From the book
1001 SURPRISING THINGS ABOUT THE BIBLE
Culture Shock between the Ages
815. The Bible speaks about miracles without making apology or even changing its tone. In other words, it doesn’t anticipate skepticism. It considers the whole creation rather miraculous. Its writers show the same awe for a sunrise as for a day when the sun stands still.
[THE SUN STANDING STILL MIRACLE IS NOT UNDERSTOOD BY VERY MANY, IT WAS NOT AS MANY THINK; THERE IS A STUDY ON IT UNDER “MISCELLANEOUS” ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt]
816. Male-female relationships in the Bible do—compared to our present-day standards—put women in a subordinate position to men. But when the Bible is compared to the standards of the day in which it was written, it continually gave women a better place in life than that culture allowed them.
817. A modern atheist says that he or she doesn't believe in God— not gods. Antiquity knew no such atheists. Everyone and every nation had a god of their own, and usually more than one. The proclamation of monotheism must have sounded very strange to the surrounding cultures of that time.
818. The issue of intermarriage is still a divisive and emotional question among contemporary Jews because it defines who is a Jew. According to Jewish law, a Jew is one who is born to a Jewish mother or is converted to Judaism.
819. The Mosaic law allowed polygamy (more than one wife) among the Hebrew people. Wives were given certain protections against abuses and there were various regulations regarding these marriages. There was among the Israelites, however, a marked tendency toward monogamy (only one wife). The main reason may have been that the custom of having more than one wife was too expensive for most people.
820. The Mosaic law did forbid multiple wives for the kings of Israel with the warning that the king's heart would be led astray (Deut. 17:17). The cause of much trouble in the lives of David and Solomon, as well as Ahab, was that they followed the example of the kings in their day of taking many heathen wives, rather than obeying God's law. Men like Adam, Noah, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, and Job had only one wife.
821. In the East the custom of arranged marriages goes back to early Old Testament times. When Esau married against his parents' wishes, he caused Isaac and Rebekah grief. Why did parents insist on their right to select a bride for their son? The new bride became a member of the bridegroom's clan, and the whole family had a vested interested in knowing if she would be a good fit. There is evidence that sometimes the son or daughter was consulted, as in Rebekah's case when she was asked if she was willing to go and become the wife of Isaac (Gen. 24:58).
[YES AND THAT ONE EXAMPLE IS ENOUGH TO “DO AWAY WITH” THE IDEA OF ARRANGED MARRIAGES BY PARENTS - THAT EXAMPLE IS GIVEN TO SHOW THE BRIDE TO BE HAS A SAY IN WHO SHE MARRIES - Keith Hunt]
822. What's love got to do with it? Eastern peoples consider love between husband and wife very much like westerners do between brother and sister. It is believed that husbands and wives should love one another because God chose them for each other through the selection of their parents. Love comes after marriage. There are some exceptions to the rule. The case of Jacob and Rachel is the most notable example. For Jacob it was love at first sight (Gen. 29:10-18).
[NO IT IS NOT THE RULE OF GOD; TRUE LOVE COMES BEFORE MARRIAGE, AND THE BRIDE TO BE HAS A SAY IN WHO SHE WILL MARRY - Keith Hunt]
823. For centuries it has been possible for a husband in Arab lands to divorce his wife by a spoken word. When the wife is divorced, she is entitled to all her wearing apparel, and the husband cannot take anything from her that she has on her body. For this reason, coins on the headgear, rings, and necklaces became an important source of wealth in time of a woman's need. Such customs of divorce were no doubt prevalent in Gentile lands during Old Testament times. A woman was not allowed to divorce her husband.
[MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE IS GIVEN A FULL EXPOUNDING BY MYSELF UNDER “MISCELLANEOUS” ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt]
824. A husband must give a written certificate of divorce (Deut. 24:1) to his wife in order to divorce her. This is so that she may remarry. The prophet Malachi taught that God hated divorce and severely condemned any man who dealt treacherously with the wife of his covenant (Mai. 2:14-16).
[THE FIRST PART IS CORRECT UNDER THE OLD COVENANT; THE SECOND PART OF GOD HATING DIVORCE IS VERY IN-CORRECT; THE TRUTH OF MAI 2:14-16 IS GIVEN FULL ATTENTION AND EXPLANATION IN MY STUDIES ON “DIVORCE AND RE-MARRIAGE” - THE MISCELLANEOUS - Keith Hunt]
825. The sin of adultery did not have anything to do with divorce under the Jewish law. Adultery was punishable by death or stoning (Lev. 20:10). A man who was guilty of unfaithfulness was considered a criminal only in that he had invaded the rights of another man. Jesus swept away all grounds for divorce under the law, and made unfaithfulness the lone grounds for divorce for New Testament Christians (Matt. 5:31-32).
[KING DAVID COMMITTED ADULTERY AND WAS SPARED DEATH. SO ALL LAWS WITH A DEATH SENTENCE WAS SUBJECT TO WHAT DAVID WAS WILLING TO DO. IT IS OBVIOUS THE AUTHOR DID NOT STUDY “DIVORCE AND RE-MARRIAGE” IN ANY DEEP WAY AS I DO IN MY STUDY OF THE SUBJECT - Keith Hunt]
826. Prostitutes often appear in the stories of the Bible. There were two kinds of prostitutes in the Hebrew Scriptures. There were "cubic prostitutes" of the Canaanite religion, but Rahab, the prostitute in Jericho, was a zonah, which is Hebrew for a common prostitute. Rahab was the prostitute who hid the Israelite spies and later dangled a red cord out her window to mark her house for protection during the conquest of Jericho. New Testament genealogy in Matthew lists Rahab as the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth and is an ancestor of David, as well as Jesus.
827. Jesus took no public stand against slavery, racism, class warfare, state-sponsored terrorism, military occupation, or corruption in government in the Gospels. He spoke not a word against abortion or infanticide, homosexuality or the exploitation of women and children. Of all the social evils of his day, Jesus spoke out against the Pharisees and their spiritual corruption.
[AS JOHN SAID IF ALL THE THINGS JESUS SAID AND DID WERE RECORDED THE WORLD WOULD NOT HOLD ALL THE BOOKS; AN HONEST EXAGGERATION FOR THE EMPHASIS THAT NOT ALL THINGS JESUS SAID OR DID IS RECORDED FOR US. ALL THINGS LISTED BY THESE AUTHORS ARE DEALT WITH IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORFD OF GOD - Keith Hunt]
828. One sacrifice that only the women gave to the Lord was offered after the birth of a child: "When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering" (Lev. 12:6).
[UNDER THE OLD COVENANT IT WAS SO - Keith Hunt]
829. Jewish women were perhaps less active in temple or synagogue worship than later in history. Although there was a special area at the temple known as the "court of women," women were not allowed to go into the inner court. Sources other than the Bible indicate that women did not read the Torah or recite prayers in the synagogue, but they could sit and listen in the special women's area.
[WHAT THE JEWS ADDED IN THE TEMPLE AREAS WERE THEIR DOING NOT FROM GOD. THERE WAS ALSO A SECTION THAT THE GENTILE PROSELYTES COULD ENTER, BUT NO FURTHER - AGAIN JEWISH MAN MADE LAWS. THE SUBJECT OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH IS COVERED IN GREAT DEPTH BY MYSELF UNDER “CHURCH STRUCTURE” SECTION - Keith Hunt]
A different picture unfolds in the early Christian church. Luke 8:1-3 indicates that Jesus welcomed some women as traveling companions. He encouraged Martha and Mary to sit at his feet as disciples.
