Events in the Bible, the wider cultural background of those events, and the biblical text itself, all have a historical dimension.

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Nimrod who is he [duplicate]

In Genesis 10:8-9, scriptures mention Nimrod: Cush was the father of Nimrod; he began to be a valiant warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. (That is why it is said, “Like ...
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What did the label “abomination” indicate in Egyptian society?

The word תּוֹעֵבָה (tôʿēbâ, "abomination") is very common in the Hebrew Bible, usually designating breaches of covenant stipulations which are tôʿēbâ in the sight of YHWH. These uses are concentrated ...
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Do the qualifications of an overseer (ἐπίσκοπος) and the Ephesians 4:11 gift of pastor/teacher make them interchangeable or just related?

Peter encourages elders in 1 Peter 5:2 to ποιμάνατε (be shepherds). Paul instructs Timothy to install elders with qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:2 that include διδακτικόν (apt to teach). In ...
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Which hermeneutical trump card wins in 1 Timothy: audience, cultural context, historical reference, or translation?

I have read books gifted to me or web articles from searches that each play a "trump card" to win the day for their 1 Timothy interpretation. See Pandora's Pulpit by Roger Sapp or The Junia Project, ...
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Acts 15:5 - Could Christians remain Pharisees? [closed]

Acts 15:5 reads: But some from the religious party of the Pharisees who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and to order them to observe the law of ...
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52 views

What time of the year did Jesus raise Lazarus?

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to ...
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Was the “abomination of desolation” Caligula's proposed statue in the Temple?

In Mark 13:14 (and similarly in Matthew 24:15) Jesus is reported as saying: "When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then ...
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116 views

Early church context: Do we have contemporary texts which add useful context for interpreting the New Testament? [closed]

What are the oldest known Christian texts that are not part of scripture, or considered apocryphal text? I'd be interested in brief details of any texts which may aid in our understanding of the New ...
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110 views

Was washing one's hands to show innocence, as Pilate did, a common ritual in the Roman Empire?

In Matthew 27:24, Pilate washed his hands because he couldn't find any guilt in Jesus while he condemned Him to the cross. So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot ...
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173 views

What type of “dragon” is implied by the seven headed serpent of revelation?

In the context of the scriptures and culture that the vision was revealed, what was implied by "the dragon" which is also implied to be a serpent? At first, one might conclude a simple snake with ...
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Social standing of first century physicians

In Mark 5:26, in telling the story of the woman who had been bleeding, Mark mentions: She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting ...
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What did earrings have to do with idolatry in Gen 35:4?

As Jacob brings his family back to Canaan, God calls him to build an altar to Him (Gen 35:1), and then Jacob is moved to do the following, of which the part in bold is what this question concerns in ...
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114 views

Do we know that the Enuma Elish came before Genesis? [closed]

Can the text of Genesis be dated before Enuma Elish? Are there any evidences for or against I know a common idea is that the Genesis narrative, at the least, takes elements from other Near Eastern ...
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37 views

Did Jesus die in his thirties … or at around 50? [duplicate]

Irenaeus writes, in Adversus Haereses Book II, chap 22: But, besides this, those very Jews who then disputed with the Lord Jesus Christ have most clearly indicated [that Jesus died when he was ...
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105 views

What does “Put the wood in order” mean in 1 Kings 18:33?

Several translation of 1 Kings 18:33 (ESV, RSV, KJV, etc.) say "And he put the wood in order..." What was the "order" spoken of here? Similarly, Genesis 22:9 also speaks of putting wood "in order" ...
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John 8:57 and the age of Jesus, before his crucifixion

I was doing some reading in the Book "Ante Nicene Fathers" in Irenaeus' "Against Heresies" Book 2 Chapter 22 (book II chapter XXII) Irenaeus quoted John 8:57, in his argument to the Valentinens that ...
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73 views

What calendar was used in the first books of the Bible? [duplicate]

Reading Leviticus, I found several verses relatives to months and dates. And I wondered how long those months were and how were they measured. I know that the modern Hebrew calendar is a lunar ...
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85 views

What is the significance of the term 'bread falling from the table '?

What is the historical background of the mention of 'bread falling from the table' as is seen in Matthew 15:27 (NIV): “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their ...
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Should Luke be considered a 'primary' source concerning events in Jesus' life?

Sould Luke properly be described as a 'primary' or 'secondary' source concerning the life of Jesus? I ask because the author of Luke does not claim to be an eye-witness to most of the events he ...
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64 views

Were priests prohibited from tearing their garments

While studying an aspect of the crucifixion of Jesus (the seamless garment that the soldiers cast lots for), I came across a sermon transcript that said the following as part of its argument (...
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What textual clues are there that the original readers of Genesis would have understood 11:27–50:26 in a different way than Genesis 2:4–11:26?

One fairly common argument on how to interpret Genesis says that there is a change in theme (or perhaps even genre) near the end of Genesis 11, basically that things shift from the (pre-)history of ...
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Translation and historical background of Job 29:6a

Various Translations Job 29:6a is translated various ways. The apparently more literal one's being: (KJV) When I washed my steps with butter (NASB) When my steps were bathed in butter [NET ...
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Where did the Christians in Hebrews 10:25 have their assemblies?

Do we know where the Christians in Hebrews 10:25 had their assemblies (for example, synagogues, private houses)? ESV: not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging ...
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207 views

Was Luke mistaken about the year in which John the Baptist's preaching began?

Luke goes into detail concerning the beginning of Christ’s ministry. To quote: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being ...
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When was the Hebrew Bible's exact text/spelling synchronized globally?

