October 12, 2019
This episode wraps up the remainder of Exodus 23 (vv. 20-33). There are a number of interesting items in these remaining verses, beginning with the Angel in whom the Name (the presence) of God dwelt. That figure is part of the Old Testament Godhead language behind ancient Judaism’s (former) theological teaching about two powers in heaven (two Yahweh figures) that Dr. Heiser discussed at length in his book, The Unseen Realm. Other issues touched on in this episode are the “hornets” of v. 28, the dimensions of the land and the terminology for its pre-Israelite inhabitants (vv. 30-33).
October 6, 2019
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September 29, 2019
This episode follows Part 1 of our brief exploration of the “Book of the Covenant”—the laws in Exodus 21-23 that follow the Ten Commandments. These laws are applications within ancient Israelite culture of the absolute, enduring principles expressed by the Ten Commandments. Part 1 dealt with why that is indeed the case. In this episode we offer commentary on select laws within the Book of the Covenant to show how they link back to the Ten Commandments.
September 21, 2019
Most listeners will know the Ten Commandments. They might even know that those commandments are in Exodus 20. But few will know that those famous commandments are followed in Exodus 21-23 by a litany of odd, ancient, at times conflicting, “case laws” that apply the Ten Commandments to Israelite life. Scholars have found these case laws difficult to understand. A number of them don’t reflect the Mosaic time period. They don’t seem to have any comprehensible relationship to each other. Nevertheless, they get a lot of attention because they form what scholars call “the Book of the Covenant” – the body of laws and case laws that are the basis for Israel’s covenant relationship with Yahweh. In this episode we explore the problems with Exodus 21-23 and get a foothold on where to start in understanding this portion of Exodus.
September 14, 2019
In the previous two parts of our discussion of Exodus 20, we talked about issues related to Decalogue and the first four of the Ten Commandments. In this episode we cover the remaining six commandments (honor your father and mother, do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, and do not covet). It may come as a surprise, but some of these are hard to define and have biblical exceptions.
September 8, 2019
In the previous episode of the podcast we looked at the issues raised by close examination of the placement and nature of the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments. In this episode of the podcast, we take a look at the first four commands: having no gods before Yahweh, not making idols, not making the name of God inconsequential (“bearing the name in vain”), and remembering the Sabbath. Article referenced: Hallo, William W. “New Moons and Sabbaths: A Case-study in the Contrastive Approach.” Hebrew Union College Annual 48 (1977): 1-18
August 31, 2019
Exodus 20 is familiar to Bible readers for the Ten Commandments. Actually, only Exod 20:1-17 delineates those commands. The rest of the chapter resumes the Sinai theophany whose description began in Exodus 19. The “interruption” of that episode with the Decalogue is actually one of six issues discussed in this episode of the podcast—all preparatory to getting into the listed commands in future episodes. This episode deals with the unusual position of the Decalogue, the legal nature of the commandments, Jewish and Christian disagreement as to their number, the relationship of the Decalogue to ancient Near Eastern treaties, and the question as to why they were written on two tablets of stone.
August 25, 2019
Exodus 19 begins with the short move of the Israelite community from Rephidim to Sinai. The chapter not only sets the stage for the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20, but the covenant ceremony of Exodus 24. This episode focuses on the preparations for receiving the law and entering into the covenant. Toward that end, we focus on the nature of the Sinai covenant, its relation to the earlier Abrahamic covenant, and the ultimate goal of the covenant, expressed in Exod 19:5-6.
August 18, 2019
Evil and Satan with Dr. Archie Wright. Many listeners will know that the New Testament teaching about Satan underwent a good deal of development during the centuries that followed the Old Testament era. Like many theological concepts that begin in some form in the Old Testament (e.g., sacred space, kingdom of God), the subject of God’s main adversary (among other adversaries) develops over the course of time in the literature sacred to both Jews and Christians. In this episode we talk about that development with Dr. Archie Wright, whose academic work focuses on Second Temple Judaism and Christian origins, particularly in regard to the forces and figures of supernatural evil.
August 11, 2019
This chapter of the book of Exodus features the idea of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law- to appoint judges in Israel to help Moses render judgment on disputes within the community. There is some confusion about the relationship of these judges to elders in Israel. This episode discusses eldership in Israel and the relation of these judges to the elders. Earlier episodes of the podcast (#249 – Did the Israelites Believe Their Judges Were Gods?; #109 – John 10, Gods or Men?) cover how the passage is used by those who wish to deny divine plurality in Psalm 82 and other passages. Elders in OT
August 3, 2019
Exodus 17:8-16 chronicles the battle between the Israelites and the Amalekites. The episode contains odd elements. So long as Moses’ arms were raised, Israel did well in battle. When they dropped, they did not. What is the point of this action? Why is there a reference to the “throne of Yahweh” associated with the altar built to commemorate the victory? And above all, why was Amalek cursed by Yahweh for elimination?
July 28, 2019
The first seven verses of Exodus 17 give readers the story of the water from the rock at Rephidim. The story is straightforward enough. Moses strikes the rock as God instructs him (Exod 17:6) and God provided water in the desert wilderness for the Israelites to drink. Moses calls the place “Massah and Meribah” (Exod 17:7) which produces the point of orientation for this episode, and sets up Part 2. The item that unites the two parts is that this incident (Massah and Meribah) is associated elsewhere in Scripture with Kadesh. Since the location of Kadesh is known, this incident is part of the problem of the location of Mount Sinai (especially for the Midian view) and links this incident to the failure with the giant clans from Numbers 13 (Part 2).
July 20, 2019
Bible students will know Exodus 16 as the story of God’s provision of manna, the “bread from heaven” that sustained the Israelites during the long years of journeying to Canaan. The chapter is actually filled with a number of textual issues, most of which involve the question of authorship, but including the matter of the manna itself. In this episode, we discuss the phenomena of the text and apply what we find to thinking better about inspiration and historicity.
