Jeremiah compared the wailing of the people of Judah over God’s punishment to laments at a funeral. The Jewish people were known for the loud and bitter mourning over the death of loved one (read 2 Sam 19:4). Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (MOURNING FOR PAY)
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)
Objects of unknown shape and material used to determine the divine will. Often in the ancient Near East people, especially priests, made difficult and significant decisions by casting lots on the ground or drawing them from a receptacle. Several times Scripture mentions the practice. We do not know exactly what the lots look like. Nor do we know how they were interpreted. We do know that people of the OT and NT believe God (or gods in the case of non-Israelites or non-Christians) influenced the fall or outcome of the lots (Prov 16:33). Thus, casting lots was a way of determining God’s will. Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (LOTS)
Surely this was one of the most brutal massacres of the Bible, if not in raw numbers, in terms of its victims. Only the most corrupted form of evil could lead a state to summarily execute innocent children. Why did the people not resist? Continue reading WHY DID THE PEOPLE OF BETHLEHEM NOT PROTECT THEIR BOYS FROM HEROD’S SOILDERS?
In addition to rebuilding Jerusalem in a physical sense, Nehemiah was also concerned for the spiritual rebuilding of his people. He was so angry toward the Jewish men who had married pagan woman-a-flagrant disobedience of God’s command (Joshua 23:12-13)-that he beat some of them and pulled out their hair. This violent and serious punishment showed the severity of their sin. Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (A SEVERE PUNISHMENT)
Place and agency for education, particularly of children. The word “school” is not mentioned in the OT and only once in the NT where the reference is to a Greek school (Acts 19:9). Until the exile in Babylon (586 B.C.), the education of children was like that of all ancient peoples: it was centered in the home. The main concern of the Jewish people was for religious education in the home. Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (SCHOOL)
Isn’t it amazing how an entire life can change in a moment? That’s the way it happened for the unnamed woman we meet in John 4.
On a nothing-special day in the Samaritan village of Sychar, she was minding her own business when she realized her household water jar was empty. It was unbearably hot out. Perfect, she thought. She probably wouldn’t have to see anyone or talk to anybody. Grabbing her water jar, she slipped out the door. Continue reading WOMAN OF THE BIBLE (THE SAMARITAN WOMAN: MEETING THE THIRST QUENCHER)
Characteristic of human and animal populations (Gen 10; Acts 17:26-27). Out of His richness God created an unfathomable number of creatures to fill the earth (Gen 1:11-12, 20-22,24-25) and respond to Him in praise (Ps 148). Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (DIVERSITY)
To the Jews of New Testament times, sundown marked the end of an old day and the beginning of a new day. The twenty-four-hour period between each sundown was divided into twelve hours of night–beginning about 6:00 p.m.-and twelve hours of daylight-beginning with dawn at about 6:00 a.m. Continue reading THE JEWISH CLOCK
Israel was guilty of participating in various pagan worship practices. This included actual, physical prostitution at many Canaanite shrines left standing after the conquest of Canaan. The idea behind these degrading sexual rites was that the Canaanites fertility gods Baal and Asherah would favor the participants with healthy babies and crops. Continue reading WHY THE FREQUENT REFERENCES TO PROSTITUTES AND PROSTITUTION IN THE BOOK OF HOSEA?