Good Measure, Pressed Down, Shaken Together And Running Over

From the Category, “The Eastern Eye”

[The Bible is an “Eastern” book. It was written many years ago in the “East” which today we refer to as “The Middle East.”  As such, there are many customs and idioms that are not familiar to the “Western” mind.

In understanding the Scriptures it is important for us to understand the culture, but it doesn’t mean that we should necessarily follow that culture. Rather, it is in the understanding of the Eastern culture that we gain light and understanding about many things in the Bible.]

Like many other people, I practice the act of giving.  Some call it the tithe; others refer to it as abundant sharing; still others say it is

The Woman At The Well

From the Category, “The Eastern Eye”

[The Bible is an “Eastern” book. It was written many years ago in the “East” which today we refer to as “The Middle East.”  As such, there are many customs and idioms that are not familiar to the “Western” mind.

In understanding the Scriptures it is important for us to understand the culture, but it doesn’t mean that we should necessarily follow that culture. Rather, it is in the understanding of the Eastern culture that we gain light and understanding about many things in the Bible.]

There are great truths in a record in the Gospel of John when Jesus

Simeon and Anna

From the Category, “The Eastern Eye”

[The Bible is an “Eastern” book. It was written many years ago in the “East” which today we refer to as “The Middle East.”  As such, there are many customs and idioms that are not familiar to the “Western” mind.

In understanding the Scriptures it is important for us to understand the culture, but it doesn’t mean that we should necessarily follow that culture. Rather, it is in the understanding of the Eastern culture that we gain light and understanding about many things in the Bible.]

(At the end of this post there is a beautiful song by Lisa Tracy, called, “Simeon and Anna.)

There is an event recorded in the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke that happened soon after Jesus was born that many overlook and most never talk about.  However, this event carries great significance as well as a tremendous lesson in God’s faithfulness. It’s the record of Simeon and Anna.

Background

A brief look at the Old Testament Law requirements helps us better appreciate the event in the temple 41 days after Jesus’ birth.  Firstly, Jesus was, according to the Law, circumcised 8 days after his birth.  It was at his circumcision that he was named Jesus.

There were two other laws that Joseph and Mary obeyed.  They brought Jesus to the Temple to present him before the Lord.  They also offered a sacrifice.

After childbirth, the mother was considered ceremonially unclean for a period of time.  That means she would not be allowed to be involved with anything considered sacred, including entering into the Temple. So, when her time was right, Joseph and Mary traveled the six miles from Bethlehem to the Temple in Jerusalem for two ceremonies: Mary’s purification and the presentation of her firstborn.

According to the Old Testament, the firstborn belongs to God. Scholars tell us the presentation ceremony included a formal presentation of the child to the priest.  Token redemption money of five shekels was then paid.

Purification

The details concerning the purification are recorded in Leviticus 12:1-8, which you can read at the end of this post.

When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, the mother is to bring the child and a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering to the priest. Thus, two offerings were required.

The Law also stipulated that, “if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.”

As noted in Luke, Chapter 2, Joseph and Mary did not bring a lamb of the first year, but instead brought a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. Some have suggested they did this because they were so poor.  God Almighty, the God of abundance and prosperity didn’t have His only begotten Son grow up in poverty; there is a deeper reason.

This child, Jesus, was no ordinary child; he would one day sacrifice his life for the sins of the whole world.  John the Baptist referred to him as “The lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  For this reason, Joseph and Mary opted for the turtledoves or pigeons for their sacrifice.

Simeon

While Joseph and Mary were performing these two laws, a man by the name of Simeon came into the Temple.  The Bible tells us that he was just and devout, and, waiting for the consolation of Israel.  We also learn that the holy spirit was upon him, meaning that he had the spirit from God.

God had revealed to this man that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  What a fantastic promise!  People had been waiting and expecting the Christ for hundreds and hundreds of years, and God promised Simeon that he would see him before he died.

The Bible says that he “came by the spirit into the Temple,” which means God revealed to him that he should go into the Temple.  He did, and then he took up Jesus in his arms and praised God.  What a fantastic moment in his life that must have been.

Anna

And then, an elderly woman named Anna came in right at that moment.  The Bible tells us that she was a prophetess, which means she also had the spirit of God.  From the context we can certainly conclude that God sent her in at that moment as well.

The Bible gives us much more information about Anna than Simeon.  In the culture of the lands and times of the Bible, women did not have as much credibility as men.  There were certain things that women were not permitted to do.

For most of us reading this record today, the extra details about Anna may not be as important as they were to readers of the Gospels in the first century.  So, God lovingly added a number of details to show what a wonderful woman Anna was.

The prophetic words that both Simeon and Anna spoke are full of great truths.  We’ll save that discussion for another time.  But consider how those words must have inspired and encouraged Joseph and Mary, who had the responsibility of raising this child.

