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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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
128 views

Japeth will dwell in the tents of Shem and be his servant--has this been fulfilled yet historically?

Genesis 9:24-27: So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. Then he said: " Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his ...
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1answer
108 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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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 ...
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156 views

Should Luke be considered a 'primary' source concerning events in Jesus' life?

Sould Luke properly be described as a 'primary' or 'secondary' source concerning the life of Jesus? I ask because the author of Luke does not claim to be an eye-witness to most of the events he ...
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304 views

Who was Neri, father of Shealtiel?

This one has been dogging me for a while. I know there is no (direct) Biblical source to answer this question, but perhaps the scholars here might be better informed as to the existence of some ...
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954 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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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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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 ...
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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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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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What textual clues are there that the original readers of Genesis would have understood 11:27–50:26 in a different way than Genesis 2:4–11:26?

One fairly common argument on how to interpret Genesis says that there is a change in theme (or perhaps even genre) near the end of Genesis 11, basically that things shift from the (pre-)history of ...
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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 ...
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3answers
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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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1answer
391 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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1answer
87 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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2answers
224 views

Qualifications for deacons and pastors in 1 Timothy 3:1-12

3:1 This saying is trustworthy: “If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a good work.” 3:2 The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, ...
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320 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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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 ...
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1answer
87 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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77 views

When was the Hebrew Bible's exact text/spelling synchronized globally?

The Hebrew Bible is essentially identical in all Jewish communities, despite significant differences in spellings and wordings from the Septuagint or texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls, or even from quoted ...
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237 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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627 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 ...
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2answers
99 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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Was Luke mistaken about the year in which John the Baptist's preaching began?

Luke goes into detail concerning the beginning of Christ’s ministry. To quote: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being ...
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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, ...
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296 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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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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2answers
219 views

Who were the people of Jericho?

Note: I am looking for answers both in Biblical Text and from other historical texts Joshua 6:21-25 says that they killed every living thing in it (the City of Jericho) -- "men, women, young, old, ...
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114 views

Can 1 Cor. 1:10-13 be interpreted as a Commandment against Cults?

Question: In 1 Cor. 13, is the Early Church's understanding of the Command against "Divisions", pragmatically equivalent to the modern Church's prohibition against "Cults"? Notes: The ...
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3answers
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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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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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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 ...
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235 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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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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69 views

Did houses only have one room 2000 years ago?

A possible implication of Matthew 5:15 is that houses generally had only one room: 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. ...
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1answer
857 views

Where, and how, did Josiah die?

The death of Josiah is reported differently in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. The Kings account is brief: [WEB] 2 Kings 23 : 29 In his days Pharaoh Necoh king of Egypt went up against the king of ...
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1answer
194 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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Was “Τετέλεσται” actually stamped on paid bills and debt certificates in the first century?

I've often heard some really cool explanations around the meaning for the greek word Τετέλεσται in the New Testament where Jesus said, "It is Finished". I love what I've heard, and have even preached ...
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1answer
58 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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3answers
238 views

Ancient Hebrew Calendar(s) and Modern Translations of “Years”

When we read Genesis or Samuel/Kings/Chronicles (or any OT book that attempts any sort of reliable chronology), what are reasonable meanings of the word (translated) "year?" Suppose I wanted to ...
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2answers
232 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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2answers
898 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. ...
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6answers
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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 ...
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1answer
260 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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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 ...
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485 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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769 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 ...
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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 ...