Kiln blog: Defacto ANE Family

The original first churches under the leadership of Jesus’ disciples were defacto Hebrew families.

Consider the historical cultural context. The Hebrew people lived under ANE feudalism. Their immediate government was their family, and any higher political power was obliged to work through whomever was head of the extended family household, up through clan chiefs, etc. Over centuries the tightly knit structure suffered a bit of dislocation, and by the time of the Exile, they realized they needed to replace the natural system based on DNA and intermarriage. So they came up with the synagogue, partly to fill the ritual needs for worship and study of the Law of Moses, but also to give that clan structure back to the people. This was their normal, not something imposed on them; they felt lost without it. There was a sense in which, lacking a genuine kinsman to whom you could give your allegiance, you could shift your allegiance by covenant to someone else as your kinsman-in-effect. They would all adopt each other under a covenant according to ancient rituals and customs going back too far to trace.

In the Nation of Israel, your elders were heads of various levels of this family organization, whereas your priests were always members of the priestly tribe. Priests were distant kin, but not family like your elder. Get the feel for this in your mind.

You can read the rest by clicking on this link to Kiln of the Soul blog.

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About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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