Great Significance

One of the things that is so significant about the event of Simeon and Anna is the mention of God’s spirit, upon both Simeon and Anna.  It was the spirit of God directing two people, who had God’s spirit, to go and see the Christ.

It is significant because part of Christ’s work was to restore and make available the spirit of God to all of mankind.  Jesus spoke of the spirit, or comforter, to come on a number of occasions. On the day of Pentecost, Christ’s work having been accomplished, Peter encouraged those listening to him to receive the gift of the holy spirit.

A Great Lesson

A great lesson one can take from this event is the faithfulness of God Almighty.  First, God promised, in the Scriptures, to send a savior, a redeemer.  He kept His word and sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

Secondly, God made a special promise to Simeon.  He promised him that he would not see death before he had seen the Christ.  Again, God kept His word; Simeon saw the Christ.

There are things that God has said in the Scriptures that will take place in the future.  Because He is faithful and does not lie, they will absolutely happen.  He has promised to send His Son back to gather us together, and it will happen.

There are also promises in the Bible to you and to me.  We receive those promises into our lives when we accept them as true and believe God.  When we do, we will absolutely receive what He has promised.

And there are times when God will specifically reveal something just for you.  You can choose to believe what He tells you.  Doing so, just like Simeon, you will receive what God has spoken to you.

God Almighty is faithful to His Word, whether written or spoken.  He says what He means and He means what He says. He is absolutely, completely trustworthy.

Here is a song by Lisa Tracy, called, “Simeon and Anna.”

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Luke 2:21-38
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

(As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;

And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Leviticus 12:1-8
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.

And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.

And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.

But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.

And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest:

Who shall offer it before the Lord, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female.

And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.

John 1:36
And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

John 15:26
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Acts 2:38
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Mike Verdicchio
2012

Leave A Comment!
Do you have some thoughts about this?  We’d love to hear what you think.  To leave a comment if you are receiving this post via email or RSS, just click the title above and scroll to the bottom of the post and type in your comment.  If not, just scroll to the bottom of this post and type in your comment.

Share This Article!
To share this article on social media, like Facebook, or, Twitter, there are links below.

Resources
There are a number of books that you can read to get insight on customs, manners, idioms and meanings from the Eastern culture in which the Bible was written.  The best I know of were written by Bishop K. C. Pillai.  I have had the pleasure of listening to many recorded teaching by him.

He wrote three books, and they are hard to find, and are usually over priced.  But, if you want to you can check this link to see what Amazon has to offer. Light Through an Eastern Window

Another great resource that I have used for years is a book called, “Manners and Customs of the Bible,” by James Freeman. Mine was printed in 1972 and I know they have newer additions. For the newest edition, just click the link and it will take you to Amazon. The New Manners and Customs of the Bible (Pure Gold Classics)

More Eastern Eye Articles

Why Did He Tell Joseph He Was Pharaoh?

From the Category, “The Eastern Eye”

[The Bible is an “Eastern” book. It was written many years ago in the “East” which today we refer to as “The Middle East.”  As such, there are many customs and idioms that are not familiar to the “Western” mind.

In understanding the Scriptures it is important for us to understand the culture, but it doesn’t mean that we should necessarily follow that culture. Rather, it is in the understanding of the Eastern culture that we gain light and understanding about many things in the Bible.

If you are not familiar with the record in the Bible of Joseph, then you can read it  in the book of Genesis. It is a truly remarkable account.  If you are familiar, then you know that Pharaoh called for Joseph, who was in prison, to interpret Pharaoh’s dream.

However, as one reads what is recorded after Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, it seems a bit confusing.  Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without you shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”  Why did Pharaoh tell him, “I am Pharaoh?”

At this point in the record, Pharaoh is giving Joseph authority over all of Egypt.  He is in fact placing Joseph as second only to himself.  This is an extraordinary event which only Pharaoh could command.

Saying, “I am,” is a declaration that what he was speaking was as good as who he was.  When someone says, “I am so-and-so,” they are attesting that what they have said is absolutely certain.  It is a declaration of one’s prestige, standing, status, power and authority.

Obviously Joseph knew who he was standing before.  Pharaoh gave what we might refer to as an executive order.  He was making it very clear that there could be no question as to the certainty of what he spoke.

That expression is similar to when someone says, “In the name of.”  In that case, it is not the person himself speaking, but someone else on his behalf who has the authority to speak using his name.  And again, it would mean all the authority, power, status, standing and prestige of that name.

In our culture here in the United States, in would be a bit awkward in the workplace to say, “In the name of the boss, this project is a priority.”  We would simply say, “The boss said to get this done, now!”

Today, born again believers have the authority to utilize the name of Jesus Christ.

