Idols, “gods” that people make! The very idea of making a god is one of those notions that almost have to reduce you to tears (whether of laughter or sadness and desperation depends on the circumstances), and the Bible has plenty of fun at the expense (in both senses) of idols. In this episode, therefore, we’ll look at 1 Kings 18 (particularly 1Kings 18:27 & 39).1 PS: for those who want to follow the reference to El and Anat mourning Ba’al by cutting themselves see my post with a translation of the relevant Ugaritic text. There is fuller background on this in 1 Kings 16:29Read More →

As a matter of fact Yahweh was married, yet the Bible cannot tolerate people who speak of God as male or masculine. This podcast seeks to explore this apparent contradiction as a first follow up to yesterday’s “Why do you read? Or: Was God married?” The original (audio only) version of this podcast was here.  Read More →

This is the video version of a post whose original audio only version is here. It was stimulated by an article in The Daily Mail (a UK tabloid newspaper) “Why the BBC’s new face of religion believes God had a WIFE” It caused a flurry among the Twittering classes, and on Facebook, and even among the biblioblogs (though in the latter group most dismissed the article saying: What can you expect from a British Tabloid?) but it was written by Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou an established biblical scholar. In the podcast I suggest that clear thinking is needed to avoid confusion on such topics. In followRead More →

Since this is a gripping, but well-known, story what I’ll try to do in this podcast is show you how a bit of context (see here for more on context and understanding the Bible). I’ll also tell you God’s two nicknames, in some religious traditions knowing all a god’s names is really important, in Hinduism the god Vishnu has 1,000 names, in Islam there is a tradition that God has 99 names. Yahweh the God the Bible talks about has kicknames as well as formal names! A couple of photos to illustrate the geography 🙂Read More →

Solomon’s prayer understands that Yahweh is a different God, the gods (like Ba’al and his crowd) lived in the sky – and lanced thunderbolts down on people they disliked – heaven/sky was like the earth only bigger and better. When Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev said “Gagarin flew into space, but didn’t see any God there“. Solomon’s prayer sees the stupidity of Krushchev – how could the creator of universes be see from a measly 302Kms from earth? But even this is not the real difference. This Yahweh is a God who’s name means “being with you” cf.Read More →

In just two chapters we get some of the most beautiful and inspiring, and some of the grubbiest and most bloodthirsty stories in the Bible. It is no wonder that telling the stories of David (with Saul and Solomon and perhaps the rest) as a serial, like a soap opera has the audience panting for more 🙂 In this podcast I’ll again point to clues to how we can, and (often of more use) how we should NOT “read” Bible stories. I’ll also make a shameless plug for my Not Only a Father an online book about the use of motherly language and imagery toRead More →

“The fall of Israel” is a theological (not historical) title. This five covers almost the whole history of the Israelite kingdoms from David to the destruction of Jerusalem. The Deuteronomistic History (Joshua-Kings) from which they all come (cf. remarks on Judges) tell the story with the end in view, one important goal of these books is to explain the fall of Jerusalem and the exile. So this is a good selection to understand what is going on: Even the great king David is human and fails (spectacularly) Solomon is seen at his best – asking for and displaying wisdom not wealth or power; building theRead More →

This story is often used to support testing whether God really wants us to do something we are reluctant to do, just like Gideon. In this podcast, as well as drawing attention to some other thoroughly human characteristics of our hero, I’ll point to the censored Bible story (one we do not read in church) in 1 Kings 22, and suggest we should heed its warning before we hurry to copy Gideon.Read More →