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Subjects, Themes and Images of the Bible

New Thematic Index

Even without a copy of the Bible itself, this book makes a fascinating browse, ensuring a more open, understanding approach to the inspired writings of its many authors. As the editor and biblical scholar Dominic Breeze points out, inspiration - the divine guidance that proves to have been totally appropriate to its own time and place - is the intangible quality conveyed to the reader; the quality that has given the various and varied books of the Bible their timeless authority as a divine source of guidance through the ages.

ISBN 9781907091186 Price 27.50 HARDBACK


The Biblivcal Companion

Also available in shortened form as a paperback

The Biblical Companion:

ISBN 9781907091032 Price 15.00


Introduction

Subjects, Themes and Images of the Bible covers both the Old and New Testaments in more than one translation, and is intended chiefly for the interested lay-person, and in particular for the writer and speech-maker looking for a useful quotation. It is neither a commentary nor a criticism of the Bible itself, which is certainly the most important set of ancient books ever assembled.

To be fully understood, the Bible should be treated as one book with many styles and read as a whole like any other book, progressing smoothly from the Creation to the Apocalypse, and we would not wish to compromise its wholeness by analysing, let alone fragmenting its spiritual message. But reading the entire Bible in this way may seem a formidable (not to say boring) task, and it is our hope that this approach, by way of subjects and themes, may offer the reader an easy "way in" via some special interest or intriguing reference.

Many of the references will be found to refer to imagery rather than hard fact. Over-literal interpretation in the past has frequently caused misunderstandings when devotion shades into credulity. No-one would claim, for instance, to be descended from the "Good Samaritan" whom everybody knows to be a fictitious character in one of the parables related by Jesus; but in the books of the Old Testament ancient parables have become entangled with historical record, and occasionally folk tales with a moral have become incorporated and thereby gained a measure of divine authority. The gruesome story of a gang of little boys mauled by bears for teasing Elisha (in the Second Book of Kings) could have come straight out of some 800BC precursor of Grimm's Household Tales.

At the risk of over-stating the obvious, it may be pointed out that the Bible is well packed with ancient history interspersed with parables and moral stories, and rich in symbols, allegories, analogies, metaphors and similes. This is inevitable, for it represents mankind's relationship with the divine, and spirituality, being non-material, cannot be expressed in material terms. For example, no-one would suppose the Bible to be a farming textbook, and yet our "Farming" section is substantial. Even prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were close enough to the land for farming metaphors to come readily to their lips. Such references are all included here, and as such they form a valid picture of the rural scene and everyday concerns of those ancient people.

The case is similar with the category "Buildings", in which Ezekiel's purely visionary but extraordinarily detailed description of the temple of the New Jerusalem is given equal status to the historically real temple of Solomon. But this is how the Bible as a whole works: because its individual descriptions originate some from outward and others from inward perception, the general structure can be seen as a fine balance of inner and outer. Inspired writing and all religious inspiration use the outward, material imagery to portray that which is inward and non-material. Kings of the earth may always have ruled the land and the physical body, but the kingdom of heaven is within.

Categories

Accessories 1
Affliction 2
Age 18
Altars 3
Angelic visitations 27
Armies 45
Animals 4
Atonement 32

Battles 45
Behaviour 21
Birds 4
Birth 7
Blessings 5
Buildings 6
Burial 10

Ceremonies 9
Childhood 7
Cloth, Clothes 8
Coins 48
Compensation 29
Covenants 24
Crystals 25
Culture 9
Curses 5
Customs 9

Death 10
Divination 11
Divinity 12
Dreams 13
Drink 16

Exile 26
Exports 41

Farming 14
Festivals 15
Fishing 22
Food 16

Geographical features 17
Gods 23
Grooming 1

Harness 42
Health 18
Heavens 19
Hell 19
Herbs 16
Holy places 3
Hope 32
Household 20
Human characteristics 21
Hunting 22

Idols, images 23
Imports 41
Industry 40
Infancy 7
Insects 4

Jewels 25
Judges 34

Killing 44
Kings 34

Laws 24
Lawgivers 34
Longevity 18

Marriage 37
Malice 43
MaMeasures 48
Metals 25
Migrations 26
Miracles 27
Monuments 3
Mourning 10
Music 28
Massacres 44

Numbers, significant 38

Oaths 24

Parables 12
Passions 21
Paths 33
Penalties 29
Plants 30
Pledges 24
Precious stones 25
Priests, prophets 31
Professions 40
Punishments 29