In the book of Acts, there are a number of references to believers operating the power of God by utilizing the name of Jesus Christ.  We can, and we should, pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  We can and we should operate the power of God in the name of Jesus Christ.

Genesis 41:44
And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I [am] Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.

[For the complete record concerning Joseph, see Genesis 37 – 50]

Acts 3:6, 16
Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Acts 4:10
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, [even] by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Acts 9:34
And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.

Acts 8:12
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Acts 16:18
And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

Ephesians 5:20
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Mark 9:39
But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

John 14:13 and 14
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].

John 20:31
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Mike Verdicchio
2012

Leave A Comment!
Do you have some thoughts about this?  We’d love to hear what you think.  To leave a comment if you are receiving this post via email or RSS, just click the title above and scroll to the bottom of the post and type in your comment.  If not, just scroll to the bottom of this post and type in your comment.

Share This Article!
To share this article on social media, like Facebook, or, Twitter, there are links below.

Resources
There are a number of books that you can read to get insight on customs, manners, idioms and meanings from the Eastern culture in which the Bible was written.  The best I know of were written by Bishop K. C. Pillai.  I have had the pleasure of listening to many recorded teaching by him.

He wrote three books, and they are hard to find, and are usually over priced.  But, if you want to you can check this link to see what Amazon has to offer. Light Through an Eastern Window

Another great resource that I have used for years is a book called, “Manners and Customs of the Bible,” by James Freeman. Mine was printed in 1972 and I know they have newer additions. For the newest edition, just click the link and it will take you to Amazon. The New Manners and Customs of the Bible (Pure Gold Classics)

More Eastern Eye Articles

Bible Bling

From the Category, “The Eastern Eye”

[The Bible is an “Eastern” book. It was written many years ago in the “East” which today we refer to as “The Middle East.”  As such, there are many customs and idioms that are not familiar to the “Western” mind.

In understanding the Scriptures it is important for us to understand the culture, but it doesn’t mean that we should necessarily follow that culture. Rather, it is in the understanding of the Eastern culture that we gain light and understanding about many things in the Bible.

In our culture today we have many types of jewelry.  There are earrings, necklaces, rings, etc.  A common term used today to describe it all is the word “bling.”

In addition to adorning one’s ears, neck, fingers, toes, etc, there is now a way to display “bling” on your teeth, called a “grill.”  You may have spotted Olympic gold medalist, Ryan Lochte sporting his latest grill at the Olympic games in London.

A grill is basically a retainer filled with diamonds, which Lochte has displayed at other competitions after winning.  But for this year’s Olympics, he had a special American flag grill designed.  And while he was not allowed to wear it during the award ceremony, he promptly displayed his patriotic “bling” following the ceremony.

“Bling” has been around for a long, long time.  Pharaoh put his signet ring on Joseph’s hand to indicate authority.  He also put a chain of gold around Joseph’s neck indicating honor.

In Bible times, a husband would give his wife a gold chain that indicated that he honored her.   On very special occasions a wife would wear her “ten pieces of silver.”  http://confidenceandjoy.com/ten-pieces-of-silver/   In the book, Song of Solomon, “rows of jewels” are symbolic of love.

For centuries, shiny sparkling items have been used to demonstrate and indicate love, honor and authority.  As I type this post I see the gold band on the finger of my left hand, and I know what it means to me.

Long before “piercing” became popular, I was in a conversation with a young girl who had a silver ring in her nose.  I must admit it was hard to carry on a conversation with her without gazing at her nose.  But, I did share some of God’s Word with her and she became a Christian.

Did she get rid of her nose ring when she accepted Christ?  Does it matter?  So, while you may see some “bling” people wear that you don’t like, or don’t agree with, try not to be judgmental.  There is a reason they are wearing it, if only to get attention.

Genesis 41:42
And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;

Song of Solomon 1:10
Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold.

Mike Verdicchio
2012

Leave A Comment!
Do you have some thoughts about this?  We’d love to hear what you think.  To leave a comment if you are receiving this post via email or RSS, just click the title above and scroll to the bottom of the post and type in your comment.  If not, just scroll to the bottom of this post and type in your comment.

Share This Article!
To share this article on social media, like Facebook, or, Twitter, there are links below.

Resources
There are a number of books that you can read to get insight on customs, manners, idioms and meanings from the Eastern culture in which the Bible was written.  The best I know of were written by Bishop K. C. Pillai.  I have had the pleasure of listening to many recorded teaching by him.

He wrote three books, and they are hard to find, and are usually over priced.  But, if you want to you can check this link to see what Amazon has to offer. Light Through an Eastern Window

Another great resource that I have used for years is a book called, “Manners and Customs of the Bible,” by James Freeman. Mine was printed in 1972 and I know they have newer additions. For the newest edition, just click the link and it will take you to Amazon. The New Manners and Customs of the Bible (Pure Gold Classics)

More Eastern Eye Articles

Laying Money At Their Feet

From the Category, “The Eastern Eye”

[The Bible is an “Eastern” book. It was written many years ago in the “East” which today we refer to as “The Middle East.”  As such, there are many customs and idioms that are not familiar to the “Western” mind.

