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39

It's hard to get inside the minds of people from other cultures, especially when we are separated by time as well as distance. And the main problem here is cultural: We have an expectation of greater precision than ancient people did. The other answers hint at this, but IMO they don't fully appreciate the divide between modern and ancient levels of ...


31

Many different explanations have been proposed. The best article I've read on the subject is The Number Pi in the Bible by Abarim Publications. I'll begin with what I think is the obvious and correct explanation, then mention some other explanations (mentioned e.g. in the article above). 10 ≠ 10.0 (rather, "10" means (10.0 ± 0.5)) 1 Kings 7:23 says ...


12

To start with, compare the circle the diameter we're given would make with the circle the circumference we're given would make: Since a circumference is π times the diameter, a 'pure' circle of 10 cubits in diameter as we describe the sea as having would be 10π cubits in circumference, or roughly 31.4 cubits. Now, since the circumference attributed to ...


9

According to the Talmud, certain things specifically associated with the king’s person (his horse, e.g.) are forbidden ever to be used by a commoner. Specifically, the widow of a king is forbidden to marry anyone but another king. And if the next king is his son, she can’t marry him either—the laws in Leviticus still apply. Avishag was not married to David, ...


9

This is an ancient question... The rabbis of the Talmud [BT Hullin 5a] discuss both opinions: What is meant by ‘the ravens’ ['orevim]? Ravina said: It means actual ravens. R. Ada ben Manyomi said to him: "Could it not mean two men whose names were Orev?" He replied, "How could it have happened that both were named Orev?" "But perhaps they were so named ...


7

Was he insecure or unsure that God who performed miracle through him, would also save him from Jezebel? We aren't told explicitly of course, but we do know that he was afraid Jezebel would kill him: 2Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this ...


7

The text does not give a direct answer to this question. That is not to say we must be left wondering! There are two common reasons why a text may omit details that would seem relevant to us. They are simply not relevant to what the author was trying to communicate.1 It is assumed that the immediate audience would have understood the scenario given their ...


6

There does not seem to be any way to narrow the gap. This might be intentional, the intent being to establish a generally negative moral value to kings gathering harems, but allowing for the necessity of politically expedient marriages with foreign royal families. The term "many wives" is as specific as the OT gets. Kings 11:4 is clearly an indictment of ...


5

In 1 Kings 12:20, it is written, "...there was none who followed the house of David except the tribe of Yehuda only." Regarding this phrase, Rabbi David Kimchi (RaDaK) wrote, כבר כתבנו כי שבט בנימין בכלל שבט יהודה, כי ירושלם בין שניהם היתה ומי שימלוך בירושלם בודאי ימלוך על שניהם, לפיכך נכלל שבט בנימין בכלל שבט יהודה which is translated as, We have ...


5

It is not uncommon for God to use animals to perform tasks in the Tanakh/Old Testament, so this would not be an anomaly. At the same time, ancient Near East (ANE) hospitality makes 'Arabs' a possibility (it is plausible). Concerning the issue of ritual impurity, Elijah was out in the wilderness, nowhere near the temple nor other Jews. Who cares if he became ...


5

we don't even know what the real numerical value of pi is. When written out as a number, it will always be rounded. The question is: At which decimal place will you believe God's Word is true? The hundredth decimal place, the thousandth decimal place? I'm guessing for most, there will never be enough decimal places. For me pi = 3 is close enough.


5

From a post by Cecil Adams, aka The Straight Dope In 150 A.D. a Hebrew rabbi and scholar named Nehemiah attempted to explain away the anomaly in Chronicles by saying that the diameter of the tub was 10 cubits from outer rim to outer rim, whereas the 30 cubit circumference was measured around the inner rim. In other words, the difference between the ...


5

The portrayal of David in the books of Samuel and Kings is ambivalent. In the current idiom we might say "conflicted". There is much positive material, but also a vast amount of negative material. The ambivalence is consistent throughout the narrative, almost from David's first appearance. This last picture we get of David epitomizes the ambivalence, and it ...


5

At the outset 1 Kings, King David is near death and he hasn't explicitly chosen a successor. David's first three children, Amnon, Absalom, and the unnamed child from II Samuel 12 are dead, so Adonijah is next in line for the throne. Adonijah thinks he will be king and he has an entourage, but he doesn't have the support of the whole nation (1 Kings 1:5-10). ...


4

This should not be taken as a prophecy but as a lesson on true faith. If you read before this passage, you see that Jesus has been having issues with the religious leaders. Over and over they fail to believe, or more specifically, fail to recognize who he is. Now, go back to the Hebrew scriptures. Jonah was pretty cool, but you would really only expect ...


