The events that occurred at the Water Gate in Nehemiah’s time can be described as a spiritual revival. The people knew that God had made it possible for them to rebuild the city. Now they were ready to hear what else God would say to them. They listened intently. When Ezra opened the scroll of God’s law, they stood out of respect and anticipation over what they were about to hear.
Supplying wood for priests to use in offering burnt sacrifices on the altar was a task assigned to the Nethinims, or temple servants (Ezra 2:43). But not enough of these servants returned from the exile in Babylonia and Persia to handle this task.
The practice of using clothing to make a statement regarding one’s status or position in society was just as prevalent in the biblical world as it is today. However, clothing styles did not change as rapidly in antiquity and so the effort to remain stylish was less hectic.
The woman guilty of sexual misconduct was to lose her capacity for childbearing. This was a fearsome penalty indeed, for women in the ancient Near East established their sense of personal value and esteem on one activity only-bearing and raising children. Education, business, military status, community leadership-none of these were open to women; motherhood was everything.
1.Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.
2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.
3 The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word.
4 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.
The Day of Atonement was an animal ceremony in which sacrifices were offered to atone for the sins of Israel. Marked by humiliation and fasting, it recognized the people’s inability to make atonement for their sins. This required God’s intervention and that of His representative-the high priest of the nation.
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).
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)→