• Hermeneutics,  Law,  Old Testament

    To Boil or Not to Boil: Exod 12:8-9 and Deut 16:7 in Contradiction?

    Many people constantly accuse the Bible of having contradictions within it. One such alleged contradiction is in regard to the command not to boil the Passover lamb. In Exodus 12:8-9, Israel is forbidden to eat any of the lamb raw or to boil it in water. Similarly, in Deuteronomy 16:5-7, Moses’ instructions on eating the Passover include the command to cook it and eat it. Although the apparent contradiction is not present in many English translations, the issue is that the Hebrew of Exodus 12:8-9 says not to “boil [מְבֻשָּׁל] in water,” while Deuteronomy 16:7 uses the same verb while saying, “boil [וּבִשַּׁלְתָּ] and eat.” Read the Whole Article

  • Biblical Languages,  Old Testament

    A Proposal for a New Translation of Deuteronomy 4:29

    This month an article that I have been working on for awhile was finally published in the journal The Bible Translator. The article is entitled, “Towards a New Proposal for Translating the Conjunction כי in Deuteronomy 4.29.” Although I am not allowed to post the published PDF, I have uploaded the prepublication version of the paper here. It is a fairly technical paper, discussing some of the intricacies of Hebrew grammar. The paper will likely not be very enjoyable for those who do not know Hebrew. However, in addition to drawing attention to it, I wanted to summarize the argument in layman’s terms. Read the Whole Article

  • Law,  Old Testament

    The Law as a Reflection of Creation Principles

    In a previous post I discussed the purpose of the Law. One of the purposes of the Law was to reflect God’s creation to a watching world. In other words, Israel was given laws that, when obeyed, showed the world what the creation ideal looked like. The connection of creation to the Law is worth examining in greater detail. The easiest way to see this connection is to examine some of the Ten Commandments (the heart of Israel’s Law code) and note their connections to creation principles. Read the Whole Article

  • Law,  Old Testament

    The Purpose of the Old Testament Law

    In a prior post, I mentioned that the Law needs to be read in its narrative context. In addition to being sensitive to the narrative context, we also need to evaluate the purpose of the Old Testament Law as it is portrayed in the Old Testament itself. This is an important first step in helping understand the differences that we see between the Old and New Testaments. The Law was never a means of salvation First, we need to adimently reaffirm that the Law is not portrayed as a standard for salvation. It is common for people to accuse dispensationalists of believing the Law was the means of salvation for…

  • Law,  Old Testament

    The OT Law in Its Narrative Context

    All too often we read sections of Exodus, Leviticus, or Deuteronomy without being sensitive to the surrounding narrative context. We need to remember that God’s giving of the Law on Mount Sinai was within a specific narrative, and we should understand the Law in light of that narrative. When we do so, we come away with the following observations. The narrative context shows the Law was not a legalistic standard to earn God’s favor. There is no reason to think Old Testament believers were saved by keeping the Law. In fact, when we look at the placement of the Law in the narrative, we see that God had already delivered…

  • Old Testament

    The Gods of Psalm 82: Human or Divine?

    Psalm 82:1 states, “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment.” Later in Psalm 82:6-7 we read, “I said, ‘You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.'” The identity of the “gods” in Psalm 82 has been interpreted a variety of ways. For sake of brevity, we will cover the two most popular understandings of “gods.” Read the Whole Article

  • Law,  Old Testament

    The King in Israel: a Contrast with ANE Nations

    Sometimes students of Scripture are surprised to find out that it was always God’s plan for Israel to have a king. God had promised Abraham that “kings shall come from you” (Gen 17:6). God gave a similar promise to Jacob (Gen 35:11). In fact, by the time the Pentateuch wraps up, we are expecting a powerful king who will come from Judah (Gen 49:10; Num 24:17). It should not really be that surprising that Israel would have a king. A king ruling over a kingdom was the default governmental system for the ancient Near East (ANE) nations. But, what is very surprising is the kind of king that Israel was…

  • Law,  Old Testament

    The Bible and Rape: Must a Girl Marry Her Rapist?

    Critics of the Bible often say the Bible is anti-women when it comes to the issue of rape. It is common to point to the rape law in Deuteronomy 22:28–29 as evidence that the Bible is hopelessly out of touch with ethical norms and the common decency which marks contemporary society. This passage reads as follows: “If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he…