July 14, 2019
Exodus 15:22-27 ostensibly serves as an itinerary anecdote about the grumbling of the Israelites at Marah, where they found the water undrinkable (“bitter”). But there is much more behind the short account. These verses theologically and symbolically encapsulate the deliverance from death (the Underworld) at the Red Sea Crossing and God’s desire to have human children in his abode, the “cosmic mountain” of Israelite and ancient Near Eastern thought. The symbolism extends into the New Testament as well. This episode overviews the symbolic motifs in the passage that would have informed an ancient Israelite reader.
July 7, 2019
On this episode of the podcast Mike chats with Stovall Weems, lead pastor at Celebration Church in Jacksonville, FL. The conversation focuses on the story of how Mike and Stovall met and how their initial phone conversation was the catalyst to Mike accepting a job offer to start a school of theology for Celebration Church a little over a year later.
June 29, 2019
Exodus 15 is referred to by scholars as the Song of Moses. The label is due to its poetic nature. On the surface the Song reiterates the crossing of the Red Sea. But there are actually a number of items in the passage that dip into divine council worldview content and ancient Israelite cosmology. This episode engages such items and shows how Exodus 15 is more than a repetition of Exodus 14. Shi-Hor Map
June 22, 2019
In Part 1 of our discussion of Exodus 14 and the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt we focused on the yam suph (“sea of Reeds” / Red Sea) problem and issues related to the ambiguity of physical place names (toponyms). In this episode of the podcast our focus is cosmic geography—namely, how Egyptian conceptions of their gods and physical world can contribute to reading the exodus story as a theological polemic.
June 15, 2019
Exodus 14 is one of the major chapters detailing Israel’s departure from Egypt and the miraculous passing through the “Red Sea.” Other chapters include Exod 13:17-22, Exodus 15, and Numbers 33:5-8. The passages do not always agree in the way the event is described, a fact that has produced what scholars call the yam suph (“Red Sea”) problem. What is problematic in that phrase is not the supernatural nature of the way the crossing is presented, but where the crossing occurred and whether any part of what we think as the Red Sea was crossed. This episode unpacks and addresses the problem. Resources John P. Cooper, “Egypt’s Nile-Red Sea Canals: Chronology, Location, Seasonality and Function,” Pages 195-209 in Connected Hinterlands: Proceedings of the Red Sea Project IV Held at the University of Southampton, September 2008 (ed. Lucy Blue, et. al; BAR International Series 2052; Society for Arabian Studies Monographs No. 8 (2009) Canal-Map (“Canal Map”) from: Amihai Sneh, Tuvia Weissbrod and Itamar Perath, “Evidence for an Ancient Egyptian Frontier Canal: The remnants of an artificial waterway discovered in the northeastern Nile Delta may have formed part of the barrier called “Shur of Egypt” in ancient texts,” American Scientist 63:5 (Sept-Oct 1975): 542-548 Canal-Map of possible exodus routes.
June 9, 2019
Exodus 13 takes us into the subject of the offering of the firstborn. Certain scholars argue that the passage is to be taken literally, that Yahweh demanded the Israelites to sacrifice their firstborn male child (i.e., human sacrifice). This episode surveys how this argument is made and evaluates it in terms of the data of the text and logical coherence.
June 3, 2019
Dr. Heiser answers your questions. PLEASE SUPPORT OUR SHOW
May 25, 2019
This episode continues the early/late date discussion. Scholars who accept the historicity of the biblical story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt have argued for centuries about when it occurred in real time. There are several theories, but the two main approaches are the “Early” Date (1446 BC) and the “Late” Date (1267 BC). This episode continues the explanation of how each date is defended and debated. Early Date Resource: Bryant Wood, “The Biblical Date for the Exodus is 1446 BC: A Response to James Hoffmeier,” JETS 50.2 (2007): 249-258 Late Date Resource: James K. Hoffmeier, “What is the Biblical Date of the Exodus? A Response to Bryant Wood,” JETS 50.2 (2007): 225-247 Other links and articles noted in the episode: Paul J. Ray, Jr., “The Duration of the Israelite Sojourn In Egypt” Bryant Wood, “The Rise and Fall of the 13th Century Exodus-Conquest Theory,” JETS 48:3 (September 2005) 475–89 Peter van der Veen, Christoffer Theis, and Manfred Görg, “Israel in Canaan (Long) Before Pharaoh Merenptah? A Fresh Look at Berlin Statue Pedestal Relief 21687,” Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 2:4 (2010): 15-25 Douglas Petrovich, “Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh” Discovery of KV 5 tomb – Tomb of Ramses II’s Many Sons Is Found in Egypt
May 18, 2019
Scholars who accept the historicity of the biblical story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt have argued for centuries about when it occurred in real time. There are several theories, but the two main approaches are the “Early” Date (1446 BC) and the “Late” Date (1267 BC). This episode explains how each date is defended and debated. Early Date Resource: Bryant Wood, “The Biblical Date for the Exodus is 1446 BC: A Response to James Hoffmeier,” JETS 50.2 (2007): 249-258 Late Date Resource: James K. Hoffmeier, “What is the Biblical Date of the Exodus? A Response to Bryant Wood,” JETS 50.2 (2007): 225-247 Other links and articles noted in the episode: Paul J. Ray, Jr., “The Duration of the Israelite Sojourn In Egypt” Bryant Wood, “The Rise and Fall of the 13th Century Exodus-Conquest Theory,” JETS 48:3 (September 2005) 475–89 Peter van der Veen, Christoffer Theis, and Manfred Görg, “Israel in Canaan (Long) Before Pharaoh Merenptah? A Fresh Look at Berlin Statue Pedestal Relief 21687,” Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 2:4 (2010): 15-25 Douglas Petrovich, “Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh” Discovery of KV 5 tomb – Tomb of Ramses II’s Many Sons Is Found in Egypt
May 11, 2019
This episode of the podcast begins our discussion of the circumstances of the exodus event. There are many difficulties and issues that have distracted scholars over the years. Exodus 12:37 and Exodus 12:40 are two that we will discuss in this episode. The first confronts us with the problem of large numbers of people in the Exodus narratives. The second takes us into the duration of the sojourn (bondage) of Israel in Egypt, an item made controversial by its apparent disagreement with several other biblical passages. D. M. Fouts, “A Defense of the Hyperbolic Interpretation of Large Numbers in the Old Testament,” JETS 40: 3 (1997): 377–87.
