser was saying.
My husband said that he could understand how I got confused, even he had to stop and try to decipher what Heiser was saying. He told me that this was written by a scholar and likely intended for other scholars. I am not a scholar, nor do I desire to ever be one, so I struggled with this book. I’m sharing all this to say that it can be easy to lose sight of what he is saying. If I’d known this before hand, I probably would have been able to track with him a bit better than I did.
Overall, I found this book (conference paper) interesting and thought-provoking and I’m so thankful that the view he presented what not his own. The content was good, but obviously for me, it wasn’t clear that he was stating a point not his own personal belief. I’m glad that I had my husband read it before I posted the review. I do believe that Heiser has a heart for God and loves Jesus, I just wish Heiser would have stated his interpretation of who the second Yahweh figure is. That, for me, would have cleared up a lot of the confusion.
Would I Recommend The Divine Council of the Pentateuch
Yes, I would. I thought the argument was interesting and again, I do see a place in Scripture for the divine council. This will challenge the reader. I love learning more about what ancient texts say about things and when they can give clarity to our understanding of God’s Word, but if the text contradicts the nature of God and the truth of His Word, then I can’t agree. I never, ever use ancient text to define the Bible, but the Bible to define it and if at any point any text outside of the Bible differs, I choose to believe God’s Word.
I would not recommend this to any new believers, as I believe they could struggle. I agree with my husband, this is from a scholar to his fellow scholars. It’s an interesting read, but can be confusing if you lose track of what point of view he’s coming from. A good book for scholars, who will likely not be confused at all. It would also be good for seminary students.
And, that’s a wrap…The Divine Council of the Pentateuch
I hope you found this review helpful. If so, please share it with your family and friends, so they can learn about this great book too. You can click here or on any image of the book on this page to see it on Amazon. Thanks for taking the time to read this review and God bless!
“Broadly speaking, the divine council is the heavenly host entourage of Yahweh, members of which have varied roles in hierarchy. One such role is participatory governance under Yahweh’s sovereign rule.”
-Michael S. Heiser, The Divine Council in the Pentateuch (location 68, Kindle)