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.
Cattle were primarily a measure or symbol of wealth in biblical times. They were both familiar and significant, good characteristics for symbolic use. Among his livestock, the wealthy Job had a thousand oxen (Job 1:3). Cattle not only provided meat, milk, leather, and other by-products, they were the main animal workforce in ancient agricultural societies. Oxen (castrated bulls) pulled plows as well as wagons. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (BULL/CALF)→
Israel’s greatest problem throughout its history was syncretism-the mixing of pagan religion with worship of the true God. God judged Israel severely for failing to keep worship clean and pure. And one of the easiest inroads to Israel’s heart was through intermarriage with pagan people’s Ezra knew this well, thus his vehement and emotional opposition to taking foreign spouses. Continue reading WHY WAS EZRA SO UPSET ABOUT MIXED MARRIAGES?→
Jael is the Bible character who sparks one-liners about “splitting headaches.” She’s the woman who jokesters like to refer to as “as expert at helping men ‘get things through their thick skulls!” But we are getting ahead of ourselves. A bit of context in needed.
Following the Israelites’ crossing of the Jordan River, Israel’s campaign to conquer and settle the promised land got off to a spectacular start. But over time, for multiple reasons, the effort sputtered and lost stem. Taking over a country is trying, not to mention tiring.
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→
When God chooses to do anything, His choice involves saying yes to something and no to something else. Here, the choice seems arbitrary to our thinking. It could as well have been firstborn females, or last born, as far as we can jusdge.
The Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego runs parallel to that Daniel. Like the prophet of lions’ den fame, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were Jewish captives living in Babylon. Like Daniel, they earned positions as wise and trustworthy advisers of the king of Babylon. And like him, they inspired envy and enmity among their Babylonian counterparts in the king’s government. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO: INTO THE FIRE)→
HEBREWS 11:31- “By faith the prostitute received the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed.”
There’s no nice way to say it. Rahab was a harlot-in modern parlance, a hooker. At her home atop the wall that surrounded the bustling, ancient city of Jericho, Rahab took in strange men and gave out sexual favors.
Molech was the chief god of the Ammonites (1 Kings 11:33), whom worshipers honored by sacrificing their own children (2 Kings 16:3; 21:6; Jeremiah 32:35). Jewish law (Leviticus 18:21; 20:1-5) and the prophets strictly forbade these kinds of heinous rituals. Zephaniah apparently regarded Molech worship as one of the most detestable form of Semitic idolatry (see Jeremiah 7:29-34; Ezekiel 16:20-22; 23:37-39; Amos 5:26). Continue reading WHO WAS MOLECH?→