In understanding the Scriptures it is important for us to understand the culture, but it doesn’t mean that we should necessarily follow that culture. Rather, it is in the understanding of the Eastern culture that we gain light and understanding about many things in the Bible.In the book of Acts you read about people bringing gifts of money to the apostles, and laying the gifts at their feet.  In our culture, that sounds strange.  If we were giving someone a gift of money, we would hand it to them.

In the lands and times of the Bible, when a man of God was leaving a home after visiting, he would pray with the people and bless their home.  The people of that house would then hand him a tray, which contained fruits and flowers.  He could then pick what he wanted from the tray before leaving the house.

However, if they were giving him money, they did not put it on the tray.  Instead, it would be wrapped and placed at his feet.  This they did as an indication that money was only a servant; money was not their God.

There is nothing evil about money.  Money is not the root of all evil; the love of money is the root of all evil.  In our culture today, we need and utilize money to carry out the daily affairs of our lives.

Problems arise when a person begins to love money for the sake of seeing how much money he can accumulate.  Then, money ceases to be a necessary servant, but rather a god.  And, while there are numerous wonderful believers in the Bible who had great wealth, their wealth was not their God.

I think it’s really great that on all our money, paper or coin, that we use here in the United States, you can read, “In God We Trust.”  What a wonderful reminder to us, every time we use money that we should trust in our God, not in our money.

Acts 4:35
And laid [them] down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

Acts 4:37
Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts 5:2
And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Mike Verdicchio
2012

Leave A Comment!
Do you have some thoughts about this?  We’d love to hear what you think.  To leave a comment if you are receiving this post via email or RSS, just click the title above and scroll to the bottom of the post and type in your comment.  If not, just scroll to the bottom of this post and type in your comment.

Share This Article!
To share this article on social media, like Facebook, or, Twitter, there are links below.

Resources
There are a number of books that you can read to get insight on customs, manners, idioms and meanings from the Eastern culture in which the Bible was written.  The best I know of were written by Bishop K. C. Pillai.  I have had the pleasure of listening to many recorded teaching by him.

He wrote three books, and they are hard to find, and are usually over priced.  But, if you want to you can check this link to see what Amazon has to offer. Light Through an Eastern Window

Another great resource that I have used for years is a book called, “Manners and Customs of the Bible,” by James Freeman. Mine was printed in 1972 and I know they have newer additions. For the newest edition, just click the link and it will take you to Amazon. The New Manners and Customs of the Bible (Pure Gold Classics)

More Eastern Eye Articles

Weaning A Child

From the Category, “The Eastern Eye”

[The Bible is an “Eastern” book. It was written many years ago in the “East” which today we refer to as “The Middle East.”  As such, there are many customs and idioms that are not familiar to the “Western” mind.

In understanding the Scriptures it is important for us to understand the culture, but it doesn’t mean that we should necessarily follow that culture. Rather, it is in the understanding of the Eastern culture that we gain light and understanding about many things in the Bible.]

In the book of I Samuel, we read about a lady who was barren; her name was Hannah.  In her culture, having a child was considered a blessing from God.  Giving birth to a boy was the greatest blessing, as they continued to look for and expect the Messiah.  Not bearing a child was not only heartbreaking to a woman, but many thought of it as a disgrace; as it indicated a lack of blessing from God.

Hannah prayed.  She promised God that if He would bless her with a boy, she would give that child to the Temple for God’s service.  That meant that the child would grow up and spend his life in the Temple in service to God.

If you have read the record then you know that God indeed blessed Hannah with a boy, whose name was Samuel.  She honored her vow and brought him to the Temple after he was weaned.  But God multiplied His blessings in answering the prayer of Hannah, by giving her five more children in addition to Samuel!

How Young Was Samuel?

There has been some misunderstanding as to how old Samuel was when Hannah brought him to the Temple.  In reading the record, we gather that his mother brought him to the Temple after he was weaned. That is true, but there are two meanings for weaning.

The first meaning is the time a baby finishes drinking his mother’s breast milk.  Today, that meaning is the most common understanding of weaning. But in Bible culture there was another meaning.

A child was considered weaned when he not only stopped drinking his mother’s milk, but after his mother taught him the milk of the Word of God.  The mother would spend much time teaching her child the basics about God. Isn’t that beautiful?  She would feed her child both physical food and spiritual food.

Weaning from the breast milk varied and it was generally around eight months to a year.  Weaning from the milk of the Word lasted until around five or six years old.  Scientists have discovered the incredible development of a child in ages 2 to 5.  It is a very important time in a child’s life.  No wonder they put forth the effort to instill the basic understanding of God in their children.