[ALL COVERED IN-DEPTH IN STUDIES UNDER “CHURCH STRUCTURE” - Keith Hunt]
831. After Jesus ascended into heaven, several women met with the other disciples in the upper room to pray. Both men and women gathered at the home of John Mark's mother to pray for the release of Peter; and both men and women prayed regularly in the church at Corinth (which is why Paul gave instructions to both men and women about how to pray in public).
[NOPE WRONG AGAIN ON WOMEN PRAYING IN CHURCH - ALL COVERED IN MY MANY STUDIES ON CHURCH STRUCTURE/CHURCH GOVERNMENT - Keith Hunt]
Angels in the Bible
832. The word angel comes from the Greek word aggelos (pronounced angelos) and means "messenger." In the Bible this is the form used in almost every mention of angels except one—in Luke 20:36 (KJV) where the phrase reads "equal unto the angels," or the Greek word isaggelos, which means "like an angel or "angelic."
833. Angels are beings that are created as "intermediate" beings between God and man. They are created beings by God, making them lower, but Psalm 8:5 states that man was made a little lower than the angels.
834. There are more than three hundred references to angels in the Bible. They play an important role and are seen in some of the most famous Bible stories, including the Christmas story.
835. An angel is neither a god nor a human. Angels are spirits, as Hebrews says: "[they are] ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation."
836. The first mention of angels in the Bible is when Adam and Eve left the Garden after the fall. They are banished from Eden, and Eden is protected by cherubim, angels that are depicted elsewhere as winged bulls or lions with human heads.
837. Cherubim are symbolic attendants to places of the Lord's "enthronement" on earth in the Old Testament. They guard the Garden of Eden and the ark of the covenant.
838. People had forgotten what cherubim signified by Jesus' time, and the historian Josephus wrote in the first century A.D. that "no one can tell what they were like." Now archaeology has unearthed much of the forgotten past of the biblical world, and it is believed that a cherub was a small wing-bearing lion with a human head, in other words a sphinx. This was the winged creature most often portrayed in Canaanite art, and Canaanite kings are often shown seated on thrones supported by two cherubim. The Israelites may have adapted the cherubim to make a throne for the invisible presence of God.
839. Angels have three important responsibilities: to attend God's holy throne, to protect people, and to serve as messengers carrying special news or tidings. They are worshipful beings that serve God by carrying out his wishes through these three main roles.
840. Daniel gives a prophetic picture of what attending the throne of the Almighty God appears like:
The Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool. . . .
A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
[THIS IS A PROOF THAT GOD HAS FORM AND SHAPE; THAT HE IS A SPIRIT BEING, AS JESUS SAID, “GOD IS A SPIRIT” - GOSPEL OF JOHN. GOD IS MADE OF SPIRIT, BUT HE STILL HAS FORM AND SHAPE; GOD IS NOT A “NOTHINGNESS” AS SOME TEACH. I DO NOT SERVE OR WORSHIP A NOTHINGNESS GOD; I SERVE AND WORSHIP THE GOD WHO HAS FORM AND SHAPE, BUT COMPOSED OF SPIRIT. SEE ALL THE STUDIES UNDER “GOD, CHRIST AND THE HOLY SPIRIT” - Keith Hunt]
Angels are all around God, worshiping him.
841. Guardian angels are spoken of throughout the Bible. Abraham spoke of God sending his angel before his servant Elias as the steward went to seek out a wife for Abraham's son Isaac. Psalm 91:11-12 also speaks of watchful angels:
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
[I SURELY KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE; MANY TIMES I HAVE BEEN PROTECTED FROM WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN A VERY SERIOUS SMASH UP, OR EVEN DEATH - Keith Hunt]
842. As messengers the angels communicate God's will to us. They serve as rescuers (such as when Lot was saved from Sodom); as bearers of great tidings (to Mary concerning the birth of Jesus); to instruct prophets (Daniel was given detailed direction from "the man Gabriel"). Angels are mediators who pass along messages God has for his people.
843. Hebrews 1:14 says angels are "ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation." As such they come to our aid and offer help where they can to make our lives better. They are spiritual beings that remain invisible.
[WELL FOR THE MAIN PART THERY REMAIN INVISIBLE; BUT PAUL IN HEBREWS SAID, “ENTERTAIN STRANGERS, FOR IN SO DOING MANY HAVE ENTERTAINED ANGELS UNAWARE.” ANGELS CAN APPEAR AS HUMAN BEINGS, AND AS FAR AS WE KNOW ONLY IN THE MALE GENDER; WE HAVE NO ACCOUNT IN THE BIBLE AS AN ANGEL APPEARING AS A FEMALE - Keith Hunt]
844. A "heavenly host" is not merely a bunch of angels. The term means an "angel army." The heavenly host that came upon the shepherds when Jesus was born was singing and praising God, but they were a "company" of God's army of angels nonetheless.
845. Jacob's vision depicts the angels as being lined up on an immense ladder that stretches between the earth and the heavens (Gen. 28:12-15). God looks down and sees us and watches as the angels bring their messages from him.
846. There is a hierarchical organization of angels, though it is uncertain exactly what that might look like. There are seven angels in God's presence that surround the throne. These angels are constantly worshiping their Creator.
847. Saint Denis the Areopagite wrote a treatise called "De Coelesti Hierarchia" that claims there are defined levels and ranks of angels. However, his work was largely unaccepted except for that pertaining to choirs of angels. The church heartily accepts this idea but does not make believing in varying levels of angels a requirement.
848. Gregory the Great demonstrated what the early church believed concerning angels with his comments: "There are nine orders of angels, viz., Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Dominations, Throne, Cherubim, and Seraphim." He based this on the apostle Paul's findings as well as other Scriptures.
849. The apostle Paul tells us four of the orders of angels in his letter to the Ephesians: "above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion" (KJV). He also writes to the Colossians concerning angels: "whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers."
850. Saint Thomas, who was also from the early church, divided the angels into three hierarchies with three orders of angels in each. Where they are in terms of God himself is the main basis for the divisions. The seraphim, cherubim, and thrones are in the first one; the dominations, virtues, and powers in the second; and the principalities, archangels, and angels are in the third and final hierarchy.
851. Only two personal names for angels are given in the Bible: Michael and Gabriel. Other angels with personal names are given in the Apocrypha, such as Uriel and Jeremiel.
852. Gabriel makes appearances in both the Old and New Testaments. He interprets Daniel's visions in the Book of Daniel and also announces the births of John and Jesus to their respective parents.
853. Michael is an archangel and a warrior in the angelic realm. He is the protector of Israel, according to several references in the Book of Daniel and one in the Book of Revelation.
[IT IS CLEAR THERE ARE “FUNCTIONS” IN THE ANGELIC WORLD; PUTTING THEM IN “RANKS” IS A PRETTY WEAK ARGUMENT - WE JUST ARE NOT GIVEN ALL DETAILS ABOUT ANGELS - Keith Hunt]
854. Fallen angels are angels who have rebelled against God and lost their standing in heaven. They have not been cast into hell, and they are under God's power, but they take orders from Satan (Rev. 12:7).
855. The Nephilim are a people spoken of in Genesis 6. Some believe this people of great strength were the result of fallen angels marrying the daughters of men on earth to produce offspring of unusual size and strength. The Bible calls these people "the heroes of old, men of renown." God did not look with favor on the actions of these angels, and their offspring were eventually wiped out with the flood.
