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Questions tagged [cultural-analysis]

Understanding the culture which an author wrote for/to is often key to understanding a text's original meaning.

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2 votes
1 answer
819 views

What kind of magic did Simon practice? Acts 8:9-24

Acts 8:9-24 (ESV) 9 But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10 They all paid ...
2 votes
1 answer
107 views

What did the Israelites do with the foreign children in Deuteronomy 20:14?

This question is also related to Leviticus 25:44-46 and exodus 21:4. Could foreign children be born into slavery in Israel (like the children of Hebrew servants), or would they be made slaves if their ...
9 votes
4 answers
815 views

How did the medium of Endor suddenly realize that Saul had fooled her?

Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said. 12When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you ...
0 votes
3 answers
206 views

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

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 ...
7 votes
5 answers
57k views

What does the Gesture of "uncovering feet" and "lying to Boas feet" mean?

In Ruth 3,4 it is written: When he gets ready to go to sleep, take careful notice of the place where he lies down. Then go, uncover his legs, and lie down beside him. He will tell you what you should ...
2 votes
2 answers
416 views

Was the Lord's Prayer a typical first century Jewish prayer?

Matthew 6:9-13 (CSB): “Therefore, you should pray like this:  Our Father in heaven,  your name be honored as holy.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done  on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today ...
5 votes
3 answers
6k views

A nose ring, earring, or other in Genesis 24:22?

Abraham's servant is on a mission to find Isaac a wife, and he is blessed in that work. Upon Rebekah's fulfilling of the sign conditions of the servant's prayer to YHWH (Gen 24:12-20), the servant ...
6 votes
5 answers
2k views

What are the differences between a synagogue and a temple?

I had actually considered these two to be the same thing. Probably because they are both religious institutions. Matthew 21:12-13 NKJV 12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all ...
1 vote
1 answer
39 views

Biblical authors, Ancient Jewish/Hebrew and/or Early Christians Vs 21st Century Modern view when it comes to the interpretation of "idols"/"idolatry"

A lot of the Old Testament bible verses/passages use the terms "idol(s)"/"idolatry" within the context of -physical "carved image", (Exodus 20:3–6) -physical materials ...
2 votes
5 answers
100 views

In Song 6:2, why does the Shulamite's beloved "gather lilies"?

In Solomon's Song of Songs, why does the Shulamaite's beloved "gather lilies"? The verse says the following (6:2, NKJV, emphasis added): My beloved has gone to his garden, To the beds of ...
0 votes
4 answers
5k views

In Micah 2:12-13, what is a "breaker"?

In Micah 2:12-13 Micah predicts the arrival of the messiah whom he refers to as "the breaker" (הַפֹּרֵץ֙): KJV Micah 2: 12I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of you; I will surely gather the ...
3 votes
3 answers
3k views

Does Numbers 5:27 involve an induced miscarriage/abortion?

Recently, I have come across Numbers 5:27 being used to show that abortion is not wrong and, in fact, even was advocated to test against a woman committing adultery through a certain type of drink. In ...
9 votes
6 answers
3k views

What does it mean to cast a shoe?

What is the cultural context of casting a shoe? Psalm 60:8: Moab is My washpot; Over Edom I will cast My shoe; Philistia, shout in triumph because of Me.”
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is there any ambiguity in Luke 2:5 to whether Mary and Joseph were already married?

From a comparison of various translations of Luke 2:5 it seems there might be some ambiguity in this verse as to whether Mary and Joseph were married by the time they were traveling to Bethlehem. Some ...
1 vote
1 answer
89 views

Seeking Resources on Hermeneutical Interpretation of Scripture Influenced by Egyptian Culture [closed]

I recently heard an interesting perspective from an Adventist Christian pastor and archaeologist regarding the potential influence of Egyptian culture on biblical scriptures. Specifically, he pointed ...
4 votes
5 answers
2k views

What did the ram mean to ancient Hebrew shepherds as to inform its use as a guilt/trespass offering?

Why is a ram without blemish used for the guilt offering? N.B: Unlike the bulls, goats and lambs used for sin offerings, the ram is not required to be young only that it be without blemish. Lev 6:...
2 votes
5 answers
18k views

How much were sacrificial animals worth?