So, they brought Samuel, a little boy around 6 years old, to the Temple.  He lived and slept very close to Eli, the high priest and judge of Israel.  He grew and walked with God and became one of the greatest prophets of all time.

I Peter 2:2
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

I Corinthians 2:2
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able [to bear it], neither yet now are ye able.

I Samuel 2:2 and 21
And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home.

And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD

I Samuel 1
1:1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:

1:2 And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

1:3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.

1:4 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:

1:5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.

1:6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.

1:7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

1:8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?

1:9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.

1:10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.

1:11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

1:12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.

1:13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.

1:14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.

1:15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.

1:16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.

1:17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.

1:18 And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.

1:19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.

1:20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.

1:21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.

1:22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.

1:23 And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.

1:24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young.

1:25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.

1:26 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.

1:27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

1:28 Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.

Mike Verdicchio
2012

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Do you have some thoughts about this?  We’d love to hear what you think.  To leave a comment if you are receiving this post via email or RSS, just click the title above and scroll to the bottom of the post and type in your comment.  If not, just scroll to the bottom of this post and type in your comment.

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To share this article on social media, like Facebook, or, Twitter, there are links below.

Resources
There are a number of books that you can read to get insight on customs, manners, idioms and meanings from the Eastern culture in which the Bible was written.  The best I know of were written by Bishop K. C. Pillai.  I have had the pleasure of listening to many recorded teaching by him.

He wrote three books, and they are hard to find, and are usually over priced.  But, if you want to you can check this link to see what Amazon has to offer. Light Through an Eastern Window

Another great resource that I have used for years is a book called, “Manners and Customs of the Bible,” by James Freeman. Mine was printed in 1972 and I know they have newer additions. For the newest edition, just click the link and it will take you to Amazon. The New Manners and Customs of the Bible (Pure Gold Classics)

More Eastern Eye Articles

Be Removed And Cast Into The Sea

From the Category, “The Eastern Eye”

[The Bible is an “Eastern” book. It was written many years ago in the “East” which today we refer to as “The Middle East.”  As such, there are many customs and idioms that are not familiar to the “Western” mind.

In understanding the Scriptures it is important for us to understand the culture, but it doesn’t mean that we should necessarily follow that culture. Rather, it is in the understanding of the Eastern culture that we gain light and understanding about many things in the Bible.]

Jesus’ disciples came to him one day asking about how to increase their faith. He gave quite an answer.  In fact, the two examples he used in his answer are very enlightening.

Concerning increasing their faith, or believing, he told them that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed they could say to a sycamine tree, “Come up out of there by the roots and go plant yourself in the sea.”  And then he said the tree would obey.

In his answer he used a mustard seed and a sycamine tree.  The mustard seed of the lands and times of the Bible is the smallest of all seeds. If it got into your eye, you would hardly be aware if it.  Yet that mustard seed will grow into a tree, as big as the apple trees here in the United States.

How Much?

So, how much faith do you need?  How big does it have to be?  The disciples were concerned about increasing their faith so that they could do more, or produce more.  Jesus said that all you need is a speck.

That means that when it comes to faith, or believing, it is not the size or amount. Rather, you either believe or you don’t believe.  But when you do believe, the results are tremendous, big enough to uproot and replant a sycamine tree.

The sycamine tree mentioned in the Bible is the wild fig tree.  And although it produces fruit year round, usually six times a year, most people do not eat the fruit because those figs are very bitter.

What is very interesting is that although the sycamine tree is small, it has an enormous root system. The roots of that tree are varied in size and spread so far and wide, and deep, that even today with our modern machinery it would be impossible to pull out a sycamine tree without leaving some of the roots behind.

But Jesus said that if you have faith, or believing, the size of a mustard seed, you would be able to say to the sycamine tree, be plucked out by the roots.  The smallest amount of believing can remove this bitter fruit tree with all of its extensive root system.  And not only remove it, but replant it in the sea; replanted under the water far from you.

Have You Ever Thought Abut This?

Consider this for a moment.  Was Jesus teaching his disciples how they could get rid of literal trees?  Was this a lesson in agriculture?  Or is there a much deeper meaning?

I believe he was teaching that we Christians, by believing who we are and who God has made us to be in the new birth, can pluck out negative issues in our lives.  In the epistles it talks about putting off the things of the old man nature.  It talks about casting down things that are contrary to the Word of God.  It talks about forgetting things of the past, laying aside every weight and sin that holds us back.

We all have areas in our lives that we would like to change.  But, do any of us have as many issues as the sycamine tree has roots?  Jesus was teaching that we can address those issues specifically.  By believing who you are, a child of God, empowered with His power, you can command those issues to leave.

