Tagged Questions

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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3
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3answers
816 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
507 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
votes
1answer
447 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? ...
3
votes
1answer
155 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
4k 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
votes
1answer
230 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
votes
1answer
184 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
votes
2answers
4k 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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3answers
404 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 ...
7
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6answers
2k views

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

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
votes
3answers
234 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
8k 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
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
368 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
votes
2answers
713 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
votes
1answer
118 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 ...
7
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5answers
3k 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
votes
1answer
408 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
5k 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
votes
1answer
475 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
182 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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votes
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 ...
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4answers
2k 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
votes
2answers
357 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
581 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
votes
1answer
218 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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2answers
3k 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, ...
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7answers
7k 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
votes
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
votes
1answer
151 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 ...
6
votes
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
votes
1answer
75 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
votes
1answer
614 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
votes
2answers
815 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
votes
3answers
432 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 ...
10
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3answers
11k 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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vote
2answers
453 views

In Matthew 14 Jesus walks on the water. What are the similarities between this account and the ancient Egyptian writings about Horus?

In Matthew 14 Jesus walks on the water. What are the similarities and differences between this account and the ancient Egyptian writings about Horus from Pyramid texts in 25th Century BC? For ...
6
votes
2answers
228 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
7k views

What are the similarities and differences between the Genesis creation account and other creation stories of the time

(Operating under the assumption that Genesis was authored by Moses, and its intent is a polemic against other origin stories and their view of the deity at the time). The Enûma Eliš is said to have ...
9
votes
1answer
201 views

Does the Shibboleth story help us date the book of Judges?

This story has always fascinated me: Judges 12:4-6 (ESV) 4 Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought with Ephraim. And the men of Gilead struck Ephraim, because they said, “You are ...
5
votes
1answer
363 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
244 views

Can we date Mark without first committing to an interpretation of the Olivet Discourse?

Most scholars believe Mark is the earliest biography of Jesus. (Paul's writings and perhaps one or two other New Testament letters are earlier, but they include very little biographical material ...
8
votes
4answers
21k views

When did Jesus change his view on preaching to Gentiles?

In John 10:16 Jesus says (ESV quoted): And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. The ...
8
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2answers
471 views

How big were the nomadic clans of the patriarchs?

According to the book Genesis, 70 people came down with Jacob to dwell in Egypt after contact was made with Joseph: And the sons of Joseph who were born to him in Egypt were two souls; all the ...
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votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
587 views

Was it typical to cast lots like in Acts 1:26?

At the beginning of Acts, the eleven decide that it is appropriate to replace Judas. To do so, they narrow down the list of candidates to two men: Joseph and Matthias. Then they pray, "Show us which ...
12
votes
6answers
740 views

How should we understand the “Cleansing of the Temple”?

As a preface, I was talking with some good friends last night and this passage came up. On of my friends contributed an interpretation that made my blood boil. He was clearly wrong and clearly ...
11
votes
2answers
277 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
14k views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
322 views

What was the roof likely made of in Mark 2:4?

We were talking about this last weekend and I've been curious about it. Mark 2:4 (NIV) Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by ...