Monthly Archives: February 2012

Florida College Lectures on Logos Pre-pub

Yesterday I explained a little about Logos Bible Software and their Community Pricing and Pre-publication Specials. Today I want to tell you about a set of Pre-pub books that are of special interest to me.

Florida College is an accredited (by the Southern Association) private liberal arts college that for decades has offered four years of Bible. The college does not accept funds from churches, but the board, administration and faculty are members of Churches of Christ that are often designated as non-instiutional.

Accreditation as a junior college was granted to Florida College in the mid-1950s, but the college continued to offer four years of Bible studies. Biblical Studies was the first accredited Bachelor’s degree to be offered in 1997.

Since its beginning in 1946, Florida College (earlier named Florida Christian College) conducted an annual Bible lecture program. Beginning in 1974 the main lessons in these lectureships were published in book form from the manuscripts of invited speakers. The speakers were teachers and ministers associated with Churches of Christ.

Melvin Curry followed Homer Hailey as chair of the Bible department after Hailey’s retirement in 1973. Nineteen of the volumes were edited by Curry. After that, it came my turn to edit ten volumes while I served as chair of Biblical Studies. Since my retirement in 2001, Daniel Petty has served as department chair and edited the annual lecture book.

FC Lectures 1996

One of the volumes in the Logos digital set.

There are a total of 38 volumes (1974–2011) in the series. Some of these volumes have been out of print for several years.

The Logos web site offers the following overview of the lecture books:

The Florida College Annual Lectures (1974–2011) brings you thirty-eight years of the college’s annual lectures series in complete written form. Prior to the first published lecture series in 1974, only content outlines were available.

Each volume includes fifteen or more lectures from contributors from various biblical fields, and focus on a specific theme. These themes deal with modern issues and are supported by recent scholarship. Learn what true worship entails. Discover how God can restore your life. Challenge yourself to share the gospel message. The Florida College Annual Lectures (1974–2011) (38 vols.) contains both informative and stimulating topics that allow you to apply the biblical principles found in its lectures to your daily walk with Christ.

With Logos, every word is essentially a link! Scripture references are linked directly to the Bibles in your library—both the original language texts and English translations. Logos Bible Software allows you to quickly move from the table of contents to your desired content and search entire volumes and collections by topic, title, or Scripture reference, making Logos the perfect software to expand your understanding of the Word.

How Pre-publication works. Books on Pre-pub will not be produced until Logos sees that there are enough orders to make the publication feasible. Interested customers lock in the pre-pub price. You must set up an account with Logos, but your card is not charged until the book or set is ready to deliver. You will be notified when the book is ready. At that time you have a choice to continue or cancel. You may have to wait 6 months or more until the work is ready.

The deal is great. This 38 volume set of Florida College Lectures is available on Pre-pub for $74.95. This set is scheduled to sell for $174 when it is published. Even that is a bargain.

Think about these 38 volumes for $75. There are more than 600 lectures. That’s about 12 cents per lecture. Even mine are worth that. The entire collection is searchable, along with all other works you have in your Logos collection. When a Scripture reference appears, simply mouse over it and the Scripture is visible in your preferred version of the Bible.

In a previous post here I have explained that you must have a Logos base package, or already have Logos on your computer. During the recent Florida College lectures, Logos offered a 15% discount on any base package. Just use the coupon code LECTURE2012.

Logos Bible Software is the premier digital publishing format for books dealing with Biblical Studies. If you are serious about Bible study, you need to investigate Logos.

In a future post, hopefully soon, I plan to explain why those not associated with Churches of Christ should find this set of books useful.

Meanwhile. Go to the Logos web site and place your Pre-pub order NOW. The sooner Logos publishes, the sooner we can begin to utilize the search features in this entire set. You can always get to the information by going to Logos.com. Look under Products for the Pre-publication Specials. The direct link to info about the Florida College Annual Lectures, with a list of every lecture, is here.

