However De Vaux fails to distinguish the essential difference between the Hebrew slave, who is sold into the possession of another, and the slave of Yahweh. It is not merely the status of the owner. The essential difference is one of covenant. The king was the ebed of Yahweh because he had been elected, called and appointed to that office, and not because of anything less. The ministers of the king in turn represented Yahweh and fulfilled the purpose of the covenant, to establish righteousness. To fail to see this is to miss the whole point of the ebed of Yahweh. In social terms it would be equivalent to seeing little difference between the role of a housekeeper and the role of a housewife in Western society today. It would also be foolish to think that the role of the housekeeper could simply evolve into the role of the housewife. Language may evolve, but a covenant relationship does not; it requires a decisive act of commitment and acceptance.
Holland, Tom. Contours of Pauline Theology. London, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 2004. 72.
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