Covenant in Relation to Justice and Righteousness in Isaiah 42:1-9

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The University of Stellenbosch, South Africa


This study focuses on covenant in relation to justice and righteousness in Isaiah 42:1-9. The main purpose of the study is to grapple with the idea of whether the Old Testament scholarly research on covenant is relevant for the theological-ethical understanding of covenant amongst African believing communities in general and in particular the Kamba community of Kenya. The research employs the socio-rhetorical approach, a method used to explore textures in a multi-dimensional way. In applying Robbins‘ (1996a, 1996b) textual analysis to the text of Isaiah 42:1-9, both the intra and intertextures are examined in order to gain the narrator‘s rhetorical strategy. It is possible to demonstrate that the mission of the Servant of the Lord was to establish justice and righteousness on earth. We show these terms are relational and ethical in nature. Justice restores damaged relationships in order for a community to have peace with itself. Righteousness on the other hand governs moral relationships and demands each member of the community acts right. These demands are required in order to regulate a cohesive social and cultural community that takes each other‘s social needs into account. Moreover, we show through intertexture in chapter three that texts reconfigure themselves either explicitly or implicitly. It is shown that three concepts, justice, righteousness and covenant exhibit moral characteristics when used together. Within covenant framework they have to do with taking care of the needs of the oppressed. Furthermore, in chapter four through social and cultural texture we show how the Israelites and Judah later are unable to fulfill their obligations to the poor because of the moral decay, which affected all spheres of their life. The Servant of YHWH is promised to usher in a new era of social justice. Additionally, in chapter five it is shown that the ideological texture highlights God‘s theological viewpoint characterized by the tension between the two covenants. We have attempted to show from Isaiah 42:1-9 that the theological-ethical understanding of covenant accommodates the Akamba covenant.


Doctor of Philosophy Dissertation


Covenant, Relation, Justice, Righteousness, Isaiah 42:1-9, Old Testament, Akamba covenant


Muutuki J. M. (2013): Covenant in Relation to Justice and Righteousness in Isaiah 42:1-9.: The University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.