Great deal for Logos (or Libronix) users

Logos has a feature called Community Pricing. It works like this. A book (or set) is chosen for publication. Interested persons are asked to place a bid on the completed digital publication. When there are enough bids to pay for publication the book is published. After the initial publication, the price goes up. I have purchased many Logos publication using Community Pricing and Pre-Publication Specials.

To use the Community Pricing or Pre-Pub specials you must already have Logos (or Libronix) on your computer. You may purchase a base package from Logos, or buy a relatively inexpensive set of books from someone like Rejoice Christian Software. I suggestion you buy something like the  Baker New Testament Commentary ($50 here), the Norman Geisler Apologetics CD-Rom Library ($25 here), or one of the other great specials they offer.

Back to the Community Pricing. The Travels through Bible Lands Collection (15 vols.) is now available for $15 (and it might go lower if more people purchase before noon Friday). I bid $20 several months ago. Just saved $5.

Travel through Bible Lands collection. Only in digital format.

Travel through Bible Lands collection. Only in digital format.

Here is some info about the set of nearly 7,000 pages. Just the four volumes by Tristram and Layard are worth far more than the asking price. The works are all old, but sometimes old is good.

The Dead Sea. Bethlehem. The Sea of Galilee. Jericho. Babylon. Cairo. These are but a few of the places visited by these courageous writers in the Travels through the Bible Lands Collection (15 Vols.). During the turn of the nineteenth century, traveling to and across the Holy Land was a dangerous and arduous journey for a Westerner. These diverse explorers—missionaries, writers, cartographers, theologians, ethnographers, diplomats, archeologists—risk the danger to trek the deserts between Egypt and Turkey, survey the caves of the Dead Sea, dig in the dirt of Babylon, fight disease in Beirut, spread the gospel in Turkey, and stand in awe of the pyramids of Egypt.

These fifteen volumes embody some of the best travel writing of the nineteenth century. After two failed expeditions, Henry Baker Tristram finally gets his chance to explore the east shore of the Dead Sea with the help of a prominent sheik and his armed men. Charles Warner chronicles his winter-long voyage through Egypt, culminating in an unforgettable Christmas spent on the Nile River. Austen Henry Layard and his team survive a perilous journey to The Holy Land, and make historical discoveries at the ruins of Nineveh and Babylon for their efforts. Ella Sykes, exploring the alleyways of Tehran and the beauty of the Indian desert, becomes one of the first European women to travel across Persia. William Wittman, a British surgeon, battles unfamiliar diseases as he treats patients from Turkey to Egypt on his long expedition with the British Army.

Each volume in this collection is rich with Scriptural landmarks, highlighting some of the most significant places from the Bible. Full of adventure and inspiration, Travels through Bible Lands Collection (15 Vols.) is a fascinating window into history that is perfect for any Logos collection.

Logos is also giving away a free book each month. The free one for February is The Works of B. B. Warfield, Vol. 1: Revelation and Inspiration.

To check out either offer, just go to Logos.com, and then click on the appropriate tab.

Those who ride white female donkeys

Deborah was a prophetess who judged Israel (Judges 4:4). In the Song of Deborah, the prophetess describes the conditions in the country before she arrived on the scene.

Caravans had ceased. Travelers kept to the side roads. There were no warriors in Israel till Deborah arose. She describes herself “as a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7). She cared for and nurtured the nation just as a mother cares for and nurtures her own child. Under her leadership warriors arose and conditions improved.

