Tag Archives: Promised land

EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TAX COLLECTOR PT1)

During the Roman era, tax collectors and the manner in which taxes were collected evolved and varied from one region to the next. Here we offer a general picture of the process that will allow us to appreciate the role tax collectors played in the Gospels. Taxes were paid to both the temple and the state, each of which established its own tax code without consideration of the other. First-century Jews paid a religious tithe of their produce, herd, and flock (Lev 27:30-32); they were also required to pay the half-shekel or two-drachma tax for sanctuary upkeep (Exod 30:13; Matt 17:24). The state demanded taxes that included a poll tax levied on males fourteen to sixty-five years of age and females twelve to sixty-five, real estate tax, customs tax collected at road and harbor stations, a tax on produce that amounted to 10 percent on grain and 20 percent on wine, fruit, and oil, a 1 percent income tax, and sales and inheritance taxes.

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MATTHEW QUOTES A VERSE FROM HOSEA 11:1, WHAT IS THE CONNECTION?

In Israel’s early history, God’s relationship with the nation was compared to a father relating to his son (Exodus 4:22-23). God gently led His “children” out of Egyptian bondage, down to Sinai, and eventually into the promised Land.

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (SACRED STONE “TO SET UP OR TO DESTORY” PT3)

As the Israelites met and engaged the people who occupied the Promise Land before them, they might have been tempted to adopt the sacred-stone concept. To be sure, the Lord did allow a certain amount of parity between pagan worship and Israelite worship, such as the use of sacrifice, temple, and priesthood; but the line was drawn at employing sacred stone. “Do not make idols or set us an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God” (Lev 26:1; see Deut 16:22). But what about the sacred stones that had already been built by the previous occupants of the Promised Land?

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (SACRED STONE “TO SET UP OR TO DESTROY” PT2)

Most often, however, it appears that a masseba was set up as a sacred stone. In this case, the unnaturally placed stone or series of stones provided worshipers with a physical location at which to meet their deity. To this day, surviving sacred stones break the natural contours of the landscape, inviting us to come in for a closer look.

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LESSON OF THE DAY (REMEMBER)

One of the things I have been blessed with (or coursed with, depending on your viewpoint) is good memory. Many times a week my wife will call  on me to recall some name, some location or some date that has escaped her. That is a good thing, most of the time. Other times it is annoying, as I can recall mundane unimportant facts from decades ago that have absolutely no value today. A good memory is a powerful tool, when it is used right.

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TRAP/SNARE PT 3 OF 3)

Times of misfortune are also likened to the unexpected and inescapable nature of a trap: “Makeover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them” (Eccles 9:12). These harsh times could be the product of their own making, as in the case of the exile of God’s people from the Promised Land that entrapped them (Isa 42:22; Lam 4:20; Ezek 19:8).

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TEAR A GARMENT PT 2 OF 2)

The motif of the torn garment is linked to political changes in Israel as well. When Saul was rejected as king, he tore the hem of Samuel’s garment just before hearing “the LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors” (1 Sam 15:27-28; also read 28:17). Later when David’s son Solomon harbored sins that were not appropriate

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (FAMINE PT2)

Whether in connection with climate or siege, famine was clearly one of the worst experiences in the ancient world (1 Kings 8:37). The purchase of food would first consume all a person’s precious metal, then livestock, and finally even the land they relied on the produce food, putting its former owners into virtual servitude (Gen 47:13-22). Jeremiah vividly describes the circumstances in which hunger pangs could no longer be endured in silence but were given

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (PROSTITUTE P2)

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

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (PROSTITUTE P1)

Within the larger ancient Near Eastern world, prostitution was legal and generally accepted by members of society, and there is evidence that some prostitutes in Mesopotamia gathered into professional associations linked to the goddess Ishtar. The Hebrew of the Old Testament uses two different words when referring to those who functioned as prostitutes (zona, translated “prostitute” in Gen 38:15; and qedesa, translated “shrine prostitute” in Gen 38:21-22), which suggests that the prostitutes in Canaan were of two types: secular sex workers and prostitutes linked to pagan worship. Nevertheless, given the extent of the evidence we possess from the ancient world, we need to use caution in identifying the latter too closely with pagan worship rites that sought to increase the fertility of flocks, herds, and fields.

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