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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161 views

Does the pharaoh let just anybody approach him?

When Moses returns to Egypt (after the pharaoh who knew him died), he and Aaron just walk up to him and talk, even when he's bathing in the Nile. Doesn't the pharaoh have guards? The one in Genesis ...
2
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3answers
306 views

How credible is the theory that Enki and Ninhursag influenced Genesis 2 and 3?

How credible is the theory that the Sumerian story of Enki and Ninhursag influenced or inspired Genesis 2 and 3? the literature created by the Sumerians left its deep imprint on the Hebrews, and ...
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3answers
13k views

Who were the Pharisees?

Many times in the New Testament, Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostles interact with Jewish men called the Pharisees. At other times, the Sadducees are prominent. Several Pharisees are named in ...
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1answer
677 views

What was the lesson Elisha wanted to teach Joash using the arrows?

In 2 Kings 13:14-17 we find that, Joash - the king of Israel, took a bow and some arrows as Elisha told him. And the 17th verse: Elisha said, “Open the east window,” and he did so. Elisha said, ...
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1answer
428 views

Was baptism practiced by first-century Jews?

In Matthew 3:13-17 Jesus is baptized by John. Is baptism a Jewish practice? Based on Jesus the Phoenician baptism used to be practiced by Canaanites, not Jews. Is this claim true or false?
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5answers
2k views

Before the Tower of Babel did all speak Hebrew as the original human language? [closed]

I find it fascinating that rabbinic literature suggests that Hebrew was the original human language. I have seen Christian authors also argue the same. For example, from the Jewish Encyclopedia: ...
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2answers
5k views

Is Deuteronomy 22:28 talking about rape?

Some folks assert that this passage describes the Torah's sole punishment for rape: If a man comes upon a virgin who is not engaged and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are discovered, ...
5
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1answer
144 views

What evidence exists to show that the Galatians could understand Greek?

I have seen before an atheist argument that the Galatians being migrant tribesmen from Gaul could not speak or read Greek, and therefore could not have understood an epistle in Greek, much less a ...
4
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2answers
198 views

Did Elijah break the Torah by encountering ravens and/or failing to appear at Jerusalem?

Elijah is fed by "ravens" (1Ki 17:1-7), an unclean animal (Lev 11, Deut 14). Assuming he did not touch the ravens, but that the ravens had simply brought him the food - would that be against the law, ...
7
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1answer
125 views

Have any of the books mentioned in but not included in the Old Testament been preserved?

At various places in the Old Testament, the authors refer to books not included in the Bible. A few examples: And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness ...
6
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3answers
509 views

Does the “lost leaf” theory for Mark's abrupt ending fail if written on a scroll?

I really like this explanation of Mark's rather abrupt ending: There are three possible explanations for Mark ending at 16:8: (1) The author intentionally ended the Gospel here in an open-ended ...
2
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1answer
146 views

Qualifications for deacons and pastors in 1 Timothy 3:1-12

3:1 This saying is trustworthy: “If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a good work.” 3:2 The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, ...
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2answers
598 views

Was Luke's birth narrative written in response to Marcion's version of the gospel?

This site suggests that Marcion's version of The Gospel of Luke - a version which includes no birth narrative - was written before the version of Luke that includes the birth narrative, and that the ...
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1answer
1k views

Are the Rabbinic rules of hand washing before eating bread related to their ruling that the scriptures were unclean? [closed]

In trying to understand why the Pharisees insisted on washing their hands before eating bread (Mark 7:5). I have come across some interesting reasons but have not yet come to a conclusion about why ...
5
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2answers
202 views

Are the speeches in the gospels and Acts meant to be taken as literal renditions of the original speech, or general gists of the speaker's message?

Acts 13:16-19 Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: The God of this people Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they ...
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1answer
54 views

Where was Elisha when he sent a son of the prophets to Ramoth Gilead to anoint Jehu?

Where was Elisha when he sent a son of the prophets to Ramoth Gilead to anoint Jehu in 2 kings 9:1?
7
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1answer
610 views

What about the noncanonical books quoted in Jude?

The book of Jude contains many quotes and references to the Old Testament. However, there are two quotes which seem to be from elsewhere. The first is attributed to The Assumption of Moses. Jude ...
2
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1answer
204 views

Who was Neri, father of Shealtiel?

This one has been dogging me for a while. I know there is no (direct) Biblical source to answer this question, but perhaps the scholars here might be better informed as to the existence of some ...
3
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1answer
338 views

What happened with the translation of 1 Samuel 1:24?

In NIV is written: After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord ...
3
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1answer
278 views

Why is Pharaoh called, “ The Great Dragon” in the book of Ezekiel

In Ezekiel 29-3, God summons Ezekiel to speak these words (KJV), Speak, and say,Thus saith the Lord God; I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, The great dragon that lieth in the ...
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2answers
317 views

What did people do with children in biblical times when people gathered as a congregation?

We know that small children, including infants, were present when people gathered as a congregation in biblical times; for example, in Deuteronomy 29, Moses gathered all the people of Israel and ...
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5answers
5k views

Why did the Samaritans worship God in Mount Gerissim rather than Jerusalem?

In John chapter 4, Jesus has a discussion with a woman of Samaria: The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in ...
2
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1answer
99 views

Have the sizes of the image of gold made of Nebuchadnezzar any significance?

King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. (Daniel 3:1) Did these sizes represent something ...
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4answers
10k views

Why does Jesus tell his mother his “hour has not yet come”?

Very early on, John tells a story that is unique to his gospel: On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding ...
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1answer
428 views

What sort of “slave” is Paul referring to in 1 Corinthians 7:21-23?