Repentance 32
Retribution 29
Rivers 46
Roads 33
Rulers, 34

Sacrifice 35
Servitude 36
Sex 37
Shelters 6
Shipwreck 42
Society 21
Spices 16
Suffering 2

Tools 39
Trades 40
Trading 41
Transport 42
Treasure 25
Tribute 36
Trickery 43

Vehicles, vessels 42
Violence 44
Visions 13

Wars 45
Water 46
Ways 33
Weapons 39
Weather 47
Weights 48
Wells 46
Witchcraft 11

 

Sample Index Pages

37 SEX AND MARRIAGE

NEW TESTAMENT

adulterers and adulteresses LJ4
   and sinful generations Mk8
adultery, anyone who marries a divorced woman commits Mw5
   defiles the man Mk7
   do not commit L18; PR2
   eyes full of LPS2
   free of the law of PR7
   if a man divorce his wife he commits Mw19
   in his heart, he has already committed Mw5
   none who are guilty of PCF6
   they were told, do not commit Mw5
   thou shalt not commit Mw19; PR13; LJ2
   who marries another commits Mk10; L16
   woman caught in the act of J8
allure through lusts of the flesh LPS2
barren, Elizabeth was L1
   happy are the L23
   woman, rejoice PG4
body's desires, obedience to the PR6
breast that never fed a child, happy the L23
bride and bridegroom, voice of the Rev18
bridegroom Mw9; Mk2; L5
   to whom the bride belongs J3
   went out to meet the Mw25
bridegroom's voice, hears the J3
brother's wife, you have no right to your Mk6
carouse in broad daylight LPS2
celibacy, I have no instructions on PCF2
celibate woman cares for the Lord's business PCF7
chaste virgin, present you as a PCS11
chastity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven Mw19
conceive, Sarah received strength to LH11
conceived a child by the Holy Spirit Mw1
   a son in her old age, Elizabeth L1
concubine, Abraham's PG4
concupiscence, evil PCo3
   in the lust of ThF4

29 PENALTIES, PUNISHMENTS AND COMPENSATION

confined to Jerusalem KF2
contention, water of Nu5
death penalty by hanging Nu25; De21; Jos8, 10; Est2, 7
     by stoning, offences calling for De13ff
     for Achan and his family Jos7
     for blasphemy Le24
     for breaking the sabbath Nu15
     for calling up spirits Le20
     for daughters of Achan Jos7
     for disobedient sons De21
     for giving children to Molech Le20
     for losing virginity before marriage De22
     for misdemeanours De22
     for sons of Achan Jos7
     for worshipping other gods De17
     for adultery De22
     for approaching the tabernacle Nu1
     for breaking house arrest KF2
     for collecting sticks on the sabbath Nu15
     for dreamers De22
     for entering the king's presence unbidden Est4
     for failing to foretell Nebuchadnezzar's dream D2
     for kidnap De24
     for losing virginity De22
     for miscreants in general De13
     for murder Nu35
     for one's own sin only De24
     for prophesying against the city Je26
     for prophets in general De13
     for rape De22
     for working on the sabbath Nu15
     for worshipping Baal-peor Nu25
     for worshipping other gods De17
     on all the wise men of Babylon D2
   offences calling for Ex21ff; Le20; Nu35
   this man must be put to Je38
   disobeying the king's edict, penalty for Ez6
dungeon Is24; Je37; La3; Z9
   lost to sight in a Is42
   where they lie in darkness Is42

 

27 MIRACLES AND ANGELIC VISITATIONS

fed the five thousand Mw14, 16; Mk6; L9; J6
   the four thousand Mw15f; Mk8
fetters unfastened, found their A16
Gabriel, Archangel L1
garment, young man clothed in a long white Mk16
garments, two men in dazzling L24
gift of God, stir into flame the PTS1
gifts of the Holy Spirit PCF12, 14; PCS6
God's gift, not a reward PE2
guardian angel, it must be his A12
   angels in heaven, they have their Mw18
Holy Ghost, all were filled with the A4
     and wisdom, seven men full of the A6
     being sent forth by the A13
     came upon them, and they spake with tongues A19
     fell on them A11
     filled with the A2
     gifts of the LH2; LJF2
     have ye received the A19
     he shall be filled with the L1
     he which baptizeth with the J1
     him that blasphemeth agianst the L12
     holy men spake as they were moved by the LPS1
     is come upon you A1
     it is not ye that speak, but the Mk13
     Jesus being full of the L4
     love of God is shed in our hearts by the PR5
     Paul, filled with the A13
     Peter, filled with the A4
     saved us by the renewing of the Tt3
     sent down from heaven LPF1
     shall teach you what you ought to say L12
     the disciples were filled with joy, and with the A13
     they received the A8
     thus saith the A21
     was upon Simeon L2
     which dwelleth in us PTS1
     with joy of the ThF1
Holy Spirit, a share in the LH6
     all were filled with the A2; A4