For example, you can say to anger, “Anger, be removed from my life and be cast away in the name of Jesus Christ,” and if you believe who you really are, it has to obey you!  Whether it be anger, bitterness, ingratitude, sickness, ugly habits; it doesn’t matter; you, by believing, and by the power of God, can remove them from your life.

He Said You Can Do The Impossible!

It sounds impossible, yet Jesus Christ used an example of something that was impossible.  He was teaching them that with faith, believing, you can do the impossible.  As a matter of fact, it wasn’t the only time he taught them that they could do the impossible.

On another occasion he told them that if they believed, and didn’t doubt, they could say to a mountain, be removed and cast into the sea.  Do you think that he was instructing them on how to change the landscape?  Or, again, was he teaching a deeper truth?

In our lives there are times when we face what seem to be insurmountable obstacles.  We encounter roadblocks that keep us from where we are headed in life.  And yet, as big as those mountains may seem, by believing God, and believing who God has made us to be, and not doubting in our hearts, we can speak directly to the mountains to remove them.

There are two things that Jesus said we could remove by believing and speaking to them directly: the sycamine tree, with its bitter fruit and enormous root system, and a mountain.   He was clear that it wasn’t the amount of faith or believing that we have, just that we have it.

Now I am absolutely certain that if God gave you revelation to remove a literal sycamine tree, and you believed Him, you could indeed remove the tree and send it  into the sea.  The same would be true for a literal mountain.

And yes, I can certainly see those two examples as Jesus teaching about believing to do the impossible.  If God reveals something to you that is impossible, by believing and not doubting in your heart you can operate His power and do it.

In addition to that, having Scriptures in the epistles that talk about putting off, and casting down, etc., we can begin practicing the instruction that Jesus gave us, can’t we?  We can start to specifically address the issues in our lives we want to remove, instead of either complaining or settling.

And as we get into the habit of speaking directly to those issues and roadblocks, by the authority of the Christ in us, we can begin to get rid of our doubts to the end that we simply believe. All we need is faith, or believing, the size of a mustard seed.

Luke 13:19:
It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

Luke 17:5 and 6
And the apostles said unto the Lord, increase our faith.

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

Matthew 11:23
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Ephesians 4:22
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

Colossians 3:8
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

II Corinthians 10:5
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Philippians 3:13
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Hebrews 12:1
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

I Peter 2:1
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

Mike Verdicchio
2012

Leave A Comment!
Do you have some thoughts about this?  We’d love to hear what you think.  To leave a comment if you are receiving this post via email or RSS, just click the title above and scroll to the bottom of the post and type in your comment.  If not, just scroll to the bottom of this post and type in your comment.

Share This Article!
To share this article on social media, like Facebook, or, Twitter, there are links below.

Resources
There are a number of books that you can read to get insight on customs, manners, idioms and meanings from the Eastern culture in which the Bible was written.  The best I know of were written by Bishop K. C. Pillai.  I have had the pleasure of listening to many recorded teaching by him.

He wrote three books, and they are hard to find, and are usually over priced.  But, if you want to you can check this link to see what Amazon has to offer. Light Through an Eastern Window

Another great resource that I have used for years is a book called, “Manners and Customs of the Bible,” by James Freeman. Mine was printed in 1972 and I know they have newer additions. For the newest edition, just click the link and it will take you to Amazon. The New Manners and Customs of the Bible (Pure Gold Classics)

More Eastern Eye Articles

He Shook Off The Viper

From the Category, “The Eastern Eye”

[The Bible is an “Eastern” book. It was written many years ago in the “East” which today we refer to as “The Middle East.”  As such, there are many customs and idioms that are not familiar to the “Western” mind.

In understanding the Scriptures it is important for us to understand the culture, but it doesn’t mean that we should necessarily follow that culture. Rather, it is in the understanding of the Eastern culture that we gain light and understanding about many things in the Bible.]

On his way to Rome, the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked and ended up on the island of present day Malta, which is referred to as Melita in the Bible.   It was miraculous that in the midst of a horrendous storm, everyone made it to shore safely.

On that cold, rainy night, Paul and others were gathered around a fire to warm themselves.  The barbarous people of the island kindled the fire.  Barbarous simply means that they spoke a different language.

The account in Acts 28 goes on to say that Paul gathered a bundle of sticks, but after putting them on the fire, a viper came out of the fire and fastened itself on his hand.

In the lands and times of the Bible, those warmed by a fire were expected to contribute to the firs.   This is why Paul contributed to the fire by placing a bundle of sticks on it.

A Deadly Viper

This viper that attacked Paul was very deadly; it was six to eight inches long with a very pointed head.  According to Bishop Pillai, these vipers could sink their fangs an inch deep into your skin, and then release their deadly poison.  After this type of viper strikes, it dies.  It is very difficult to pull the viper out even after it is dead.

