There is a telling passage in Esther (Greek) 16.12-15a which will shed light on our study. In the second letter from Artaxerxes we find in the Additions to Esther, the king writes:
But, unable to restrain his [i.e., Haman’s] arrogance, he undertook to deprive us [i.e., the Persians] of our kingdom and our life, and with intricate craft and deceit asked for the destruction of Mordecai, our savior and perpetual benefactor, and of Esther, the blameless partner of our kingdom, together with their whole nation. He thought that by these methods he would catch us undefended and would transfer the kingdom of the Persians to the Macedonians. But we find that the Jews, who were consigned to annihilation by this thrice-accursed man, are not evildoers, but are governed by most righteous laws.
The king, in an effort to undermine the malignant works of Haman, sends this letter abroad to prevent the execution of the Jews in
In Wisdom 10.5 the following is found concerning Abraham: "Wisdom also...recognized the righteous man and presented him blameless before God." This passage resonates with Genesis 17.1 in the LXX where ἄμεμπτος (amemptos) is also associated with Abraham. The connection in Wisdom 10.5 with righteousness leads me to think that this notion of blamelessness had morality in view, not sinlessness but certainly living appropriately "before God." However, it is hard to miss the sacrificial tone of this passage: "presented him...before God." Importantly though, blamelessness is a character trait possessed by Abraham here.
There are two more interesting passages that use ἄμεμπτος (amemptos) that are of special interest. In Esther (Greek) 13:4, the intentions of Artaxerxes and his court to unify the kingdom are considered blameless or honorable ("the unifying of the kingdom that we honorably intend cannot be brought about") and in
When Phil 3.6 is viewed in light of this evidence, Paul seems to be saying that he too possessed this characteristic of blamelessness before his encounter with Christ. That this characteristic has something to do with morality with regard to the Law seems evident, especially in light of his usage in close relation to righteousness, as in Widsom 10.5. It appears that ἄμεμπτος (amemptos) had this meaning in the LXX (where Job and Abram possessed this same characteristic) and the Apocrypha as well. However, we cannot jump onto this bandwagon fully yet because we have not examined all the extant evidence.
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