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: 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

Real Bible Studies: Judges, The Song of Deborah

In Judges 4-5, we meet one of the few women who stands on her own in all of the Old Testament. Deborah isn't just identified as a strong woman, Judges tells us she's leading the Israelites and holds counsel under the Palm of Deborah. She's identified as a prophet, and the wife of Lappidoth. Despite … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Judges, The Song of Deborah

Real Bible Studies: Kings & Chronicles 

Nowhere is the piecemeal nature of the Bible more evident than in the books detailing the kings of Israel and Judah from the time of David's ascension to the time Babylon sacks Jerusalem and burns the temple. Kings and Chronicles are each broken up into two books, but according to sources, in the Hebrew Bible, … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Kings & Chronicles 

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

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

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