Tuesday, December 30, 2014
“The only ancient description we have of the making of papyrus is that of Pliny the Elder in his Natural History Book XIII. He wrote in the latter half of the first century A.D., and while some scholars have questioned whether he had actually seen the process due to some of his remarks, even if he got it second hand, this is valuable first century information… (Pliny, Natural History, 13.74-82)”
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Blessed are the SHALOM makers,
for they shall be called sons of God.
for they shall be called sons of God.
Who are the SHALOM makers? TZEDAQAH (righteousness) is one of the most important words in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Bible of Yeshua (the real Jewish Jesus). The teachings of Yeshua make it very clear that TZEDAQAH is the most important word to him, too. We have witnessed what happens when “believers in Jesus” understand the teachings of Yeshua – they stop believing institutional doctrines and start revealing the image of God through their acts of TOV. Read the complete blog at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2014/12/hearing-real-yeshuas-voice.html
Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014
The other day, someone gave me a note with Nahum 1:7 printed at the top:
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him.”
For some reason, they neglected to include the next line, which continues the thought from verse 7:
“But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of Nineveh.”
Okay, so maybe the fuller version doesn’t deliver quite the same Hallmark moment. And maybe that’s the problem with how many Christians use the Bible. Christians read (and quote) Scripture in tiny, artificial fragments all the time. And by doing so, do we alter the meaning without even realizing it. Digital Bible apps make it easier than ever to Twitterize holy writ. But we’ve been doing it for ages. Read the complete article at -- http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2014/04/01/five-bible-verses-you-need-to-stop-misusing/31534
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Always watch for clues that reveal how much time passes in the verses of the Bible that you are reading. Not only will this help you better understand the context of what you are reading, it will make you aware of what happened in that period of time. This will often help fill in blanks about what took place in that period of time; it may also raise some very interesting questions.
And the man knew his woman Chavah,
and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. (Genesis 4:1a)
Remember the Hebrew word YADA, which was translated “knowledge” in the name of the forbidden tree – Tree of Knowledge of TOV and RA? It is translated “knew” in this verse, but here it functions as a well-known euphemism for “sexual intercourse.” This is the first act of sex in the Bible. It is also a good example how much time can pass in just one verse. Let’s look at the things that took place in the lives of the man and woman, beginning with the moment they were driven from Yahweh’s Garden Temple:
(1) The man and woman were driven from the Garden.
(2) They traveled from the Garden to the place where Yahweh created the man.
(3) The man and woman had sex.
(4) The woman became pregnant.
(5) The woman gave birth.
Now let’s consider what took place in the time period the above things happened and the blanks they reveal. The first blank is the time it took the man and woman to travel from the Garden to their new home – the ground where Yahweh made the man. Was it close to the Garden or hundreds of miles away? Keep in mind that they had to walk to wherever it. It is also important to understand that the moment they left the Garden was the beginning of the transition into a completely new way of life. They had to find shelter, food, and water to survive. They had to deal with pain for the first time as they walked and worked. And then, they had to deal with the memories of what each one of them did in the Garden – and memories of what the other one had done -- that led to their pain! How often did that subject come up? How many times did their conversations begin with -- “If you hadn’t done . . .!”?
Another blank is the question of how they came up with the idea to have sex. Stop and think about the physical mechanics of sex. What led them to do that the first time? They had no parents or friends to explain “the birds and bees” to them. How long was it before they came up with THAT idea? Were they sitting around a campfire one night and one of them said to other – “Hey, I just had an idea; you want to try something?” Another blank is did they have sex during their trip or after they had settled in their new homeland?
All of the above blanks about time are unknown, but, the moment she became pregnant, we finally have a time marker we understand – at least nine months will pass until she gives birth. But, a lot of new blanks pop up when we consider what happened in that time period. First, put yourself in the woman’s shoes as each month passes and she experiences the changes in her body – not knowing what is going on. Next, put yourself in the man’s shoes as he watches those change. And then, keeping in mind that they had no idea what was happening, she gave birth! Think about what would have gone through each of their minds at that moment! And, after all of that, how much longer did it take them to connect the dots that sex caused babies?
