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Old Testament Snippets

Things you may not know

                          OLD TESTAMENT SNIPPETS

1. The OT Hebrew scholar Ferrar Fenton translates Genesis 1:1
this way "By PERIODS God created that which produced the Solar
Systems; then that which produced the earth." His footnotes for
"periods" says "Literally 'By Headships.' It is curious that all
translations from the Septuagint have rendered this word
...B'reshitii, into the singular, although it is plural in the
Hebrew. So I render it accurately."

     God may well have created the universe in periods, or parts
of it at different times than other parts, over millions or
billions of years. We know today, with modern science, that the
universe is expanding, and movement of different sorts is going
on in the universe at large.

2. Genesis comes from the word meaning "to be born." From the
same word we get words like "genetic" - "congenital" - and

3. Elohim, which originates from the Hebrew "el" is translated as
"god." The Hebrew word "el" actually is used for reference to all
general gods.

4. The most famous dating of creation was done by the Irish
bishop James Ussher (1581-1656). He came up with the early
morning of the 23rd of October in 4004 B.C.

5. Those who hold to the idea that God is on a 7,000 year plan of
salvation - 6,000 years and then the 7th thousand year or
millennium of the Kingdom of God on earth, by using Ussher's
date, are out of sink, for we are past the 6th millennium and the
Kingdom of God has not come to earth.

6. There is, for many reasons, no accurate way to determine when
the events in Genesis one took place. And there is no Biblical
proof that God is working on a 7,000 year plan.

7. The name "adam" is a pun on the similar Hebrew words for
"soil" and for "man." The Hebrew word "adamah, which means
"ground" or "earth." The author of Genesis (most believe was
Moses) used a word-play. Adam, man, came from "adamah," the

8. The legend that the apple was the fruit on the tree of
knowledge arose in the Middle Ages when artists painted pictures
of Eve tasting the apple.

9. The fruit meant by the Hebrew word commonly translated as
"apple" was probably the apricot, which flourished all over the
Bible lands.

10. Adam and Eve sewed FIG leaves together and made coverings for
themselves. The large, tough leaves of the fig tree would have
made adequate clothes. They are still sewn together in the Middle
East to make baskets, dishes, and even umbrellas.

11. The "Nephilim" of Genesis 6:1-4 literally translated as "the
fallen ones" was by some, believed to have been fallen angels who
mated with human women to create giants with superhuman powers.
There is nothing in the Bible to support this teaching. There are
still tribes of large men as there are tribes of small men called
The main point of Genesis 6 is that the society of Noah (which
had tribes of large men (and maybe women) had fallen away from
the straight pathway of living set by God. Noah's society was
given 120 years to return to God or they would be destroyed by a

12. Noah made his ark of "gopher wood" which probably meant the
cypress tree. This wood is extremely durable. The doors of Saint
Peter's in Rome are made from it and after 12 hundred years they
still show no signs of decay.

13. The first bird Noah released was a raven, a powerful flier
able to slice through the air or soar with the ease of a hawk on
wings that span up to 4 feet. It is noted for its remarkable
memory, hence flying back to the ark.

14. Noah sent out a dove. They are fast flyers, have strong wings
capable of powerful flight in a straight line, in spite of storms
and high winds. We use doves and pigeons (they are the same bird
in the Bible) to carry messages (well maybe not so much today any
more). They have a remarkable way of "finding home."

15. Habiru (or "Hebrew") was a word of disparagement, meaning
something like "the dusty ones." It did not refer to the Hebrew
people in particular but rather to all the land-hungry Semites
who led a nomadic life. Over time it finally was limited to the
children of Abraham.

16. Abraham is noted to have been "very rich in cattle." This
probably meant rich with sheep and goats in early Bible times,
and not to cows.

17. Aaron was Moses' older brother. It was he who was the good or
eloquent speaker, Moses was not.

18. The "Aaronic benediction" is still used by some churches in
the Jewish and Christian world.

     The Lord bless you and keep you.
     The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to
     The Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace." 
     Numbers 6:24-26.

19. The flake-like stuff as fine as frost, called "manna" the
Israelites had for 40 years, is by the meaning of the word,

20. In Psalm 55 David wished he had wings of a dove so he could
fly away. He could have selected any bird, but he chose a dove.
As a shepherd he very well knew that only doves can take off with
a sudden burst of speed and sustain their powerful flight for a
long distance.

21. The habits of the palestinian house sparrow were so well
known that Psalm 102 uses it as a symbol of desolation: "I watch,
and am as a sparrow alone upon the house-top" (KJV).

22. "I am like a pelican of the wilderness" (KJV). Also found in
Psalm 102, this too is David's lament. The white pelican is
abundant around the inland lakes and rivers of Africa and Eurasia
where they prey on fish. In the Bible the word "wilderness"
refers to any unpopulated place, such as a mountain, desert, or
marsh. Pelicans are often found living in the deserts of the
Bible, as long as there is an inland lake within flying distance.

23. The shortest Psalm (117) is just two verses and the longest
Psalm is just TWO Psalms later (119). It is also the longest
chapter in the Bible, and longer than some whole books of the
Bible, such as Obediah and Philemon, and Jude.

24. The book of Psalms is really FIVE different books of songs
and poems. Book i includes Psalms 1-41; book 2 is Psalms 42-72;
book 3 includes Psalms 73-89; book 4 has Psalms 90-106; and book
5 has psalms 107-150.

25. Acrostic poems are found throughout Jewish literature. Psalm
119, the longest chapter in the Bible, is an acrostic poem -
every new stanza begins with the successive letter of the Hebrew

26. The Messianic Psalms are Old Testament psalms that relate
information about the coming Messiah. These include Psalms 22,
40, 45, 69, 72, and 118.

