On the Economic Value of David’s Preparations for the Temple

For the sitemap, see here.

Chronicles greatly expands the material concerning David and the Temple. It’s expansions tend to portray David as even more splendid than the source material in Samuel. For example, in Samuel David’s census counts 1.3 million soldiers — a total about three times the size of the Roman Empire at its peak — while in Chronicles the number is inflated to 1.47, as the 800,000 Israelites is inflated to one million. Where Samuel has David buying some real estate from Ornan for 50 shekels of silver, Chronicles has the purchase involve 600 shekels of silver. Continue reading “On the Economic Value of David’s Preparations for the Temple”


All the Population Figures of the Hebrew Bible

For the sitemap, see here

What follows should be a collection of every single claim the Bible makes about the total population of ancient Israel and Judah. It is a product of a KJV electronic search for the words “thousand”, “thousands”, “million”, and “millions”. I’ve also added the Benjamite population after their near-extermination in Judges. If my search missed anything else, please let me know, and I’ll add it.

In addition to the internal contradictions, most of the numbers are wildly implausible by historical standards. Israel and Judah were small compared to the great powers, but even later when the Roman Empire reached its peak, its total number of soldiers was somewhere in the neighborhood of 500,000. Continue reading “All the Population Figures of the Hebrew Bible”

On Library Genesis and Public Domain Resources

For the sitemap, see here

At about age fifteen, I became a bit concerned about the effects of copyright law, for a variety of reasons. I noticed that in various ways a great deal of resources were roped off from the internet, which kept a great deal of useful information away from the average person. I thought, then, that what we needed was people producing high quality resources available in the public domain. Off and on, over the next decade or so, I created and placed a large quantity of resources into the public domain, mostly under my own name, almost all related to the field of biblical studies in one way or another. This pseudonymous blog is a tiny fraction of the work I’ve done.

As time has passed, a few things have changed. One of these changes is that enough pre-1923 material is available now that the average person could teach themselves to read the Bible in its original languages solely by using online resources, and the average person has, substantially, access to the Septuagint, the Masoretic Text, the Vulgate, and so on. Another change is that the quality of available web resources for researching the Bible has climbed. These web resources are often copyrighted, but because they’re fully available online, I have trouble seeing how much of a liability copyright really represents in these cases.

Let me just draw a rough outline for you. If you want to learn biblical Hebrew, for example, you first need to learn the alphabet and vowels. You can do this by googling. You need the Hebrew Bible itself, but that’s also easily available. You need dictionaries — Brown-Driver-Briggs and Gesenius’ Lexicon are easily available. Google and you will find. SDBH (you can Google it) is being assembled piece by piece. You need a Hebrew grammar. Gesenius is online. A number of other Hebrew grammars are also online. Tools like Blue Letter Bible and Bible Online Learner. These will all allow you do work through at least a plausible reading of every word of the Hebrew Bible. You can Google all these. I’ll stop saying “Google” now.

But what if you want to do more than read words aloud? Biblia Hebraica Kittel is available in PDF form, with most of the significant variants within the various manuscript traditions, except for the Dead Sea Scrolls. You’ll need some Latin and Greek to understand some of it, but Greek and Latin can be learned online if you’re just willing to put in the time. Commentaries exist that can help you work phrase by phrase through the various difficulties and Hebrew ambiguities. The International Critical Commentaries (the older ones) are all online. So is the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges and some other material available via BibleHub. There’s other stuff if you’ll just dig.

This brings me to the more recent academic stuff. If you’re looking for a journal article, it is almost always available through Sci-Hub, which I won’t link to or recommend because it is illegal. But, as far as I can tell, no one has ever been prosecuted for using Sci-Hub, or punished in any other way, so it looks to me like the risk is approximately zero to users. A similar, although admittedly less complete, resource is Library Genesis for books, which contains a shockingly large amount of biblical studies material. Library Genesis, like Sci-Hub, is illegal, so I can’t recommend using it, but it also seems to have lead to no actions against individuals using it. It is, as far as I can tell, illegal in the technical sense only. Obviously, I am not a lawyer, and these are just my personal impression. You should do your own due diligence before making your own legal decisions.

Sci-Hub is already a complete repository of academic journal articles for almost all practical purposes, and LibGen is not complete but moving in that general direction.

I am not sure if there is anything of substance that a website like this can add that isn’t already available to any motivated person willing to use the internet for all it’s worth. For more casual users who aren’t willing to go Google their way to detailed information, Wikipedia works fine for broad overviews. It’s not super-accurate, but it’s generally good enough for the casual reader. The uncasual reader can find the better stuff without much trouble.

I started down this road because I saw a large gap between the best in biblical studies and the best that was available to the general public. That gap is far, far smaller now than it was then, and to the extent that the gap has been closed, it primarily has not been closed by individuals writing on the internet. It has primarily been closed by two pirate websites, both of which now seem to be a permanent and growing presence online. My understanding is that the current legal framework offers no realistic way to prosecute any significant number of Sci-Hub and LibGen users, nor any realistic way to get Sci-Hub and LibGen offline. For those people who are too pious to use pirated information, there are always libraries.

In addition to Sci-Hub and LibGen, the rise of various forms of online and open-access stuff has lead institutions to close much of the remaining gap.

Through university classes, through books, through conversations, and through the internet I have learned what I think is enough about the Bible for my purposes. The tools are now available for anyone with internet access to do the same.

I’m not sure what more, if anything, this website has to add.

Genesis 18 – Notes

This is part of my translation projectThis is very much a rough draft for later elaboration.


Write more later on the alternation between singular and plural among the speakers, and on the alternation between “Sodom and Gomorrah” and the simpler “Sodom.”

1. oaks. This word has been rendered a couple different ways.

2. My Lord. Hebrew Adonai.

10. when the season comes around. This expression has been taken a few different ways.

18. will bless themselves by him. Note the alternate reading.