In ancient times a signet ring functioned much like a personal signature does today. A king or other high official would stamp an official document with the symbol on his ring to establish its legality and show that it was issued under his authority.Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS & CURIOSITIES (ZERUBBABEL AS A SIGNET RING)
Saul was a young man dutifully searching for his father’s stray donkeys. Samuel was the renowned prophet, priest, and judge of Israel reluctantly searching for his nation’s first king. When their paths crossed, the course of Israel’s history changed dramatically.
Samuel had served as the Lord’s representative leader of Israel for decades, but he was growing old. When his sons proved to be unfit to succeed him, the people of Israel demanded that a king be appointed to rule over them. They were envious of the monarchies common in surrounding nations.Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (SAUL: WRESTILING WITH DEOMONS)
While the Hebrews of the Exodus were still camped in what is now Jordan, their leader, Joshua, sent two spies to scout the fortified border town of Jericho.
The spies went straight to the house of a prostitute, Rahab, And they spent the night.Continue reading WOMEN OF THE BIBLE (RAHAB)
This verse refers to the humiliation of the nobility of Judah by the army of Babylon after the fall of Jerusalem. Were these princes, or nobles, executed and then hung up by their hands as a public example? Or were they tied and hung up by the hands as a form of torture? We don’t know.Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS & CURIOSITIES (HANGING BY THE HAND)
The Gospel writer Luke precedes his account of Jesus’ birth with that of a lesser (though still prominent) figure in Jewish prophecy: the forerunner who would prepare the way for the Messiah and announce his arrival.
The circumstance of this forerunner’s birth were memorable. His mother, Elizabeth, was a relative of Jesus’ mother, Mary. His father, Zechariah, served as a priest in the temple. One day the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah to announce that he and his wife would have a son. When Zechariah asked how that could be possible, since he and Elizabeth were well past the age when most people become parents, Gabriel told him he would be mute until his son was born because of his unbelief (Luke 1:5-20).Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (JOHN THE BAPTIST: LIVING LIKE YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE)
2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.Continue reading SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY (MATTHEW 2:1-15)
These “images” that Rachel had stolen from her father were household idols known as teraphim. Small statuettes in human form, they may have represented deceased ancestors of the family. They were consulted in a superstitious way for guidance and direction in everyday life.Continue reading STOLEN HOUSEHOLD IDOLS
10 Moreover the Lord spake again unto Ahaz, saying,
11 Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord. Continue reading SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY (ISAIAH 7:10-17: THE SIGN OF IMMANUEL)
1. I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.
2. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.
3. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. Continue reading SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY (PSALM 145:1-9)
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)