27. The Psalms of Ascent are the songs that were sung by Jewish
pilgrims as they travelled upwards from the surrounding areas of
Palestine to the city of Jerusalem for Festivals. They end with a
joyous shout of praise as the pilgrims finally arrive at the
gates of the Temple.

28. The Bible talks about going up to Jerusalem, down to Jerico
and so forth, because Jerusalem is up high in altitude compared
to other parts of Palestine.

29. The Philistines held a monopoly on the manufacture of IRON,
and in this way they exerted control over the Israelites. Only
after Saul and David defeated the Philistines did the metal come
into common use. The Israelites then learned the techniques of
iron-making. Even the Hebrew words for "knife" and "helmet" came
from the Philistines.

30. The conquest of the city of Jebus was one of David's
victories. He changed the name to Jerusalem, which means "City of
Peace." Jerusalem is 2,500 feet above sea level, and is situated
on limestone ridge. To the south and west is the valley of Hinnom
(or Gehenna), which was used to burn refuse. By New Testament
times gehenna had become a symbol for hell, probably because of
the fires constantly burning there.

31. Not only did Solomon speak over three thousand proverbs and
write more than a thousand songs, he could also speak knowingly
on any subject. The Bible says he could lecture on "trees, from
the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that
springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl,
and of creeping things, and of fishes" (1 Kings 4:33 KJV).

32. The cedar was the largest tree that solomon could have known,
and the little fragrant herb, the hyssop, was among the smallest.
Not the hyssop of modern times, but a hyssop that is a member of
the marjorams, the mint family, that grow clusters of white
flowers among the rocks and crevices in walls. Under these
conditions it is among the smallest flowing plants in the Holy

33. The cedars of Lebanon was the largest and most noble tree
growing in the Bible lands. It towered as high as 120 feet, and
the diameter of its trunk sometimes reach 8 feet. Its wood not
only was a beautiful reddish color, but it also resisted decay
and attack from insects.

34. Dried spikenard was transported across Asia by camels and
stored in alabaster boxes to preserve its fragrance. It was
extraordinarily expensive (John 12:3 KJV).

35. Acacia, the "shittim wood" referred to often in the Bible,
has many uses. Fine-grained and durable, its wood was suitable
for beautiful things like the ark of the covenant, the altar of
the tabernacle, and the mummy coffins of the Egyptians. Various
species of acacia also provide perfumes, gum arabic, medicine,
food for cattle, and firewood.

36. The plant that God appointed to grow and shade Jonah after he
finished preaching to Nineveh is sometimes translated a "gourd
plant" and sometimes simply "plant." It is believed that the
writer was meaning the castor bean. In hot climates it grows very
fast and often seems like a tree, with huge umbrella-like leaves
that make wonderful shade. The Hebrews valued the oil of its
beanlike seeds and used it widely in lamps and ceremonial rites.

37. Isaiah, the longest prophetic book in Hebrew Scripture, has
had a remarkable impact on out language. Some call it the "fifth
Gospel" because so many of the book's prophecies were fulfilled
in the like of Jesus.

38. Many well-known phrases were born from the book of Isaiah.

     White as snow
     Neither shall they learn war any more
     The people that walked in darkness
     And a little child shall lead them
     They shall mount up with wings as eagles
     Be of good courage
     Like a lamb to the slaughter

39. The terms "Jew" or "Jews" came after the Kingdom of Israel
was divided into TWO Kingdoms, after the death of Solomon. We
then had the "House of Israel" (10 tribes) and the "House of
Judah" (3 tribes - Judah, Benjamin and Levi). 

40. The House of Israel went into ASSYRIAN captivity in 745-718
B.C. and only a relative few ever came back to live among the
House of Judah. The majority of the House of Israel NEVER
returned, and they became known as "the lost house of Israel."
But they are NOW today FOUND. Most of the Western world are the
very peoples of the House of Israel.
Judah went into captivity by the BABYLON Empire in 604 -586 B.C.
Only a part of them returned to the Holy Land, under Ezra and
Nehemiah. They became the Jews of Jesus' day. The other Jews were
scattered in different parts of what became the Roman Empire.

41. Samaria of the Gospels was NOT the Samaria of the old House
of Israel under the prophets of Israel. It was just a small area
north of Jerusalem, that Jesus and His disciples passed through
when going to Galilee and area. 

42. The Samaritans of the Gospels were a Jewish sect (not
Gentiles at all) that did not recognize Jerusalem and the
priesthood there, but had their own temple, priesthood, and
religious rites. That was the main reason they were hated so much
by the religious Jews of Jerusalem religion.

43. The Samaritans still exist today, though small in number. The
Jewish Encyclopedia has a long in-depth article on them.

44. The Pharisees were the local people religious party. They ran
the synagogues, and had the most influence over the religious
people of the Holy Land. They came into being after the Jews
returned from the 70 year Babylonian captivity.  

45. The Sadducees claimed the right of work in the Temple. They
were the upper class religious priests and some followers. They
claimed direct line from the priests of Moses' day.

47. The Sadducees taught no after life or resurrection. There are
today some Jewish leaders and teachers who still claim that
theology, the life we have NOW is ALL there is. 

48. About 400 years expired between the last prophet of the Old
Testament and the beginning of the New Testament.

49. The Apocryphal books contained in the Roman Catholic Bible,
give some interesting history of the centuries between the Old
and New Testaments.

50. Jesus was actually born in 5 B.C. For an in-depth study of
that fact, see "When was Christ born?" on this Website.


Entered on this Website June 2007  

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