As you can see, when we become aware of how much time passes in the passages we read in our Bible – even in just one verse -- it will not only expand our understanding of the events that are recorded, but raise other important questions. Now let’s take another look at the verse above and the nine months of events recorded in it:
And the man knew his woman Chavah,
and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.
I bet you think about the verse differently than you did when you read it at the opening of this Bible study. Be sure to add this to your Bible Study Tool Kit and always consider how much time passes in the verses you read from your Bible.
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Did Jesus want to start a new religion or was his goal to teach his fellow Jews how to be more faithful to the Jewish Scriptures of the Jewish religion that he practiced? Read the latest Real Yeshua Blog at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2014/12/did-jesus-try-to-start-new-religion.html
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The western church, as you know, wades around in a thick sludge of individualism. We admit it. We bemoan it. But sometimes we don’t realize just how deep our individualism runs. Put frankly, you can’t understand the Bible by yourself. You need the community of God to rightly interpret the text. You may think this is heresy—or Catholic—but hear me out. I don’t want to deconstruct a presupposition for deconstruction’s sake. My aim is to bring us back to a more biblical view of the Bible. I want us to study the Bible in community because that’s how the Bible was meant to be read, studied, and lived. Read complete article at -- http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theologyintheraw/2014/11/you-cant-understand-the-bible-by-yourself/
Everyone talks about the Bible, though few have read it cover to cover. This is not surprising—some sections of the Bible are difficult to understand without a commentary, others are tedious, and still others are boring. That is why annotated Bibles were created—to help orient readers as they read through the Bible or look into what parts of it mean. For those who have not read the Bible cover-to-cover—and even for many who have—here are some common misconceptions about the Hebrew Bible. Read the complete article at -- http://blog.oup.com/2014/11/seven-common-misconceptions-hebrew-bible/
Monday, November 3, 2014
A visitor to our website read the article “2 Samuel 24:1 vs I Chronicles 21:1” that was written by Sid Dosh in April 1999 and emailed the following questions to me:
I don't really understand the contradiction of 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1. Which of the 3 possible explanations on your site is it? Can this disprove the Bible? Is there a clear explanation as to why one says that God moved David and the other says satan?
Read my reply at -- http://www.biblicalheritage.org/Bible%20Studies/110314_God_or_Satan.pdf
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Dr. Ike Tennison and I have been working with the Greek text of Galatians. We believe it provides one of the best sources for understanding how Paul viewed himself and understood his calling and message. Galatians is loaded with clues that are often overlooked because of the attempts of later Christian writers to recast Paul and make him better fit into the context of the original Jesus Movement – specifically Luke’s (or whoever the unknown specified author was) in the Book of Acts. Pay close attention to what Paul wrote in the first chapter of Galatians:
Paul, an apostle, not from men nor through a man . . . For I make known to you, brothers, the gospel preached by me is not from a man. For I received it not from man, nor was I taught (the gospel) it; but (I received the gospel) through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:1a, 11-12)
We find these points very interesting:
(1) My authority did not come from any human being. – In our opinion, the specific human beings Paul had in mind were the apostles that Jesus chose and personally taught for a period of one to three years. The fact that Paul was not part of that group was apparently an issue for him. In his writings he goes out of his way to state that his apostleship is different and separates himself from them -- especially from Peter and Jacob (James).
(2) My gospel did not come any human being. – Paul wants to make sure everyone clearly understands that his gospel did not come from the other apostles or any human being. He makes it clear that his gospel is a different gospel from any other gospel – including that of the other apostles.
(3) I received my gospel through a revelation not instructions from a human. – The other apostles had been taught by Jesus until right before he was crucified by the Roman soldiers. Paul, on the other hand, received his gospel through a mystical experience, which by the way, he doesn’t describe in his writings. There is no “road to Damascus” experience in his writings.
What was the gospel that the apostles Jesus personally selected taught? We will have to address that in a future Bible study. Meanwhile, here is some homework for you:
(1) See if you can find the gospel of the original apostles in the Synoptic Gospels.
(2) Whose gospel is taught by churches today?