6 “In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,
in the days of Jael, the caravans had ceased,
the travelers, they kept to the byways.
7 The warriors ceased;
they failed to appear in Israel;
until I, Deborah, arose;
I arose as a mother in Israel.
8 God chose new leaders,
then war was at the gates;
a small shield for a spear was not seen
among forty thousand in Israel.
9 My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel,
those offering themselves willingly among the people;
bless Yahweh!
10 The riders of white female donkeys,
those sitting on saddle blankets,
and those going on the way, talk about it!
11 At the sound of those dividing the sheep
among the watering places,
there they will recount the righteous deeds of Yahweh,
the righteous deeds for his warriors in Israel.
Then the people of Yahweh went down to the gates.
12 “Wake up, wake up, Deborah!
Wake up, wake up, sing a song!
Get up, Barak!
Take captive your captives, O son of Abinoam.  (Judges 5:6-12, The Lexham English Bible)

Verse 10 caught my attention. Deborah mentioned the riders of “white female donkeys” who sat on saddle blankets. I take it that these were the more well to do individuals.

Donkey and colt at Nazareth Village. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Donkey and colt at Nazareth Village. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Hebrew word used for white is defined in several lexicons as “tawny.” The donkey being described by Deborah might look more like the one below.

Donkey near Nebi Samwil and Gibeon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Donkey between Nebi Samwil and Gibeon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Abel Beth Maacah excavation announced

Azusa Pacific University announced the first archaeological excavation of Abel Beth Maacah (Tel Abil; Abil al-Qamh) in northern Israel. The site is located just a few miles south of the border with Lebanon. The mound overlooks the Beka Valley to the east, with Mount Hermon in the distance.

Abel Beth Maacah. View to the east. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Abel Beth Maacah. View to the east. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The dates suggested in the following announcement seems very short (May 27-31).

This spring, Azusa Pacific University (APU) embarks on an exciting joint expedition with the Hebrew University of Israel to oversee an archeological dig at Abel Beth Maacah, a site of historical interest long envied by the world’s archeologists.

To date, the mound has not been excavated. Robert Mullins, Ph.D., associate professor of biblical studies at APU, leads the team along with Nava Panitz-Cohen and Ruhama Bonfil, faculty at the Hebrew University. On Jan. 25—26, 2012, team members plan to conduct an initial survey of the site in preparation for the May 27—31 excavation.

“I can’t overstate the huge potential of this project,” said Mullins. “First, it is an honor to partner with Israel’s oldest and most prestigious university. Given the site’s connection with the period of David and later Kings of Israel, the dig will draw worldwide interest. We can potentially solve questions regarding the nature of Israel’s ties with neighboring Phoenicia and Syria, as well as documenting through the destruction levels the various Aramean [Syrian] and Assyrian military campaigns mentioned in the Bible and other ancient records.”

The complete announcement is available here. You may observe that (a poor quality image of) one of my photos has been used in the announcement, but the copyright notice and name have been cut off. Hopefully this will be corrected in future releases.

The wise woman of Abel Beth Maacah describes the city as being “a mother in Israel” (2 Samuel 20:19).

We have written about the importance of Abel Beth Maacah here and here.

HT: Bible Places Blog; HolyLandPhotos’ Blog.

Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon — 556–539 B.C.

Evil-Merodach (562-560 B.C.) was assassinated by Nergal-Sharezer, who ruled as king of Babylon for four years. Nothing about his reign is recorded in the Bible, but he is mentioned in Jeremiah 39:3 and 13 from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem (587 B.C.). At that time he served as one of the officials of Nebuchadnezzar.

After four years on the throne, Nergal-Sharezer was followed by his son, Labaši-Marduk, who ruled only 9 months.

Nabonidus, who is not named in the Bible, came to the throne in 556 B.C. According to Wiseman the king,

… campaigned in Syria and N Arabia, where he lived at Tema for 10 years while his son BELSHAZZAR acted as co-regent in Babylon. About 544 his people and the kings of Arabia, Egypt and the Medes being favourably disposed, Nabonidus returned to his capital…, but by this time the country was weak and divided. (New Bible Dictionary (3rd ed.), 115).

The mother of Nabonidus was made a high priestess in the temple of Sin at Harran. Our first photo shows the top of a stela from Harran. Nabonidus is portrayed standing before symbols of the principle gods he served. Incidentally, the museum at Sanliurfa, Turkey, has a nice collection of archaeological artifacts tastefully displayed.

