To pursue game for food or pleasure. Hunting was an important supplementary food source, especially in the seminomadic stage of civilization. Genesis mentions several hunters by name, none of whom are Israelite ancestors (Nimrod, 10:9; Ishmael 21:20; Esau, 25:27), perhaps suggesting that hunting was more characteristic of Israel’s neighbors than of Israel. Hunting was, however, regulated by Mosaic law. The blood of captured game was to be poured out on the ground (Lev 17:13). Deuteronomy 14:3-5 outlines what game was permitted as ritually clean food.
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).
The number four and groups of four connect with our sense of place in the horizontal world. Everything around us is in one of four directions: east, west, north, or south. In the worldview of the Old Testament, complete descriptions were often developed in sets of four. When the tax collector Zacchaeus expressed his practical faith in Jesus, he included a promise to “pay four times as much as I owe to those I have cheated in any way” (Luke 19:8). Jesus accepted that commitment as a sign of genuine repentance, symbolic of completeness. And there are four Gospels, a complete picture of the life of Christ.
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.
Because there were always some who suffered more quickly and more deeply from the onset of famine, it also tested the willingness of God’s people to show charity to those who were less fortunate. Believers living at the time of both Nehemiah and Paul responded