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Friday, October 3, 2014
Today (October 3, 2014) at sundown is the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is by far the most widely observed of Jewish holidays and fast days. Synagogues are packed with families in Israel, as well as throughout the diaspora. It has been the most important Jewish holiday throughout the centuries, going back into the Second Temple Period -- the times of the Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes and the Jesus Movement. A good way for Christians to understand its importance is to compare it to what Easter means to Christians. In this article I am going to focus on Yom Kippur during the Late Second Temple Period, rather than the rituals now practiced in synagogues. Keep in mind that what follows will reflect what Jesus and his original followers experienced every year. There are hints in the Synoptic Gospels that the final year of the life of Jesus may have coincided with the Year of Jubilees, but we will look at what happened every year at the Temple. The fact that the highest official of the Temple, the High Priest, was required to personally officiate the rituals, made the importance of Yom Kippur very clear to everyone. Download or read the compete article at -- http://biblicalheritage.org/DTB/1014_DTB_Yom_Kippur.pdf
Friday, August 22, 2014
Today, I have been working on a very important section of the Torah. It is found in the final book, Devarim (Deuteronomy). It will provide the answer to the questions that Ezra and his fellow scribes worked very hard to answer as they recorded the words of the first scroll of the Torah. The questions are:
(1) Why did our United Kingdom divide into two separate and warring kingdoms – Israel & Judah?
(2) Why did foreign nations conquer Israel & Judah?
(3) What can we do to reunite and preserve the new kingdom?
The answers are found in the following words of the man who is viewed as the greatest priest and prophet of the Hebrew Scriptures – Moses. He was raised as the son of an Egyptian pharaoh and lived as a member of the royal family for forty-years, lived with the family of a Midianite priest for another forty-years, and was called by Yahweh to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian captivity into their new homeland – a journey that took another forty-years. He is called Moshe Rabbenu in Hebrew (מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ, lit. "Moses our Teacher/Rabbi") -- the most important prophet in Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism. Moses is also an important prophet in Christianity, Islam, and a number of other faiths.[i] Pay close attention to his prophecy.
For this commandment which I command you today is not concealed from you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up for us into heaven and bring it to us, and make us hear it, that we may do it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over for us unto the other side of the sea, and bring it to us, and make us hear it, that we may do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it.[ii]
Moses, like the man in the Garden, is given a commandment by Yahweh. But unlike with the man, this commandment isn’t a mystery that isn’t understood – it is in the mouth and heart of Moses. You will see two abbreviations added to the text: (s) indicates the word is “singular” and (pl.) indicates it is “plural.”
See, I have set before you this day (the) life (pl. literally lives) and (the) TOV, and (the) death (s.) and (the) RA; I command you this day to love Yahweh your Creator,[iii] to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His ordinances, that you shall live and multiply; and Yahweh your Creator shall bless you in the land which you go in to possess it.[iv]
The time has come for Yahweh to fulfill His promise to Abraham that his descendants would establish their kingdom in the land of Canaan.[v] After wandering in the desert for forty years they are about to settle in their new homeland. Remember Cain “the wanderer” and the events that followed when he settled in his new homeland. He married a foreign woman with other gods and his Enoch learned about them instead of Yahweh and passed that on to his descendants. All descendants of Seth, except one, followed those same gods instead of Yahweh.
The Hebrew word translated “life” above is a plural, which should literally be translated “lives.” It reminds the ancient audience of the plural “bloods” used in the murder of Abel by Cain. “Bloods” indicated that Cain not only murdered Abel, but his descendants too because they would never be born. Here the Israelites would understand that their actions will also affect the lives of their future descendants, too. Therefore, they must choose one of two paths that will guide their lives and determine the future of their descendants:
(1) the path of life by doing acts of TOV
(2) the path of death by doing acts of RA
Just to makes sure everyone remembers, below are the definitions of TOV and RA in this context:
● protect life, preserve life, make life more functional, and/or increase the quality of life.
● RA (evil) describes acts that destroy life, threaten life, make life less functional, and/or decrease the quality of life.
Yahweh’s commandments, statutes, and ordinances are instructions for how the Israelites can do TOV in their new homeland.