Leviticus 4-5 describes animal sacrifices. The chief priest had to bring a bull, while ordinary Israelites brought a female goat or lamb. Those who were too poor to afford a goat or sheep could offer ...
11 votes
4 answers
4k views

Ammonites, Amorites, Amalekites, Moabites, Edomites, ... how many peoples were there?

Since the books of Exodus and Numbers a lot of peoples are referenced and the Judges, Saul and Samuel report a lot of battles and wars against Ammonites, Amorites, Amalekites, Moabites, Edomites, ...
0 votes
1 answer
87 views

Why tear clothes, sprinkle head with ashes, and tear hair as a sign of humility, penitence, and repentance?

Often, in the Bible, people used to tear clothes, sprinkle their heads with ashes, and tear their hair as a sign of humility, penitence, and repentance. Few examples: Job 2:12 KJV And when they ...
2 votes
2 answers
566 views

Are the multiple mentions of Gentiles attending synagogues on Sabbath in Acts evidence that the Gentiles are to keep the Sabbath?

Acts 13:42-48 (ESV) 42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to ...
11 votes
2 answers
5k views

How did authorities know that Paul was really a Roman citizen?

A previous answer to a different question ventured into the territory of my question here, quoting from The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (which in turn, cited from some commentaries) that ...
0 votes
3 answers
645 views

What is the meaning of "take up thy bed"?

John 5:8, 9 KJV 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: Matthew 9:6 NIV Get up, take your mat and go home....
0 votes
5 answers
2k views

In Matthew 19:10 why did Jesus' disciples ask Jesus if it is better not to marry?

There is a question, to Jesus, whether a man can divorce his wife for any reason. Shammai and Hillel are the pharisees school of thought at that time. Hillel the liberal jew says that you can ...
2 votes
5 answers
13k views

Why did the disciples lay their coats on the colt during the triumphal entry while others laid theirs on the ground? And other related questions

In the synoptic gospels, all of the accounts depict Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of the colt of a donkey. They make a note that the disciples placed their coats on the donkey (and Matthew's ...
17 votes
5 answers
31k views

What is the meaning of the reference to 'stones' in Ecclesiastes 3?

Ecclesiastes starts with a series of contrasts, most of which are easy to understand. However one reference is less obvious (at least to me) - the 'stones' in verse 5a: 1 For everything there is a ...
2 votes
4 answers
6k views

In Genesis 26:18, historical reasons why Philistines might have filled Abraham's wells of water?

In Genesis chapter 26, there are a number of points noted about wells of water. Using the NKJV, particular points paint an odd picture. First, Genesis 26:15, 17-18 (NKJV, bold added): 15 Now the ...
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

What did Israel believe were the advantages of the monarchy system?

What are the apparent advantages of the monarchy system that Israel wanted to have that they saw in the other nations? There must be something they saw, for in 1 Samuel 8:4-5 and 19-20 we read (NASB): ...
11 votes
5 answers
26k views

In Genesis 24:2 why did Abraham have his servant make his oath under his "thigh"?

There is an old question on Christianity.SE which I suggested that it should also be asked here - since we don't migrate OLD questions. In doing so, I noticed that the OP hasn't been really active ...
1 vote
1 answer
221 views

What does Matthew mean by "those on His left" and "and those on His right" in Matthew 25?

In Matthew 25, starting in verse 34 the passage reads. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation ...
11 votes
5 answers
2k views

Whose faith is the subject of Hebrews 11:11?

Πίστει καὶ αὐτὴ Σάρρα δύναμιν εἰς καταβολὴν σπέρματος ἔλαβεν καὶ παρὰ καιρὸν ἡλικίας, ἐπεὶ πιστὸν ἡγήσατο τὸν ἐπαγγειλάμενον (Hebrews 11:11, Westcott and Hort) The traditional translation of Hebrews ...
-1 votes
1 answer
246 views

The importance of names in the bible [closed]

It seems that names are taken with special care in the Bible: THE THIRD COMMANDMENT:You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His ...
3 votes
2 answers
3k 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 (...
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Was the use of the woman's hair to clean Jesus' feet considered an indecent act (Luke 7:36-50)?

