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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6
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199 views

Why did Dan remain on ships?

In Judges 5: 17, Deborah sang that Dan remained on ships. Did the Israelites have ships in the time of the judges? Is 'ships' the correct translation? Is there an explanation for this curious mention? ...
9
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2answers
12k views

What was the purpose of giving Jesus vinegar to drink?

What was the purpose of giving Jesus vinegar to drink ? (Mark 15:23, Matthew 27:34) Some think it was a way to mock Jesus, but others argue that the "vinegar" (with gall) was the diluted wine drunk ...
8
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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 ...
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 ...
17
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3answers
11k views

How are concubines different than wives?

In the Hebrew Bible, a marriage ceremony is never actually described. Priests and their attendants (Kohanim and Levites) are responsible for work in the sanctuary, such as sacrifices and offerings, ...
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) : ...
9
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1answer
3k views

In the time of Jesus, were the Jewish authorities allowed to execute?

In the gospel accounts of the trial of Jesus we learn that the Jewish authorities could not sentence anyone to death: Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” “But we ...
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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 ...
1
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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 ...
6
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1answer
955 views

What did Moses do at Horeb in the first place?

I was reading Exodus 3:1: Now Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to the mountain of ...
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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 ...
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 ...
5
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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 ...
12
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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 ...
7
votes
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 ...
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3answers
1k views

Do the Dead Sea Scrolls argue against Aramaic primacy?

One of the arguments for Aramaic being the original language of the New Testament is the theory that Hebrew was replaced by Old Aramaic as the vernacular language in Judea following the Babylonian ...
8
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2answers
844 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
939 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? ...
5
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1answer
258 views

Historical Context and Fulfillment of Isaiah 7:8

Isaiah 7:8 (NET) reads: For Syria’s leader is Damascus, and the leader of Damascus is Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will no longer exist as a nation. As the IVP OT Commentary points ...
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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 ...
5
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1answer
340 views

Would the Pharisees go to Pilate and secure the tomb on the Sabbath?

This is in relation to another post in which the question was asked why the Sabbath was called "the day after the Day of Preparation." It strikes me odd that Pharisees would be about this sort of ...
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 ...
7
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3answers
5k views

Why were the Ten Commandments written on two tablets?

When Moses is given the Ten Commandments they are apparently written on two tablets: He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on ...
8
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2answers
463 views

Who was Nimrod?

In the middle of an otherwise repetitive genealogy in Genesis 10, one man is especially singled out: Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter ...
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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: ...
8
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3answers
289 views

What is the judgment in Psalm 1?

The ending of Psalm 1 provides great hope for those who delight in the instruction of the Lord: Not so the wicked; rather, they are like chaff that wind blows away. Therefore the wicked ...
10
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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 ...
7
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1answer
4k views

What does it mean to be a Nazirite?

In Numbers 6, God gives the rules for being a Nazirite. This person is set apart for service to God. There are rules they must follow and actions they must take or refrain from. They must not eat or ...
9
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2answers
500 views

Is Luke's “Theophilus” An Actual Person or an Allegorical Person

I've always wondered if there's any persuasive evidence either way for Theophilus whom Luke addresses in Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1 being an actual person or an allegorical personification? I mean my ...
9
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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 ...
6
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1answer
127 views

Is there something significant about Avram's tactics in rescuing Lot?

Genesis 14 describes the war of four kings against five kings and the capture of Lot, and then describes how Avram mounted a rescue mission: וַיִּשְׁמַע אַבְרָם, כִּי נִשְׁבָּה אָחִיו; וַיָּרֶק ...
8
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5answers
4k views

Jesus is both the good shepherd and the gate - Is it the same parable or two different?

In John 10 Jesus use two images. First he is the gate for the sheep. John 10:7-10 (NIV): Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come ...
7
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1answer
476 views

Did the apostles travel with their wives?

I was doing some research for an answer and came across this verse: This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take ...
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 ...
7
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1answer
609 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 ...
4
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1answer
248 views

What did it mean to “rise before the aged” in ancient Hebrew culture?

We read an ordinance in Leviticus: You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.—Leviticus 19:32 (NJPS) In English, "rise" can ...
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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 ...
10
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4answers
3k views

Interpretation of Genesis 1:26?

I am under the impression that the Trinity is a Christian idea, and that the Jews did not view God as "three in one and one in three". How, then, was the following passage interpreted by the people ...
6
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2answers
408 views

Is oral history like the telephone game?

Bart Ehrman argues that the gospel texts are not historically reliable beginning with this analogy: It is [oral circulation] that causes special problems for historians who want to know what ...
10
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2answers
819 views

How would stoning of an adulterer actually be carried out under the Law of Moses?

How would stoning of an adulterer actually be carried out under the Law of Moses? In John Chapter 8 there is the familiar story of how Jesus prevented a stoning of a woman who had committed adultery. ...
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 ...
10
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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, ...
14
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8answers
10k views

Why should an altar be made with uncut stone?

God told Moses that the altar must be made of unhewn stones: And if you make for Me an altar of stones, do not build it of hewn stones; for by wielding your tool upon them you have profaned ...
8
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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 ...
5
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1answer
157 views

Is there a published version of the Bible, where the text is ordered chronologically in the order it was written?

Has there been a published version of the Bible where the text was ordered in the order it is best assumed that it was written? I'm not interested in a version that is ordered in a chronological ...
7
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2answers
1k views

Did Luke use Josephus as a source?

Richard Carrier summarizes an argument made by Steve Mason in his book Josephus and the New Testament that Luke knew of Josephus' Jewish War (79 CE) and Jewish Antiquities (94 CE). At it's core, the ...
4
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1answer
87 views

What exactly does מִכְנָס (miknac) mean?

Researching a related question, I came across passages like: You shall also make for them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; they shall extend from the hips to the thighs.—Exodus 28:42 ...
5
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1answer
774 views

How did David trick Achish?

I got to this section this week and I feel like I'm missing something: David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Gizrites, and the Amalekites—who were the inhabitants of the ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Did Jesus wear pants?

While researching this question, I came across an article I'd rather not link to1 that asserted that Jesus wore pants. The particular bit of evidence they cited was: Then I saw heaven opened, and ...
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 ...