[NOPE THERE IS NO SUCH TEACHING IN THE BIBLE THAT ANY ANGEL [RIGHTEOUS OR FALLEN] CAN REPRODUCE WITH PHYSICAL WOMEN - THIS IDEA ITSELF IS DEMONIC. THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HUGE MEN, EVEN TODAY WE HAVE THEM, SUCH HUGE MEN WERE NOT WIPED OUT AT NOAH’S FLOOD, WHICH ALSO MOST DO NOT UNDERSTAND CORRECTLY, THAT IS ABOUT THE FLOOD OF NOAH; SEE IT EXPOUNDED UNDER “MISCELLANEOUS” SECTION - Keith Hunt]
856. Satan is perhaps the most famous angel of all time. He is a fallen angel, one who was cast out of heaven after rebelling against God. Paul speaks of how Satan "masquerades as an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). In reality Satan is "the prince of darkness."
[AND HE CERTAINLY DOES COME THROUGH FALSE TEACHERS OF THEOLOGY AS IF THEY WERE RIGHTEOUS AND HOLY AND CORRECT; AGAIN ISAIAH 8:20 MUST BE USED, WHICH MEANS THE INDIVIDUAL HAS HIS OWN WORK TO DO IN STUDYING, AND SHOULD NEVER JUST “GO ALONG” WITH ANY MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL, BASED UPON GOOD LOOKS, CHARISM, BIG CHURCH, BIG OUTREACH, FLOWERY WORDS, AND EMOTIONS ON THEIR SIDE AND YOUR SIDE - Keith Hunt]
857. A final battle between the good angels and the fallen angels is prophesied in Revelation 12:7-9: "And there was war in heaven. Michael [archangel] and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him."
858. Christians will see angels on the last day. Matthew 24:31 states that God will "send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." Angels will escort believers into heaven and to the holy throne!
[NO IT DOES NOT SAY ANYWHERE THAT ANGELS WILL ESCORT BELIEVERS INTO THE HEAVEN WHERE GOD THE FATHER LIVES. IT IS ONLY WHEN THE NEW EARTH COMES, THAT GOD THE FATHER COMES DOWN TO IT, WITH THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM; WHEN HIS CHILDREN WILL SEE HIS FACE - REVELATION 21 AND 22 - Keith Hunt]
The Animal Kingdom
859. The Bible is full of animal references. About eighty species of mammals are named, about twenty-five kinds of birds, eight types of reptiles and amphibians, and a dozen insects. We now know that many other living things inhabit these lands besides those named in the Bible. Yet this knowledge of approximately 125 kinds of animals reveals how remarkably familiar these ancient people were with the living things around them.
860. Sheep were the most important domestic animals of the Hebrews. Both goats and sheep provided meat, but the sheep was preferred for its wool and the goat furnished milk. Sheep were generally only eaten for sacrifices. The sheep is named more often in the Bible than any other animal—more than four hundred times.
861. The goat may have been the earliest food animal to be domesticated by man, and that probably took place in the vicinity of Jericho about nine thousand years ago. The only animal domesticated earlier was the dog! The goat is mentioned nearly two hundred times. Goats were especially appreciated for their ability to live on rough land and forage in difficult areas.
862. Cattle are actually descended from a wild breed of ox. They were used early on in the Bible for their milk, although the bulls were eventually prized even more for their abilities to carry heavy loads. Cows even carried the ark of the covenant back to Israel (1 Sam. 6:7)!
863. Cows are much more difficult to keep than sheep and goats. Cattle require more care, as well as a constant food supply, when they are in permanent settlements. Because Abraham lived much of his life as a nomad, he may have maintained cows, but certainly not as many as his sheep and goats.
864. The first mention of the donkey, or ass, in the Bible occurs when it is stated that the Pharaoh of Egypt presented Abraham with several donkeys as gifts (Gen. 12:16). To the Egyptian, as in Abraham's culture, the donkey was solely a means of transporting goods. Only later was it used for riding, pulling the plow, and turning millstones to grind grain.
865. The domesticated donkey is one of the world's most useful animals. And it certainly was to the Hebrews. Numerous laws were given about their treatment, which testifies to the important place they held in the Hebrew economy. A donkey had to be rested on the Sabbath, and one that had fallen under the weight of its burden had to be helped.
866. Abraham used donkeys in his caravans long before camels were on the scene.
867. The Hebrews were the only people in the ancient world recorded as riding on donkeys. And only the common people did so. It was considered humiliating for a ruler to ride on one. Biblical kings such as David are recorded as riding on mules (the hybrid mix of a male donkey and a female horse) or in chariots pulled by horses, but never on donkeys. So when Jesus rode on a donkey, it was a symbol of his humility.
868. Donkeys go long periods without water, work hard in hot climates, and survive on a minimum amount of food. Also a donkey's milk is extremely nutritious, closely resembling human milk in its chemical composition.
869. Horses were used largely for battle purposes. They were a war symbol of power and strength. They weren't as strong or as capable as the donkeys, camels, and cattle to serve as beasts of burden.
870. Jericho, an imposing fortress near where the Jordan enters the Dead Sea, stood in the way of the Israelites, but with the blasts of the ram's horn, or shofar, the walls tumbled down. Ancient breeds of sheep often grew huge horns from which musical instruments were made. The horn was heated with steam until it was soft enough for its natural curve to be straightened out. Then the wide end where the horn had been attached to the ram was bent at almost a right angle.
871. The camel had not yet reached Egypt when Abraham visited, according to the findings of archaeologists. It was common in the Fertile Crescent where Abraham's servant was sent to find a bride for his son Isaac. In Genesis 24:12-21, the servant came upon Rebekah who, in offering to water the servant's camels, showed herself to be God's choice for Isaac.
872. The biblical camel is the one-humped kind, often called a dromedary. Camels are desirable animals only to people who live in deserts because they are excellently adapted to the conditions there. But most of the ancient world preferred other beasts of burden such as donkeys, horses, and oxen. The camel has only one baby every three years, and sometimes fewer than that. Its ability to learn is meager, and it is impossible to train one to respond as well as a horse. It is so bad tempered (especially the males) that Roman soldiers kept them outside the walls of their posts.
873. It is true that a thirsty camel can drink enormous amounts of water very fast, about twenty-five gallons in approximately ten minutes. It is also true that a camel can travel four days without taking a single drink of water. It is not true, however, that water is stored in its hump. The camel's hump actually stores food. It is a mass of muscle around which fat accumulates. A camel can be fed at the beginning of a trip and not again until the end. After a long, hard journey, the hump shrinks and it flops to one side.
874. It is completely untrue that a camel has a special sense of direction in the trackless desert. In fact camels easily lose their way and often become separated from the rest of their caravans.
875. Locusts are insects, the most-mentioned insect in the whole Bible. They destroy crops and plague people. They were one of the plagues sent upon Egypt by God before Pharaoh let the people go out of the land. Some think they were permitted as food, however, because John the Baptist ate locusts and honey while staying in the wilderness (Mark 1:6).
876. Insects such as ants and honeybees were well-respected in the Bible. Ants are busy animals and work hard to stay organized; Proverbs rewards the ant by giving it a place in Scripture. Honey was a special commodity in the Middle East, and honeybees were prized.
877. Flies, fleas, and gnats (also translated "lice") were disliked strongly and could also carry disease. As in modern times, such insects were greatly unappreciated. They were a plague that descended on Egypt when Pharaoh remained stubborn about letting the Israelites leave.
878. Lions were kept by royalty and remain a sign of wealth and power. The regal beasts were a common enough animal in the Old Testament, but they have since become extinct in the Middle East. Killing a lion was a sign of great strength, as evidenced by David and Samson when they slew the majestic beasts.
