Tag Archives: bible customs and curiosities

FISHING, EGYPTIAN STYLE

19a3846f762e0d7cd0f52534eb973404      This verse is part of Isaiah’s prophecy of doom against Egypt. God’s punishment would be so devastating that it would spoil the Egyptian fishing industry. Fish taken from the Nile River and it’s tributaries were a staple of this ancient nation’s diet. Continue reading FISHING, EGYPTIAN STYLE

THE JEWISH CLOCK

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To the Jews of New Testament times, sundown marked the end of an old day and the beginning of a new day. The twenty-four-hour period between each sundown was divided into twelve hours of night–beginning about 6:00 p.m.-and twelve hours of daylight-beginning with dawn at about 6:00 a.m. Continue reading THE JEWISH CLOCK

GOD KNOWS OUR TEARS

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David may have been referring in this psalm to an ancient custom observed by mourners at funerals. They would collect the tears they shed for departed loved ones in small flasks and place them in their tombs as memorials of their love. The New International Version renders this phrase as “list my tears on your scroll.” But in a marginal note, it cites “put my tears in you wineskin” as a possible reading. Continue reading GOD KNOWS OUR TEARS

ALL THE GODS OF EGYPT

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To be superior to “all the gods of Egypt” was quite a claim, since the Egyptians are known to have worshiped more than thirty pagan deities. These included the bull god Apis, who ensured fertility; Hathor, the goddess of love; and Thoth, the god of wisdom and books. Continue reading ALL THE GODS OF EGYPT

EGYPTIAN MAGICIANS

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Pharaoh dreamed that seven skinny cows gobbled up seven fat cows along the Nile River. Many people in Bible times believed that dreams carried hidden messages, so he called on the magicians of the land to tell him the meaning of his dream. Continue reading EGYPTIAN MAGICIANS

A SQUANDERED INHERITANCE

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This verse is part of Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). An estate was normally divided by a father among his sons at his death. But the father in this parable did so while he was still alive. Continue reading A SQUANDERED INHERITANCE

DINING WITH A PHARISEE

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Jesus’ clash with the Pharisees throughout the Gospels may lead us to believe that all Pharisees were bad or that Jesus condemned them all. But this verse shows us otherwise. Continue reading DINING WITH A PHARISEE

THE POWER OF LEAVEN

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In the process of baking bread, leaven or yeast was added to the dough to cause it to rise. Thus, Jesus was saying that the kingdom of God had a power out of proportion to its size that caused it to permeate and influence all of society. Continue reading THE POWER OF LEAVEN

READING IN A SYNAGOGUE

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This synagogue in which Jesus read the Old Testament scriptures was in Nazareth, his hometown in the province of Galilee, Synagogues were built in towns and cities throughout Palestine. Their purpose was not to replace the temple in Jerusalem that served as the central place of worship and sacrifice for all Israel. Synagogues existed to reach the law to local people. Continue reading READING IN A SYNAGOGUE

MAKING DECISIONS BY LOT

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This verse refers to the ancient custom of casting lots to settle disputes or make important decisions (read Josh 1:7). We might compare the practice to flipping a coin or drawing straws in modern times. Continue reading MAKING DECISIONS BY LOT