The Hebrew Bible is essentially identical in all Jewish communities, despite significant differences in spellings and wordings from the Septuagint or texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls, or even from quoted ...
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Why did the people of Jericho deserve such destruction?

Note: I am looking for answers both in Biblical Text and from other historical texts Joshua 6:21-25 says that they killed every living thing in it (the City of Jericho) -- "men, women, young, old, ...
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Did houses only have one room 2000 years ago?

A possible implication of Matthew 5:15 is that houses generally had only one room: 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. ...
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142 views

How old was Ahaz when Hezekiah was born?

How old would Ahaz have been when his son, Hezekiah was born? A cursory look at 2 Kings 16:1 and 18:1 suggest he may have only been eleven. (Ahaz was 20 when he became king and he reigned 16 years. ...
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311 views

Can the Bible's relative chronology be made an 'absolute' chronology?

Chronology is defined as 'the determination of the proper sequence of past events', in other words, the arrangement of dates, events, etc, in order of occurrence. The Bible is filled with detailed ...
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Assyrian Invasions of Israel

Previous to the fall of Samaria, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria made several excursions into Israel. The biblical records mention three: The first was against Menahem (2 Kings 15:19-20) but he was ‘...
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What is the structure of the 'foundations' of the city wall in Revelation 21?

I always assumed the foundation of a wall would be a long uniform trench, but that doesn't seem to be consistent with the description of the foundations of the New Jerusalem given in Revelation 21: ...
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84 views

When did Esarhaddon conquer Egypt?

Esarhaddon, son of Sennacherib, ruled the Assyrian Empire from 681 BC to 669 BC. His greatest achievement was the conquest of Egypt, and I would like to know exactly what year that happened? Also, ...
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255 views

Who was Abram's mother?

NOTE: I'm posting this question here, rather than on History.SE since many (most?) historians deny the existence of an historical Abram and certainly don't think the Abram narrative in Scripture is ...
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Was Jesus crucified naked?

John 19:23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in ...
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225 views

Is the estimate of 2 million people exiting Egypt possible? [closed]

Exodus 12:37 says that 600,000 men were led out of Egypt by Moses, leading to estimates that at least two million Israelite men, women and children were involved in the Exodus from Egypt. Is this ...
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475 views

What is the significance of Gen 46:10 “Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman”?

What message is being conveyed in Gen 46:10 when it says of one of Simeon's sons: "Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman" (KJV)? Judah also had three sons by a Canaanite woman (Gen 38:2-5), Er, Onan, ...
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489 views

Why was, “for they were Ishmaelites” considered an explanation for why the Midianites had golden earrings in Judges 8:24?

Gideon's Ephod Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” Gideon said to them, “I will not ...
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What did 'adoption' mean to the Romans?

Romans 8 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a ...
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Ezekiel 16:4 - Why were babies rubbed with salt?

In an extended metaphor, the prophet Ezekiel compares Jerusalem to an abandoned infant: On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were ...
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487 views

Are there any non-biblical occurrences of Koine Greek? Are there occurrences prior to the Septuagint/NT?

It is taught and widely held, that the Hebrew Bible was translated into the Greek used by the common people of the day (Septuagint) and that the Greek NT was written in Koine Greek, the common ...
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Can 1 Cor. 1:10-13 be interpreted as a Commandment against Cults?

Question: In 1 Cor. 13, is the Early Church's understanding of the Command against "Divisions", pragmatically equivalent to the modern Church's prohibition against "Cults"? Notes: The commandment ...
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153 views

How typical was the dedication of Samuel?

1 Sam 1:24-28: And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull...and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh...And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you ...
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567 views

What was the relationship in ages between Jesus and his disciples?

There are a few texts in the gospels which give some flavor of Jesus' relationship with his disciples (citing the NIV here): Matt 10:24 - The student [μαθητὴς] is not above the teacher [...
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931 views

What was Luke's relationship to Paul regarding Christian matters, and thus their texts' relationships?

A comment in contention against this answer about early attestation of Luke's gospel in 1 Tim 5:18 being 1st century from Paul himself (where Paul would be referring to Luke's gospel as "Scripture") ...
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112 views

Could the Egerton Gospel be related to Q?

The so-called Egerton Gospel contains only a few verses of some very early and previously unknown "Jesus text". One major criticism of Q is that it requires a completely unattested but highly-...
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381 views

Earliest attestation to Luke's gospel

What is the earliest convincing attestation to the gospel of Luke? I believe that Justin Martyr quotes from Luke's gospel ca.150. Is that generally considered unassailable? Are there other earlier ...
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312 views

What is the difference between “soul” and “spirit”?

Hebrews 4:12 seems to distinguish between "soul" and "spirit" (or ψυχή and πνεῦμα, respectively) in some manner similar to the difference between "joint" and "marrow." For the word of God is quick,...
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338 views

What do bible authors mean by “they remain there till this day…”?

Biblical authors like to proclaim how some monument/stone/altar/name remains intact to-this-day. Cool. Should I take that as till the day the author wrote it down (in which case: meh), or should I ...
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Moses' manufacture of the “bronze serpent” - what bronze?

In Numbers 21:9 it says: So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole, so that if a snake had bitten someone, when he looked at the bronze snake he lived. [NET] Where would Moses probably ...
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Statistically, how similar is the NIV to other translations such as the RSV?

In "The advantages of the ESV" by Wayne Grudem, he states that the 2001 edition of the ESV is "92% RSV, 8% modified, or 60,000 words" (from the RSV): This sounds like strong confirmation of the ...