Matthew Patton, Ph.D. 2014
Recipient of the Clarence and Ruth Sallberg Fellowship
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Old Testament
Mid-America Reformed Seminary, Dyer, IN
My dissertation, Hope for a Tender Sprig: Jehoiachin in Biblical Theology, investigates the role that the second-to-last king of Judah plays in the canon as a whole. Although Jehoiachin only reigned three months, his rehabilitation was a decisive turning point during the exile (2 Kings 25:27–30), and the prophets repeatedly reflect on his significance for the line of David as a whole (Jer 22:24–30; Ezek 17:1–24). Based on a close reading of these texts, I concluded that Jehoiachin became a focus for the future hope of David's line precisely because he had undergone the humiliating experience of exile. In both Jeremiah's and Ezekiel's theology, there is no path to restoration without first passing through judgment. In this way, Jehoiachin acts as a type (or foreshadowing) of Jesus Christ, the king who first needed to undergo the curses of the covenant before being raised to glory.
The community in the doctoral program at Wheaton College exemplifies not only rigorous Christian scholarship but also loving Christian community. My advisor, Daniel I. Block, cared for me both through his insightful counsel and also through his concern for me as a person. The program was well designed to give us both breadth of exposure to our discipline and the ability to focus immediately on our dissertation topics. I particularly benefited from the privilege to rub shoulders with students and faculty from a wide variety of evangelical backgrounds, which helped expand my perspective on what God is doing in the church throughout the world.