Last year, I read two of Dr. Michael Heiser’s books, “The Unseen Realm” and “Supernatural.” I really enjoy his perspective so I ordered this book last year and just have now had a chance to finish it.
The premise of the book is to illustrate some things in the Bible that we normally skip over because they are weird or we don’t understand them and to add commentary to what they might actually mean. Dr. Heiser is well qualified for such a task: he has his PhD in Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages and is scholar-in-resident at FaithLife corporation which gave us Logos Bible Software.
This wasn’t a difficult book to read. I read it in under a couple of hours but it is definitely interesting. Some of the different Biblical passages he fleshes out are: Genesis 1, ancient cosmology; Exodus 4, the circumcision of Gershom and Zipporah strange act of putting the foreskin at Moses’ “feet”; Numbers 5, the love potion and why the woman was not killed for adultery (the common punishment for an act); 1 Samuel 21 and 1 Chronicles 20, the giants living in Palestine; 2 Kings 5, Namaan and the dirt; Jeremiah 23, standing in the Council of God; the visions of Ezekiel; Luke 10, when Satan fell from the sky; 1 and 2 Peter and Jude and the angels in “gloomy darkness” (chapter title: When Angels Do Time ha); among others.
I think this is a great book for three reasons: it debunks some of our cultural perceptions that we place upon the Bible. It’s interesting to read about how the culture would have viewed such things as Exodus 4 and the circumcision of Gershom. We wouldn’t know that unless we 1) read Hebrew and 2) understood the culture. The Bible was written to a specific group of people at a specific time in a specific language, so we have work to do than just taking some things at face value. Second, I think this helps us when we read the Bible and we read something weird. Like I just mentioned, some of what is in the Bible cannot just be discovered. There has to be a process in which we interpret certain sections of scripture and have to do that with scholarship. As much as we don’t want to admit that, the other option we have is just to be in ignorance every time we read our Bibles. And I certainly don’t want to do that. 3) I think this book is a great reference for these passages. I know I’ll get a lot of good use out of this book because I have already referenced it a couple of times when trying to explain these hard texts.
So if you want to gain some insight on these weird passages, I’d recommend taking a look at this book!