I command you this day to love Yahweh your Creator, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His ordinances.
This is written in the form of a parallelism and understanding how to work with parallelisms is the key to unlocking its ancient meaning. The first step is to identify the three parts of this parallelism:
I command you this day
to love Yahweh your Creator
(I command you this day)
to walk in His ways
(I command you this day)
to keep His commandments, statutes, and ordinances
The makes it easier to see the terms used in parallel to each other:
Now we let the ancient author define the meanings of the parallel terms by converting the first part of the parallelism into a question and finding its answer in the second part.
Question: What does “love” Yahweh mean?
Answer: It means walking in His ways.
Question: What does “walking in His ways” mean?
Answer: It means keeping His commandments, statutes, and ordinances.
Question: How does one Yahweh the Creator?
Answer: By keeping His commandments, statutes, and ordinances.
If the Israelites “love” Yahweh, they will be blessed, live and multiply in their new homeland. As you read the section below, notice the references to Moses with the singular “you” (s.), and the Israelites with the plural “you” (pl.).
But if your (s.) heart turns away, and you (s.) will not hear, and shall be drawn away, and bow down to other gods, and serve them; I declare unto you (pl.) this day, that you (pl.) shall surely perish; you (pl.) shall not prolong your (pl.) days upon the land, that you (pl.) cross over the Jordan to go in and possess it.[vi]
What will the consequences be if the Israelites do not love Yahweh by keeping His commandments, statutes and ordinances?
They will perish and lose possession of their new homeland.
This is an obvious reminder of what happened to the man in the Garden and Cain – they were both driven from the lands in which they lived.
I call the Heaven and the Earth to witnesses against you this day, that I have set before you the life (pl.) and the death (s.), the blessing (s.) and the curse (s.); therefore choose life (pl.), that both you and your descendants may live; to love Yahweh your Creator, to hear (obey) His voice, and to cleave to Him, for He is your life (pl.) and the length of your days; that you may dwell in the land which Yahweh swore to your fathers -- to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob -- to give them.[vii]
Notice that Yahweh calls “the Heaven and the Earth,” not “the Earth and the Heaven,” as the witnesses, a reminder of the first account of the ancient wisdom, not the second. They are the two witnesses that were created at the beginning and will endure forever. They are witnesses to Yahweh’s declaration:
Choose life by doing acts of TOV,
have long lives and dwell in the land He has given you.
Choose death by doing acts of RA,
have short lives and be driven from the land He has given you.
Notice the phrase “and cleave to Him.” It recalls phrase in the second account when the woman was created – and shall cleave to her. The question raised by its appearance here is – Will Israel cleave to Yahweh and not be like the man?
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014
It’s one of the most famous lines in the Bible:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18).
Read the complete article at -- http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/love-your-neighbor-only-israelites-or-everyone/
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
I was working on a project today that included a section from Genesis 6. I thought you might find it an interesting Bible study. In order to understand it in its context you must know the following definitions:
(1) TOV -- The Creator created TOV (good) by doing acts that were beautiful and pleasant to His eyes because they protected life, preserved life, made life more functional, and/or increased the quality of life.
(2) RA -- Man created RA (evil) by doing acts that were not beautiful and pleasant to the Creator’s eyes because they destroyed life, threatened life, made life less functional, and/or decreased the quality of life.
(3) SHALOM – totality, completeness, and wholeness.
Now let’s look at the text from Genesis 6:
Yahweh saw how great the RA (evil) of mankind had become on the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of the heart of mankind was only RA (evil) all of the day. Yahweh regretted that he had made mankind on the earth. He was grieved and or outraged to His heart. Yahweh said, “I will wipe mankind whom I have created from the face of the earth — from man to beast , to creeping thing, and to the winged creatures of the skies — for I regret that I have made them.”[i]
As the descendants of Seth’s line intermarried with the other groups, his descendants became like them – except for Noah. Acts of RA (evil) increased until they reached the point that Yahweh regretted making mankind. Pay close attention to how the text describes Yahweh – He was grieved and outraged. The legends of Cain and Lamech led to an entire generation who valued doing evil, violence and death more than they valued doing TOV, SHALOM and life. Yahweh was ready to destroy them all until He saw one man -- Noah.
