In the ancient Middle East, the originator of a custom was frequently referred to as the “father” of that custom. Thus, Jubal was called” the father of all such as handle the harp and organ” because he invented those instruments.
The formal mention of prostitutes in the Bible is often used to shape our impression of people with whom they were associated. Because the law of God was clear on this matter, the linking of a man with a prostitute, whether sexually or by birth, cast a dark cloud over his character. This included notables like Judah, Jephthah, and Samson (Gen 38:15; Judg 11:1; 16:1). When Joshua sent spies to Jericho, the population was so immoral that the one person of redeeming value found in the city was a prostitute (Josh 2:1). And the image of Ahab was clearly tarnished by the fact that his bloody chariot was washed out at the place where the prostitutes bathed (1 Kings 22:38). By contrast, Israel’s leaders who aggressively expelled shrine prostitutes
Roads of Bible times were little more than paths, rough and crude by modern standards. When a king traveled, his servants would go ahead of him, removing stones, filling in low places, and straightening curves so the king’s journey would be more pleasant.
Mountains are fitting, places to worship God, but as metaphors they become particularly effective theology instructors when moved or disturbed at God’s direction. As the Lord’s unlimited presence took up residence on Mount Sinai, the mountain trembled, smoked, and blazed as a way of showing how unique and powerful God’s presence was (Exod 19:16-19). This event was recalled centuries later when the poet spoke of the Lord as the one “who touches the mountains, and they smoke” (Psa 104:32; 144:5). The mountains of the Promised Land are
In Bible times, a marriage was arranged through a legal agreement between the parents of the groom and the bride (Gen 24:4). The groom’s parents selected a woman for their son to marry, then paid the bride’s parents a dowry, or bride-price, to compensate them for the loss of her services as a daughter.
Expression found in both the OT and the NT. “Son of man” is used in these ways; (1) as a poetic synonym for “man” or “human,” as in Psa 8:4 and 80:17; (2) in Ezekiel as the title by which God regularly addresses the prophet (2:1,3; 3:1, 3); and (3) in Dan. 7 as the identity of the glorious person whom the prophet sees coming with the clouds of heaven to approach the Ancient of Days. “The Son of Man” is a designation of Christ found frequently in the NT. It was Jesus’ favorite designation of Himself to imply both His messianic mission and His full humanity.
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).
The themes of God’s kingship and the eastern kingdom run throughout Scripture. God’s kingdom is a favorite motif of the psalmists and prophets, and was an especially comforting symbol to the Israelites who struggle under unjust and oppressive kings throughout history. In a general sense God is King over all creation because he made all things: “LORD of Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned the angels. You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the world. You made heaven and earth” (2 Kings 19:15). Elsewhere we read, “Greatness power, splendor, glory, and majesty are yours, LORD, because Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (KINGDOM)→
Elizabeth, mentioned only in Luke’s Gospel, was married to a priest named Zechariah. “Both were righteous in God’s sight, living without blame according to all the commands and requirements of the Lord” (Luke 1:6).
Yet in a culture where children were viewed as a primary evidence of God’s blessing, they were also childless. Elizabeth was unable to conceive. This barrenness was a source of deep disgrace to her (Luke 1:25). Only those who’ve suffered through fertility issues can fully appreciate the sting of all those unanswered prayers, the piercing pain of an empty nursery. Since Elizabeth and Zechariah “were well along in year” (Luke 1:7), it’s not unreasonable to assume that they had given up the hope of ever becoming parents. Continue reading WOMAN OF THE DAY (ELIXABETH: THE MOTHER OF JOHN THE BAPTIST)→