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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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, ...
9
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1answer
153 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 ...
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3answers
601 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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1answer
2k 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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2answers
255 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
64 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?
9
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1answer
752 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 ...
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1answer
409 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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1answer
454 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
467 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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1answer
166 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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1answer
652 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
23k 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 ...
6
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2answers
281 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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2answers
14k 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 ...
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3answers
23k 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
2k 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
593 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
325 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
397 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 ...
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1answer
237 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
9k 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
165 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 ...
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2answers
610 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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2k 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 ...
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3answers
854 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 ...
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2answers
418 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 ...
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1answer
180 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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0answers
2k 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 ...
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1answer
228 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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1answer
2k 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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3answers
376 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 ...
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2answers
717 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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1answer
141 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 ...
4
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1answer
358 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
3k views

Who were the “chief priests” and “Sanhedrin” in reference to the people trying to kill Jesus?

Mark 14:55 (NIV) The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Wikipedia has shown me that ...
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4answers
45k 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 ...
7
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1answer
560 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 ...
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2answers
511 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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1answer
732 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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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 ...
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2answers
1k views

How consistent were Augustine's hermeneutics?

St. Augustine of Hippo seems to have had considerable influence on the field of hermeneutics. His work in the field seems to be a bit of a landmark in the history of how hermeneutics is done. However ...
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1answer
1k 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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1answer
115 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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1answer
358 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 ...
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1answer
286 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 ...
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1answer
735 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 ...