Hairy, demonic figure with the appearance of a goat, translating a Hebrew term otherwise translated “hairy” or “male goat.” Bible students differ in interpreting passages as to whether a demonic figure or a normal animals is meant. Israelites apparently sacrificed to such desert-dwelling demons, since they had to have a law forbidding such sacrifice (Lev 17:7). Some have even interpreted the scapegoat rites (Lev 16:20-22) as sending Israel’s sin back to their author, a desert demon with a different name from that Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (SADITE)
The physical act of circumcision was a sign of the covenant between of God and Israel in which he had chosen them and promised to be their God for all generations (Gen 17:10-11; Acts 7:8). In this act, the foreskin of a male child’s penis was removed (Lev 12:3). More rarely, circumcision was performed on adults. When God made his covenant promises to Abraham, he insisted that they be sealed with the physical reminder that the Israelites were a people set apart. Those who failed to comply with this condition were excluded from covenant community (Gen 17:14; Exod 12:48). Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CIRCUMSCISION)
Elevate site, usually found on the top of a mountain or hill; most high places were Canaanite places of pagan worship.
HEATHEN WORSHIP AT THE HIGH PLACE: The average high place would have an altar (2 Kings 21:3; 2 Chron 14:3), a carved wooden pole that depicted the female goddess of fertility (Asherah), a stone pillar symbolizing the male deity (2 Kings 3:2), other idols (2 Kings 12:31; 13:32; 16:32-33). At these places of worship the people sacrificed animals (at some high places children were sacrificed according to Jer 7:31), burned incense to their gods, prayed, ate sacrificial meals, and were involved with male or female cultic Continue reading DEFINITON OF THE DAY (HIGH PLACE)
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)
John assassinated King Ahab and assumed the kingship of Israel. Then he had all of Ahab’s sons killed to eliminate all claimants to the throne. These sons were beheaded, and their heads were piled in a heap outside the entrance to the city of Jezreel. King Ahab’s palace was located at Jezreel. This was probably Jehu’s way of sending a message that anyone who remained loyal to Ahab and opposed Jehu’s accession to the throne would suffer the same fate. Continue reading EXECUTION BY DECAPITATION
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?
There are a number of cautionary tales in the Bible, but few are as seamy and sad as this one.
Looking down on the city of Jerusalem form the atop his royal palace one fine spring evening, Israel’s King David spotted a fine young woman. She wasn’t merely attractive; she was “very beautiful.” And, of all the things she might have been doing, she was bathing. Continue reading WOMAN OF THE DAY (BATHSHEBA: THE VERY BEAUTIFUL WOMAN WITH THE VERY TRAGIC LIFE)
Cruel and degrading punishment sometimes inflicted on conquered peoples in biblical times. The Philistines put out Samson’s eye’s (Judg 16:21). Nahash offered to make peace with the people of Gilead on the condition that he put out the right eye of every man in the city and thus bring disgrace upon all Israel (1 Sam 11:2). After executing King Zedekiah’s sons in his sight, the Babylonians put out his eyes (2 Kings 25:7). Scripture records such events as cruelty, not as examples to follow. Continue reading DEFINTION OF THE DAY (GOUGING THE EYES)
Ehud killed the king of Moab, Eglon, by plunging a sword into his stomach. However Eglon’s death was a result of God’s punishment for oppressing the people of Israel for eighteen years. It is not a question of murder serving God’s will. Rather, God used Ehud Continue reading HOW DOES MURDER SERVE GOD’S WILL AND WIN GOD’S APPROVAL?
The Bible provides examples of both effective and ineffective financial planning in the face of economic adversity. Examples of good financial planning include Joseph’s preparation for famine in Egypt (Gen 41:34-36), the servants who wisely invested their master’s money (Luke 19:13-19), and the Corinthian believers who laid aside money to help others (1 Cor 16:1-2; cp 2 Cor 9:1-5). Proverbs 27:23-27 counsels a shepherd to know well the condition of his flocks so that they will provide for him in the future, Diversification of investments is advised in Eccles 11:2. Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (FINANCIAL PLANNING)