Levirate Marriage

What were the purposes of levirate marriage? I can see that it would help to provide for widows, but its described purposes appear to go beyond that. In our culture, if a brother dies, he and his brother already share a name and his nieces and nephews by a brother will carry on the family name. My understanding is that the Israelites did not have family names in the same manner as modern English-speaking cultures. What was different about Israelite culture that causes the first child born of a levirate marriage being described in Deuteronomy 25 as assuming the name of the dead brother (and what does such a taking of the brother’s name mean, in cultural context)? Also, does levirate marriage imply polygamy because of how, with regard to the levirate marriage, it apparently contains an increased risk that the surviving brother will not have a child from that marriage to succeed him (if, for instance, he only has one son by that wife)?

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The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Image of God

In your video “Created in the Image of the Angels” you say that humans were supposed to grow into the Image of God, but don’t discuss how this relates to the verse you referenced in passing earlier in the video: “Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—” Can you expand on the meaning of this verse in the context of the passage (did the serpent speak part of the truth earlier in the passage, or is this just a verbal play on what the serpent had said?) and in the context of what you believe the Bible teaches about redeemed humanity and the image of God. (I realize I could have asked via a comment to the video, but this is an issue a wide range of Bible readers, with different levels of familiarity with the scriptures, find perplexing, and a video might be helpful.)

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Transcript of the Eighth Day of Christmas: Pharaoh and the Magicians

One of my supporters has very kindly transcribed this video, the eighth of my series for the twelve days of Christmas. I don’t have time to transcribe my videos myself, so anyone willing to volunteer to transcribe one video every week or fortnight would be greatly appreciated! The transcript is very lightly edited at a few points for the purpose of comprehension.

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Transcript for the Sixth Day of Christmas: Herod, the Wronged Villain

One of my supporters has very kindly transcribed this video, the seventh of my series for the twelve days of Christmas. I don’t have time to transcribe my videos myself, so anyone willing to volunteer to transcribe one video every week or fortnight would be greatly appreciated! The transcript is very lightly edited at a few points for the purpose of comprehension.

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Human Sacrifice and Divine Wrath in 2 Kings 3

I was reading 2 Kings 3 which discusses the war with Moab, and I was struck by how the story ends – Elisha seems to prophesy success, at least he counsels engagement, Israel does succeed, but at the end King Mesha sacrifices his son and “great wrath” comes against Israel, driving them back. Two questions arose from this ending. What do you think is going on in this story, as it ends abruptly and unexpectedly? And how do you make sense of the victory that seems directly linked to child sacrifice? The ESV study Bible comment claims that this great wrath must have been the wrath of the Moabites, but that interpretation doesn’t sit well with me given the way the text invoked a kind of “divine passive” of sorts. Do you think there is some sort of real demonic response here? How might that affect the way we view the competing gods of the Old Testament and the competing spiritual practices of the present day?

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Theopolis Podcast: Paths to Human Maturity, An Interview with Dr David Field

In this episode of the Theopolis Podcast, Peter Leithart and I are joined by Dr David Field, to discuss his work in the area of psychology and counselling. Dr Field’s work has been vigorously discussed on the Theopolis blog (see this opening post and the responses linked at the top) and elsewhere over the last month.

You can follow the Theopolis podcast on SoundcloudiTunes, and on most podcast apps. You can read show notes over on the Theopolis podcast website. You can also see past episodes I have contributed to by clicking the ‘Theopolis Podcast’ link in the bar above.