4

The Kerith Ravine is home to a river somewhere east of the Jordan, which marked the eastern border of the land given to Israel. On a purely physical level, it functions (unlike the Jordan) as a place far away and hidden from King Ahab who was seeking Elijah's life because of the drought. The name Kerith means a "cutting" or "separation." While having to do ...


4

I'm reasonably certain that 24 oxen is, well, a lot of cow. What can we learn from this? First and foremost, that Elisha's family or clan was well-off. Let's go to an authority. The Anchor Yale Bible, I Kings. Page 455: 19 He found Elisha son of Shaphat; he was plowing. The detail conveys more than local color; Elisha's prosaic background points up ...


4

As Mawia notes, this cannot be an immediate decommissioning because Elijah continues to act as a prophet as he carries out God's instructions in this chapter. The mantle of prophecy passed from Elijah to Elisha; it wasn't revoked and later given fresh, or it wouldn't make sense for God to tell Elijah to annoint Elisha as successor. (I note in passing that ...


4

You're not alone in having noticed this repetition. Various hypotheses have been proposed for its existence, from those suggesting it is a thematic choice by the narrator to highlight Elijah's change in character, to a more critical position that there was an intentional addition (perhaps from an alternate tradition of the same story). While in the process ...


3

The customary/traditional Hebrew reading is "he saw". The Radak (a medieval biblical commentator) states that some people read "and he was afraid" and that there's no literary necessity to do so, he "saw" that he was in trouble, and he fled. The Jonathan Aramaic translation (which is from around the 7th century) also renders "he saw". The emphasis of the ...


3

Shlomo ("Solomon"), the son of David, continued to go whoring after gods other than YHVH (1 Kings 11:1-10). This was exacerbated by his numerous foreign wives of whom God warned Shlomo that they would cause him to go astray and commit idolatry. Consequently, YHVH told Shlomo that he would rend the kingdom from him, except that He would leave one tribe (the ...


3

No, David is not The Godfather - at least not in the Don Corleone sense of a family head establishing his dynasty through corruption and murder. A dynasty is established - the chapter indeed concludes: "The kingdom was now firmly established in Solomon's hands." But the previous commands of David are introduced to explain that Solomon's rise to power is not ...


3

I think you misunderstand what factors cause a person to become ritually impure and the dietary laws known as kashrut. The crow/raven is in a class of birds that are "unclean" meaning that they are not suitable for eating. The Torah's list of clean birds is limited to birds who are not birds of prey and those who are not scavengers, like the crow. These we ...


2

Obadyah is trying to convince Elijah not to disappear on him. There is an implication that he had done so in the past; at least that others had reported Elijah’s whereabouts to Ahab only to have the prophet vanish before the king’s agents arrived, likely with a poor outcome for the reporter. But since Obadyah is an official of Ahab’s government, perhaps ...


2

First, it seems that Wikipedia transliterates the name as Cherith. With that information in hand, I discovered an article [PDF] by James Tabor that mentions: Directly across the Jordan River from the Aenon/Salim area is the rugged Wadi el-Yabis, which I take to be fairly securely identified with the famed “brook Cherith” associated with Elijah’s ...


2

It amazes me how many sermons I've heard and articles I've read that describe the showdown on Mount Carmel as a triumph for God in such terms that the audience would cry out a resounding "hurrah!" at the fate of unrepentant sinners, and how this should inspire us to be uncompromisingly single-minded in the pursuit of forcefully reminding the unchurched that ...


2

It did not sound like decommissioning because Elijah still had the power of God. God was still using him and he could still perform miracles. 2 Kings 2:8 Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground. God wanted to appoint a successor ...


2

Traditional theology holds that the book of Deuteronomy was either given at Sinai or written by Moshe (modulo the last eight verses), so in that framework, knowledge of the Deuteronomy text ought to be sounding alarm bells when reading Kings. However, scholars generally ascribe later authorship to Deuteronomy, which complicates things. Conventional ...


2

The manuscript evidence is summed up well by R.B. Allen: The reading “and he was afraid” has the support of LXX, Vg, Syro-Hexapla, Syriac, one MS of the Targum, and some Hebrew MSS. Against this largely versional evidence stand most Hebrew MSS and the Targum, which read “and he saw.” Allen, R.B., "Elijah the Broken Prophet." Journal of the ...


2

The evidence, and the consensus of critical scholars, is that the Deuteronomic History (Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 2 Kings), written before the Babylonian Exile, was the main source for the Book of Chronicles (now 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles), but that the author of Chronicles probably had other material available as well. Chronicles ...



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