There is a powerful and potent narrative against hope in this text, and that is almost completely missed in modern interpretations of Christianity and of the Torah.
It is interesting to note that the first time that the word agape is used in the bible is in the septuagint where God commands Abraham to take his beloved (αγαπητόν) son to the mountain top and to kill him. This is the very first time the word agape is used in the text that the first century authors carried with them and the christ story can be understood as cyclic history mapping Abraham to God and Isaac to Christ. You might even say that Isaac's "resurrection" took place on the third day of their journey (Gen 22:4). Our NT authors would not have been ignorant of this anchoring passage.
This came right after the following:
- Abraham had been promised an heir and was only given the child after he and Sarah had given up hope. Sarah is as surprised as anyone that she conceived. They had been trying for so long, and she just names her Son "laughter" because of the absurdity of it.
Genesis 22:7, And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
- Once Isaac is weened, Abraham and Sarah start making their plans and acting on their hopes for their future. They kick Ishmael and Hagar out and make alliances with Abimelech to start creating plans for their hoped for future and to set the stage for Isaac.
They had hoped for offspring and tried to make it happen on their own with Hagar and Abraham. They had lost hope and were only then given a son. They tried to make plans in their hope for the future by casting out Ishmael and creating alliances to secure land and power for Isaac. They started hoping for a certain, specific, outcome.
God then told Abraham to kill his son (his hopes for the future). Abraham raised the knife and then started to lower it, truly having let go of his hopes. God stopped him because he finally got it. Don't grasp these things with your plans and your hopes.
I think this is echoed in 1 Corinthians 13's exegesis of agape to "hope all things."
Know that the original authors of the new testament all had access to the septuagint and quoted from it frequently. Many authors likely didn't know how to read the Hebrew scriptures if they could access them. They would all be well aware of where their commandment to love showed its first example in scripture, and what that has to say about hope.
I think hope is the opposite of peace and joy. Hope is a feeling of incompleteness and a measure of the goodness of the future or the badness of the present (the fruit of the knowledge of good and bad from Eden). Hope pulls us out of the present moment.
They wouldn't be the only ones to get this either. While this is an ancient message in the Torah, the more modern Buddhists and Hindus also figured this out. The term "nirvana" means "to despair". It means to give up the breath (see John 19:30, "[Christ] yielded his breath/spirit."). The noun despair means to de-spirit (to yield up the spirit).
To be at peace (Shalom) also means to be complete. When one is complete, there is no hope. Hope is a feature of a perceived lack. Lacking is a value judgment of good or bad. It is a subjective feeling, not an objective one. Psalm 23 says "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want..." It doesn't mean, "I shall not want because the lord gives me all the stuff I want." No, it means something way different. It means that we hold out our hands, give up hope, and let the rod and the staff of God guide us like a shepherd uses them to drive the sheep against their own will, in a different direction. The sheep hopes to wander that way... the shepherd grabs him with the crook and yanks him back in line. The hope of the sheep required a correction.
In John 19:30 we have, "When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
The Aramaic he likely spoke was "salam" which means "it is complete, whole, at peace." Then he literally despaired.
I know that sounds nuts, but that is what he died for. When he says "it is complete," he meant it. There was nothing left for Christ. He became peace and entered the city of peace (city of shalom - jeruSALEM). He then handed that breath to us, his disciples, so that we could realize this too. Paradise is not a place where we feel incomplete and all of our hopes are continually sated, but where hope is gone and we actually realize our completeness and despair.
I know happy buddy Christ Jesus is out there telling you to hope hope hope so that the world can give you the next thing to consume, but I suggest thinking twice about what it means to hope all things when you read the command to love as christ loved. Hope is what keeps us from the city of peace and from the presence of God.
And the crazy paradox is that all that is not something we can achieve by hoping for it... We can't eliminate hope by thinking that it is a good thing to do and hoping for it. We are helpless in this. Only God can save (which is the meaning of Jesus' name - Joshua).
Hope that clarifies what I was thinking with this question.
The hermeneutic of despair is powerful.