As I was thinking about the cultural view of women's hair in the modern Middle East, and in the Ancient Near East too, it raised significant questions for me about the story in Luke 7:36-50 (I'm ...
2 votes
4 answers
184 views

Does Capitalism shape modern translations of the Ten Minas?

In Kenneth E. Bailey's book "Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes" he challenges common renderings of the Parable of the Ten Minas in Luke 19 (also called the Parable of the Pounds): "As ...
4 votes
5 answers
2k views

Scarlet or Purple?

I was talking with a friend, and he offered this up as a contradiction between the two accounts. When Jesus is about to be crucified, during his flogging Matthew says the soldiers clothed him in ...
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is the statement "Leah had weak eyes" (Genesis 29:17) an indication that women at that time had their face covered where only their eyes showed?

In Genesis 2k9:17 the only specific part of the body mentioned is the eyes. Is this because everything else was covered up? “Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured” (KJV). ...
1 vote
1 answer
469 views

Book of Esther's major theme is that God's people may have Unwillingly strayed away from God, but God is still Loving towards said people

I'm trying to approach the Book of Esther in the Bible in a holistic manner ( taking a bird's eye view ) of God's varying calibrated auspices of His chosen Israelite nation. Also I am taking into ...
8 votes
5 answers
43k views

Do the specific gifts the father gives to the prodigal son have any special significance?

What is the significance of the robe, ring & sandals in Luke 15:22? ‘But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on ...
3 votes
3 answers
7k views

Who was the Gilead of Judges 11?

In Judges 11: 1-3 it reads: Jephthah [Yiftach] the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. 2 Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were ...
1 vote
1 answer
82 views

Foot massage - is The Message right on Deut. 33:24; John 11:2; 12:3?

In the Message, some of the verses that normally describe foot washing are described as a foot massage (emphasis added): "Asher, best blessed of the sons! May he be the favorite of his brothers, ...
2 votes
1 answer
17k views

In Acts 3:1, What is the Significance of the Ninth Hour of Prayer?

Acts 3:1 - Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the [a]ninth hour, the hour of prayer. I have been digging everywhere I can think of to find some description or outline of what happened ...
7 votes
4 answers
3k views

What did Martha most likely mean by "the last day" in John 11:24?

John 11:22-27 (ESV): 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise ...
2 votes
1 answer
960 views

Meaning of "at the feet of [rabbi]" in Luke 10 and Acts 22?

In Luke 10:39, Mary "sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching". A common reading seems to be that Mary was physically sitting at Jesus' feet listening to Jesus. See Was it unusual ...
2 votes
2 answers
7k views

What position in society did the teachers of the law hold?

Matthew 23:27-28 (NIV): 27"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the ...
3 votes
2 answers
538 views

In the New Testament, What is the Origin of "Believe In" and "Believe Into"?

Is there any Extra-Biblical source, (in Classical Greek, or Semitic sources), or a syntactical rule, behind the construction: ["πιστεύων ἐν" and "πιστεύων εἰς" + "Some Leader"]* — Or, is this ...
1 vote
3 answers
5k views

Why was Amnon not punished by David for raping Tamar?

David is unwittingly involved in the set-up, by agreeing to Amnon's request to have Tamar make him some cakes. II Samuel 13:6,7. He KNEW what happened next, and was very angry. II Samuel 13:21. He did ...
4 votes
6 answers
480 views

Did David and Saul have different afterlife theologies?

On the one hand, one could arguably say that David seemed to have believed that the dead were unconscious, based on what he said in Psalm 146:4 (YLT): His spirit goeth forth, he returneth to his ...
4 votes
2 answers
3k views

Does 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 support my beliefs in head coverings?

I believe that any woman who prays without her head covered & looks up is disgraceful to God & any man who wears ANY kind of head covering & looks down while praying is disgraceful to God. ...
11 votes
6 answers
8k views

In 1 Corinthians 11:4 why does Paul consider it a dishonor for a man to cover his head when praying or prophesying?

Why does the apostle Paul consider it a dishonour if a man prays with his head covered in 1 Corinthians 11:4? NIV-UK Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonours his head.
2 votes
3 answers
117 views

What are the exegetical options for the argument the Jews are making at John 5:18?

John 5:18 is "Because of this, the Jews tried all the harder to kill Him. Not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God." ...