Real Bible Studies: Genesis, Isaac

Isaac is almost a footnote in the history of Israel. He's born; he's almost sacrificed by his father; he marries Rebekah; he buries Abraham; he fathers Esau and Jacob; he almost gives Rebekah to Abimelek; he's tricked into giving away Esau's blessing to Jacob; then he reconciles with Jacob and dies, all in the span … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Genesis, Isaac

Real Bible Studies: Genesis, The Birth of Isaac

Throughout the book of Genesis, YHWH has been telling Abraham that his descendants will one day possess the land of Canaan, which usually meets with skepticism from Abraham. His sometimes sister, sometimes wife, Sarah, is barren and said to be well beyond the age when women could produce children. YHWH has gone so far as … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Genesis, The Birth of Isaac

Genealogy Tips and Tricks

   To trace a family, start with what is known and work backwards — parents to grandparents and so on and along the way, it's important to note every source of information. Genealogy is all about what can be documented and it's helpful to keep in mind that all published records are compiled by people … Continue reading Genealogy Tips and Tricks

Real Bible Studies: The Sons of Israel

The Bible is as much a political document as it is a religious one. Stories printed there were crafted to support a specific narrative, perhaps to bolster the reign of a particular king or party in its quest for control. Over time, these stories were edited, re-edited, and re-arranged to support different narratives. One such … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: The Sons of Israel

Creation Myths

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." So begins the first creation narrative in Genesis, chapter one. This narrative, which among other things states that water existed on earth before there was light, encompasses the creation of all living things, including humans. The story is directly contradicted by the following chapter of … Continue reading Creation Myths

Real Bible Studies: Genesis, Abraham and Abimelek 

After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the bible is pretty much done with Lot and his nameless daughters, until their descendants, the Moabites and Ammonites start hassling the tribes of Israel many generations later. One wonders why Lot didn't just drop in on his uncle, given the special relationship Abraham seems to have with … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Genesis, Abraham and Abimelek 

Real Bible Studies: Judges, The Levite and his Concubine

The book of Judges concludes with a rather gruesome story about a Levite and his concubine, which appears to have contributed elements to or borrowed elements from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis. Initially, it starts out as another meandering tale highlighting the overwhelming customs of hospitality exhibited by denizens of the Middle … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Judges, The Levite and his Concubine

Real Bible Studies: Samson

As a child growing up in the Methodist Church, I learned about Samson, the legendary strongman from Judges, in Sunday School. This Biblical hero looms large in the imagination of believers and non-believers alike both for his strength and his amazing head of hair. What I learned then is that he was really strong, devoted … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Samson