From an early age we are taught to respect the belongings of others even if our size and strength make it possible to take them by force. In order to understand the actions of the people of the ancient Near East, we need to make a major adjustment in this thinking. Within the cultural construct of this world, the expectation was that those who were victorious in battle had the right to seize the personal property of those defeated and even enslave the owners of that property. This practice of plundering is mentioned repeatedly in the literature of the ancient world peatedly in the literature of the ancient world and illustrated in the art of the empires that rose to power during the Old Testament era.
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.
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.
Job complained about the brevity of human life by declaring that his days went by faster than a swift runner. He was probably referring to the fleet-footed messengers used by Old Testament kings to carry important messages to distant places. Continue reading MESSAGES ON FOOT→
CONCUBINE- A wife of lower status than a primary wife-usually a slave. Taking of concubines dates back at least to the patriarchal period. Both Abraham and Nahor had concubines (Gen 22:24; 25:6; 1 Chron 1:32). Tribal chiefs, kings, and other wealthy men generally took concubines. Gideon had a concubine (Judg 8:31). Saul had at least one concubine named Rizpha (2 Sam 3:7; 21:11). David had many (2 Sam 5:13), but Solomon took the practice to its extreme, having 300 concubines, in addition to his 700 royal wives (1 kings 11:3). Deuteronomy 17:17 forbids kings to take so many wives. Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY “CONCUBINE”→
The first chapter of Exodus gives only a few facts about the years the Israelites spent in Egypt. If was clear from what God revealed to Abraham that they were destined to live in this country for several centuries. “Know certainly,” the Lord told Abraham, “that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years” (Genesis 15:13 NKJV). Continue reading YEARS IN EGYPT (EXODUS 1)→
Dreams and visions that carry God’s message fall into three categories (1) personal warnings and direction from God (such as the angelic dream assuring Joseph that Mary was pregnant by supernatural means-Matthew 1:20); (2) prophetic dreams and visions for immediate action (Pharaoh’s dream about years of plenty and famine-Genesis 41); (3) prophetic dreams and visions regarding the course of history (the visions in Daniel 7; John’s visions in Revelation). Continue reading WHY DID GOD USE DREAMS AND VISIONS TO COMMUNICATE WITH SO MANY PEOPLE IN THE BIBLE?→
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?→
This plague consisted of a thick, heavy darkness that fell across the land of Egypt for three days (Exodus 10:22). This must have been an eerie blackness with no sliver of light, similar to the total darkness a person experiences deep within a cave when all of the lights are turned out. It was so frightening that the Egyptians did not venture outside their houses (Exodus 10:23). Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (DEEP DARKNESS)→