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Biblical Facts from Old Testament


What is integrity?

When the Bible describes someone as having “integrity” (Ps. 101:2) it means that the person is characterized by good moral behavior. The Bible might also describe this person as “blameless” in the sight of God.


Ashes were often used in the OT to express sorrow, humiliation, or feelings of worthlessness. In Ps. 102:9, they are a sign of mourning, as indicated by their mention along with tears. The prophet Jeremiah encouraged Israel to “roll in ashes” to mourn the destruction that would soon befall her (Jer. 6:26).


Psalms 105 and 106 celebrate God’s faithfulness to his people. They recall his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Those who sing the psalms should see themselves as the beneficiaries of all the amazing things God has done in the past.


Despite all the faithfulness and steadfast love God showed to his people, as Psalm 105 recounts, they murmured (Ps. 106:25), displaying a lack of contentment and trust in him. Such murmuring amounts to disobeying a gracious God who leads his people.


What is God’s steadfast love to his people, for which Psalm 107 repeatedly says they should thank him?

It is the enduring faithfulness, care, and kindness that he has promised to them. Even after their repeated disobedience, which brought his discipline, they cried out to him and he forgave them.


“Upon Edom I cast my shoe” (Ps. 108:9). In ancient times, people would sometimes lay claim to a parcel of land by walking its boundaries and then offering the shoes they had worn as their title of ownership. Here, the Lord is claiming Edom as his own.


The right hand is often a symbol of authority and power. Kings wore their signet rings on their right hand (Jer. 22:24), and a father blessed his oldest son with his right hand (Gen. 48:14, 17). In Psalm 110, the right hand describes a place of honor and distinction. The Bible often refers to God’s right hand in his acts of blessing and deliverance (Ex. 15:6; Ps. 16:11).


Two acrostic poems.

Because of their similar themes, Psalms 111 and 112 can be seen as companion psalms. Both are also acrostic poems. In the acrostics of the OT, each line or verse begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.


Flint is a very hard variety of quartz that was plentiful in the land of the Bible. It could be broken into sharp pieces and used to make tools and weapons. Knives, arrowheads, sickle blades, and saws were all made from flint. The Bible often uses flint as a picture of strength and determination (Isa. 50:7; Ezek. 3:9). In Psalm 114, it provides a picture of God’s power over what he has created.


Idols (Ps. 115:4) represent anything allowed to compete with God for ultimate loyalty, robbing him of the devotion and glory he alone deserves. Idolatry is evil and foolish. God deserves our wholehearted love because nothing else compares with him.


A psalm of thanksgiving. The words of Psalm 116 are excellent for expressing public thanks after surviving a crisis situation.


The cornerstone (Ps. 118:22) is the large shaped stone at the corner of the building’s foundation. It is essential to a structure’s stability. Several NT writers compared Jesus Christ to a cornerstone (e.g., Matt. 21:42; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:4–8).


Aside from being the longest psalm, Psalm 119 is also the longest and most carefully structured chapter in the Bible. The psalm is an acrostic poem of 22 stanzas, following the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Within each stanza, each verse begins with the same Hebrew letter.


Unique verses. Out of the 176 verses in Psalm 119, only seven lack an explicit mention of God’s Word: vv. 84, 90–91, 120, 122, 132, and 149.


The wood of the broom tree makes excellent charcoal (Ps. 120:4). Charcoal was an ideal source of fuel in Bible times because it was lightweight and created a hot fire that retained its heat for a long time.


Psalm 122 is one of the 15 Songs of Ascents, which were sung by worshipers who were on their way up to the temple. It reflects the joy of seeing God’s chosen city, Jerusalem, and being in the house of God to worship. The Songs of Ascents include Psalms 120–134.


A “fowler” is someone who traps birds. In the Scriptures, it is used figuratively to describe active enemies of God’s people. The psalmist describes God as delivering his people from the fowler’s snare (Ps. 91:3; 124:7).


Watchmen (Ps. 130:6) were stationed along the walls of ancient cities. They would sound an alarm if an enemy approached the city. Fields and vineyards also had watchmen to protect the grain and produce from thieves and animals.


What does it mean to “redeem” someone?

The word “redeem” expresses the idea of rescue and protection. The Psalms speak of God redeeming Israel (Psalm 44:26; 111:9). God’s acts of redemption in the OT anticipate redemption from sin through the death of Jesus Christ (Col. 1:13–14).


Anointing with oil. It was common during festivals for people to have their foreheads anointed with fragrant oils. This not only provided a pleasant aroma but gave the person a glistening look of good health. (See Ps. 133:2.)