879. The bear is given little mention in the Bible. However, they were perhaps feared more than lions (Amos 5:19). Researchers believe the references are to the Syrian brown bear, a species found today in certain parts of the Bible region. The young children who mocked Elisha because of his baldness were eaten by bears.
880. Behemoth... or hippopotamus? In a long series of verses in chapter 40 of the Book of Job, the main character describes an animal he calls a "behemoth," but it is very likely a hippopotamus. Hippopotami may have inhabited the Jordan Valley in biblical times, although none are found there now. The Hebrews knew them in Egypt, and it is even possible that Job's behemoth is derived from the Egyptian name for this animal—pehemau, which means "ox of the water."
[I DOUBT THIS IDEA OF THE HOPPO IS CORRECT - Keith Hunt]
881. An unknown beast. Job goes to great length (thirty-four verses in chapter 41) identifying the "leviathan." Commentators on the Bible disagree as to whether the leviathan was a crocodile, a whale, or even some mythical animal. Most likely Job had in mind a crocodile, although his description includes fire spouting from its mouth.
[CERTAINLY NOT A CROCODILE….. FIRE COMING OUT OF ITS MOUTH….. WHERE DO WE GET THE STORIES OF FIRE DRAGONS FROM….THEY PROBABLY DID EXIST AT ONE TIME, BUT LIKE SPECIES DOWN THROUGH TIME, THEY HAVE BECOME EXTINCT - Keith Hunt]
882. The "beasts of the earth" that Jeremiah said would appear after the destruction of Judah probably referred to wild dogs and hyenas. Today dogs are known as "man's best friend," but during biblical times packs of snarling dogs foraged through the city streets and even dug up corpses to feed on them. When Jezebel's body was eaten by dogs after her death, it was a sign of utter humiliation.
883. The striped hyena is found in the Holy Land and was the most feared and detested of the animal kingdom in the ancient world, due to its habit of digging up graves. The only people who did not hold this strong aversion to hyenas were the Egyptians, who domesticated them for a source of food. Young hyenas are easy to tame and quickly become attached to their masters.
884. The red fox, an animal we regard as exceedingly clever, won no praise from Solomon. Every reference to it in the Bible is contemptuous. Because they scavenged like wild dogs and hyenas, in the Israelite cities foxes were killed quickly. They feed on almost anything: rodents, eggs, insects, and grass. They even eat fruit, which may explain Solomon's reference to "the little foxes that ruin the vineyards" (Song of Sol. 2:15).
885. Pigs were unclean and not domesticated by the Hebrews. They are mentioned, but the references are always negative. Jesus drew demons into a herd of pigs, and the prodigal son who squanders everything and ends up tending to pigs has reached the very lowest level of employment.
886. Ravens and crows were common birds. The raven was the first bird to leave the ark (Gen. 8:6-7). Elijah was fed by ravens while he was hiding from enemies (1 Kings 17:6).
887. The ostrich was abundant in the Arabian Desert in Job's time, but it became extinct there during World War II. Job paints a vivid word picture of the ostrich in chapter 39 (vv. 14-17).
888. The crane is tall and stately with a wingspread of about eight feet. It is the largest migrating bird to fly over the Holy Land. Its mass flights are dramatic because the birds number in the thousands, and also because they make a trumpeting sound that fills the air. One of the loudest sounds made by any bird, it is produced by the crane's extremely long windpipe, which is coiled like a French horn.
889. The earliest statements about bird migrations came from Jeremiah. No one in the ancient world, however, seemed to know for sure where migrating birds came from, why they left, or where they flew next. "Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons; and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration" (Jer. 8:7). The white stork is unmistakable in flight because of its sharply pointed head and extended neck, long dangling legs, and slowly flapping wings. Flocks of several thousand of them pass over the Holy Land at a time.
890. Sparrows were eaten as food. They were carefully hunted and sold in the marketplace. Jesus spoke of two sparrows being sold for a farthing.
891. Jonah was swallowed by "a great fish." There has been considerable dispute, however, about what sea creature is large enough to swallow anything the size of a human. A likely creature that swallowed Jonah is a true fish—the man-eating white shark, often found in the Mediterranean. This shark is extremely large, occasionally up to sixty feet in length, and it is quite capable of swallowing a human. It can also store food in its belly for many days without digesting it.
892. Snakes, or serpents, are part of the reptile family and receive some mention in the Bible. Satan appeared as a serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Moses held up a brass serpent figure to cure the bites of snakes on the people. Later it became a worshiped object. Interestingly most of the references found in the New Testament are metaphorical rather than literal.
893. Lizards are the most common reptile in the Bible region. They were an unclean creeping animal as described in Leviticus 11:29-39, and though common, they were not appreciated as a food source.
894. The Israelites knew about monkeys from their stay in Egypt, because the African baboon was sacred to the god Thoth and was sometimes even kept as a pet. The monkey brought back by Solomon's fleet possibly was the rhesus, the kind most often seen in zoos.
895. Peacocks were the last of the precious cargo mentioned from Ophir, and although the common peacock is native only to southern India and Ceylon, people have spread it around the world. It is hardy and can endure a wide range of climates and living conditions.
896. The Israelites were familiar with quail, for wall paintings in Egyptian tombs dating from the time of the Exodus show that people caught the birds in nets for food. However, they had probably never seen so many of them at one time as when God sent them quail in the wilderness (Exod. 16:13).
897. Migratory quail are short-winged and have only weak powers of flight. They are often blown off course by strong winds and fall exhausted onto the nearest land. God used this very process to cause quail to fall on the Israelite camp. The Bible states that there was a wind that brought the quail from the sea and that the quail fell to earth in the evening.
898. The rooster was little different from its wild-pheasant ancestor, the red jungle fowl. It was found from Pakistan to Java until recent decades, when new breeds of chickens were developed. The red jungle fowl closely resembles the barnyard chicken both in appearance and in habits, except that it can still fly.
899. The chicken may have been domesticated as early as fifty-two hundred years ago in India. The birds were raised at that time for the sport of cockfighting, and were not bred for food until several centuries before the time of Jesus.
The Plant Kingdom
900. Almond trees were admired for their beautiful blossoms by the ancients. The pretty blooms were even used in artwork, such as on the ark (Exod. 25:33-34). The nuts and oil taken from the nuts were used for food. Almond blossoms had a special religious significance for the Hebrews, who in ancient times carved them on the golden candlesticks in the tabernacle, and who still carry them to this day to the synagogue for festivals.
901. Apple trees are only mentioned in two books of the Bible: Proverbs and Song of Solomon. As a result it is not clear if the "apple" tree was in fact apple-bearing or if perhaps the "apples" might have been apricots or even figs.
902. Cedar trees came from Lebanon and were greatly prized for their height, strength, and the durability of the wood. The temples of early Israel utilized the mighty trees for their buildings. Cedar wood is mentioned for use in cleansing rituals, but it is now believed specific reference was actually to a different type of wood, Phoenician juniper.
903. Solomon had the tall cedars felled by the thousands to supply timber for the temple and for his fabulous palace, which he named "the House of the Forest of Lebanon." He sent shifts of ten thousand Israelites a month to aid the native workers in cutting down the forests.
904. Only barren slopes remain where the cedars used to be. Only a few scattered groves survived the axes of empire after empire. One small grove is preserved in a park about eighty miles north of Beirut, Lebanon.
905. Cutting down an olive tree actually rejuvenates it. At the time of cutting, new and more vigorous sprouts grow up out of the roots. The roots are extremely long-lived, and it is almost impossible to kill an olive tree merely by chopping it down. The olive was the symbol of peace in the ancient world, and so it was fitting that it was associated with Jesus, who was known as the Prince of Peace.
