The Bible records several instances of suicide (Abimelech-Judg 9:54; Samson-Judg 16:29-30; Saul-1 Sam 31:4; Saul’s armor beaer-1 Sam 31:5 Ahithophel-2 Sam 17:23; Zimri-1 Kings 16:18; and Judas-Matt 27:5; cp. Acts 16:27). Of these, the deaths of Abimelech and Saul could be called “assisted” suicide. With the possible exception of Samson (whose death may be better termed “martyrdom”), the Bible presents each person who committed suicide as an individual whose behavior is clearly not to be emulated.Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (SUICIDE)
The term divination, as used in this passage, refers to attempts to control evil spirits, to penetrate the mysteries of the universe, or to foretell the future by using magical acts, pronouncing superstitious incantations, or interpreting natural signs. Today we refer to such practices as “the occult.” “Black magic” was a prominent feature of pagan religious systems in Bible times. But God prohibited the Israelites from participating in these practices. Seven different types of divination are mentioned in this passage.Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS & CURIOSITIES (NO BLACK MAGIC)
Devastating epidemic that OT writers understand to be sent by God (Exod 9:15; Jer 15:2; Hab 3:5; Amos 4:10), sometimes by means of a destroying angel (2 Sam 24:16; 1 Chron 21:15). God sent pestilence as punishment for persistent unbelief (Num 14:21) and failure to fulfill covenant obligations (Deut 28:21) as well as to encourage repentance (Amos 4:10). God withheldContinue reading DEFINITON OF THE DAY (PESTILENCE)
Salt added flavor to food, and it was also used to preserve meat in a society in which refrigeration and cold storage did not exist.Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS & CURIOSITIES (SALT OF THE EARTH)
The Jordan River played an important role in a number of memorable events from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is known for being a fertile valley and an important landmark. The first mention of the Jordan occurs in the story of Abram and Lot, where Lot chose for himself “all the plan of Jordan” (Gen 13:11 KJV). The next time we come upon it, Jacob is wrestling with his adversary at the ford of the Jabbok, one of the major tributaries of the Jordan. Elsewhere the Jordan is crossed and is used as a place of baptism and provision. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (JORDAN RIVER)
Elevate site, usually found on the top of a mountain or hill; most high places were Canaanite places of pagan worship.
HEATHEN WORSHIP AT THE HIGH PLACE: The average high place would have an altar (2 Kings 21:3; 2 Chron 14:3), a carved wooden pole that depicted the female goddess of fertility (Asherah), a stone pillar symbolizing the male deity (2 Kings 3:2), other idols (2 Kings 12:31; 13:32; 16:32-33). At these places of worship the people sacrificed animals (at some high places children were sacrificed according to Jer 7:31), burned incense to their gods, prayed, ate sacrificial meals, and were involved with male or female cultic Continue reading DEFINITON OF THE DAY (HIGH PLACE)
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)
All forms of idolatry were forbidden in Israel (Exo 20:2-6; Lev 19:4), but Baal worship was especially popular among the people. Baal was one of the primary deities of the Canaanites. He was regarded as the god with the power to bestow or withhold fertility to Continue reading WHY WAS BAAL WORSHIP CONSIDERED SO OFFENSIVE?
Large basin or bowl used in purification rites. The OT describes the lavers used in the tabernacle and in Solomon’s temple. The bronze laver of the tabernacle was constructed from metal mirrors provided by the women who ministered at the tabernacle entrance (Exod 38:8). The priests used the laver for washing their hands and feet before priestly service (Exod 30:18; 40:30-31). Levites also used water from this laver to purify Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (LAVER)
Use of rocky sites as places of refuge (Num 24:21; Judg 15:8; 20:47) led to the frequent image of God as a rock, that is, a source of protection. Titles of God include the “Stone of Israel” (Gen 49:24 NASB), the Rock (Deut 32:4), the Rock of salvation (32:15), the Rock who begot Israel (32:18), “a rock that is high above me” (Ps 61:2 HCSB). Isaiah 8:13-14 pictures of the Lord of hosts as a “rock to stumble over” (NASB) to the unholy people of Israel and Judah. Paul identified Christ as the spiritual Rock that nourished Israel in the Continue reading DEFINITION OF ROCK