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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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 ...
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841 views

Did Jesus call God YHWH?

In Matthew 27:45-46 Jesus is recorded as saying: Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? Based on Jesus the Phoenician Jesus called God 'EL'—which is a Phoenician God—when he was on the cross. ...
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The Ten Commandments were based on the Code of Hammurabi?

A topic that was discussed among peers was that the Ten Commandments of Christian and Jewish faith were based off the Code of Hammurabi. I looked into the Wikipedia article and was informed that ...
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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 ...
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513 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 ...
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201 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? ...
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220 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 ...
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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 ...
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252 views

How does the Genesis account of the Tower of Babel compare with other traditions about the tower?

I'm aware there are number of accounts of the Tower of Babel in Midrash, from the Islamic traditions, Kabalah, Josephus and the Jubilees. For the most part, these accounts seem to derive from ...
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958 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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199 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 ...
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Who were the Hellenistic and Hebraic Jews of Acts 6:1?

In Acts, it talks about a division in Judaism that I had not heard of before: Acts 6:1 (NIV) In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained ...
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772 views

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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224 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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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 ...
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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 ...
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645 views

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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779 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 ...
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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 ...
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537 views

What is the order of events of Nahum and Jonah?

I was reading the book of Nahum and it was speaking about Ninevah. Is the book of Nahum foretelling the destruction of Ninevah, for which the people of Ninevah averted by repenting of their sins, or ...
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167 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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159 views

Was the 'Great Bible' a translation from Latin or from original Hebrew and Greek scriptures?

The Coverdale Translation and the Great Bible were both the work of Miles Coverdale. To the best of my knowledge Coverdale relied heavily on the works of other translators, especially William Tyndale. ...
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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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949 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? ...
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65 views

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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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 ...
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260 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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341 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 ...
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461 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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88 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 ...
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804 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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170 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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201 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, ...
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251 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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280 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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126 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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340 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 ...
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213 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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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 ...
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80 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 ...
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158 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 ...
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699 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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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 ...
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Where was Daniel when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fire?

In chapter 3 of book of Daniel we find the story of the three young men that are thrown in fire because they refused to worship the image of gold that Nebuchadnezzar made. King Nebuchadnezzar made ...
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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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227 views

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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193 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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114 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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125 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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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 ...