May 5, 2019
Exodus 11 and 12 focus on the final plague against Egypt, the death of the firstborn, and the institution of the Passover (Hebrew: pesaḥ / pesach). Like the other plagues, the death of the firstborn is an assault on not only the pharaoh and his people, but on Maat, the principle of cosmic order to be maintained by the gods of Egypt. This episode touches on that polemic, but also on the meaning and typology of Passover and the “Destroyer” of the final plague.
April 27, 2019
The previous episode discussed the four scholarly approaches to understanding the plagues upon Egypt in the exodus story. Two of those approaches (polemic, de-creation) were deemed more fruitful than the others, for they cast the plagues in terms of Yahweh’s mastery over creation order (the Egyptian concept of Maat) that in turn serves as a polemic against the theology of the ancient Egyptians. In this episode we go through the plagues of Exodus 8-10 (plague numbers 2 through 9) with an eye toward thinking about each plague as de-creation and polemic.
April 21, 2019
Exodus 7:14-25 is the entry point for the series of ten plagues God sent upon the land of Egypt and its people for pharaoh’s defiance of his command to free his people, Israel. This episode includes an introduction to how scholars talk about the plagues and how that discussion translates to the first plague, turning the Nile to blood. Figure 3 Plagues as Decreation
April 14, 2019
Aside from the date of the exodus event and the revelation of the divine name, one of the most frequently discussed issues in the book of Exodus is the hardening of pharaoh’s heart. The narrative affirms that both God and pharaoh are the agents responsible for the hardening of pharaoh’s heart. How do we understand this in light of moral human responsibility, human free will, and the righteousness of God? This episode focuses on this topic.
April 6, 2019
This episode of the podcast covers two chapter of Exodus. Aside from some comments that relate to items in previous episodes, our discussion focuses on the biblical motif of the “hand of the Lord” and “outstretched arm” of the Lord. Both expressions are part of the confrontation between Moses and Aaron and Egypt’s pharaoh. Both are also important motifs in Egyptian literature. That isn’t a coincidence.
March 31, 2019
The second half of Exodus 4 presents a series of chronological problems in relation to Moses’ movements to and from Sinai and Jethro’s home and, ultimately, the journey to Egypt. The section includes the bizarre episode in verses 24-26 where God sought to kill Moses. Why was God angry? How does the circumcision of Moses’ son fix the problem? What does it mean that Moses’ wife, Zipporah, touched the foreskin of her son to Moses’ feet? This episode of the podcast unravels all these questions.
March 23, 2019
Exodus 4:1-17 continues Moses’ conversation with God at the burning bush after the revelation of the divine name. It is marked by Moses’ unwillingness to do what God has tasked him to do. This episode covers God’s compassionate responses to Moses and also his anger when Moses refuses the job. The conversation takes us into supernatural sign acts, Egyptian magic, and the concession by God of bringing Aaron (and the Aaronic priesthood) into his plan for Israel.
March 16, 2019
Exodus 3:13-14 are two of the most familiar verses in the Old Testament: “Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”  God reveals his name here in the first person (ehyeh – I AM), but most of the time the Old Testament has the divine name in the third person (Yahweh). Biblical names typically have meanings, so what is the meaning of this name for God? People can go up to my website for a detailed discussion of this. I favor the second view: “I am he who causes to be all that is,” arguing for a hiphil, a causative, vocalization of the verbal name phrase. Also a youtube video I created.
March 9, 2019
This episode builds off Part 2a and our discussion of the Kenite Hypothesis. The episode essentially asks this question: How would a literate ancient Jew, with knowledge of 1 Enoch and the Hebrew Bible, understand the biblical writer’s linkage of the Kenites (relatives of Abraham and Moses) to Cain the murderer, whom the writer of Enoch associated with the sins of the Watchers? The answer may surprise you, and even bless you.
March 2, 2019
Exodus 3:1 puts Moses in Midian, a land that, as we saw in Part 1, is closely tied to occupants known as Kenites. The Kenites, in fact, overlap in biblical thought with the Midianites (Judg 1:16; 4:11). Midian is also connected with the idea that Yahweh, the God of Israel, came to his land “from the South,” where “South” is defined as Edom, Teman, Paran, and Midian (Hab 3:3-7; Deut 33:1-2; Judg 5:4-5). It is for this reason (and some archaeological data) that many scholars and archaeologists believe that the Kenites / Midianites transmitted the knowledge of Yahweh to Moses (and, hence, Israel). This episode explores the coherence of this idea.
February 24, 2019
This episode focuses on Exod 3:1 (“Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God”) and how the place names (Horeb, Midian, “mountain of God”) might possibly dovetail with traditions about Yahweh “coming from the South” (from Teman, Paran, Edom, Seir) in other passages (Deut 33:2; Hab 3:3-7; Judg 5:4-5). Biblical critics have used the apparently contradictory nature of these passages to argue for biblical inconsistency with sources and that Yahweh worship did not originate with the Israelites. Others who have rejected the traditional location of Mount Sinai (Jebel Musa in the “V” of the Sinai Peninsula) in favor of Jebel al-Lawz in Midian have ignored or missed these passages.
February 17, 2019
Exodus 2:11-25 is the story of Moses’ capital offense in Egypt and his subsequent escape to the land of Midian. The story includes several textual and interpretive difficulties, leading to important questions. Where is the land of Midian? What is its relationship to Horeb? Is Horeb Sinai and, if it is, why do other passages distinguish the two? Who is Moses’ father-in-law: Jethro, Reuel, or Hobab? Did the people of Midian worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Egypt—and if not, why is God’s holy mountain connected to Midian?
February 9, 2019
In this episode we chat with Dr. Tim Mackie and Jon Collins about their amazingly successful and eminently useful ministry, The Bible Project. We learn a bit about their backgrounds, individually and as friends, how the Bible Project was born, and plans for the future.
