Tag Archives: everyday life in bible times

SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CIRCUMCISE PT 1)

Male circumcision requires the amputation of the foreskin in order to expose the glans of the penis. The Bible mentions that this procedure was common not only among the Israelites but also in Egypt, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and among “all who live in the wilderness” (Jer 9:25-26); conspicuous by its absence is any mention within Mesopotamian cultures. Consequently, when the Lord spoke with Abraham about circumcision (Gen 17:1-14), any familiarity he had with the procedure probably was gleaned during his Egyptian stay rather than from his experience in his former homeland.

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TRAP/SNARE PT 3 OF 3)

Times of misfortune are also likened to the unexpected and inescapable nature of a trap: “Makeover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them” (Eccles 9:12). These harsh times could be the product of their own making, as in the case of the exile of God’s people from the Promised Land that entrapped them (Isa 42:22; Lam 4:20; Ezek 19:8).

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TRAP/SNARE PT 2 OF 3)

All these trapping mechanisms are mentioned by the biblical authors in figures of speech. Because these devices are often referenced with the same Hebrew or Greek term, we look to the larger context, which may be helpful in determining exactly which type of trapping device is

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (HAND “TO RAISE OR STRETCH OUT” PT 3 OF 3)

In the Bible God is pictured in this pose when he is ready to strike those who rebel against him or to fight in defense of the helpless (Psa 10:12; 118:13-16; Isa 5:25; 10:4; 19:16).

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TRAP/SNARE PT 1 OF 3)

Ancient hunters used four different trapping devices to catch game animals and birds: the pit trap, the snare, the entangling net, and the fowler’s net. In the case of the pit trap, the hunters dug a hole on a game trail that was big enough to hold the animals and deep enough to prevent its escape once it had fallen in. A net was stretched over the top of the pit and disguised so that it looked like solid ground. When an animal stepped on the net, the apparently solid ground collapsed, tripping the animal (Psa 35:7; Jer 18:22). The snare was also set along a game trail. It consisted of a cord with a loop on one end that could tighten around an animal’s foot. The

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TEAR A GARMENT PT 1 OF 2)

If we tear our clothing, it is generally by accident unless we are tearing up an old garment for rags. This was not true in the culture of Bible times where the tearing of one’s garment was an external sign of one’s internal pain. The average person of the era did not have multiple changes of clothing like we do in our closets and dressers; consequently, they took great care to prevent accident tearing of their clothing (Exod 28:32; Matt 9:16; Mark 2:21). But there was “a time to tear and a time to mend” (Eccles 3:7); the time to intentionally tear was a time of intense grief that might have included repentance.

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (SLAVE “TO BECOME OR TO BE FREED” PT 1 OF 2)

We may expect that the idea of one person owning another would be strongly censured in the Bible. What we find instead is a general acknowledgment of the existence of slavery, the use of slavery as a metaphor, and a theological trajectory that moved society in the direction of abolition without formally demanding it.

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EVERYDAYL LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (FAST)

Giving the powerful role that fasting might play in developing this perspective, the biblical authors are roundly critical of those who abuse it. Typically, the presentation of fasting is surrounded by positive connotations, as when Luke mentions the widow Anna, who spent her days at the temple praying and fasting (Luke 2:36-37). But those who presumed that the mere act of fasting was sufficient in and of itself as leverage with which to force the Almighty into

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EVERDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (FAST 2 OF 3)

People also fasted in advance of special experiences or in connection with prayerful inquiry. Moses fasted prior to receiving the tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments on the two separate occasions they were given (Exod 34:28; Deut 9:9). Immediately after his baptism, Jesus retreated into the wilderness where he too fasted as he initiated his public ministry (Matt 4:1-2). Fasting also accompanied special inquiry of the Lord, whether interceding on behalf of a

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (FAST PT 1 OF 3)

Today intentional abstention from food and drink for a given period of time is more likely associated with preparation for a medical test or in conjunction with a weight-loss plan than with spiritual development. But in the Bible, the physical act of fasting was employed in order to enrich an awareness of mortal vulnerability and to sharpen awareness of the Lord’s ability to provide.

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