10
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the seven middoth (Hillel's rules for interpretation)?

The "middoth" were Rabbi Hillel's rules for interpretation. There are seven of them. What are they? Please list them and include one or two clear examples for each.
10
votes
2answers
533 views

What is the evidence for the existence of the Q document?

According to most scholars, Mark was the first of the four gospels to be written. Matthew and Luke then relied upon Mark and a second written source called Q. What is the evidence for the existence of ...
10
votes
2answers
968 views

How can I identify puns in the Hebrew Bible?

The Bible sometimes uses words with multiple meanings to the effect of an intentional pun or wordplay. Punning seems especially common in Hebrew. I think that being aware of these literary devices ...
9
votes
2answers
143 views

Is Romans 1:17 ambiguous?

ESV: 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” The NIV and KJV read similarly. I have always understood the ...
9
votes
2answers
580 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
929 views

Was Moses the probable author of Genesis?

I've been operating under the assumption that Moses was the author the book of Genesis (or at least the recorder of a bunch of oral traditions). This document suggests a different view. ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the translation philosophy for tachash skins in Exodus?

In Exodus (e.g.: 26:14) we learn one of the coverings for the tabernacle is to be made of "תחש" (tachash) skins. The translation of this term appears to be especially difficult or contentious as there ...
7
votes
1answer
199 views

Does the qal in Amos 3:6 automatically imply causation?

I am looking at Amos 3:6 and I expected a permissive rather than causative verb but I found a perfect qal. Does this qal actually mean cause here? Amo 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and ...
7
votes
2answers
299 views

In the Peshitta NT, what was the original meaning of the word often translated “first day of the week”?

Is there an Aramaic word for "week" different from "Sabbath?" Is the word for Sabbath used in the Peshitta New Testament in the following passages: But on the eve of the Sabbath, when the first ...
7
votes
2answers
391 views

Should the title in Isaiah 9 be translated?

Translators publishing for the Christian market translate the title in Isaiah 9:6: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Was the Beloved Disciple the author of the Fourth Gospel?

One very common interpretation of the Gospel of John is that the Beloved Disciple was the author of the book. (Presumably, he was interested in obscuring his identity for some reason.) But other ...
7
votes
2answers
530 views

“My son” in Hosea 11:1 quoted in Matt. 2:14-15

Matthew 2:14-15 (NASB) reads: 14So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. 15He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill ...
7
votes
4answers
11k views

Meaning of “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”

In Matthew 24:28 and Luke 17:37, Jesus uses the phrase "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather." Was Jesus speaking in a parable? Idiom? How has this phrase been interpreted?
6
votes
3answers
400 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

How is Psalm 34 linked to 1st Samuel 21?

The annotation of Psalm 34 (ESV) reads: Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away. Clearly this is a reference to 1 Samuel 21:10-15 ...
5
votes
2answers
727 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
381 views

Why is Hadēs translated as “hell”?

In Matt. 16:18 (KJV), it is written, And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. κἀγὼ δέ ...
4
votes
2answers
781 views

Where did Samuel come from when he was summoned by the Medium of En-dor?

Appropriate to today, I was thinking about the time when Saul visited the Medium of En-dor in 1 Samuel 28:8-14 (ESV): So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men ...
3
votes
2answers
113 views

How to interpret John 2:10

King James Bible: And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. ...
2
votes
3answers
183 views

At what point in his narrative does the prophet Yona appear to die?

Christ essentially appealed to Yona being dead three days and three nights in the heart of the sea as proof that he too would be dead three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (i.e., the ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

Why does Revelation 8:1 use ὅταν instead of ὅτε?

I do not know Greek, so hopefully I am not just embarrassing myself with this question; but here goes. For the first six seals in Revelation, John introduces them using ὅτε: 1 - Καὶ εἶδον ὅτε ...
2
votes
1answer
240 views

Is Hosea 6:1-3 a quotation?

Many translations wrap Hosea 6:1-3 in quotation marks. For instance, in the NJPS: “Come, let us turn back to the Lord: He attacked, and He can heal us; He wounded, and He can bind us up. In ...
1
vote
1answer
184 views

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

What/who have commentators historically believed the "four riders" of Revelation 6 were?
8
votes
3answers
991 views

Why did Stephen give such a long speech?

Before he was stoned, Stephen gives a huge speech (Acts 7) going over Israeli history, from Abraham through Moses to David. I really don't understand the purpose of it. What is the overall message? ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

What does Jesus mean by generation when talking about the end times?

In Luke 21:32-33 (ESV) Jesus says: "Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." What ...
18
votes
6answers
9k views

What's wrong with cooking a kid in its mother's milk?

In the Pentateuch there are at least three repetitions of the following prohibition: Exodus 23:19b (ESV) You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk. Exodus 34:26b (ESV) You ...
17
votes
3answers
887 views

Understanding Numbers 11:25

As I am studying, I have encountered different renderings of the last phrase in this verse, which describes the prophesying of the seventy elders of Israel after the Spirit was placed on them. An ...
31
votes
4answers
3k views

Does the Bible mention unicorns?