February 5, 2019
Exodus 2:1-10 is the familiar story of the birth of Moses in Egypt. Lurking behind the familiar story is a point of controversy and misunderstanding:  its presumed relationship to ancient stories of the “abandoned child,” most specifically the legend of Sargon the Great’s birth. This episode asks the question of whether the biblical writer stole the Sargon story for Exodus 2:1-10, and how a potential relationship between the two might be processed well.
January 27, 2019
This is the second of two episodes on Exodus 1. This episode focuses entirely on how the name “Raamses” in Exod 1:11 can potentially be accommodated by either the early (1446 BC) or late (1250 BC) date of the exodus from Egypt. We explore how the name is used in Egyptian texts, why it’s spelling makes a difference, and why its presence in Exod 1:11 does not require the late date of the exodus. We also spend some time talking about the film Patterns of Evidence and its use of the work of David Rohl.
January 19, 2019
Exodus 1 is short in terms of verse count, but there are a surprising number of items in the text that need some comment—so many that we need two episodes!  In this episode we look at the language describing Israel’s condition under bondage in Egypt long after the time of Joseph. We talk about the reasons the biblical author links his description with Genesis 11:1-9, the Babel story; why the description of the bondage is justifiable historical; how the earlier story of Joseph in Egypt could be congruent with Exod 1:11, and how what pharaoh commanded the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, has been regularly misunderstood.
January 12, 2019
This episode launches our new book study series on the book of Exodus! As we do with every book study, this initial episode overviews the sorts of things to expect as we progress through Exodus: difficulties, controversies, and other points of interest relevant to understanding the book in its own context. Specifically, Dr. Heiser talks about how we should think about Old Testament history, historicity, metanarrative, “mythic history,” and historiography.
January 5, 2019
In this episode we interview “Theo,” an American living in Nepal who teaches students full time. Theo has been a long-time listener to the podcast. Theo found the divine council context put forth in Dr. Heiser’s books to be paradigm changing, and now uses that content to teach his students in Nepal. Unfortunately, there are serious obstacles, as the Nepali government has become more antagonistic to Christianity in recent years.
December 22, 2018
What is the Day of the Lord? Most Bible students would associate it with a time of judgment. The reality, however, is that judgment is only one aspect. The Day of the Lord concept concerns things like the reclaiming of the nations, the general resurrection, and the “fullness of the Gentiles.” And since Jesus is Lord in the New Testament, the Old Testament of the Day of the Lord is married to the return of Jesus. This episode discusses all these facets of the Day of the Lord and how the full concept should prompt us to think well about end times.
December 15, 2018
Craig Allert is a scholar specializing in Patristic Fathers, those early Christian thinkers who lived and wrote just after the end of the apostolic age to (roughly 451 AD). On today’s episode we talk with Craig about his work in analyzing how the early church fathers understood and interpreted Genesis One. We talk about the ways they approached Genesis One and how modern researchers use and abuse what the fathers said about Genesis in debating divergent views of creationism. Book: Craig Allert, Early Christian Readings of Genesis One: Patristic Exegesis and Literal Interpretation
December 9, 2018
Rick Brannan plays a lead role in the production of ancient language resources for Logos Bible Software. He has also published several books on apocryphal gospels, the apostolic fathers, and the Pastoral Epistles. In this episode our focus is Pauline authorship studies relative to the Pastoral Epistles and analyzing the vocabulary of those epistles. Since Rick’s most recent work is on 2 Timothy, we discuss some interesting findings about whether 2 Timothy is really Paul’s “last will and testament” and Paul’s inclusion of angels in charge language (commands) in these epistles. Rick Brannan Amazon page  Rick Brannan, Lexical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles: First Timothy  Rick Brannan, Lexical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles: Second Timothy  Rick Brannan, Greek Apocryphal Gospels, Fragments, and Agrapha: A New Translation Rick Brannan, Anticipating His Arrival: A Family Guide through Advent  Rick Brannan, The Apostolic Fathers: A New Translation
December 2, 2018
The word elohim frequently speaks of a single deity, most notably the God of Israel, in the Hebrew Bible. Exceptions include Psalm 82:1, 6, where plural elohim refers to the members of God’s heavenly host (his council or assembly; cp. Psa 89:5-7). Dr. Heiser has devoted a great deal of attention to how such passages and such thinking should not be defined by modern readers as polytheism or henotheism. Though he has written extensively in published scholarly journals on the topic and in his best-selling book, The Unseen Realm, some opponents of the straightforward reading of Psalm 82 and other passages insist that the elohim of that psalm are people—specifically, Israelite judges. This episode of the podcast examines the proof-texts of such an idea and shows their deficiencies. Material in this episode is drawn from Dr. Heiser’s article, “Should אלהים (ʾelōhîm) with Plural Predication be Translated “Gods”? BT Vol. 61, No. 3: 123-136. This article is not accessible online, but can be accessed only via a theological or university library or by subscribing to Dr. Heiser’s newsletter. Papers read at conferences and other articles that address divine plurality in Psalm 82 and elsewhere are freely available at Dr. Heiser’s divine council website. For how this episode and its content relates to Jesus’ use of Psalm 82:6 in John 10:34, see Episode 109: John 10: Gods or Men?
November 24, 2018
Dr. Heiser and special guest answer questions from a live audience. Thank you to everyone who came and joined us in Denver, Colorado.