906. Solomon built smelters, a shipyard, and a port at Eziongeber (today known as Elath). His smelters were located in a seemingly unlikely place, an inhospitable desert where water was scarce. There was good reason for building them there, however. The smelters utilized some of the principles of the modern blast furnace. A constant and powerful wind roars down the valley where Solomon's smelters stood, and it acted as bellows that kept the furnace fires burning at high temperatures.
907. Forest trees served as a symbol of holiness to the Israelites. The names of both the oak and the terebinth, the two most common forest trees of the Holy Land, were derived from Hebrew words meaning "God." David's son Solomon, in the fourth year of his reign, began work on the magnificent temple at Jerusalem. The walls of the temple were built of marble, but they were roofed and lined inside with wood from the cedar of Lebanon.
908. Oak trees were used as burial places (Gen. 35:8; 1 Chron. 10:12). Three species of the oak tree grow in Palestine; it is believed the tabor oak is the one referred to in Scripture.
909. Palm trees were especially abundant in the Jordan valley, and Jericho was known as the city of palm trees. Symbolically the trees were used to depict grace. The date palm also symbolized rejoicing; when Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the crowds waved palm branches to celebrate and honor him.
910. Sycamore trees vary from continent to continent. Those talked about in the Bible (Egypt and Palestine) are sturdy evergreen trees that bear figs. The Egyptians cultivated it for lumber as well as for its fruit, but in Israel it was mainly grown for the fruit. The sycamore tree is perhaps best remembered for its helping Zaccheus, a short man, see Jesus as he passed by.
911. Willow trees generally grow near streams in the Middle East. Most Bible references to the trees associate them with water as a result—"the willow of the brook" for instance.
912. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is perhaps the most notorious tree in history. The only source of temptation for Adam and Eve in the Garden was the tree from which God had told them not to eat.
913. The castor oil plant grows and withers quickly, especially when handled, and some believe it may be the "gourd" plant Jonah refers to in Jonah 4. The spiky, dark green leaves and reddish, yarn-ball blooms do not make gourds, however.
914. The city of Ashkelon was famed in the ancient world for the profusion of fruits and vegetables that grew in its fertile soil. One vegetable was the small onion or scallion, for which the city became noted in Roman times. Our word scallion comes from the Latin caepa Ascalonia, which means "onion of Ashkelon."
915. Hyssop is mentioned in the Bible on many occasions, but no plant we know of today by that name is a native species of the Middle East. It is thought that the plant referred to might be the herb marjoram, which is fragrant and comes from Syria.
916. The lily, though mentioned often in the Bible, is most likely not the common flower that goes by that name.
917. Mandrakes are a flowering herb that bears fruit in the spring. They are said to have powers and can serve as an aphrodisiac, which we know from Leah and Rachel's quarrel over their husband, Jacob, visiting their separate tents and whether it was worth sharing some mandrakes in order to promote conception.
918. Myrtle has beautiful pink blossoms with a delicate fragrance; the leaves are also quite fragrant. The myrtle was used by Isaiah as a symbol of God's continuous care and provision of Israel (Isa. 41:19-20). The branches were used for festivals as well (Neh. 8:15-16).
919. Roses are not native to the Bible lands, and so it is unlikely that the blooms we know as roses actually grew there. More likely other flowers were being referred to. Roses are mentioned several times in the apocryphal books and once in Song of Solomon.
920. Wormwood is used to symbolize bitterness because it has a unique bitter taste. The plant has many species that grow in Palestine. It is almost more of a shrub, though it can grow quite tall. It is in the same plant family as mugwort and western sagebrush. These plants all have a bitter taste and a strong odor. The Hebrews thought of bitter things as poisonous and thus as symbols of calamity and sorrow, but they used wormwood as a seasoning, a tonic, and a worm medicine.
921. Balm of Gilead refers to a fragrant resin that is obtained from cuts in the bark of trees. It is used for both perfumes and medicines. Several different plants produce such resins, and no one is sure which one Jeremiah meant. It might have been the Jericho balsam, but a more likely possibility is liquidambar, which produces the gum known as storax or stacte, which is still used in medicine. It is almost identical to the tree Americans call red gum or sweet gum.
922. Compared to the desert, Canaan must have seemed like paradise, with its vineyards and its orchards of olives, figs, dates, and pomegranates. Next to the grape, the fig was the Israelites' most valued crop. It provided a large part of their daily food. Both figs and dates were eaten either fresh or dried. Fig fruits were also used medicinally; and the sheaths of date clusters provided a sap that was used to make a kind of wine as well as a syrup called "honey" in the Bible.
923. Pomegranates grow wild as large shrubs or small trees in many parts of the Near East. So important was this "apple with grains," filled with many red-colored, juicy seeds, to the Israelites that it was used as a design to decorate the temple and also coins in Jerusalem.
924. Along the Nile and throughout the ancient Near East, the most important grain crops were wheat and barley. Both grains have been cultivated in Egypt and the Near East since the earliest recorded times. The earliest evidence comes from near Mount Carmel, on the coast of northern Israel. It dates from about nine thousand years ago.
925. In the Holy Land, barley was mainly used to feed animals because its protein content was less than wheat. It was also the chief grain of the poor people and so it became a symbol of poverty. Barley was such a staple grain of the Hebrews that it furnished them with units of measurement—three barley grains laid end to end were equal to an inch, about twenty-four to a "span," and forty-eight to a "cubit" (about seventeen inches).
[BARLEY WAS THE FIRST HARVEST IN ISRAEL - IT IS MIGHTY IN NUTRITION - THERE IS A FULL ARTICLE ON BARLEY UNDER SECTION “SABBATH AND FEASTS OF GOD.” Keith Hunt]
926. The tall and graceful papyrus reed or bulrush was one of the most abundant plants to grow along the banks of the Nile. At the top of its fifteen-foot stem is a plume of wispy stalks that resemble feathers. Papyrus furnished the world's first material for making paper. In fact our word paper is derived from it. The stem was pressed flat under heavy weights until it dried. It was then cut into sheets of suitable size, which were polished with ivory to make a smooth writing surface. Sometimes sheets were glued or sewn together to make long rolls of paper, usually about thirty feet long. One roll has been discovered that is 130 feet in length! Each end of the roll was attached to a handle to make winding easier.
927. In Jesus' parable of the prodigal son, the younger of two sons squandered his half of the inheritance. He then became so poor that he would fill his belly with the husks that the swine ate (Luke 15:16). Husks came from the pods of the carob tree, also commonly called the locust, which were fed to farm animals.
928. The carob tree grows beans in a pod that resemble our green peas. Today in the Near East the pods provide fodder for animals and food for very poor people, although in Jesus' time humans did not eat them unless they were as famished as the prodigal son.
929. Some think that the "locust" (Matt. 3:4) John the Baptist ate in the wilderness was not the insect but rather the pod from the carob tree. For this reason the carob is sometimes called "Saint John's bread tree."
930. Few plants in the Holy Land have seeds smaller than the mustard seed. As Jesus points out in his parable in Matthew 13, mustard often grows as large as a tree, reaching a height of about fifteen feet, with a stalk as thick as a man's arm. Mustard was widely cultivated in the Middle East for the flavor of its seed.
931. References to the grapevine abound in Scripture. It is a plant so widely cultivated in the Holy Land that it was known to all. The grapevine is one of the very first plants mentioned in the Bible (one of Noah's first jobs after the flood was to plant a vineyard) and its image appears some two hundred times in both the Old and New Testaments. The grape has been cultivated for so long that its origin is shrouded in mystery.
