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 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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4answers
478 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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122 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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1k views

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

Do 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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469 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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382 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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57 views

Translation and historical background of Job 29:6a

Various Translations Job 29:6a is translated various ways. The apparently more literal one's being: (KJV) When I washed my steps with butter (NASB) When my steps were bathed in butter [NET ...
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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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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 ...
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12k views

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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36 views

Acts 15:5 - Could Christians remain Pharisees? [closed]

Acts 15:5 reads: But some from the religious party of the Pharisees who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and to order them to observe the law of ...
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486 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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75 views

What did the label “abomination” indicate in Egyptian society?

The word תּוֹעֵבָה (tôʿēbâ, "abomination") is very common in the Hebrew Bible, usually designating breaches of covenant stipulations which are tôʿēbâ in the sight of YHWH. These uses are concentrated ...
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426 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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64 views

Were priests prohibited from tearing their garments

While studying an aspect of the crucifixion of Jesus (the seamless garment that the soldiers cast lots for), I came across a sermon transcript that said the following as part of its argument (...
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256 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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1answer
114 views

Do we know that the Enuma Elish came before Genesis? [closed]

Can the text of Genesis be dated before Enuma Elish? Are there any evidences for or against I know a common idea is that the Genesis narrative, at the least, takes elements from other Near Eastern ...
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2answers
493 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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313 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 quick,...
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1answer
182 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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142 views

How old was Ahaz when Hezekiah was born?

How old would Ahaz have been when his son, Hezekiah was born? A cursory look at 2 Kings 16:1 and 18:1 suggest he may have only been eleven. (Ahaz was 20 when he became king and he reigned 16 years. ...
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945 views

What was Luke's relationship to Paul regarding Christian matters, and thus their texts' relationships?

A comment in contention against this answer about early attestation of Luke's gospel in 1 Tim 5:18 being 1st century from Paul himself (where Paul would be referring to Luke's gospel as "Scripture") ...
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1answer
112 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 highly-...
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153 views

How typical was the dedication of Samuel?

1 Sam 1:24-28: And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull...and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh...And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you ...
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667 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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160 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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1answer
85 views

What is the significance of the term 'bread falling from the table '?

What is the historical background of the mention of 'bread falling from the table' as is seen in Matthew 15:27 (NIV): “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their ...
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1answer
176 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 in ...
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1answer
73 views

What calendar was used in the first books of the Bible? [duplicate]

Reading Leviticus, I found several verses relatives to months and dates. And I wondered how long those months were and how were they measured. I know that the modern Hebrew calendar is a lunar ...
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116 views

Where did the Christians in Hebrews 10:25 have their assemblies?

Do we know where the Christians in Hebrews 10:25 had their assemblies (for example, synagogues, private houses)? ESV: not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging ...
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85 views

When did Esarhaddon conquer Egypt?

Esarhaddon, son of Sennacherib, ruled the Assyrian Empire from 681 BC to 669 BC. His greatest achievement was the conquest of Egypt, and I would like to know exactly what year that happened? Also, ...
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95 views

Was the “abomination of desolation” Caligula's proposed statue in the Temple?

In Mark 13:14 (and similarly in Matthew 24:15) Jesus is reported as saying: "When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then ...
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2answers
166 views

What is the structure of the 'foundations' of the city wall in Revelation 21?

I always assumed the foundation of a wall would be a long uniform trench, but that doesn't seem to be consistent with the description of the foundations of the New Jerusalem given in Revelation 21: ...
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1answer
700 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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3answers
25k 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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487 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
335 views

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

What/who have commentators historically believed the "four riders" of Revelation 6 were?
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175 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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1answer
225 views

Is the estimate of 2 million people exiting Egypt possible? [closed]

Exodus 12:37 says that 600,000 men were led out of Egypt by Moses, leading to estimates that at least two million Israelite men, women and children were involved in the Exodus from Egypt. Is this ...
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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?
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1answer
52 views

What time of the year did Jesus raise Lazarus?

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to ...
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1answer
106 views

What does “Put the wood in order” mean in 1 Kings 18:33?

Several translation of 1 Kings 18:33 (ESV, RSV, KJV, etc.) say "And he put the wood in order..." What was the "order" spoken of here? Similarly, Genesis 22:9 also speaks of putting wood "in order" ...
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3answers
741 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 example,...
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3answers
173 views

What type of “dragon” is implied by the seven headed serpent of revelation?

In the context of the scriptures and culture that the vision was revealed, what was implied by "the dragon" which is also implied to be a serpent? At first, one might conclude a simple snake with ...
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116 views

Early church context: Do we have contemporary texts which add useful context for interpreting the New Testament? [closed]

What are the oldest known Christian texts that are not part of scripture, or considered apocryphal text? I'd be interested in brief details of any texts which may aid in our understanding of the New ...
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16 views

Nimrod who is he [duplicate]

In Genesis 10:8-9, scriptures mention Nimrod: Cush was the father of Nimrod; he began to be a valiant warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. (That is why it is said, “Like ...
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30 views

Do the qualifications of an overseer (ἐπίσκοπος) and the Ephesians 4:11 gift of pastor/teacher make them interchangeable or just related?

Peter encourages elders in 1 Peter 5:2 to ποιμάνατε (be shepherds). Paul instructs Timothy to install elders with qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:2 that include διδακτικόν (apt to teach). In ...
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37 views

Did Jesus die in his thirties … or at around 50? [duplicate]

Irenaeus writes, in Adversus Haereses Book II, chap 22: But, besides this, those very Jews who then disputed with the Lord Jesus Christ have most clearly indicated [that Jesus died when he was ...
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631 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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Which hermeneutical trump card wins in 1 Timothy: audience, cultural context, historical reference, or translation?

I have read books gifted to me or web articles from searches that each play a "trump card" to win the day for their 1 Timothy interpretation. See Pandora's Pulpit by Roger Sapp or The Junia Project, ...