November 23, 2018
In our second set of SBL interviews we talk to Dr. David DeSilva about his revised New Testament Introduction, Dr. Mike Grisanti about his books and ministry as a tour guide to Israel for Masters Seminary, Dr. David Goh about his pastoral ministry and his thoughts on The Unseen Realm,  Dr. Rick Hess about his co-edited volume (with Bill Arnold) and his other books on Joshua and the conquest, and doctoral student Hans Moscicke about his work on Eusebius as it relates to the Deuteronomy 32 worldview. Book links: David deSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry Formation 2nd Edition Michael Grisanti, The World and the Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament Michael Grisanti, Giving the sense: Understanding and Using Old Testament Historical Texts Richard Hess, Ancient Israel’s History (edited with Bill Arnold) Richard Hess, Joshua (Tyndale OT Commentary) Richard Hess, The Old Testament: A Historical, Theological, and Critical Introduction Hans Moscicke, Eusebius’s “Fall Narrative” in Demonstratio Evangelica 4.6–10: Demonic Removal of Angelic National Boundaries (Deut 32:8–9; Isa 10:13–14) and the Watchers Tradition, in Journal of Early Christian Studies 26 (2018): 1–24
November 21, 2018
In our first of two installments of interviews at the annual meeting of the SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) we talk to Dr. Bill Arnold about a new book on the History of Israel that he co-edited (with Rick Hess), Dr. Dan Wallace about his work at CSNTM (The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts), Dr. John Hilber about his work in biblical backgrounds, and David Burnett about his experience as a doctoral student at Marquette University. Book links: Ancient Israel’s History (edited by Bill Arnold and Rick Hess) Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts (edited by John Hilber, Jonathan Greer, John Walton)
November 20, 2018
In this episode we sit down first with Dr. Carl Sanders and Dr. Ronn Johnson to talk about rejected ETS papers (!) and the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament; next we chat with Dr. Karl Kutz and Dr. Rebekah Josberger, authors of an important new first-year Hebrew grammar.
November 19, 2018
In this episode we chat with Doug van Dorn, a pastor in the Denver area who authored the Lexham Press handbook on Mike’s book, The Unseen Realm; Dr. Gary Yates, OT professor at liberty University, who uses Unseen Realm in one of his courses; Jesse Myers, about the publishing philosophy of Lexham Press, and Dr. Sam Lamerson, President and Professor of NT at Knox Theological Seminary.
November 18, 2018
This episode features conversations with Dr. David Capes of Wheaton, Dr. Gerry Breshears of Western Seminary, and Dr. Mark Futato of Reformed Theological Seminary. We talk about a new book for the non-specialist on earl high Christology / Jewish binitarianism; uses of, and responses to, Mike’s book, The Unseen Realm; Hebrew, and a forthcoming book on Hebrew accents and their exegetical importance. link to David Capes’ book
November 18, 2018
In this set of interviews we talk to Dr. Peter Gurry of the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog; Henry Smith of ABR (Associates for Biblical Research); Dr. Mark Ward of Lexham Press/Faithlife/Logos, and Mike’s original pastor after he came to the Lord, Dr. Dave Burggraff. Subjects range from new books of interest to our audience, archaeology, textual criticism, and reminiscences of Mike’s beginning in his spiritual journey and biblical studies.
November 11, 2018
The psalms are often thought of as purely devotional. They of course have that value, but they also contain significant theological statements, especially to ancient Israelites whose ears were tuned to specific points of their content. We often miss such things since we are not part of the ancient Israelite world, particularly in terms of the religious struggle with Canaanite religion and Baalism. In this episode we look at Psalms 24 and 29 for how religious texts from Ugarit help inform our reading. These two psalms contain several specific polemical points directed against Baal that modern readers would miss.
November 3, 2018
Dr. Heiser answers your questions about the book of Colossians.
October 28, 2018
Dr. Heiser answers your questions.
October 21, 2018
Dr. Heiser answers your questions.
October 14, 2018
This episode of the podcast concludes the series on Colossians. While the last chapter of Colossians contains mostly personal references to traveling companions and greetings from Paul, there are several items of interest. Does the chapter refer to a house church led by a woman (Nympha)? Is the “letter to the Laodiceans” a lost letter of Paul—and if so, is that a problem for inspiration?  The end of the letter makes it clear that Paul used an amanuensis (i.e., he dictated the letter). Does that mean Paul wasn’t well educated?
October 6, 2018
Paul continues his teaching on how gratitude toward Jesus, the author of salvation who is supreme over all other powers, ought to influence the believer’s conduct. In this Colossians 3:18-25, Paul focuses on commands about household management. The “household” relationships in view are husbands and wives, fathers and children, and household servants/slaves. All of Paul’s household principles are framed by Colossians 3:17 – “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” resource referenced: Thiselton, kephalē and Its Multiple Meanings
September 29, 2018
Colossians 3 is the pivot point for the epistle. Having tracked through a number of significant theological points relating to Christ’s supremacy to the law and angels, Paul turns to practical ramifications. This episode of the podcast focuses on two: (1) the “already but not yet” aspects of the Christian’s status and how discipleship is rooted in that status, and (2) the “already but not yet” aspects of Christ’s kingdom rule.
September 22, 2018
Part 1: Johnny Cisneros – Bible Study Apps for Word Studies in Colossians What are some of the best Bible study apps today? And how can you use those study apps to gain meaningful insights into the key words in Paul’s Letter to the Colossians? In this episode, Dr. Heiser interviews his long-time friend and colleague, Johnny Cisneros. With his training in biblical languages and his doctoral studies in technology-enhanced learning, Johnny Cisneros is the ideal person to help you apply simple and powerful strategies to study the Bible. The discussion centers on introducing you to some popular Bible study apps, walking you through several examples of Greek word studies from Colossians, and finally, a special offer to the Naked Bible audience for video courses designed by Johnny Cisneros. Part 2: Joe Fioramonti – Anno Domini Joe Fioramonti is a long-time friend of Mike and the podcast. He’s an artist, a professor, and an entrepreneur. His new business, Anno Domini, designs and hand-produces unique but traditional art prints. One-third of the proceeds goes directly to ministries that focus on persecuted pastors and Christians in dangerous parts of the world.
