Dr. Michael Koplitz deciphers the mysterious Book of Daniel by using ancient Hebraic methods to uncover a depth of meaning and by exploring questions that commentaries have not yet addressed. Because half of Daniel was composed in Aramaic, Dr. Koplitz finds numerous expressions and idiosyncrasies in the language that he explains in this teaching. He also explores Jewish midrash that clarifies puzzling passages. For example, why did Daniel pray at an open window? The answer is provocative. The culture and the Aramaic language offer the answer that you will discover in this teaching.
Penetrate a depth of meaning in this Esther Bible Study by Dr. Michael Koplitz, who reveals intriguing cultural traditions that weave throughout the story. For example, consider the account of the king who “extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So, Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter” (Esther 5:2). Certainly, we can visualize this dramatic scene, but now add the cultural background.
Most people were right-handed. Furthermore, since a dominant left hand was considered a curse, left-handed children were forced to become right-handed. Therefore, weapons were thrust from the right hand. Now, imagine Esther who would have touched the king’s scepter with her right hand, thus proving she did not have a hidden weapon. What makes this ancient culture so intriguing is how we shake hands today. Which hand do you use?
Dr. Michael Koplitz explores the language and culture of the ancient Babylonians, which reveals that the message of Jonah is hidden in sarcastic irony. For example, before the whale swallows Jonah, this fish is a male. Then, when Jonah is in the belly of the whale the fish is suddenly identified as a female. Finally, it is the male fish that spits out Jonah. Dr. Koplitz discusses the challenging meaning conveyed by this and numerous other examples of sarcastic irony in Jonah.
Dr. Michael Koplitz explores ancient culture and traditions that are embedded in the Book of Ruth and draws some provocative conclusions. He finds that Christian tradition has obscured the message of Ruth to accommodate its teachings on sexual relationships. However, the ancient Israelites had no such hesitation. The English translations claim that Ruth “uncovered the feet of Boaz and lay down.” However, the Hebrew text is not “feet” but “foot”, which to the ancient Israelites was a euphemism for the male sex organ. Now, don’t be disturbed by this disclosure. Imagine that you are an ancient Israelite and look again at the Book of Ruth with Dr. Koplitz who captures the culture and meaning of the people who first heard the powerful messages in the Book of Ruth.
Rev. Dr. Michael Koplitz is an ordained minister, author, teacher, and webmaster at BibleInteract.tv, a trans-denominational organization of Bible scholars, teachers and biblical archaeologists who share their knowledge of Scripture. He currently lives in York Pennsylvania with his wife, Sandy, where he has been a pastor at the United Methodist Church for over 18 years.