Social World of Ancient Israel

I have been entangled in the social world of the Old Testament throughout this semester and thought this except from Matthews and Benjamin was worth sharing:


“The world in which the Bible developed was dramatically different from the world in which we read the Bible. There are many ways to describe the differences. The world of the Bible, for example, is ancient; our world is modern. It is as Eastern world; ours is Western. The world of the Bible is virtually changeless; our world is ever changing. It is agricultural; ours is industrial. Biblical people think of their goods and resources as limited. We consider ours renewable. They think of themselves as households; we think of ourselves as individuals. In their world old age is a blessing; in our world it is a burden. Their favorite genre of literature is story; ours is history. And perhaps the most difficult of all for us to understand, in the world of the Bible there is no separation between religion and daily life or between church and state” (Matthews and Benjamin, xiii).


Despite the differences as they exist, we would do well to orient ourselves to the social world of the Bible. We might be surprised at what we find?


except taken from: Matthews, Victor H. and Don C. Benjamin. Social World of Ancient Israel: 1250-587 B.C.E. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1993

About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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