In the ancient Middle East, the originator of a custom was frequently referred to as the “father” of that custom. Thus, Jubal was called” the father of all such as handle the harp and organ” because he invented those instruments.
When warfare took place it was normally at a time when food was available to live off the land and when weather conditions made war feasible (2 Samuel 11:1). So far as the Jewish army was concerned, the central “administration” unit (Numbers 2:17) was surrounded by four divisions (Numbers 2) and was preceded by an advance guard.
An annual tax, required of every Jewish male, was designated for maintenance and support of the temple in Jerusalem. Perhaps the temple officials who collected this tax approached Peter about paying it because Jesus and His disciples were hard to pin down. Their teaching and healing ministry kept them moving from place to place.
Roads of Bible times were little more than paths, rough and crude by modern standards. When a king traveled, his servants would go ahead of him, removing stones, filling in low places, and straightening curves so the king’s journey would be more pleasant.
The words astrologers, stargazers, and monthly prognosticators refers to people who studied the stars and the movement of the moon in order to foretell the future. This practice was especially popular among the ancient Babylonians.
In an age without television or other leisure-time pursuits, the people of Bible times often used riddles as a form of entertainment. Like Samson, they would pose a puzzling or mystifying question or problem and see who could figure it out.
In Paul’s time, slaves were branded with distinctive marks to show that they belonged to their masters, much as cattle are branded in modern times (Psa 40:6). Paul declared that his body bore marks from the persecution he had endured in Christ’s service. These showed the he belonged to the Lord Jesus.
Most of these religions were polytheistic, which means that they acknowledged many gods and demons. Once admitted to the pantheon (a culture’s collection of deities), a god could not be eliminated from it.
The Day of Atonement was an animal ceremony in which sacrifices were offered to atone for the sins of Israel. Marked by humiliation and fasting, it recognized the people’s inability to make atonement for their sins. This required God’s intervention and that of His representative-the high priest of the nation.