Jeremiah compared the wailing of the people of Judah over God’s punishment to laments at a funeral. The Jewish people were known for the loud and bitter mourning over the death of loved one (read 2 Sam 19:4). Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (MOURNING FOR PAY)
Garments are used as biblical symbols in almost as many ways as there are styles of clothing. Clothes are used as expression of socioeconomics status, spiritual well-being, and emotional state. They can protect, conceal, or display an inner reality of the wearer. They can last for a long time or wear out quickly (Neh 9:21; Matt 6:19). They can consist of leaves (Gen 3:7), animal skin (Gen 3:21; Matt 3:4), rags (Isa 64:6), pure white linen (Dan 7:9; Rev 19:14), or anything in between. They can be literal or figurative. Yet despite al this variety, the use of clothing as a symbol falls into a few set patterns that yield a wealth of insight. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CLOTHING)
The physical act of circumcision was a sign of the covenant between of God and Israel in which he had chosen them and promised to be their God for all generations (Gen 17:10-11; Acts 7:8). In this act, the foreskin of a male child’s penis was removed (Lev 12:3). More rarely, circumcision was performed on adults. When God made his covenant promises to Abraham, he insisted that they be sealed with the physical reminder that the Israelites were a people set apart. Those who failed to comply with this condition were excluded from covenant community (Gen 17:14; Exod 12:48). Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CIRCUMSCISION)
Objects of unknown shape and material used to determine the divine will. Often in the ancient Near East people, especially priests, made difficult and significant decisions by casting lots on the ground or drawing them from a receptacle. Several times Scripture mentions the practice. We do not know exactly what the lots look like. Nor do we know how they were interpreted. We do know that people of the OT and NT believe God (or gods in the case of non-Israelites or non-Christians) influenced the fall or outcome of the lots (Prov 16:33). Thus, casting lots was a way of determining God’s will. Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (LOTS)
John assassinated King Ahab and assumed the kingship of Israel. Then he had all of Ahab’s sons killed to eliminate all claimants to the throne. These sons were beheaded, and their heads were piled in a heap outside the entrance to the city of Jezreel. King Ahab’s palace was located at Jezreel. This was probably Jehu’s way of sending a message that anyone who remained loyal to Ahab and opposed Jehu’s accession to the throne would suffer the same fate. Continue reading EXECUTION BY DECAPITATION
There are a number of cautionary tales in the Bible, but few are as seamy and sad as this one.
Looking down on the city of Jerusalem form the atop his royal palace one fine spring evening, Israel’s King David spotted a fine young woman. She wasn’t merely attractive; she was “very beautiful.” And, of all the things she might have been doing, she was bathing. Continue reading WOMAN OF THE DAY (BATHSHEBA: THE VERY BEAUTIFUL WOMAN WITH THE VERY TRAGIC LIFE)
Cruel and degrading punishment sometimes inflicted on conquered peoples in biblical times. The Philistines put out Samson’s eye’s (Judg 16:21). Nahash offered to make peace with the people of Gilead on the condition that he put out the right eye of every man in the city and thus bring disgrace upon all Israel (1 Sam 11:2). After executing King Zedekiah’s sons in his sight, the Babylonians put out his eyes (2 Kings 25:7). Scripture records such events as cruelty, not as examples to follow. Continue reading DEFINTION OF THE DAY (GOUGING THE EYES)
Cherubim is plural for the Hebrews word cherub, or angel, In the Old Testament, cherubim were heavenly beings who served God. In the Garden of Eden, angels guarded the tree of life (Gen 3:24). Two cherubim made of gold decorated the top of the ark of the covenant, symbolizing a covering of atonement (Exod 25:18-22). Given that God cannot Continue reading WHAT ARE CHERUBIM?
HEBREW – A descendant of Eber. It differentiates early Israelites from foreigners. After David founded the monarchy the term. “Hebrew” seems to disappear from the Hebrew language. The designation apparently begins with Abraham (Gen, 14:13), showing that he belonged to an ethnic group distinct from the Amorites. It distinguished Joseph from the Egyptians and slaves of other ethnic identity (Gen, 39:14,17; 41:12; 43:32). Abraham’s land had become the land of the Hebrews (Gen 40:15), and his God, the God of the Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (HEBREW)
The “vinegar” that Boaz offered Ruth was probably a drink similar to wine that had been fermented longer than usual until it developed a sour taste. This is the same type of drink that was offered to Jesus on the cross (Matthew 27:34, 48). Continue reading SOUR WINE AND ROASTED GRAIN