Nabonidus Stela in Sanliurfa Museum, Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Nabonidus Stela in Sanliurfa Museum, Turkey, near Harran. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The next photo shows a terracotta foundation cylinder of Nabonidus. The sign accompanying the cylinder in the British Museum tells us that “this document records the reconstruction of temples to the Moon-god at Harran and to the Sun-god and the goddess Amunitum at Sippar.”

Nabonidus Cylinder in British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Nabonidus Cylinder in British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

In a future post we plan to comment on the relationship of Nabonidus and Belshazzar.

Jesus and the Moneychangers

We noted in a previous post that there are two accounts of Jesus cleansing the temple. By this we mean the temple precinct (the hieron), not the sanctuary where only priests were allowed (the naos). For the first account, early in his ministry, see John 2:13-25. The second account, toward the close of his ministry, is recorded in Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; and Luke 19:45-48.

Artist Balage Balogh illustrates the scene of Jesus and the Money Changers. See more of his work at Archaeology Illustrated here.

Jesus and the Money Changers. Balage Balogh, Archaeology Illustrated.

Jesus and the Money Changers. Balage Balogh, ArchaeologyIllustrated.com.

The biblical account also mentions the animals and birds that were for sale to those coming to Jerusalem to worship (John 2:16; Matthew 21:12).

Money changers. (English versions use moneychagers, money-changers, and money changers.) The Jews normally would not bring the foreign money as an offering to the temple. The money had to be changed into the half-shekel of ancient Israel. This would necessitate money changers. Those who have traveled to foreign countries understand that money changers are common and necessary. Alfred Edersheim, who wrote a book on The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, pointed out that the total sum derived annually from the Temple tribute was large. The money changers were simply in the wrong place.

It is generally held that the coin used by the Jews for the temple tax was the Tyre shekel, which after 19 B.C. was most likely minted in Jerusalem (cf. Hendin, Guide to Biblical Coins, 175).

A hoard of coins including Tyrian Shekels, half shekels, and denarii bearing the image of  Roman Emperor Augustus (30 B.C.– A.D. 14) was found a few years ago at Ussifiyeh (Isfiya), a Druze village on Mount Carmel.

Ussifiyeh hoard of coins including Tyrian Shekels. Eretz Israel Museum.

Ussifiyeh hoard of coins including Tyrian Shekels. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The information sign in the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv says,

The hoard probably represents a delivery of Temple tax intercepted and hidden away due to the events of the Jewish War which broke out in 66 C.E.

Click on the photo for an image large enough to use in classes and sermons.

Evil-merodach (562-560) graciously freed Jehoiachin

Evil-merodach came to power in Babylon upon the death of his father Nebuchadnezzar in 562 B.C. There are only two references to him in the Bible, and these are parallel accounts. Evidence suggests that Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah), the king of Judah who was taken to Babylon in 597 B.C., was treated like a king in exile during most, or all, of his time in Babylon. The kindness of Evil-merodach receives special attention.

27 And in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, graciously freed Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. 28 And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat above the seats of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin put off his prison garments. And every day of his life he dined regularly at the king’s table, 30 and for his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king, according to his daily needs, as long as he lived.  (2 Kings 25:27-30 ESV; cf. Jeremiah 52:31-34)

It is interesting that we have a biblical record mentioning Evil-merodach’s treatment of Jehoiachin (about 560 B.C.), and we have archaeological evidence of similar treatment at an earlier period. Four tablets mentioning Jehoiachin and his sons date to the period 595–570 B.C.

These tablets record rations that were given to the exiled king, his sons, and eight men of Judah. The one shown here is usually displayed in the Museum of the Ancient Near East (Vorderasiatische Museum), also called the Pergamon Museum, in Berlin (VAT 16378).

