One of the most distinctive (and scandalous) qualities of ancient Israelite religion is the insistence that Israel is the specially chosen people of God. Now, especially today, we have a problem with this sort of language; we much prefer the attitude of inclusivity. Well, this tension is not just a mark of our time; it can be found in the Bible itself. And in point of fact, one of the “places” where the play between particularity and universality is most clearly articulated is in the section of the prophet Isaiah from which our first reading is drawn.
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