The Bible is filled with passages that are so baffling we tend to ignore them. Yet the passages that seem weird might be the most important. This collection of essays from Bible Study Magazine will shock you, intrigue you, and completely change the way you view the Bible. Dr. Michael S. Heiser visits some of the Bible’s most obscure passages, unveiling their ancient context to help you interpret them today. Read this book, and you’ll never be bored by the Bible again.
“Everyone in Abraham’s household witnessed the miracle of Isaac’s birth. From that point on, every male understood why they had been circumcised: Their entire race—their very existence—began with a miraculous act of God. Every woman was reminded of this when she had sexual relations with her Israelite husband and when her sons were circumcised. Circumcision was a visible, continuous reminder that Israel owed its existence to Yahweh, who created them out of nothing.” (Page 18)
“While God’s Word was written for us, it wasn’t written to us.” (Page ix)
“The Israelites believed in a universe that was common among the ancient civilizations of the biblical world. It encompassed three parts: a heavenly realm, an earthly realm for humans, and an underworld for the dead. These three tiers are reflected in the Ten Commandments: ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth’ (Exod 20:4).” (Page 3)
“The miraculous nature of Isaac’s birth is the key to understanding circumcision as the sign of the covenant.” (Page 18)
“The evidence suggests that circumcision did not distinguish Israelite men from their foreign neighbors.” (Page 17)
Dr. Michael S. Heiser was a former Scholar-in-Residence for Faithlife Corporation, the makers of Logos Bible Software. He then served as the Executive Director of the Awakening School of Theology and Ministry. His varied academic background enabled him to operate in the realm of critical scholarship and the wider Christian community. His experience in teaching at the undergraduate level and writing for the layperson both directly contributed to Logos’ goal of adapting scholarly tools for nonspecialists.
Dr. Heiser earned his PhD in Hebrew Bible and Semitic languages and holds an MA in ancient history and Hebrew studies. He was the coeditor of Old Testament Greek Pseudepigrapha with Morphology and Semitic Inscriptions: Analyzed Texts and English Translations, and he was able to do translation work in roughly a dozen ancient languages, including Biblical Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Ugaritic cuneiform. He specialized in Israelite religion (especially Israel’s divine council), contextualizing biblical theology with Israelite and ancient Near Eastern religion, Jewish binitarianism, biblical languages, ancient Semitic languages, textual criticism, comparative philology, and Second Temple period Jewish literature. In 2007 he was named the Pacific Northwest Regional Scholar by the Society of Biblical Literature.