September 16, 2018
The subject of honor and shame-based cultures is familiar to anthropologists, but a foreign topic to most people interested in biblical studies. Nevertheless, it is an important aspect of New Testament interpretation. In this episode we chat with Dr. David de Silva, a recognized expert in this area of Second Temple period / New Testament study. As he wrote in The Dictionary of New Testament Background, “Honor refers to the public acknowledgment of a person’s worth, granted on the basis of how fully that individual embodies qualities and behaviors valued by the group. First-century Mediterranean people were oriented from early childhood to seek honor and avoid disgrace, meaning that they would be sensitive to public recognition or reproach. Where different cultures with different values existed side by side, it became extremely important to insulate one’s own group members against the desire for honor or avoidance of dishonor in the eyes of outsiders, since only by so doing could one remain wholly committed to the distinctive culture and values of the group. This struggle is particularly evident in the NT, as church leaders seek to affirm the honor of Christians on the basis of their adherence to Jesus while insulating them from the disapproval they face from non-Christian Jews and Gentiles alike.” David A. deSilva, “Honor and Shame,” Dictionary of New Testament Background: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 518–519. Important Resources: David de Silva, Honor, Patronage, Kinship, and Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture (IVP Academic, 2000) David de Silva, Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance (Baker Academic, 2018) David de Silva, The Letter to the Galatians (New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT; 2018)
September 8, 2018
Our preceding three episodes in large part set the table for the remainder of Colossians 2. Paul revisits some familiar themes: the superiority of Jesus to Jewish mystical teachings about angels (stoicheia), food laws, and the Sabbath. The new element here, and focus of this episode, is Paul’s link between the cross event (in particular the resurrection) and the defeat of the powers of darkness. Because of the cross, the rule of the gods over the Gentile nations, set up by God himself as a punishment at Babel (Deut 32:8-9; cp. Deut 4:19-20; 17:1-3; 29:23-26) has been nullified and de-legitimized. This is the underpinning of Paul’s mission to reclaim people among the nations for God’s everlasting family.
September 1, 2018
These two verses are (in)famous in New Testament study. Paul’s comments about baptism and circumcision, and a “circumcision made without hands” have been an interpretive battle ground every since they were written down. How does baptism relate to our receiving and being rooted in Christ (Col 2:6-7)? Does baptism complement salvation? Does it propel us toward salvation? How does water baptism relate to circumcision at all—if indeed Col 2:11-12 is even about water baptism? What if Paul is talking about Spirit baptism (1 Cor 12:13)? What then?
August 25, 2018
As we saw in our previous episode, a lot of theology can be packed into just a handful of verses. Colossians 2:6-8 leads to the focus of this episode, Colossians 2:9-10. These two verses are the pivotal content for Paul’s response to the Colossian heresy, the Jewish-mystical elevation of supernatural beings (“angels”) as spiritual authorities and points of reference for reverence. Logos Offer: and use coupon code: nakedbible7 at checkout
August 18, 2018
Two of the things we talk about most on the podcast pop up in this episode: the importance of deriving what you believe from the text of Scripture itself and the importance of reading the text in its original context. Regarding the first, we’ll explore some of the grammar Paul uses in Col 2:6-7 to talk about God’s role and our role in sanctification. In verse 8 we’ll discuss the stoicheia (“elemental spirits”) and how they might fit into the false teaching Paul was confronting at Colossae.
August 11, 2018
This episode continues our discussion of the epistle to the Colossians. Colossians 1:21-2:5 touch on some theological themes familiar from previous episodes of the podcast: the relationship of Israel and the Church, the need to keep believing the gospel for salvation, reconciliation, and Paul’s “mystery” teaching. There are also some surprises.
August 4, 2018
Colossians 1:13-20 contains some of the most important Christological content in the New Testament. It is also home to some of the most misunderstood. For example, does referring to Jesus as “firstborn” suggest that he was created? Does it point to chronology—that Jesus was the first created thing? How is that reconcilable with the “fullness of God” being in Jesus? When verse 20 speaks of “all things, whether on earth or in heaven” being reconciled to God through Jesus does that mean that Satan and fallen angels can be—and ultimately will be- forgiven for their sins and redeemed? This episode discusses all these and other issues.
July 28, 2018
We begin our study in the first chapter of Colossians with an eye toward some of Paul’s more important vocabulary. Why does he refer to the Colossian believers as “holy ones” (1:2)? What sort of “knowledge” (1:9) is he talking about?  What do the phrases “inheritance of the holy ones” and “domain of darkness” (1:12-13) mean in the context of Old Testament cosmic geography? Is the kingdom of God to which believers belong only future (1:13)?
July 21, 2018
This episode opens our new book study on Colossians. Disputes over the book’s authorship and date contribute directly to the major content issue of the book—the nature of the “Colossian heresy.” The so-called “Colossian heresy” is the label used by scholars to describe Paul’s theological opposition in the city and church of Colossae. Elements of the false teaching Paul confronted are reminiscent of Gnosticism. However, the mature Gnostic theologies known to scholars today did not take shape until the second century A.D. and thereafter. Other items Paul addresses are obviously related to Jewish opposition. Could these two theologies be related?
July 14, 2018
2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 contains two enigmatic features. In the first four verses Paul takes on the false teaching, circulating in the Thessalonian church, that the Day of the Lord had already come to pass. In the process Paul tells the believers “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the apostasia comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” It’s clear that the man of lawlessness is the antichrist, but what is the apostasia? Some translations render the Greek term “falling away,” but others have “rebellion”? Just what event is Paul talking that must occur before the revealing of the antichrist? Later in the chapter Paul mentions an impersonal “restraint” and a mysterious figure who is the “restrainer” that are holding back the events leading to the second coming. What or who could do that? This episode tackles both these difficulties.
July 7, 2018
Dr. Heiser answers your questions.
June 30, 2018
How ancient Israelites thought about the institution of kingship is deeply rooted in the ancient Near Eastern ideology of kingship. Kings were viewed as extensions of the rule of deities, the providers of life and welfare and order. Kings ensured that life for the people under his (and the deity’s) rule went along as it was intended. Trees were emblematic of these ideas, as they spoke of the fertility of the land, the presence of life in an otherwise arid, hostile environment, and a metaphorical connection between heaven and earth. In this episode of the podcast we interview Dr. William (“Rusty”) Osborne, an expert in this kingship metaphor, to help us navigate these concepts. Book: Trees and Kings: A Comparative Analysis of Tree Imagery in Israel’s Prophetic Tradition and the Ancient Near East
June 23, 2018
1 Corinthians 15:29 is one of the more enigmatic verses in the Bible. Scholars have long struggled with the meaning of Paul’s questions: “. . . What do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?” Just what was going on at Corinth that involved baptism for the dead? Is this literal (water) baptism or something else? Who are the dead – believers or unbelievers? Does baptism help dead unbelievers in the afterlife? If not, what’s the benefit? How does this verse fit the wider context of Paul’s discourse on the resurrection? Article resource: James E. Patrick, “Living Rewards for Dead Apostles: ‘Baptised for the Dead’ in 1 Corinthians 15.29,” New Test. Stud. 52 (2006): 71–85
June 16, 2018
Dr. Heiser answers your questions.