Easterners believed if a man murdered and then ran away, escaping the law, a viper would hunt him, find him, and justice would be served.  That is why when the people of Malta saw the viper hanging from Paul’s hand, they assumed he was a murderer who had escaped justice and was now getting what he deserved: death.

But Paul did not die; he operated a power that is far greater than deadly viper poison – the power of God.  The record says he simply shook off the viper into the fire and felt no harm.  It was miraculous to shake it off, considering how vipers attach to the skin, and it was also miraculous that he was not harmed at all from the viper.

Can We Shake Off?

What about the circumstances and situations that we are confronted with?  Can we shake off the venomous vipers of negatives and remain unaffected by them?  We have the ability to put off, or cast down, whatever thoughts we choose, and then to replace those thoughts with the truth of God’s Word.  We also have the ability to operate the power of God.

The type of viper which bit Paul would typically leave the victim dead within 20 minutes after the strike. There was no cure, and there was no way to pull the viper off.  And yet, Paul just shook it off, and the people of the island couldn’t believe that he didn’t fall over dead.

It was after a period of time, when Paul showed no signs of any harm, that the natives changed their minds and declared that Paul was a god.  That is certainly understandable, isn’t it?  They believed that their god would send a viper to execute justice, and since in this case the deadly viper had no effect, they concluded the man must be a god.

Stranded For Three Months

Paul and those with him were stranded on that island for three months waiting for another ship.  But Paul ministered to the people on the island, including bringing healing to the father of the chief man on the island.  The incident with the viper certainly opened some doors for Paul to minister and teach.

A number of years ago, while briefly visiting the island of Malta, I took a trip to what is called, St. Paul’s Bay, the area they believe Paul and the rest from the ship landed.  It was exciting to be where Paul may have been in what was an awful, life threatening situation.

But, God delivered him and everyone else on the ship from a very deadly storm.  He ended up on the shore, obviously soaking wet on a cold rainy night.  Then, as he tried to get warm by a fire, a viper attached to his hand!

What happened in Paul’s mind in the few seconds from the attacking to the shaking off, I do not know.  I do know that in one sense, because of everything that had just happened, it wouldn’t seem like the ideal time to be peaceful.  But he obviously trusted and believed God.

And even though we may not end up with a viper hanging on our hand, we still do face our own circumstances and situations, some more serious than others.  We must choose to mentally shake off the fear and worries, and replace them with the promises from God.  We have the ability to put off whatever thoughts we choose, and then to replace those thoughts with the truth of God’s Word.

Acts 28:1-11
And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.

And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.

And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffers not to live.

And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.

Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.

And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.

So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:

Who also honored us with many honors; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.

And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.

Mike Verdicchio
2012

Leave A Comment!
Do you have some thoughts about this?  We’d love to hear what you think.  To leave a comment if you are receiving this post via email or RSS, just click the title above and scroll to the bottom of the post and type in your comment.  If not, just scroll to the bottom of this post and type in your comment.

Share This Article!
To share this article on social media, like Facebook, or, Twitter, there are links below.

Resources
There are a number of books that you can read to get insight on customs, manners, idioms and meanings from the Eastern culture in which the Bible was written.  The best I know of were written by Bishop K. C. Pillai.  I have had the pleasure of listening to many recorded teaching by him.

He wrote three books, and they are hard to find, and are usually over priced.  But, if you want to you can check this link to see what Amazon has to offer. Light Through an Eastern Window

Another great resource that I have used for years is a book called, “Manners and Customs of the Bible,” by James Freeman. Mine was printed in 1972 and I know they have newer additions. For the newest edition, just click the link and it will take you to Amazon. The New Manners and Customs of the Bible (Pure Gold Classics)

More Eastern Eye Articles

Beware Of The Leaven

From the Category, “The Eastern Eye”

[The Bible is an “Eastern” book. It was written many years ago in the “East” which today we refer to as “The Middle East.”  As such, there are many customs and idioms that are not familiar to the “Western” mind.

In understanding the Scriptures it is important for us to understand the culture, but it doesn’t mean that we should necessarily follow that culture. Rather, it is in the understanding of the Eastern culture that we gain light and understanding about many things in the Bible.]

There was an occasion when Jesus told his followers, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”  On another occasion, he compared the kingdom of God to leaven.  Understanding the leaven of Bible times gives us great insight to what he was communicating to them.

When reading the word “leaven” in the Bible, many people think of the properties of yeast, that which causes the dough to rise. But that is not the purpose of the leaven used in Bible times.  In fact, their bread was flat and as such, causing the dough to rise was not a concern.

Leaven was very thin dough, made from flour and water; kind of a soupy substance. They would take this thin dough and put it into a two or three gallon pot, and tie off the top with a piece of linen.

