Category Archives: Discussions

Numbers 31: Israel battles Midian after prurient sneak attack

The call for Israel to attack Midian, located on the southwestern coast of modern-day Saudi Arabia, comes after Midian’s plot to send in women to lure Israel away from the LORD. That, in turn, came because the LORD wouldn’t allow Bilam (Balaam) to curse Israel.

Joshua 14–15:19

Reader: Jeff
Teacher: Daniel Agee [contact]

Thought questions

  • What kind of man was Caleb to get the Promised Land city of Hebron?
    • Where is Hebron?
    • What happened there as recorded in Genesis?
    • How long did Caleb’s descendants occupy Hebron?
    • What tribe of Israel was ultimately granted the city of Hebron?
    • What were the 12 spies during their mission? (Read Numbers 34.)
    • Why did the Israel tribe of Judah get the best cities also mentioned in Numbers 34?
    • How do we have an idea which spy went to which area of the land, according to the Sages?
    • Why did Caleb want to go to Hebron?
    • Where were the "giants in the land" concentrated in relation to Hebron?
    • Where did Joshua go on his mission?
    • Where did Israel go first when they entered the Promised Land?
    • Why would Caleb want the most difficult part of the land to conquer?
    • How much faith and reason did Caleb show?
    • What did he credit God for?
    • What reason is recorded several times as the reason why Caleb got the land he got?
    • How many others in Israel had the same attitude?
    • What was Caleb trying to prove in his selection of the land he wanted? (Read Numbers 13:30.)
    • How was Caleb like Daniel’s three friends when they faced death in the furnace for refusing to worship the idol (Daniel 3)?
    • If Joshua had previously taken Hebron, why was Caleb described as the conquerer?
    • When God selects a person He will bless, does that guarantee the descendants will be blessed?
  • What did Caleb’s daughter ask of her father in chapter 15:19?
    • What kind of person was Othniel and what position did he rise to?
    • What was odd about Acsah’s asking her father Caleb for help?
    • Why didn’t Othniel ask Caleb himself?
    • What did Caleb give her compared to what she asked?

Matthew 19:1–12 — divorce

Reader: Daniel Agee
Teacher: Jeff [contact]

Thought questions

  • What value is gained in looking at Messiah’s teaching on divorce from parallel passages from the other apostles?
  • What were differences between the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel, two schools of rabbinical thought at the time of Yeshua (Jesus)?
    • How did Yeshua’s comments in general and on divorce in particular compare with those of Shammai and Hillel?
  • Why is divorce compared to cutting, based on the Greek and Hebrew words describing it in the Bible?
    • What did God intend marriage to teach?
  • How did God factor in situations in which the marriage contract is violated?
    • Under what circumstances is the marriage contract violated, according to the Bible and society today?
    • What does the Torah say about divorce?
    • Whose fault is divorce?
    • What does the innocent spouse do?
  • Can divorce bring shalom, Hebrew for "peace" and "completeness" and "wholeness."


Joshua 12–13

Reader: Jeff
Teacher: Daniel Agee [contact]

Thought questions

  • What is the prophecy behind the names listed in chapter 12?
    • Why are the names in a different order than listed a few chapters earlier?
    • What is the significance of the Hebrew meaning of the names?
    • What does this teach us about the possible purpose for all those "boring" lists of names in the Bible?
    • How does the "prophecy list" end?
    • What is the significance of goyim, Hebrew for "nations," in that ending?
  • How old is Yehoshua (Joshua) in chapter 13?
    • How long did it take for him to conquer that portion of the Promised Land?
  • Why did Yehoshua repeat Moshe’s (Moses’) partitioning of the East Bank of the Yordan (Jordan) River for the half tribe of Manassah, Gad and Reuben?
    • Which tribe was Yehoshua from?
    • Which territory did Israel conquer first?
  • What is Yehoshua a type of?
    • According to the prophets (especially Zechariah), what territory will Messiah conquer first upon His return, and what route will He take?
    • What does the taking of Yerikho (Jericho) with trumpets prefigure with the Day of the LORD and the Feast of Trumpets?
  • Why is the territory of Manassah divided?

Joshua 11

Teacher: Daniel Agee

Thought questions

  • Why would God command the harming of horses that didn’t harm you or for food?
  • In Deuteronomy 17:14, God commands Israel not to raise chariot horses, what does the use of chariot horses have to do with faith?
  • What was so special about the city of Sidon, located in modern-day Lebanon?
  • What’s the significance in this chapter of Jewish philosophy that says you must give an enemy the chance for peace before attack?
  • How were Rahab’s actions perceived by the people to Canaan?
  • Should we pray that the world be hardened by the Islamization of the world so the evil can be exposed in not wanting peace with G-d?
    • How is this similar to G-d’s actions in Egypt and Canaan?
    • What did Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Kim Il Sung expose about their ideologies?

Numbers 30: Daughter of Zion and the Father’s prerogative

Asking for a father’s permission to marry his daughter is viewed as comically anachronistic today. Likewise, these instructions for a father’s ability to annul a daughter’s vow seem a relic of yesteryear. Yet God teaches through object lessons, and what’s being communicated here is far more important than a surface impression.

Parallel passages: Deut. 23:21-23; Eccl. 5:1-7

Thought questions

  • How do these instruction on vows relate to the fact Adam sinned and Eve was deceived?
  • How do these instructions relate to our lives today?
  • Who are these vows to?
  • Does a widow or divorced person need permission from her father to remarry (see Num. 30:9)?
  • Is marriage different than a vow?
  • How is the relation between a man and wife as well as between a father and daughter?
  • Is Israel “married” to Messiah?
    • If so, how does that relationship work?
  • Why is Jerusalem called the “daughter of Zion”?
    • Who set up Zion?
  • Is the assembly of Israel to respond emotionally and rashly?
  • How should we approach our prayer life if we are like a bride or a daughter to God?
  • Do these instructions on vows relate to obedience of a wife or daughter or to blessings?
  • What lessons in mercy and commitment are there for husbands and fathers?

כל עולה kol ’olah (whole burnt) offerings and life today

  • What are the requirements for an עולה ’olah (burnt) offering?
    • no disfigurement
    • entirely burnt up
  • How does that relate to apostle Paul’s instruction to be a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1)?
  • What happens if you have sinned and are no longer “spotless” how can you present yourself as a “living sacrifice”? (Read 1st John 1:9.)
  • When we present ourselves, shouldn’t we ask whether our thoughts and words and actions are pure and true?

Joshua 10

Reader: David De Fever
Teacher: Daniel Agee

Thought questions

  • What does it mean in verse 14 that on the longest day there has "never been a day like it, a day when God listened to a man"?
  • According to Deuteronomy 6:10–11, how was Israel to inherit cities and vineyards without destroying them in the conquest? What would make the inhabitants of those cities come out of their strong defensive positions to fight Israel? Did Israel occupy the cities it captured?
  • Why did Israel have to kill the women and children of those cities too? Why does it matter that God can "kill and make alive again"?
  • Why did the Gibeonites ask Israel to "save us or help us" and pointed out that Gibeonites were "your servants"?
  • How do we know that the moon and sun stood still around 9 a.m. that day? How are the naturalistic explanations of the longest day preposterous? How do we know the account wasn’t a myth? What did the Egyptian water clocks of the day indicate about that day?