June 9, 2018
Dr. Heiser answers your questions.
June 3, 2018
Many Christians believe the book of Job is the earliest book of the Bible, written sometime before Moses in the patriarchal era. Few Old Testament scholars assign any merit to this idea. Why the disagreement? Is there any basis for thinking Job is earlier than the time of Moses? Is there any way to know when Job was written and who might have written it? Does any point of biblical history or theology depend on the answer? We discuss all these issues in this episode of the podcast.
May 26, 2018
When it comes to debates over biblical inspiration, the authorship and the book of Isaiah is one of the more contentious topics. Traditionally, the book in its entirety (66 chapters) was considered to have been entirely written by the prophet Isaiah, who lived in the late 8th century – early 7th century BC. From the 19th century onward, modern critical scholars argued that the book was actually three separate books (chs 1-39, 40-55, 56-66) composed in different eras (the latter sections being written during and after the exile). Consequently scholarly talk about the book of Isaiah speaks of First, Second (“Deutero”), and Third (“Trito”) Isaiah(s). Many evangelical scholars continue to reject this academic consensus, charging that it’s acceptance undermines inspiration, scriptural consistency, and predictive prophecy? Are those charges accurate? On what basis is multiple authorship argued? How do traditional single-author proponents defend their case? We discuss all these issues in this episode of the podacast. Rooker article (in protected folder accessible by newsletter subscribers) Mark F. Rooker, “Dating Isaiah 40–66: What Does the Linguistic Evidence Say?” Westminster Theological Journal 58, no. 2 (1996): 303–12
May 19, 2018
Dr. Heiser answers your questions. Dr. Heiser’s paper: Does Deuteronomy 32:17 Assume or Deny the Reality of Other Gods?
May 12, 2018
Dr. Heiser answers your questions. Link referenced:
May 5, 2018
Dr. Heiser answers your questions.
April 28, 2018
What is the proper biblical relationship between faith and works? Do good works contribute to salvation? If not, then why should we care about the way we live? Personal holiness is something taught in Scripture, but the desire to please God in our lives often leaves Christians guilty when they fail. Believers begin to suspect God doesn’t love them any longer—or at least not as much. The result is that the clarity of the gospel gets muddled. This episode of the podcast aims to help us think clearly about grace, faith, and works in the Christian life.
April 21, 2018
The basic details of the Israelite conquest of Jericho are well known. The renewal of the covenant at Shechem, the miraculous crossing of the Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant, Joshua’s encounter with the supernatural commander of the Lord’s host, the sending of the spies to the city and their reception by Rahab, the weird battle instructions to march around the city and blow the ram’s horns, and the collapse of the walls have been retold in countless Sunday School classes and sermons. But virtually unknown is that many of these details have correspondences in a story from Ugarit, an ancient city state in Syria. That story is known as the Keret (or Kirta) Epic. In this episode we talk about the similarities and how an ancient reader might have processed such parallels.
April 15, 2018
In 1 John 3:11-12 the apostle warned believers, “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother.” Does this passage mean that Cain was fathered by Satan? The idea is indeed found in some ancient Jewish texts. Is there any evidence for that in the Old Testament account of his birth? This episode of the podcast answers those questions.
April 7, 2018
This episode of the podcast raises a straightforward question: Does God ever deceive anyone? While listeners might think the answer must be in the negative, that actually isn’t the case. This episode considers several passages where God uses deception and suggests the same to biblical figures. We also consider related questions, such as: Is deception the same thing as lying? and, If God uses deception, how are we to think about that? Are there ramifications for personal ethics?
March 31, 2018
This episode welcomes Fern and Audrey back to the podcast. Fern and Audrey minister to trauma survivors, particularly those whose trauma resulted in dissociation (see Episode 68). The conversation in this episode includes Alexa, a client of Fern and Audrey’s Discovering Mercy ministry, and allows listeners to understand their ministry from a survivor’s perspective.
March 24, 2018
Dr. Heiser answers your questions.
March 18, 2018
Revelation 4-5, the Divine Council, and the Covenant Lawsuit Motif: A Discussion with Dr. Alan Bandy Revelation 4-5 with its vision of God’s throne room and the 24 elders has long fascinated Bible students. While the heavenly throne is obvious to the scene, the actual setting often escapes attention. In accord with various divine council scenes in the Old Testament, the throne room of God is also where God holds council. Many OT council meetings are judicial in nature. A trial is held to assess loyalty to God’s covenants. That trial either leads to God’s vindication of the defendant or the dispensing of judgment for the guilty. In this episode we have a conversation with Dr. Alan Bandy who argued in his dissertation that Revelation 4-5 was a divine council scene informed by the covenant lawsuit motif of the Old Testament. Even further, Dr. Bandy believes that the book of Revelation as a whole is informed by the covenant lawsuit idea so that Christians and the whole world stand trial before God’s heavenly council with Jesus as the presiding judge.