For eleven days they put that pot outside in the sun from 6 am to 6 pm.  After the eleven days, the pot was then brought into the kitchen.  Whenever they would bake bread, they added two or three spoonfuls of leaven to the dough.

Why Did They Add Leaven?

The leaven was added to the dough to sweeten the bread.  The two or three spoonfuls would permeate the dough.  It quite literally changed the dough.

The dough they prepared for bread was no longer just pure dough.  The properties of the leaven sweetened the dough.  It is important to recognize that leaven changes something.

In our modern dictionary, there are a number of definitions for the word “leaven.”   Most people think leaven and yeast are the same thing. However, one of the definitions that I have found says, “an element that produces an altering or transforming influence.” That definition is very accurate when considering the leaven used in Bible times.

Beware!

When Jesus gave his warning about the leaven of the Pharisees as recorded in the gospel of Matthew, his disciples got a little confused, and thought he was talking about bread.  However, he explained to them that he was talking about the “doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

Jesus compared their doctrine to leaven. They were supposed to be teaching people about God and the things of God.  Jesus quite clearly indicated that they had added their own ideas to the pure right doctrine of God.

In fact, you can read of Jesus confronting the religious leaders of his day and time directly.  On one occasion, he told them that they were worshiping in vain, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.  Their message, what they were teaching, was no longer pure; they had changed it.

What Happened?

Have you ever wondered what happened to the pure doctrine of Christianity taught in the first century?  So many things that Paul taught and that are recorded in the epistles have changed.  How did that happen?

What happened to the pure doctrine in the book of Romans that says that nothing can separate us from the love of God?  Or, that there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus?  And what happened to the pure doctrine recorded in Ephesians that states that we are saved by grace, “not of works?”

Through the years and even unto this day, leaven – the ideas, theories and commandments of men – continue to be added to the pure Word of God.  That is why we ought to ask ourselves why we believe what we believe.  Is it because someone said it, or is it because we can read and understand it from the Scriptures?

Another Comparison

Jesus also used the comparison of leaven with the kingdom of heaven.  The kingdom of heaven, sometimes referred to as the kingdom of God, includes all that God made available through the completed work of Christ. Because God so loved the world, the results of what Christ accomplished, has changed and continues to change the lives of men and women.

By accepting Christ as lord of all men and believing that God raised him from the dead, someone lost and without hope becomes saved.  They are forever changed.  They are now born from above, a child of God!

Specific information and details for those who are born again are found in the Church Epistles: Romans through Thessalonians.   In the book of Galatians, Paul, endeavoring to help them believe rightly, addressed some errors in their thinking and actions.

He told them that they had been doing well, but then something happened.  They were now thinking that they were right before God by doing the works of the Law; in other words, that they were made righteous by their good works.

In correcting that error, Paul pointed out to them that this kind of thinking came in from somewhere else.  It had permeated that group of believers.  Paul then told them, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump. “

We ought to do our best to rightly understand the Scriptures that are addressed to us as Christians.  We really need to ask ourselves, “Why do I believe what I believe?”  We can take Jesus’ warning seriously, and, at the same time, rejoice that his accomplishments continue to bring great change to those who are lost and without hope.

Matthew 16:6, 11, 12
Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

How is it that you do not understand that I spoke it not to you concerning bread, that you should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?

Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Matthew 15:7-9
You hypocrites, well did Esaias [Isaiah]prophesy of you, saying,

This people draws nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me.

But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Romans 8:38 and 39
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus

Ephesians 2:5, 8 and 9
Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;)

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Matthew 13:33
Another parable spoke he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid [mixed] in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Romans 10:9
That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.

Galatians 5:6-9
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works [is energized] by love.

You did run well; who did hinder you that you should not obey the truth?

This persuasion comes not of Him that called you.

A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Mike Verdicchio
2012

Leave A Comment!
Do you have some thoughts about this?  We’d love to hear what you think.  To leave a comment if you are receiving this post via email or RSS, just click the title above and scroll to the bottom of the post and type in your comment.  If not, just scroll to the bottom of this post and type in your comment.

Share This Article!
To share this article on social media, like Facebook, or, Twitter, there are links below.

Resources
There are a number of books that you can read to get insight on customs, manners, idioms and meanings from the Eastern culture in which the Bible was written.  The best I know of were written by Bishop K. C. Pillai.  I have had the pleasure of listening to many recorded teaching by him.

He wrote three books, and they are hard to find, and are usually over priced.  But, if you want to you can check this link to see what Amazon has to offer. Light Through an Eastern Window

Another great resource that I have used for years is a book called, “Manners and Customs of the Bible,” by James Freeman. Mine was printed in 1972 and I know they have newer additions. For the newest edition, just click the link and it will take you to Amazon. The New Manners and Customs of the Bible (Pure Gold Classics)

More Eastern Eye Articles