Babylonian ration tablet naming Jeconiah. Berlin. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Babylonian ration tablet naming Jeconiah. Pergamum Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A trip to Berlin is worthwhile for many reasons, but one of the best is to visit the Museum of the Ancient East. Even though it could stand some revisions, you should find my Biblically Related Artifacts in the Museums of Berlin helpful. It is available in PDF here.

Here  is what I wrote about this tablet:

“Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah) was the young king of Judah who was taken captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BC. (2 Kings 24:15). The date of the capture of Jerusalem (March 16, 597 BC) was learned in 1955 when Donald J. Wiseman, then of the British Museum,  read a cuneiform tablet from Babylon. About 300 cuneiform tablets, dating between 595 and 570 BC, were found near the Ishtar Gate in Babylon. They contain lists of rations such as barley and oil paid to the captives and craftsmen. Persons from various countries are mentioned: Egypt, Philistia, Phoenicia, Asia Minor, Judah, etc. Some Biblical names are included: Gaddiel, Semachiah, and Shelemiah (a name mentioned prominently in Jeremiah 36-37). The most interesting name is Yaukin, king of the land of Yahud (Judah), along with five royal princes. The name, pronounced Yow-keen, is known to be an abbreviation for Jehoiachin. One document in which his name occurs is dated to 592 BC. These tablets show that the Babylonians continued to regard Jehoiachin as the legitimate king of Judah and gave him special treatment while he was in captivity (2 Kings 25:27-30; Jeremiah 52:31-34). The tablets were read by E. F. Weidner in the basement of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin, after 1933.

[For those with access to this type of material:] Some Sources: Albright, BA 5 (1942), 49-55; ANET, 308 for translation; DOTT, 84-86; JFLAP, 225-227; IDB, II:811-13; Werner Keller, The Bible as History, 285-287;  Wiseman, Illustrations from Biblical Archaeology, 73 for photo [showing both the reverse and the obverse of the photo above].”

More Recent Source: Fant, Clyde E. and Mitchell G. Reddish, Lost Treasures of the Bible, 217-220.

“Some Places You May Never Visit”

“Some Places You May Never Visit” is the title I have chosen for a presentation Tuesday (12 noon in Puckett Auditorium) as part of the Florida College Annual [Bible] Lectures, Temple Terrace, FL. This is where I taught for 25 years, and it is always a pleasure to participate in the program. Usually I make a presentation dealing with archaeology and Bible history, archaeological artifacts in famous museums, or one of the places I have had the opportunity to visit.

Last years I spoke on “Roads Less Traveled.” The presentation this year will be about four places in Israel that are difficult to get to. I won’t give away the places now, but hopefully will be able to share some information about them in the weeks to come.

Florida College Annual Lectures 2012The main program this year, consisting of 15 lectures, is entitled Of First Importance: He Died and Was Buried. Information is available on the website of the college bookstore here. There are also links to an eBook edition  which is available in a variety of formats for only $9.99. Dr. David Edwin Harrell, respected historian, spoke Monday evening to a packed auditorium (around 1500, I estimate).

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon — 605-562 B.C.

Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Neo-Babylon empire for more than 40 years, is one of the best known royal personages of the Bible. His name occurs more than 90 times. He was responsible for huge building projects throughout his empire.

The arrogance of Nebuchadnezzar is seen in the comment attributed to him in the Book of Daniel.

The king uttered these words: “Is this not the great Babylon that I have built for a royal residence by my own mighty strength and for my majestic honor?” (Daniel 4:30 NET)

The Babylonians left many inscriptions bearing testimony to the building programs of the various kings.

Our first photo shows one of the cylinder annals of Nebuchadnezzar that mentions building projects of temples in Babylon, Borsippa, Larsa and Sippar for the gods Marduk, Nabu, Shamash and Ishtar. It also recounts rebuilding city walls. This annal is displayed in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

Nebuchadnezzar Cylinder Annal. Istanbul Archaeology Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Nebuchadnezzar Cylinder Annal. Istanbul Archaeology Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Building bricks bearing the name of the king, along with his titles, have been discovered in the various cities of Babylon. The one below comes from Sippar. It is displayed in the British Museum (BM90081).

