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The Baker Illustrated Guide to Everyday Life in Bible Times

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SKU: PB213

Customs the first readers of the Scriptures were familiar with.

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The Baker Illustrated Guide to Everyday Life in Bible Times by John Beck

What was life really like in Bible times?

When we read the Bible, we encounter many manners and customs from the ancient world that the first readers of the Scriptures would have been familiar with. But being so far removed from that world, we modern readers often miss the full meaning - both literal and figurative - of biblical imagery.

This fully illustrated guide aims to restore clarity and vitality to these portions of God's Word in order to help us grasp the full meaning of Scripture.  It covers a whole host of issues, imagery, and customs, such as:

  • anointing
  • sacred days
  • religious offices
  • cleanliness laws
  • burial of the dead 
  • divination
  • family relationships
  • social standing
  • foods and eating
  • agriculture
  • warfare
  • clothing

The cultural practices of the past are fascinating on their own, but even more so as they help us correctly interpret God's Word and apply it to our lives.


Our days pulse with ordinary activities and experiences.  We wash our clothes, download music, and stop at the store to purchase a loaf of bread.  We execute our roles in life as firefighters, software technicians, and grandparents.  Similar activities filled the lives of those living in Bible time.  What was ordinary for them, however, may appear quite extraordinary to us.  The notions of winnowing grain, removing one's footwear during a land purchase, or milking a goat were well known to those living in Bible times.  But the very nature of these activities and the connotations linked to them may puzzle contemporary Bible readers.  What did an armor-bearer do?  What did it mean to be a Pharisee?  What social disadvantages were faced by the childless widow?  What was the difference between a wife and a concubine?  How did people hunt?  How were names given?  How was someone executed by stoning?  How were ancient cities fortified?  What was a lot and how was it cast?

About the Author:  John A. Beck (PhD, Trinity International University) has taught courses in Hebrew and Old Testament at various colleges and universities for more than twenty years.  He currently is an adjunct faculty member at Jerusalem University College in Israel.  He has written many articles and books.

Fascinating Insights in God's Word
Meanings behind Ancient Manners and Customs
More than 300 full color photos 

320 pages