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Daily Life in Biblical Times
The Bible Really Happened!
Daily Life in Biblical Times
Authors: Liora Ravid
Jessica Settbon (translator from Hebrew)
Publisher: Gefen Publishing House

Price: $24.95 
Special Price: $18.00
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Format: Paperback
ISBN 10: 9652296090
ISBN 13: 9789652296092
Catalog Number: g609 / 609-2
Year Published: 2013

Daily Life in Biblical Times is the English language edtion of the Hebrew title Hatanach Haya Be-emet published in Israel in 2009 by Yediot Acharonot.

Why does the Bible support marriage to multiple wives? Why does only one son inherit his father’s property? Is it possible that the journey’s hardships and the severe shortage of food prevented Sarah from conceiving?

In The Bible Really Happened, Dr. Liora Ravid follows in the footsteps of the biblical heroes, examining their stories based on the social and legal reality of their time. The book reconstructs the historical journey of Abraham and his family from Ur of the Chaldees to the land of Canaan – from a land that worshipped multiple idols to the land of the One God, the birthplace of David, the judges, the prophets, and Jesus.

Ravid questions why the Bible begins with stories of the forefathers and foremothers, describing them as simple shepherds. Why were they so important? Ravid demonstrates that according to the pedigree in Genesis, the forefathers and foremothers originated from one noble family, the family that gave rise to King David, ancestor of the Messiah, and according to the New Testament, to Jesus as well.

Readers of the English Bible are often unaware of the special writing style of the original Hebrew, which uses rich wordplay and double entendre to add multiple layers of color and depth to the text. Especially for the non-Hebrew reader, the author opens a window on this hidden world within the words.

I read Dr. Ravid’s book in the holy language (Hebrew) in which it is originally written and I am really happy that it was translated into English, allowing the world to enjoy it as much as I did. I must admit, although Bible was not one of my favorite subjects at school, I couldn’t leave Dr. Ravid’s book off my hands and read it like a suspense novel.

The Biblical protagonists come to life with all their glory and their human virtues and frailties. Being so masterfully framed by the author in their ancient background, I could explore their minds and finally understand what made them do what they did. Furthermore, I could actually sympathize with their passions, beliefs, loves, hates, innermost fears, search for power and, probably most of all, battle for survival which drove their actions.

Reading the Bible today we often feel judgmental and appalled by certain rules and traditions which seem to us cruel and unethical. We tend to forget that democracy and human rights were still 3,000 years away and some laws were indispensable in those days to bring some order into the chaos. Dr. Ravid is outlining some of these laws and customs in a very clear way, thus making the characters’ decisions and conduct more comprehensible to 21st century readers. We can finally understand their motives and urges in their true context and even begin to like them for what they were. It actually made me reopen the Bible and read the relevant chapters with more sympathetic eyes.

The book is not another detached scientific research. It actually shows us who our ancestors really were and why we should be proud to be their descendants. Since I read it, it has been my favorite and most appreciated gift to friends and relatives.

Dvora Ben-Itzhak