• 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 More

  • Old Testament

    Egypt, the Hyksos, and the People of Israel

    Many people have not heard of the Hyksos before. The Hyksos are not mentioned in Scripture, but there are many times in Scripture where knowing the historical background helps one understand what is going on in the text. Such is certainly the case in Exodus 1, where we are told rather abruptly that a Pharaoh arose over Egypt that “did not know Joseph” (Exod 1:8). Although it is possible that this could actually be a reference to a Pharaoh not having any historical knowledge of how the Israelites came to be in Egypt, that seems highly unlikely. Rather, the concept of “knowing” in the Hebrew Bible often will carry with…

  • New Testament,  Old Testament

    Where was the Altar of Incense Located?

    In Hebrews 9:3-4 we are told that the Holy of Holies (aka Most Holy Place) contained the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant. This Holy of Holies was entered only once a year on the Day of Atonement by the High Priest (Heb 9:7; cf. Lev 16). However, we see from other Scriptures that the altar of incense was used much more frequently than once a year (cf. Lev 4:7; Exod 30:7-8). In fact, in God’s instructions for the altar of incense, Israel was instructed to put the altar of incense outside of the Holy of Holies, separated from the Holy of Holies by a curtain…

  • 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…