Divine oaths that bind

“You will certainly die” (Gen. 2;17) gets attention as does “I will certainly bless you” (22:17) spoken to the man and Abram respectively. These are recognized as oaths. These oaths are functional and persistent. Oaths also appear as intensified sayings like the following.

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Genesis 3:16

“Greatly multiply” expresses certainty not intensity. Dying you will die is precisely the same form as multiplying I will multiply or blessing I will bless.

Yahweh pinned his sovereignty to civic duty too, not only all-inclusive matters such as female sorrow and blessing Abram. We cannot reasonably pass on the other side or pretend we do not see our neighbour’s property at risk.

If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.

Exodus 23:4