I was reading Psalm 22 (from this question) and I found this verse: Psalms 22:21 (KJV) Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. When I switched ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views

Pre-Christian, Jewish interpretation of Psalm 22

How was Psalm 22 understood by Jewish tradition before the birth of Jesus? Was it interpreted messianically? What pre-Christian sources discuss Psalm 22?
16
votes
3answers
636 views

Does Gen 1:1 refer to day 1 or the entire 6 days of creation?

A natural reading of Gen 1:1 with it's immediate context is that it is part of the first day of creation 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

How is it that Jesus could be “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”?

This verse is usually interpreted as a prophetic word by Jesus about Himself: Matthew 12:40: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three ...
12
votes
1answer
390 views

When is allegorization of scripture productive?

If I were to run into the story of the three little pigs accidentally used as a bookmark in my Bible I might draw these conclusions: Clearly the wolf is the Devil trying to devour sinners who are ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

“Until they see the kingdom of God” in Luke 9:27 and parallels

What are the possible interpretations of "will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God"? Which is most likely correct? Luke 9:27: But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those ...
11
votes
4answers
407 views

Is dispensationalism a theological framework or a hermeneutical approach?

I most often hear about dispensationalism in the context of a theological framework wherein God’s relations with man are understood to be divided up into different periods of time, or dispensations, ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Can John's Passion chronology be reconciled with that of the Synoptics?

Background: Over the centuries, many readers of the four Gospels have seen significant discrepancies between John and the Synoptics, particularly with regards to chronology. This has led many to ...
8
votes
1answer
844 views

Who are the disciples to fear in Matthew 10:28?

Who is Jesus telling the disciples to fear here in Matthew 10:28 (ESV): "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in ...
8
votes
3answers
757 views

Was Deborah considered a sub-optimal leader?

I've sometimes heard that Deborah was allowed to be a leader of Israel only because no man stepped up to the responsibility. However, when she is introduced there is no indication of that: ...
8
votes
5answers
687 views

Who named the wrong priest in Mark 2:26?

Here's a story Jesus told about David according to Mark 2:23-28 (ESV): One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. ...
7
votes
3answers
304 views

God's speech in Job 38-42

For me the Book of Job is one of the most controversial books in the Bible yet. In chapters 38-41 we see the Lord's unnecessary boasting in front of his slave. Job 41:5 is an example of a cynicism: ...
7
votes
4answers
812 views

Who incited David to take a census and what's wrong with taking a census anyway?

According to 2 Samuel 24:1 (NRSV) Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go, count the people of Israel and Judah." But according to ...
6
votes
7answers
6k views

What is the “first resurrection”?

Finishing up the year in the Bible, I heard this passage: Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been ...
5
votes
3answers
387 views

Is John 21 a later addition to the Fourth Gospel?

Many readers have noted that John 20:30-31 makes for a fitting ending to the Gospel. Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But ...
5
votes
5answers
632 views

The beloved disciple vs Peter

I was reading a book by Andreas Köstenberger and he points out that in the Fourth Gospel, the beloved disciple is depicted at least several times as having greater access to knowledge as compared ...
19
votes
2answers
690 views

Bart D. Ehrman - respected critic?

I found Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why troublesome to my understanding of the translation process of the bible. It has made me review my understanding of the bible. ...
16
votes
4answers
782 views

How can we ensure a given “chiasm” was intentional by the author, and is not merely fanciful eisegesis?

What is 'chiasm'? Chiasm is a literary technique by which the contents of a portion of text are structured in such a way that they could be laid out in a ">" shape... A) This is an example of a ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

Does πορνεία mean premarital sex in 1 Corinthians 5-7?

I'm interested in this question because some liberal theologians insist that the Bible does not say anything about premarital sex*. To get a reasonable scope for the question, I limit this to just the ...
12
votes
3answers
10k views

Jacob's name is Israel. So why is he still called Jacob?

When born, Jacob is given the name "Jacob" meaning, "trickster, supplanter, heel grabber." After he wrestles at Jabbok, he is renamed "Israel" meaning "strives with God." However, after this ...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

What does it mean for Jesus to fulfill the law?

In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says he didn't come to abolish the law or Prophets but to fulfill them. What does it mean to "fulfill the law"?
11
votes
2answers
334 views

What is the “systematic typology” hermeneutic method and how does it work?

There's a hermeneutic method that's been used on this site called "systematic typology". What is it? How does one apply it? Are there contexts where it is considered to be a particularly good or ...
11
votes
5answers
5k views

Are the 'ten virgins' told in Jesus' parable multiple brides or just general wedding party?

Jesus told a parable about the kingdom of God involving "ten virgins" and a "bridegroom". It starts out in the beginning of Matthew: Matthew 25:1-2 (ESV) 1 "Then the kingdom of heaven will be ...

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