Paul, eschatological restoration and intertextuality
The more I read Paul and try to understand how he used scripture, the more convinced I am that his reliance on the Prophetic narrative of exile and restoration needs greater emphasis.
Take 2 Corinthians, for example. Paul's scriptural citations in 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 (namely 2 Sam. 7:14; Ezek. 20:34; Isa. 43:6; 52:11) demonstrate that Paul 'sees the beginning fulfilment of the promised restoration of God's people already taking place in the establishment of the Corinthian church' (Scott J. Hafemann, "The Covenant Relationship," in Central Themes in Biblical Theology: Mapping Unity in Diversity, eds Scott J. Hafemann, Paul R. House [Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007], 60). This sounds convincing, unless these verses constitute a non-Pauline interpolation, of course! But also in 2 Corinthians 3 one finds mention of numerous themes associated with the promised return from exile: new covenant, the gift of the spirit, a new heart. In Christ God's promises are 'yes' (cf. 2 Cor 1:20)
So, when I read, for example, Paul's use of the 'husband' metaphor in 2 Cor. 11:2-3 I am more tempted these days to read a greater eschatological significance into Paul's allusions than previously. To explain:
The mention of the 'YHWH as husband of Israel' metaphor is found in Isaiah 54:5-6, the context of which is that of Israel's re-gathering and restoration after exile. The employment of the metaphor in Isaiah 62:5 concerns, once again, the vindication and salvation of God's people. In fulfilling his promise, God will rejoice over his people 'For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you' (62:5). In Jeremiah 3, the metaphor is used in terms of the reunification of the twelve tribes ('the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel', 3:18) and their return from exile to the Land (3:18-19). Exile happened because 'as a faithless wife leaves her husband, so you have been faithless to me, O house of Israel' (3:20). Of course, Hosea is replete with the metaphor. While the nation's sin is like adultery against YHWH, after punishment (2:13) there will be a day when 'I [the Lord] will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the LORD' (2:19-20).
This would mean that the eschatological event of God's restoration, and the accompanying marriage of God to his people, is expressed by Paul in terms of the relation between risen Lord and believers, of the marriage between Christ and believers. It is not merely that Paul uses the husband language in a stale and effectively synchronic employment of God language. Rather, the allusion is bent around an eschatological agenda, is shaped by a diachronic force.
Now the crunch: this conclusion assumes 1) Paul knew the context of the prophetic texts which he cites or alludes, and 2) that this context mattered to Paul. While the first is a safe bet, is the second? I think the only way of knowing is judging how any metalepsis illuminates our reading of Paul. But for such allusions as those in 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 it is difficult to say. Can we really know how much of the context of an allusion or citation finds reflection in Paul?