Real Bible Studies: The Book of Daniel

Daniel begins with Jerusalem being sacked by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar and the prominent families taken off into exile. The narrative states that Daniel entered service to the Babylonian king at the beginning of the exile, which happened between 597-586 BCE, and that he remained in royal service until Cyrus of Persia allowed the Jews … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: The Book of Daniel

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: Sodom and Gomorrah

So far in Genesis, we've been following the adventures of Biblical patriarch Abraham, but now it's time to return to his ne'er do well nephew Lot. When last we looked in on Lot, he'd just been captured by one of the four powers who fought against a coalition of five nations led by the King … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Sodom and Gomorrah

Real Bible Studies: Abraham’s Covenant

Genesis 15 through 18 concerns itself with Abram's covenant with YHWH, which is first revealed to Abram in a vision. Abram is skeptical, since he has no sons to inherit anything, and any rewards would need to be bestowed on his distant relatives. In Genesis 15 YHWH spends most of the time convincing Abram that … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Abraham’s Covenant

Real Bible Studies: Adam and Eve

Most of us are familiar with the biblical story of Adam and Eve and the "fall of man", which takes up all of Genesis 2 and 3, following the creation narrative. Genesis 1:26-28 mentions the creation of mankind, stating they were created in the image of God, male and female. Throughout the passages in Genesis … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Adam and Eve

Real Bible Studies: The Tower of Babel

Following the story of the flood, Genesis 10 goes into the descendants of Noah's sons, Shem, Japheth, and Ham. Ham's son Canaan, previously cursed by Noah for something his father actually did, is cited as the progenitor of many of the tribes the Israelites will have issues with as they move into the "promised land" … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: The Tower of Babel

Real Bible Studies: Cain and Abel

Of the stories in the Old Testament, one of the most recognizable is that of Cain and Abel, the classic rivalry between the favored son and his less lauded brother, which resonates throughout history, becoming the archetype for countless stories of brotherly hatred. Those who quote it, however, may not realize exactly how thin the … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Cain and Abel