Title: Infiltration


The content of this chapter focuses on how the events of Pentecost are the catalyst to the reversal of the disinheritance of the nations that happened at Babel. Since Isaiah 66 prophesies this reclamation, critical scholars often associate the theology of Isaiah 66 to be evidence of the movement of biblical thinking from polytheism to monotheism (one God over all nations). As noted in the book and elsewhere on this site, I reject the idea that orthodox biblical religion evolved out of polytheism.


Bibliography included in the book

E. J. Mabie, “Chaos,” Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (ed. Longman III, Tremper, and Peter Enns; InterVarsity Press, 2008)


Patrick D. Miller, “Fire in the Mythology of Canaan and Israel,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 27 (1965): 256-261


Ronald Hendel, “‘The Flame of the Whirling Sword’: A Note on Genesis 3:24,” Journal of Biblical Literature (1985): 671-674


Philippe Provençal, “Regarding the Noun saraph in the Hebrew Bible,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 29:3 (2005): 371-379


C. K. Barrett, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles; The Acts of the Apostles (2 vol.; T&T Clark International, 2004)


Michael S. Heiser, “Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God,” Bibliotheca Sacra 158 (Jan-March, 2001): 52-74


Harry W. Tajra, The Martyrdom of St. Paul: Historical and Judicial Context, Traditions, and Legends, vol. 3 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1994)


Otto F. A. Meinardus, “Paul’s Missionary Journey to Spain: Tradition and Folklore,” The Biblical Archaeologist (1978): 61-63


Shalom M. Paul, Isaiah 40–66: Translation and Commentary (Eerdmans Critical Commentary; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012)


Additional Bibliography


Roger D. Aus, “Paul’s Travel Plans to Spain and the ‘Full Number of the Gentiles’ of Rom. XI 25,” Novum Testamentum (1979): 232-262


Rikki E. Watts, “Echoes from the Past: Israel’s Ancient Traditions and the Destiny of the Nations in Isaiah 40-55,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 28, no. 4 (2004): 481-508


Joel Kaminsky and Anne Stewart, “God of All the World: Universalism and Developing Monotheism in Isaiah 40–66,” Harvard Theological Review 99, no. 02 (2006): 139-163


Christopher R. Bruno, ‘God is One’: The Function of ‘Eis Ho Theos’ as a Ground for Gentile Inclusion in Paul’s Letters (T & T Clark / Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014)




This chapter discusses the references to Spain in Rom 15:24, 28 and connects them to Tarshish (Gen 10:4), the western-most point in the world known to the biblical writers reflected in the Table of Nations (= Tartessos in Spain). This thesis, tied as it is to the core purposes of Paul’s missionary outlook and purpose, is an old one (see Last below). Other scholars argue that Tarshish cannot be identified with Spain, most recently:


A. Andrew Das, “Paul of Tarshish: Isaiah 66:19 and the Spanish Mission of Romans 15:24, 28,” New Testament Studies 54:1 (2008): 60-73.


Das’s main objection is that Tarshish in Genesis 10 is part of the genealogy of Japheth, connected to Greece and the Aegean. Spain is too far west. This view is also that of Wenham in his WBC Genesis commentary. This is not a coherent objection, especially given the Babylonian context of Gen 1-11. As I noted in Unseen Realm in passing, the clear Mesopotamian context of a panoply of items in Genesis 1-11 provides explanatory power to the idea that Gen 1-11 was written or edited during the Babylonian exile (note that Wenham embraces the lateness of this material — “P” — but doesn’t apply that to the matter of Tarshish, as Day does in the image below). If this is the case (and it seems quite likely given what else dives deeply into Mesopotamian literature in Gen 1-11), then note Day’s response to the “Tarshish must be in the Aegean” claim. It doesn’t, and wasn’t. Tarshish is under Japheth because at the time of the composition of Genesis 10, Tarshish (= Tartessos in Spain) was under Greek control).



Source: John Day, From Creation to Babel: Studies in Genesis 1-11 ( Bloomsbury T&T Clark , 2015)


For a very good survey of the debate about Paul’s mission, see:


Richard Last, “What Purpose Did Paul Understand His Mission To Serve?” Harvard Theological Review 104, no. 03 (2011): 299-324.