But Noah found favor in the eyes of Yahweh.[ii]
Look at the world in which Noah lived.
Now the earth was corrupt in the Creator’s sight and was full of HAMAS. The Creator saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. The Creator said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with HAMAS because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.[iii]
HAMAS is defined as violence, wrong, and being a false witness. It is used to describe “knocking off” part of a plant and “stripping its fruit.”[iv] This sounds a lot like the world we live in today, doesn’t it?
What is the solution to changing a world like that? It is found in the words Yahweh spoke to Cain before he killed his brother Abel:
(Yahweh said) “Surely, if you do TOV, you shall be upstanding, if you do not do TOV, sin will be a like a crouching animal at your door; its desire shall be for you, but you will be able to master it.”[v]
The story of Cain and Abel emphatically established a foundational moral principle:
Man is indeed his brother’s keeper and every homicide is at the same time fratricide –an act of killing one’s brother.
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Friday, August 8, 2014
“True” comes from the same etymological root as “trust” and “trustworthy,” and all these from the Indo-European root “deru” for “tree,” suggesting uprightness and reliability generally.
Aristotle articulated this conception when he said that -- to speak the truth is to say of what is that it is, and to say of what is not that it is not.
The word “fact” is derived from the Latin “factum,” which is the neuter past participle of the verb “facere,” meaning “to do” or “to make.”
Hence, to mix three languages, one can say that the factum is the thing done, or the fait accompli. The word “fact” in English has come to mean (fairly recently, by the way) that in virtue of which true statements are true. When it comes to specifying their essence, facts can only be stated and not named.
[Question: In light of the Noah movie that just came out, a couple of questions has been asked me that I don't have a satisfactory answer for. In earlier studies, it was suggested that Tulbal-cain's sister, Na'amah was Noah's wife. I find that their father was La'mech and their Mother was Zil'lah. Noah's father was also La'mech. Gen. 6:4-29. Do you think that it was the same La'mech and that Noah married his 1/2 sister? I can't scripturally tie Noah and Na'amah together as husband and wife. I would appreciate your opinion.]
The Noah movie has focused a lot of interest on the biblical account & caused some good questions to be raised. Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor & I were just discussing the Noah account yesterday.
A key factor in dealing with ancient writings is to remember that less than 10% of the population was literate and very few of those who were literate could afford to own a scroll. Scrolls were found in temples, where they were read and discussed by scribes who were the most educated class of society. Scribes wrote for scribes, not the public.
Scribes used a number of linguistic devices to highlight points they wanted to make. For example, if you're reading any section of the Hebrew Bible and notice a word that comes up a lot, count the number of times. The sevenfold or the tenfold repetition of a word is called a “leitwort” -- a recurring word that becomes thematic. By paying close attention to these words we find a meaning of the text revealed or clarified or made more emphatic. This is probably the strongest of all techniques for making a meaning available without articulating it explicitly.
In the genealogies of Adam’s surviving sons – Cain & Seth – there are two men named “Enoch” and two named “Lamech.” The only thing Cain’s Enoch is credited with is being a link in a chain between the first murderer Cain and the second murderer Lamech. Seth’s Enoch is credited with being the first man to “walk with God” and the second man to “walk with God.” Cain’s descendants were men who valued RA (evil) and Seth’s descendants were men who valued TOV (good).
Embedded in the contextual environment that began in the Garden in Eden and ended with the Great Flood is the account of “Fallen Ones.” The message of this account was destroyed by translators that translated the Hebrew word NEPhILIM as “giants” instead of “fallen ones.” This is a key component of the account that revealed the primary thing that led to the state of affairs that resulted in Yahweh destroying all of the rest of humanity and save Noah.
The account of the NEPhILIM is about three tribes – Cain’s descendants, Cain’s wife’s descendants and Seth’s descendants. The act that began the process that would lead to the end of the final generation that would drown in the Flood was the intermarriage of the males of Seth’s tribe with the females of the other two tribes who were very good looking. (This is a repeat of the lesson in the Garden where Eve saw how the forbidden fruit was a delight to her eyes.) From this point until the end, HAMAS increases (Hebrew word HAMAS means “causeless violence and outrage” [obviously applies to a current situation too]).