March 13, 2018
Numbers 29:12-34 describes the sacrifices involved in the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, called in Hebrew, the Feast of Sukkot (“Booths”). Included in those sacrifices were 70 bulls, a number that far exceeds any other Israelites festival. Scholars have taken note of the number and speculated that it has some relationship to the number of the sons of God allotted to the nations in the judgment at Babel (Deut 32:8-9; cp. Genesis 10’s 70 nations). Some believe the passage is a vestige of polytheism (the bulls are offered to the gods of the nations) or that it describes an atonement ritual for the 70 nations of Genesis 10. In this episode of the podcast we examine these opinions and offer another interpretation, one that sees a connection to the Deuteronomy 32 worldview, but that focuses more on the meaning of the Feast of Sukkot. Links: Dr. Noga Ayali-Darshan: Sukkot’s Seventy Bulls: The Torah’s adaptation of a polytheistic ancient West-Semitic custom of sacrificing to seventy gods The Meaning of Sukkot The Seventy Bulls Sacrificed at Sukkot (Num 29:12-34) in Light of a Ritual Text from Emar (Emar 6, 373), VT 65 (2015)
March 3, 2018
The enigmatic “two swords” passage of Luke 22:35-38 that famously features Jesus’ command to the disciples, “the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one” (22:35), has long plagued biblical interpreters. Scholars have attempted to explain this passage in many ways. Some have suggested that Jesus was speaking figuratively, not speaking of buying literal swords, but alluding to the future persecution of the disciples. Some suggest Jesus was preparing them to take up swords to defend themselves after his departure, preparing them for bandits along the way. Along these lines, still others suggest Jesus was referring more generally to the time of trial to come after his resurrection. This passage has even featured prominently in modern debates regarding Christian positions on guns and violence, some evangelical voices going as far to suggest that Jesus by implication encourages the right to brandish and use fire arms. As such, this text has factored into discussion of Christian ethics. In this episode David Burnett returns to the podcast and offers a new approach, one that reframes the passage through a careful treatment of the text within its wider narrative context and Luke’s use of scripture. Resource: David A. Burnett- SBL Lk 22.35-38 Handout
February 24, 2018
On this episode of the podcast we once again devote time to acquainting listeners with strategies and tools for more productive Bible study. Dr. Heiser talks to Dr. Steve Runge, a colleague at Logos Bible Software and an important name in the study of Greek grammar. Dr. Runge’s focus is discourse, a linguistic term for studying the biblical text above the word level. If you don’t know Greek, don’t fear! Dr. Runge’s methods apply to English as well—and he has been instrumental in creating tools for English-only Bible students that are firmly grounded in original language study. Listen and learn how to become a better student of the biblical text. The videos below feature Dr. Runge teaching some of the concepts we discuss and work through in this episode. You already know discourse grammar but didn’t realize it (several videos) Logos Bible Software datasets for the Greek New Testament (the dataset adds symbols to your English reverse interlinear) Dr. Runge’s commentaries for English readers that derive from his grammar study
February 17, 2018
Dr. Heiser answers your questions.
February 10, 2018
Dr. Heiser answers your questions about the book of Hebrews.
February 3, 2018
Dr. Heiser answers your questions about the book of Hebrews.
January 29, 2018
Our 200th episode celebrates the reach of the podcast and that of Dr. Heiser’s books, The Unseen Realm and Supernatural. The Naked Bible Podcast has dedicated listeners all over the world. Many found the podcast because of Dr. Heiser’s books. This episode celebrates both the impact of solid, biblical content in the lives of listeners and readers, and their effort to spread that content to others. Mike and Trey talk to folks doing ministry in the Middle East (Michael, Bell), Tanzania, Africa (Charles, Donald), and Tirana, Albania (David, Bruna, and Fitor).
January 20, 2018
The final chapter of the book of Hebrews combines pastoral encouragement for believers under stress and reminders about the superiority of Jesus against what their persecutors were offering.  This episode wraps up our book study by highlighting how the writer blends his final appeal for faithfulness with encouragement for both the laity and the leadership in troublesome times.
January 14, 2018
Hebrews 12 follows on the heels of the “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11. That’s important because heeding that context (and that of the rest of the book of Hebrews) will prevent us from taking certain things in Hebrews 12 out of context. The writer doesn’t follow the “hall of faith” with a treatise on how moral imperfection (sin) will result in keeping someone out of the kingdom of God. And yet many readers lapse into that thinking in this chapter. In this episode we read Hebrews 12 in light of Hebrews 11—and other preceding passages in the book—to reaffirm that salvation is about something done for us, not something we do, and about the obedience of Jesus, not our own obedience.
January 7, 2018
Many Christians refer to Hebrews 11 as the “hall of faith.” The label is appropriate, but the chapter raises questions. Why did the Old Testament individuals listed in Hebrews 11 “make the cut”? Was there something extraordinary about them? This episode explores the relationship of this famous passage to its far less famous context: Heb 10:35-39. Those in the “hall of faith” are not there because they were shining examples of moral purity, or because they never had doubts about what God was doing, or because they weren’t tested. Rather, they are there because they all held fast to faith—they did not “shrink back” from their believing loyalty in what God had promised. Hebrews 11 illustrates that we must have faith in what God has done for us, not our performance.
December 31, 2017
Hebrews 10 wraps up the author’s discourse on the superiority of the high priesthood of Jesus—a theme begun in chapter five. The chapter revisits how the Torah’s system of sacrifices could not take away sin as it was a shadow of things to come. The author references earlier high points of how Jesus is superior to Torah dealt with earlier. The entire second half of the chapter, though, focuses once more on the chief concern of the author—the reason he keeps telling his audience about the superiority of Jesus to the Mosaic Law—the need to keep believing the gospel so as to not “shrink back” to dependence on their obedience to law (merit-based performance) for salvation. Karen Jobes article:
December 25, 2017
There is much discussion online at this time of year as to the presumed pagan origins of Christmas. December 25, we are told, was a date stolen from pagan worship, specifically from the festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Sun” (Sol Invictus)? Should Christians have Christmas trees? Aren’t trees pagan objects of worship? How should Christians think about, and respond to, such questions? Do these questions have any relationship to the content of Scripture? Listen to find out. Links and sources: William Tighe, “Calculating Christmas: The Story Behind Dec 25” Touchstone Magazine (December, 2003) Thomas J. Talley, The Origins of the Liturgical Year (The Liturgical Press, 1991) Aaron Gleason, “How Christmas Baptizes Norse Mythology into Powerful Christian Archetypes,” The Federalist (December 15, 2017) Origin of the names of the Days Jewish month names from Babylon
December 16, 2017
In his ninth chapter, the writer of Hebrews continues with his theme of the superiority of Christ over the Levitical sacrifices and priesthood. In chapter 8 he had referred to the “heavenly tent,” where Jesus was seated “at the right hand of majesty” subsequent to offering himself to provide salvation. In Hebrews 9, the focus of this episode, the sacrifice of Christ is described as an atonement superior not only to the sacrificial system broadly conceived, but specifically to the Day of Atonement ritual.
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