932. The date palm was a sign of majesty and fruitfulness to people of the Holy Land. The huge leaves were symbols of triumph and were often carried in ceremonies, but they were also used for roofing, fencing, and the making of mats, baskets, and dishes. Rope was made from the fibrous material in the crown of the trees. The trunk was used for timber, and the date fruit was food for animals as well as people. It is said that the date palm has more uses than the year has days.
933. The shrub commonly known as "crown of thorns," grown in many European and American gardens, could not possibly be the one mentioned in the Bible. This plant is native to the island of Madagascar and it was unknown in the Holy Land in Jesus' time. Many scholars now believe that the crown was made from a straggly shrub often called the Jerusalem thorn. It grows abundantly around Jerusalem, and its twigs are flexible enough to be woven.
Music in the Bible
934. Musical instruments as well as human melody are mentioned all through the Bible. The Hebrew culture included music; it was in fact an important part of their daily lives. Music was used for both sacred and secular occasions.
935. “The father of all who play the harp and flute.” Jubal was the son of Lamech and a descendant of Cain, but his main title was that of music patriarch (Gen. 4:21).
936. Music was played at all occasions, such as at religious festivals and worship services, at funerals (Matt. 9:23), in battle (Exod. 15:20-21; 2 Chron. 20:28), and even just to pass the time while shepherds watched their sheep. David was a talented harpist. There are instances of music in royal settings as well as very humble ones in the Bible. It doesn't appear to be an aspect of culture that was truly only for one segment of society.
937. Instruments ranged in types and styles, but the necessary elements for an orchestra were present: strings, wind instruments, and a percussion section. Though instruments could certainly be played alone, orchestras did exist. David was said to have four thousand instrumentalists organized for his musical needs and requests.
938. The "pipe" instrument mentioned in Scripture was perhaps an oboe. The pipe would have been used in festivals and other times of rejoicing, as well as funerals and sad occasions. The prophet Jeremiah once compared the soulful, haunting sound to a sad heart (Jer. 48:36).
939. The organ is another wind instrument from Bible times, though it may have been a generic term for all wind instruments (Gen. 4:21 KJV).
940. Trumpets referred to a variety of different wind instruments—everything from a ram's horn to Moses' silver trumpet may correctly be classified within this instrument family. Another name used was "cornet."
941. The flute is only mentioned once in the King James Version of the Bible, in Daniel 3:5, but it is mentioned more in other, newer translations, such as the NIV (three times). It very well may have referred to a reed flute or some other instrument that closely resembles a modern flute.
942. The harp is perhaps the most-mentioned instrument in the Bible. It is believed that the instrument actually refers to the lyre, a similar stringed instrument of smaller proportions. The lyre was made of wood and had between eight and ten strings to pluck. The fingers or some sort of pick may have been used. The instrument may be of Syrian origin.
943. Harps and heaven? Many people associate heaven and harps. Many people don't realize that this connection actually comes from the Bible. The apostle John describes this in his vision, seeing the heavenly throne in the Book of Revelation.
944. A psaltery is another kind of harp, as is a viol. These were even smaller wooden-framed harps, and they would have been plucked with the fingers to make music. They may have been of Phoenician origin. The Bible mentions these in 1 Samuel 10:5 and Isaiah 5:12.
945. The sackbut, despite the funny name, is a type of harp with a triangular shape. It has been mistranslated (Dan. 3:5) in various versions, but it is a harp.
946. Cymbals are a percussion instrument. They were used both in celebration and at ceremonies such as the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 12:27). There were two kinds of cymbals. The first had flat metal plates that were struck together to make a clashing, crashing noise. The other kind had one cymbal that was held stationary while the other one was banged against it.
947. Timbrels, or tambourines, are instruments still in use today. The bells and other "jingly" sounds come from light pieces of metal that shake and rattle together when the wood they are attached to is shaken or beat. The timbrel was used for happy occasions and to make music for singing and dancing.
948. The cross is perhaps the most recognized symbol of the Christian. Jesus was crucified on a cross between two criminals. His hands and feet were nailed into the cross, signs to forever remain that demonstrate the atoning work he performed on the cross for believers.
949. The hand of God is perhaps the most ancient symbol of God the Father. Like most symbols, it is referenced from Scripture. The meaning of the symbol relates to the creative power of God. Through his handiwork came forth the genius of creation.
950. A crown is a representation of the office Christ holds as King. The Scriptures teach that he is the "King of kings." The Bible also refers to Jesus as the "Crown of Life," which all who believe may take for themselves.
951. The lantern is a symbol of betrayal that comes directly from Scripture. When Judas came with the soldiers to arrest Jesus, the group carried torches and lanterns in order to find Jesus. Alternatively the lantern is a symbol of light.
952. Jesus is the Light of the world, the source that brings life to a dead world. Furthermore Christ's two distinct natures, divine and human, are an important tenet of Christ being both God and man. The traditional symbol to display this doctrine is to light two candles during church services, with one on either side of a cross.
953. The Good Shepherd is a biblical reference to Jesus' description of himself in the Gospel of John. As the redeemer of his people, the sheep, Jesus watches over them, protects them, and provides for their way into the shelter.
954. The Holy Spirit is most often represented by a dove and recalls the story of Jesus' baptism from the Scriptures. After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, a dove descended and God spoke from heaven. This is one of very few symbols for the Third Person of the Trinity.
[THERE IS NO THIRD PERSON OF SOME “TRINITY DOCTRINE” - ALL THE VERSES CONCERNING VISIONS OF THE HEAVEN THRONE, GIVE OR SHOW GOD THE FATHER AND CHRIST JESUS THE SON ON HIS RIGHT HAND…. THERE IS NO “THIRD PERSON” - I GIVE A NUMBER OF PROOFS IN OTHER STUDIES THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE VERY NATURE AND POWER THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE FATHER AND SON; IT CAN BE EVERYWHERE IN THE UNIVERSE, AND IT IS THE POWER WHEREBY THE FATHER AND SON CAN LIVE IN EVERY CHILD OF GOD - Keith Hunt]
955. The seven doves, seven lamps, and seven-pointed star all represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit stated in the Book of Revelation. The seven gifts are strength, honor, glory, blessing, power, riches, and wisdom.
[NO THEY ARE THE SEVEN CHURCHES AND THE ANGELS OVER THE SEVEN CHURCHES. THERE HAVE BEEN 7 BASIC AGES OF THE CHURCH OF GOD. THREE OF THOSE AGES WILL BE IN EXISTENCE WHEN JESUS RETURNS - SARDIS, PHILADELPHIA, LAODICEA. A CHILD OF GOD TODAY NEEDS TO HAVE THE ATTITUDE OF MIND OF THE PHILADELPHIA CHURCH. AND THIS DOES NOT REFER TO SOME “DENOMINATION” THAT CALLS ITSELF “THE PHILADELPHIA CHURCH OF GOD” WHO IN EFFECT ARE IN THE ATTITUDE OF LAODECIA - KNOWING VERY WELL THE HISTORY OF THAT PARTICULAR SABBATH KEEPING CHURCH - Keith Hunt]
956. Though Trinity is a common Christian term, the Bible never mentions the Trinity as such. It was a doctrine developed much later when the church was more established.
[IT WAS THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH THAT CAME UP WITH THE THEOLOGY - AND VERY WRONG - Keith Hunt]
957. Dreams were often used as a means for God to speak to his prophets and other favored children. Items within the dreams symbolized real events or people or even future happenings. Joseph's dream about wheat sheaves foretold the time when he would be powerful in Egypt and lead that people through a drought and famine.