When the account gets to the last generation the focus is on two members of the tribes of Cain and Seth – Naamah & Noah. The message is that Noah didn’t intermarry with the other tribe. His eyes were focused on Yahweh and His commandments and he walked with Yahweh.
Another key point that was made in the Garden story -- which has been lost because of mistranslations and religious traditions – is that when Adam ate the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of TOV (good) and RA (evil), according to Yahweh, Adam became like it and would produce fruit like that tree. He did – Seth (TOV) & Cain (RA).
In declaring the punishment of Eve, Yahweh said that her offspring would crush the head of the serpent’s offspring, another play on the theme of the serpent’s offspring being (RA) and her offspring (TOV). Noah did it.
Noah’s wife is mentioned five times in the flood story (Gen. 6:18, 7:7, 7:13, 8:16, 8:18), but her name is never revealed.
Some of the rabbis used the midrash to link Naamah to being the wife of Noah through to solve a “structural flaw in Genesis” as well as a “theological problem” – see http://www.biu.ac.il/JH/Parasha/eng/noah/enoach1.html .
Jeffrey and I used our linguistic method to draw the conclusions above. Well, these are the thoughts off the top of my head. Hope they help.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Chapter and verse markers act like stop and yield signs for Bible readers. They play major roles in creating the contexts in which readers view the words of their Bibles. As we have pointed out before, if they are inserted in the wrong place they can literally destroy a context and change the way the words are understood. Who decided to insert chapter and verse dividers in the biblical texts?
The most ancient manuscripts of the books of our Bibles did not contain the chapter and verse divisions in the numbered form familiar to modern readers. Archbishop Stephen Langton and Cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro developed different schemas for systematic division of the Bible in the early 13th century. It is the system of Archbishop Langton on which the modern chapter divisions are based. These chapter divisions have become nearly universal.
With the invention of the printing press and the translation of the Bible into English, Old Testament versifications were made that correspond predominantly with the existing Hebrew full stops, with a few isolated exceptions. Most attribute these to Rabbi Isaac Nathan ben Kalonymus's work for the first Hebrew Bible concordance around 1440.
The first person to divide New Testament chapters into verses was Italian Dominican biblical scholar Santi Pagnini (1470–1541), but his system was never widely adopted. Robert Estienne created an alternate numbering in his 1551 edition of the Greek New Testament which was also used in his 1553 publication of the Bible in French. Estienne's system of division was widely adopted, and it is this system which is found in almost all modern Bibles.
The first English New Testament to use the verse divisions was a 1557 translation by William Whittingham (c. 1524–1579). The first Bible in English to use both chapters and verses was the Geneva Bible published shortly afterwards in 1560.
Our advice for Bible readers is to ignore the chapter and verse number when you read your Bible. Let the flow of the account define the context or as we like to say:
“Let your Bible tell its own stories.”
For more information about the creation of chapter and verse divisions go to -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapters_and_verses_of_the_Bible
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Saturday, July 5, 2014
The Aleppo Codex, a bound book of approximately 500 parchment pages, was compiled in Tiberias around the year 930 C.E., making it the oldest known copy of the complete Bible. It was moved to Jerusalem, stolen by crusaders in 1099, ransomed by the Jews of Cairo, and studied by the philosopher Maimonides, who declared it the most accurate version of the holy text. It was later taken to Aleppo, Syria, and guarded for six centuries. There it became known as the “Crown of Aleppo.”
In 1947, in a riot that followed the United Nations vote on the partition of Palestine, the codex disappeared, surfacing 10 years later in mysterious circumstances in the new state of Israel. The codex is currently held in the Israel Museum, in the same building as the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is controlled not by the museum, however, but by a prestigious academic body, the Ben-Zvi Institute, founded by Israel’s second president, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. Somewhere along the way in the mid-20th century, 200 priceless pages—around 40 percent of the total—went missing. These include the most important pages: the Torah, or Five Books of Moses.