Paul writes the following in his first letter to the Corinthian church: Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who ...
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2answers
13k views

What does Jesus mean by “vain repetition” or “babbling” in Matthew 6:7?

What ancient tradition of prayer is Jesus critical of in Matthew 6:7? In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. (NABRE) But ...
12
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1answer
515 views

Where, and how, did Josiah die?

The death of Josiah is reported differently in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. The Kings account is brief: [WEB] 2 Kings 23 : 29 In his days Pharaoh Necoh king of Egypt went up against the king of ...
6
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2answers
217 views

Calculation of date from Genesis 7:11

Does Genesis 7:11 say: A) the floodwaters burst open in the 17th day, the second month of the 600th year of Noah's life, or B) the floodwaters burst open in the 17th day, the second month in the ...
15
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2answers
8k views

Did Moses have an Egyptian name?

Moses got his name from Pharaoh's daughter: When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of ...
10
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3answers
15k views

Why did the witnesses lay their coats at Paul's feet?

During the stoning of Stephen, according to the book of Acts, "the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul," who later converted to Christianity and took the name Paul. ...
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2answers
535 views

Who is the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7?

Ezra 7:7 mentions a Persian king Artaxerxes: Some of the Israelites, including priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers and temple servants, also came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King ...
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2answers
694 views

Why would the disciples have rebuked people for bringing infants to Jesus?

Luke 18:15 tells a story of people bringing infants to Jesus: Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. (ESV) I take ...
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2answers
265 views

The accuracy of Stephen's claims about persecution of the prophets

Stephen, the first martyr, asks a question in Acts 7:51-52 (ESV): "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. ...
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1answer
245 views

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

What/who have commentators historically believed the "four riders" of Revelation 6 were?
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2answers
326 views

What evidence exists that supports the understanding of the Exodus as a deliverance metanarrative and not as a historical narrative?

Marcus Borg has proposed a "historical-metaphorical" reading of Exodus (particularly the narrative of the event itself) in which deliverance and salvation are established as key themes in a grand ...
5
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1answer
223 views

Daniel 8:15-27 :“… Kingdom of greece …”

I was reading Daniel 8:15-27, where it says: .... the ram you saw that had two horns represents the kingdoms of Media and Persia. The goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the prominent horn ...
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3answers
6k views

What happened to the 500 witnesses in 1 Corinthians 15?

This week I taught Sunday School from this text: For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was ...
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1answer
112 views

Were the household tables in Peter and Paul counter-cultural in their day?

The household tables in Paul's letters and in 1 Peter pair up sets of people: Wives submit to your husbands : Husbands love your wives Children obey your fathers : Fathers don't exasperate your ...
4
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2answers
458 views

What were the criteria for evaluating whether a book was included in the canons of scripture?

What criteria were used in collecting the Scriptures (Canon) which we know today as the Holy Bible. I'm not looking for new theological hypotheses here, just established ones. For example, how did ...
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2answers
951 views

How strong was Midian's army?

When Israel took vengeance on Midian they sent 12,000 troops (Numbers 31:4) and prevailed: אֶלֶף, לַמַּטֶּה, אֶלֶף, לַמַּטֶּה--לְכֹל מַטּוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל, תִּשְׁלְחוּ לַצָּבָא. Of every tribe a ...
9
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3answers
733 views

How does the Noah's Ark narrative relate to the Gilgamesh flood account?

How does the Noah's Ark narrative relate to other the Gilgamesh flood account? For reference, the Biblical flood account is in Genesis 6-10 and the Gilgamesh flood account is on Tablet XI. The ...
11
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2answers
336 views

Did Jephthah have pets?

Judges 11:29-40 tells the story of Jephthah's victory over the Ammonites. Before the battle he promises, "whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the ...
4
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2answers
793 views

Did the Hebrews lift their right hand to take an oath as some translations of Psalm 144:8 imply?

Did we have any evidence that the Hebrews used to lift their right hand to take an oath as some translations of Psalm 144:8 imply ? The original verse talks of a "right hand of falsehood" (KJV NAS) : ...
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2answers
2k views

How should the story of David's concubines be read?

There's a small story of ten concubines spread across Samuel: And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.” Then David said to all his servants ...
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1answer
174 views

Just how overpriced was Efron's burial cave anyway?

In Genesis 23 Avraham pays 400 shekels to Efron for a burial cave for Sarah (and, later, other family members). This seems to be an enormous amount of money and Rashi suggests it's even worse than it ...
2
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1answer
108 views

Did Pilate know three languages?

John 19:20-22: This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, [and] Greek, [and] Latin. Then said the chief ...
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0answers
1k views

Accuracy of Alfred Edersheim's “Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” [closed]

Edersheim's book The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah has been called "one of the best known and most important references on the life of Christ ever written." However, a lot has changed in the ...
6
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1answer
198 views

What language(s) would the Jewish Christians in the various Macedonian cities have spoken?

In Acts 16-18, Paul is shown moving from city to city in Macedonia - e.g. Phillipi, Thessalonica, Berea, Corinth - many of to whom he would later write letters. Acts 17:2 explains that it was his ...
8
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2answers
845 views

Locations of the graves of the Patriarchs

The Book of Acts at 7:16-17 states that Jacob died and was "carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem." But Genesis ...
5
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1answer
940 views

Who are the soldiers in John 18:3?

Does the "detachment of soldiers" refer to a Roman guard? If so, how large of a group? Or is it a different group of soldiers, perhaps a temple guard or Jewish soldiers if there were any at the time? ...