Doors allow access to or prevent us from entering a room or home. Gates are usually more imposing and important. They guard the access to large spaces: cities, estates, and the way to eternal life. In Bible times, most cities of any size were surrounded by walls, so gates were a constant feature in people’s’ lives. No wonder, then, that the role of gates became symbolic of other values and ideas. Continue reading BIBLE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (GATE)
Flocks of goats were part of everyday life throughout Bible times. Hardier than sheep, goats provided milk, cheese, water skins, meat, and hair from which rough fabric was made for tents and other durable items. When God gave Moses the detailed instructions for creating the tabernacle that would be God’s tent in the wilderness, he specified an outer layer of goat hair that protected the fine linen covering the inner space called the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence would be evident (Exod 2:6). The goat was
Working in clay is one of the ancient professions. Long before paper, damp clay served as a surface to receive the marks that represented early writing called cuneiform. And people discovered that baked clay contained water and could be used for cooking more efficiently than tightest woven baskets. When one of our brilliant ancestors discovered the potter’s wheel, the age of clay had arrived. Eventually, clay pots became widely used
Trumpets in Bible times were made of metal or bone and formed into an instrument at least two feet long. They had a high sound that could be regulated to some degree, but they were used more for signaling than for making music. Rams’ horns, also called shofar, were signaling instruments used to assemble the army (Judg 3:27; 1Sam 13:3) or sound an alarm (Job 39:24-25; Jer 6:1; Amos 3:6). They are the most commonly mentioned instrument in the Bible, with seventy-two references.
Most people in Bible times go up early, before the sun was up, so that they could make the most of the hours of daylight and allows for the extreme heat at midday in the summer. Abraham got up early to obey God’s command to sacrifice (Genesis 22:3); Moses got up early in the morning to meet God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:4); Job offered worship early in the morning (Job 1:5); Jesus prayed before sunrise (Mark 1:35).
Camels were a common sight throughout Bible times, particularly in cities and villages along caravan routes, where these long-distance beasts of burden might pause for a night before trudging on to their destination. In addition to being a means of
Aside from its physical definition, arm is used in Scripture as a symbol of power in action–either divine or human. The context will of course determine whether the word is meant literally or figuratively, and whether its figurative sense is power used for good or for evil.
Entertainment and spectator/participatory sports did not develop until Greek and Roman times. Races had been run in Israel (Jeremiah 12:5), but they were not for entertainment. It was the promotion of sports in the Greek fashion in 170 BC that led to the division among Jews between Sadducees and Hasidim.
We know little of the way that trading was done locally. There was normally an open place inside the city gate that served as a market square, and streets leading from the square would have served as dwellings for traders. There was a street of the bakers in Jeremiah’s time (Jeremiah 37:21), and the valley between the eastern and western ridges of Jerusalem was known as the valley of the cheesemakers. It is clear that there must have Continue reading MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE BIBLE “THE MARKETPLACE”