Tag Archives: everyday life in bible times

EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TAX COLLECTOR PT1)

During the Roman era, tax collectors and the manner in which taxes were collected evolved and varied from one region to the next. Here we offer a general picture of the process that will allow us to appreciate the role tax collectors played in the Gospels. Taxes were paid to both the temple and the state, each of which established its own tax code without consideration of the other. First-century Jews paid a religious tithe of their produce, herd, and flock (Lev 27:30-32); they were also required to pay the half-shekel or two-drachma tax for sanctuary upkeep (Exod 30:13; Matt 17:24). The state demanded taxes that included a poll tax levied on males fourteen to sixty-five years of age and females twelve to sixty-five, real estate tax, customs tax collected at road and harbor stations, a tax on produce that amounted to 10 percent on grain and 20 percent on wine, fruit, and oil, a 1 percent income tax, and sales and inheritance taxes.

Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TAX COLLECTOR PT1)

EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (WEAVE PT2)

Weaving was a very creative process that allowed the weavers to express themselves in a variety of ways. In extreme cases, alteration in thread colors and interlacing technique could produce cloth that was intricately designed and had a unique texture. The only limitation on this creative process for the Israelites was the requirement that they not mix different types of thread when making clothing (Lev 19:19; Deut 22:11). Cloth was also woven to play a role in the worship life of God’s Old Testament people. During their early years, the worship facility they used had to be light and portable because they were traveling so often.

Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (WEAVE PT2)

EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBILE TIMES (WEAVE PT1)

The typical family of Bible times had its own looms and some family members who were skilled at the art of weaving (Prov 31:13). At its most fundamental level, weaving involved the interlocking of threads at right angles to one another in order to create a piece of cloth that could function as a garment, tent curtain, or even carrying sack. The threads were derived from wool, flax, or goat hair that could be left in their original, subtle tone or be dyed radiant colors.

Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBILE TIMES (WEAVE PT1)

EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (SACRED STONES PT4)

The evaluation at times took a decidedly negative tone. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, was the first to have his reign characterized in a more negative way due to the first that Judah “step up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree” (1 Kings 14:23). This was clearly a case of hyperbole; nevertheless a land that appeared full of what God had forbidden characterized Rehoboam’s rule as less than it needed to be.

Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (SACRED STONES PT4)

EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (SACRED STONE “TO SET UP OR TO DESTORY” PT3)

As the Israelites met and engaged the people who occupied the Promise Land before them, they might have been tempted to adopt the sacred-stone concept. To be sure, the Lord did allow a certain amount of parity between pagan worship and Israelite worship, such as the use of sacrifice, temple, and priesthood; but the line was drawn at employing sacred stone. “Do not make idols or set us an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God” (Lev 26:1; see Deut 16:22). But what about the sacred stones that had already been built by the previous occupants of the Promised Land?

Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (SACRED STONE “TO SET UP OR TO DESTORY” PT3)

EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (SACRED STONE “TO SET UP OR TO DESTROY” PT2)

Most often, however, it appears that a masseba was set up as a sacred stone. In this case, the unnaturally placed stone or series of stones provided worshipers with a physical location at which to meet their deity. To this day, surviving sacred stones break the natural contours of the landscape, inviting us to come in for a closer look.

Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (SACRED STONE “TO SET UP OR TO DESTROY” PT2)

EVERYDAY LIFE IN THE BIBLE TIMES (SACRED STONE “TO SET UP OR TO DESTORY” PT1)

When contemporary hikers traveling the backcountry encounter places where the well-worn path gives way to solid rock, they often find cairns to guide their footsteps on an otherwise invisible path. Cairns are made from natural stones that have been stacked on top of one another in an unnatural way to catch the hiker’s eye. The ancient world had something similar, but it had nothing to do with hiking.

Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN THE BIBLE TIMES (SACRED STONE “TO SET UP OR TO DESTORY” PT1)

EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (ORPHAN “FARTHERLESS” PT3)

As the biblical authors address the ethics of political leaders and believers in general, they state that it is the treatment of the most disadvantaged members of society-the orphans-that is to distinguish them as God’s people. The Lord paved the way of this moral high road by identifying himself as the one who is the provider of food and clothing for the fatherless (Deut 10:18). He is the helper, defender, and father of the orphan (Psa 10:14, 18; 68:5; 146:9).

Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (ORPHAN “FARTHERLESS” PT3)

EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBILE TIMES (ORPHAN “FATHERLESS” PT2)

Given that reality, the LORD addressed the plight of orphans in the laws given to the Israelites. God’s people were to set aside a tent of their field produce and animals born in their herds as a gift given at the sanctuary. Every third year, however, this tithe was to remain in storage at the local level so the disadvantaged of society, including orphans, would have access to it (Deut 14:22-29; 26:12-13). In addition, Israelites were to refrain from gathering a portion of their grain, olive, and grape harvest so that orphans and other disadvantaged people could gather food from land they did not own (Deut 24:19-21).

Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBILE TIMES (ORPHAN “FATHERLESS” PT2)

EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIME (ORPHAN PT1)

In the Bible an orphan was a boy or girl, Israelite or non-Israelite, who was unmarried and had lost one or both parents. The circumstances of such children are best understood when compared to the perceived ideal family living situation in Israel. The ideal was a father, mother, and their sons and daughters who owned farmland inherited from the father’s family. The land allowed them to grow their food and graze their animals with the support of and under the protection of the extended family.

Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIME (ORPHAN PT1)