 

23 IDOLS, GODS AND IMAGES

burnt their children in the fire, Sepharvites KS17
   their sons as whole-offerings to Baal Je19
calf gods Ho8, 10, 13
     of Beth-aven Ho10
   image Ho13
     molten Ps106
calves, cast image of KS17
   golden Ex32; CS13
   images of CS11, 13
   Jehu maintained KS10
Canaanite gods, Ashtaroth Ju2, 10; SF7, 12
carved figures shall be scattered, her Mi1
   images Ps78; Je10
   burnt offerings before Ho11
   shall not make De5
carves an idol, a curse on he who De27
cast image made with 200 pieces of silver Ju17
chariots of the sun, he burnt KS23
Chemosh, Moabite god KF11
children, you sacrificed my E16
Chiun and Moloch, your images Am5
clay, feet of D2
Cuthites, idols of the KS17
Dagon, broken SF5
   Philistine god Ju16; SF5
   temple of CF10ff
demons, foreign Ps106
   hill-shrines of the KS23; CS11
   sacrificed to foreign De32
   they consort with Ju5
desecrated the hill-shrines KS23
drink-offerings, idolatrous E20
     to other gods Je7, 32
Ekron, Baal-zebub god of KS1
ephod, Micah made an Ju17ff
   of Gideon, set up to be worshipped Ju8
evil spirit sent to Abimelech Ju9
false gods, give up SF12
     may abandon loyalty, men who worship Jon2
     of Noph E30

 

13 DREAMS AND IMAGES

OLD TESTAMENT

angel in Zechariah's vision Z1ff
apparition loomed before me Job4
augury, prophets offer them worthless Je14
barrel in Zechariah's vision, a great Z5
beacon in the darkness Ps112
beast with ten horns in Daniel's vision D7
behemoth Job40
chariots of fire KS2, 6
city of truth, vision of Jerusalem Z8
cloud, a pillar of De31
   filling the house of the Lord KF8
cockatrice Is11, 14, 59; Je8
comet, arise from Israel Nu24
court for owls Is34
   in Daniel's vision D7
crown in Zechariah's vision Z6
day darkened into night Am5
demon of the night So3
diviners, do not be deceived by Je29
dragon Job30; Ps6, 74, 91; Is13, 27, 34f, 43, 51; Je9, 14, 49,               Je51; E29; Mi1;
   that is in the sea Ps74; Is27
dream at daybreak Ps97
   fade as a Is29
   I have had a Je23
   let him tell his Je23
   of a barley loaf Ju7
   of a gold image, Nebuchadnezzar's D2
   of a great tree, Nebuchadnezzar's D4
   of bread Gen40
   of cows Gen41
   of Gideon's attack Ju7
   of grapes Gen40
   of kine Gen41
   of sheaves Gen37

 

14 FARMING

OLD TESTAMENT

acres, vineyard of five Is5
asses, Job owned five hundred Job1
     latterly Job owned a thousand Job42
   set in charge of CF27
barley Ex9; KF4; CF11; CS32; Job31; Is28; Je41; E4, 13.
         E45, Ho3; Jo1.
   harvest Ru1ff; SS21
   land of De8
barn Job39; Ps144; Pro3; Joe1; Hg2
   floor KS6
   storage CS32
basket for another's grapes De23
   of first fruits De26
beans E4
blasting, plant disease Ps105; Am4; Hg2
blight, black and red Am4; Hg2
     curse of De28
breeding, selective Gen31
briars Mi7; Na1
broadcast sowing Is28
budding, vine Is18
buffalo, domestic E39; Am5
bull Is10; Je50; E39, 43, 45
bullock Is34, 65; Je50; E39, 43
   fatted Is5; Je46
   unaccustomed to the yoke Je31
bulls, herd of Ps22
bushels, ten of seed shall return only a peck Is5
calf Is11, 27; E1; Am6; Mi6
   stall-fed Je46
   unbroken to the yoke Je31
calves released from a stall Ma4
   stalled SF6
camel pasture E25
camels, in charge of CF27
   Job owned 3000 Job1

 

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