Brick of Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 B.C.). British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Brick of Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 B.C.). British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The museum sign associated with this artifact describes the nature of these building bricks.

 “Nebuchadnezzar made extensive use of baked bricks in his many buildings. They are usually square, and often bear inscriptions, generally stamped but occasionally written by hand, which give the king’s name, titles, and patronym.”

A list of the major biblical events during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar should prove helpful for Bible students.

  • 605 BC — Nebuchadnezzar defeats Egypt, and Pharaoh Neco, at Carchemish.
  • 605 BC — Daniel and his friends taken from Judah to Babylon (Daniel 1).
    • Daniel was in Babylon during the entire reign of Nebuchadezzar (Daniel 1-4).
  • 597 BC — Jerusalem captured by Nebuchadnezzar.
    • March 16, 597 BC, according to a Babylonian Chronicle.
    • The young Judean king, Jechoichin (Jeconiah, Coniah), taken captive to Babylon (2 Kings 24:6-15; 2 Chronicles 36:8-10).
    • Mattaniah-Zedekiah becomes puppet king in Judah (2 Kings 24:17).
    • Many Judeans, including the prophet Ezekiel, taken captive to Babylon.
  • 587 BC — The fall of Jerusalem (2 Kings 25; Jeremiah 52).
    • Zedekiah rebelled; city destroyed; Zedekiah taken to Riblah (Ribleh in modern Syria) where his sons were slaughtered. Zedekiah’s eyes put out, and he was taken captive to Babylon.
The Correct MLA Way to Cite This Article

“Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon – 605-562 B.C.” Ferrell’s Travel Blog, 6 Feb. 2012, ferrelljenkins.blog/2012/02/06/nebuchadnezzar-king-of-babylon-605-562-b-c/.

The Kings of Babylon and Bible History

It is important as we study the Bible that we have some understanding of the historical background and setting of the events described. There is no place where this is more obvious than in the Book of Daniel.

Daniel and his friends were taken to Babylon by the new king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, Nebuchadnezzar. It was during the early reign of Nebuchadnezzar that Daniel’s friends were thrown into the fiery furnace (Daniel 3).

Daniel was cast into the den of lions during the reign of the king Darius the Mede, who gained control of Babylon in 539 B.C. Thus, at least 66 years pass from the time Daniel was taken to Babylon until he was put in the den of lions.

To put this is practical terms for modern readers, the events mentioned above are as far apart as events during the presidency of Harry S.  (1945-1953) and Barack Obama (2009–).

The Neo-Babylonian Empire came to power in 626 B.C., and fell in 539 B.C. Perhaps this list of the kings of Babylon will be helpful in your study. The rulers mentioned in the Bible are listed in bold type.

  • Nabopolassar — 626-605 B.C.
  • Nebuchadnezzaar — 605-562 B.C.
    • 2 Kings 24; Daniel 1-5; et al.
  • Evil Merodach — 562-560 B.C.
    • 2 Kings 25:27; Jeremiah 52:31.
  • Nergal-Sharezer — 560-556 B.C.
    • Jeremiah 39:3, 13, when he was an official of Nebuchadnezzar.
  • Labaši-Marduk — 556 B.C. (ruled only 9 months)
  • Nabonidus — 556-539 B.C. Not named in the Bible. His son, Belshazzar, served as co-regent the last ten years of the reign.
    • Daniel 5-8.

The names and dates above have been summarized from the article by the late D. J. Wiseman in The New Bible Dictionary (3rd edition).

Map of world showing Babylon in the center. British Museum. Photo: Ferrell Jenkins.

Map of world showing Babylon in the center. British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Perhaps later we will be able to describe in more detail the Biblical events during the Neo-Babylonian Empire.