958. The doctrine known as "Immaculate Conception," the belief that Mary herself was conceived without sin, has no biblical justification. This belief began early in Christian history and was officially accepted as dogma essential to Roman Catholic beliefs by Pope Pius IX in 1854.
959. Knowing the basics. In a 1997 survey, the London Sunday Times found that only 34 percent of 220 Anglican priests could recite all of the Ten Commandments without help.
[WHEN I WENT TO A CHURCH OF ENGLAND SCHOOL FROM AGE 7 TO FINISHING HIGH SCHOOL (FINISHING IN 1959) WE WERE TO LEARN BY MEMORY ALL THE TEN COMMANDMENT AS GIVEN IN EXODUS 20 - Keith Hunt]
960. Two separate creation stories are told in Genesis (Gen. 1:1-2:3 and Gen. 2:4-25), but there is no mention of an apple in the Garden of Eden story.
961. The original Hebrew word for "ark" meant "box" or "chest" in English.
962. Although the King James Version is often associated with Shakespearean English, neither Moses nor Jesus is ever quoted as saying "thee" or "thou."
963. Place names in the Bible often came from the person or persons who settled the area. They would give it a special name to commemorate the occasion.
964. Jericho is the world's oldest city. It was founded about 3500 B.C.
[I DOUBT THIS IS TRUE, THAT JERICHO IS THE WORLD’S OLDEST CITY - Keith Hunt]
965. Polytheism, the belief in more than one god, distinguishes our age from that of the Bible more than any other cultural issue.
966. The name Jesus is the Greek version of the name Joshua.
[IT WAS BROUGHT OVER INTO ENGLISH AS “JESUS” - Keith Hunt]
967. David, the shepherd, warrior, and king of Israel, broke half of the Ten Commandments, from what we are told in the Bible. More than likely he broke all ten!
[IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE REALLY BECAUSE THE NEW TESTAMENT SAYS IF YOU BREAK ONE YOU HAVE SINNED, AND COME UNDER DEATH; JESUS THE SECOND MEMBER OF THE GODHEAD CAME TO DIE FOR SINNERS AND GRANT ETERNAL SALVATION TO THOSE WHO WILL REPENT AND SET THEIR MIND TO LIVE ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD THE FATHER - Keith Hunt]
968. Frankincense and myrrh are both fragrant resins imported from India, Arabia, or Africa. They were therefore costly and precious in the Holy Land.
969. The star. About the time of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, a phenomenon occurred in the night sky. There has been considerable dispute about what this bright star of Bethlehem may have been. Whatever the astronomical phenomenon was exactly, it did not go unobserved in the ancient home of astronomy, Mesopotamia. The wise men or magi who saw the star and believed that it heralded the birth of Jesus were probably astronomers.
[THE STAR WAS NOT SOME STAR IN OUTER SPACE OR EVEN SOME COMET OR METIOR; SUCH COULD NEVER COME OVER A HOUSE AND STAY THERE SO THE WISE MEN COULD FIND THE HOUSE WHERE JESUS WAS. THE “STAR” WAS AN ANGEL WHO COULD COME OVER A HOUSE. THE BOOK OF REVELATION GIVES ANGELS AS “STARS” - Keith Hunt]
970. Magus is a Persian word that referred to the priests of Persia, and from magus we get our English word magic. In the ancient world the priests who could predict eclipses and the motions of the planets must have seemed to possess magical powers.
971. Samaritans did not have a great reputation among Jews. They were not good neighbors. The Jews and Samaritans had a long and unhappy history. The Samaritans had first come into the land when the Assyrians conquered Israel. An offshoot sect, they followed the books of Moses but did not treat the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures as sacred. As a result bad blood grew between the groups.
[THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA HAS A LONG ARTICLE ON “SAMARITANS” - THEY THEMSELVES CLAIM THEY ARE FROM THE TRIBE OF EPHRIAM AND ARE NOT GENTILES - Keith Hunt]
972. As archaeologists excavated the mound of the ancient city of Jericho (about a mile or so northwest of the modern city), they found not one ancient city but instead successive cities, each built atop the ruins of the previous ones. Jericho is the oldest known town in the world. Above the first signs of human habitation, five cities were built in antiquity—and the fourth of these appears to be the one that was conquered by Joshua.
[THE AUTHORS DO NOT KNOW ABOUT THE WORLD BEFORE NOAH’S FLOOD; THERE ARE TWO BOOKS ON THIS WEBSITE THAT GIVE YOU THE AMAZING TRUTHS OF THAT AGE - THEY CAN BE FOUND UNDER THE “HISTORY” SECTION - Keith Hunt]
973. Double walls nearly thirty feet high, with each wall about six feet thick, were discovered by archaeologists at the Jericho site. It is clear that this city had a violent end. Sections of the wall crumbled, and there is evidence of fire so intense that it burned bricks and cracked stones.
974. Shibboleth. Jephthah's men fought and defeated the tribesmen of Ephraim (another Israelite tribe who did not help Jephthah in his battle with the Ammonites). If an Ephraimite tried to cross the Jordan, Jephthah's men would ask him to say "Shibboleth," a word that means either "ear of corn" or "flood torrent." But due to regional dialects, these men couldn't pronounce the "sh" sound, and said "sibboleth" instead. Forty-two thousand men with this speech deficiency died at the Jordan. A contemporary story is told from World War II in which Dutch resistance fighters were able to cull out Nazi infiltrators who couldn't pronounce a particular Dutch name. "Shibboleth" has since come to mean a word or catchphrase that is distinctive to one group.
[THE PEOPLE OF THE TRIBE OF EPHRIAM ALSO DID NOT PRONOUCE “H” AND THE ENGLISH COMMON PEOPLE, WITH NO SPEECH TRAINING, DO THE SAME, SO HOUSE IS PRONOUNCED “OUSE” - Keith Hunt]
975. Hamuriurabi (meaning "westerner") was an Ammorite who conquered several Sumerian cities and developed a small empire, making him the first king to elevate Babylon from a small town to a major power. Some scholars believe that Hammurabi—generally dated as king of Babylon from 1792-1750 B.C.—might be the mysterious King Amraphel, king of Shinar, mentioned in Genesis 14.
976. Hammurabi is best remembered for a code of law, set down toward the end of his reign on clay tables and on stelae, or stone pillars. Clear parallels as well as clear differences can be drawn between Hammurabi's code and the law Moses received from God on Mount Sinai. Sadly the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written disappeared with the ark of the covenant, but Hammurabi's laws were uncovered by French archaeologists in the ancient city of Susa and remain on display in the Louvre in Paris.
977. Towers known as ziggurats, which literally means "houses that lift up their heads," were erected throughout the Babylonian Empire and were probably intended as stairways for men to ascend and meet the gods. A ziggurat resembles a pyramid, but its sides are steplike, in constructing the tower, the builders "had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter" (Gen. 11:3 KJV). The bricks were made from mud and the "slime" was asphalt, found all over the Iranian oil fields even today.
978. Pottery, made from clay and baked in a kiln, is one of the most durable materials ever made. Glass flakes away, metals corrode and rust, wood and fabrics are destroyed by dampness and insects. Pottery alone survives. Although a pottery jar can easily be shattered, the broken pieces or shards may last for centuries and give clues to when the pottery was made, who made it, and its relationship to pottery made by neighboring people.
979. Archaeologists have studied the shards discovered in the Negeb that date from about the time Abraham crossed it. All the pottery made throughout this vast area was almost exactly the same, revealing that those were settled times and that the people of the Negeb traded peacefully with one another.
980. The Shema is the central confession of the Jewish faith: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." It is originally found in Deuteronomy 6:4, and Jesus quoted it, saying that the verse that follows ("Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength") is the greatest commandment.
