Biblical Horizons

Jane Austen, Pundit

Few novelists seem as innocent of the temptation to punditry as Jane Austen. Though living through a period that witnessed the birth of an independent United States, the French Revolution and the Terror, the Napoleonic wars and the rise of revolutionary romanticism, and the upheavals of the Industrial Revolution, she focuses on a few middling […]

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Not Drunk As You Suppose

While Samuel’s mother Hannah prays at the tabernacle, the high priest Eli sees her lips moving silently and concludes that she is drunk (1 Samuel 1:13-14). Hannah protests that she has poured nothing into her, but is “pouring out” her soul before Yahweh; far from being giddy with wine, she has been fasting and is […]

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The Calf of the Purification Offering

On the eighth day of the rite of “filling the hand,” Aaron began his service at the altar. His first offering was a “calf” (Heb. `egel), which served as a purification offering for himself and (apparently) his household (Leviticus 9:2, 8). This is striking for a couple of reasons. First, Leviticus 4:3 requires that priests offer […]

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A Blossom of Yahweh’s Garden

One of the distinctive items of the high priest’s clothing was the “golden plate” inscribed with the words “Holy to Yahweh” (Exodus 28:36-38). The word translated as “plate” is tsits, which literally means “flower.” The verbal and noun forms are both used in Numbers 17:8, which describes Aaron’s rod as “budding with buds.” Aaron’s budding rod […]

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