[THE JEWS NEVER WENT INTO THE “NUMERICAL” SIDE OF “THE LORD IS ONE.” THE NEW TESTAMENT MAKES IT VERY CLEAR GOD OR THE GODHEAD IS TWO BEINGS IN ONE GODHEAD. THE “TRINITY” TEACHERS WOULD SAY GOD IS ONE, BUT IN THREE PERSONS - Keith Hunt]
Dead Sea Scrolls
981. Muhammed ed Dib was tending goats in the spring of 1947, while the British still controlled Palestine. In the arid hills that surround the northern Dead Sea shore, the young goatherd dropped a stone into a cave and heard it hit something. Investigating further, he found ancient clay pots filled with scrolls and scraps of old leather covered in mysterious writing. His accidental find was the beginning of one of the most momentous and controversial discoveries in history—the "Dead Sea Scrolls."
982. Muhammed's find launched a wider search of the surrounding area, called Qumran, approximately ten miles south of Jericho, on a plateau overlooking the Dead Sea. Over the years many more scrolls and remnants of scrolls were uncovered. It was soon clear that these ancient scrolls included some of the oldest known texts of the Hebrew Bible ever found.
983. More than two hundred biblical documents have been found, some almost complete, written in both Hebrew and Aramaic—a Syrian language closely related to Hebrew, and the language spoken by Jesus. The Dead Sea Scrolls contain at least a portion of every book of the Hebrew Bible, except the Book of Esther.
984. Among the Dead Sea Scrolls is a complete "book" of Isaiah, composed of seventeen separate pieces of leather stitched together to form a roll nearly twenty-five feet long. Sophisticated dating techniques have proved that some of these scrolls were written nearly three hundred years before Jesus was born. Others came from Jesus' own lifetime.
985. Copper scrolls were also discovered in the Dead Sea caves at Qumran, describing a treasure—twenty-six tons of gold and sixty-five tons of silver—hidden at sixty-four locations throughout Israel. Most scholars believe the treasure is a hoax or myth, although others hold that the treasure was indeed taken from the temple and hidden before the Roman legions arrived in A.D. 70. It is very rare to find a Hebrew text on thinly beaten sheets of copper such as these.
Relationship between the Shepherd and the Sheep
986. Palestine has always been known for large flocks of sheep, and Arabs of the Bible lands have been largely dependent on sheep for their living throughout the centuries. The large number of sheep in the land can be understood when we read that Job had fourteen thousand sheep (Job 42:12), and that King Solomon, at the temple's dedication, sacrificed one hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats (1 Kings 8:63).
987. Fat-tailed sheep were the most common variety. The fat tail provides reserve strength for the sheep, much like the hump does on a camel. When the sheep is butchered, this fatty tail is quite valuable. People will buy the tail, or part of it, and use it for frying. The Pentateuch makes reference to the fat tail of the sheep in Exodus 29:22, "Take from this ram the fat, the fat tail. . ."
988. The youngest boy in the family becomes the shepherd of the sheep. As the older son grows up he begins to help the father with sowing, plowing, and harvesting the crops, so he passes the shepherd tasks down to the younger brother and on down until the youngest of all becomes the family shepherd. Such was the custom when Jesse raised his family of eight sons. David was the youngest.
989. The shepherd's scrip is a leather bag. When he leaves home to tend the sheep, his mother will fill it with bread, cheese, dried fruit, and perhaps some olives. It was into a bag like this that David placed the five smooth stones when he went to battle with the giant Goliath.
990. The Law of Moses speaks of tithing (giving ten percent) from the flock. "The entire tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd's rod—will be holy to the Lord" (Lev. 27:32). To do this Jewish writers tell us that the shepherd called the animals to him and as they would pass under his rod at a narrow entrance he would mark every tenth one with his rod, which had been dipped into a dye.
991. More than a weapon. From the story of David, we are familiar with the sling, but in addition to using a sling against wild animals or robbers, the shepherd found it very handy for directing the sheep. A stone could be dropped close to a sheep that was lagging behind and startle the sheep into coming along with the rest of the flock.
992. In selecting pasture for the flock, it is an absolute necessity that plenty of water is provided too. Flocks are often stationed near a stream of running water, but the sheep can be afraid of water that is running too quickly or that is roiled up with mud. The shepherd looks for pools of water or provides some quiet place where the sheep can quench their thirst.
993. More than one flock may be kept in the same fold. Often flocks are even mixed while being watered at a well. No attempt is made to separate them. When it is time to separate the sheep, one shepherd after another will stand up and call out: "Tahhoo! Tahhoo!" or a similar call of his own choice. The sheep will lift their heads, and after a scramble each one will begin following his master.
994. 995. The Eastern shepherd has a personal relationship with his sheep that gives the figure of the Lord as the Shepherd of his people deep meaning. Not only does the shepherd often know his sheep by name, he never drives them, but leads them instead. This does not mean that he is always in front of them. He may walk by their side or sometimes follow behind.
996. The shepherd is so acutely aware of each of his sheep that often he doesn't even need to count them. He is able to feel the absence of any one of his sheep. When a shepherd of Lebanon was asked how he could keep track of his sheep if he didn't count, he replied, "If you were to put a cloth over my eyes, and bring me any sheep and only let me put hands on its face, I could tell in a moment if it was mine or not."
996. The shepherd plays with the sheep to pass the hours. A shepherd does this by pretending to run away. The sheep will soon overtake him and completely surround him, jumping and twisting with delight. The sheep know their shepherd will not leave them or turn them away.
[THERE IS A BOOK ON THIS WEBSITE, VERY GOOD INDEED, CALLED “A SHEPHERD LOOKS AT THE 23RD PSALM” - Keith Hunt]
Weights and Measures
997. To measure length in the Old Testament one would have used several units. From smallest to largest, the scale was finger-palm-span-cubit. The cubit was considered the most basic form of measurement, something like what Americans consider the "foot" measurement. The cubit was the length of the forearm measured to the tip of the middle finger. Generally this length varied between seventeen and eighteen inches in length.
[THIS IS ONLY PART OF THE TRUTH; THE CUBIT COULD VARY IN LENGTH IN DIFFERENT AGES. PROOF IS GIVEN IN THE STUDIES OF NOAH’S FLOOD, WHICH STUDY IS UNDER “MISCELLANEOUS” - Keith Hunt]
998. The span was the distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger with the hand extended and the fingers held apart. It was roughly one half of the standard cubit. The palm was approximately one sixth of the common cubit and was initially measured as the breadth of the hand at the base of the fingers. The finger measurement was considered to be about one quarter of a palm and was considered the smallest subdivision of the cubit.
[AGAIN THERE REALLY WAS NO SO-CALLED “STANDARD CUBIT” AS IT DIFFERED IN LENGTH IN DIFFERENT AGES OF TIME - Keith Hunt]
999. Weights in the Bible followed their own system of measure. The weights ascended from the smallest weight of a pirn, beka, or gerah, to the larger shekel, mina, and talent (as Jesus mentioned in one of the parables). For the smaller weights, balances would have been used to measure properly.
1000. A shekel was .403 ounces. The pirn, beka, and gerah were all smaller fractions of the shekel. In order for these weights to be effective, balances were used. As the cubit was the standard measure, so the shekel was the standard unit of weight. Shekel is descended from the word meaning "to weigh."
1001. The talent was by far the largest unit of weight used to measure. Each talent was worth three thousand shekels and weighed around seventy-five pounds. Minas were between fifty and sixty shekels, depending on whether the system was Israelite or Babylonian. Each mina weighed roughly 1.25 pounds.