What Was Life Like In The Time Of Jesus

Daily Life at the Time of Jesus

Activity: Life in Jesus’ Time – Complete this work by referring to the accompanying document. It is clear that Jesus’ way of living was quite different from ours. A great deal may be learned about the climate, food, jobs, transportation, laws, and customs of the inhabitants of Palestine 2000 years ago by reading the following sections from Matthew’s Gospel. Each passage should be read aloud. Describe the parts of the reader’s lifestyle that are brought to light by the reading. Jesus said in Matthew 4: 18-22 that he will be with us until the end of the world.

Make a presentation to your instructor and have their initials added to your contents page.

​What was daily life like at the time of Jesus?

HOUSING- Houses in Palestine during the time of Jesus were constructed of clay bricks or stones that were bound together with mud and straw, and they had dirt floors. – Everyday life for the ordinary family consisted of a single room on two levels, with the living quarters separated from and elevated above the animal stalls. Jewish extended families were known to dwell in close proximity to one another. – The impoverished were housed in one-room structures made of mud bricks and set on a stone base.

  1. Upon entering the home, a raised platform at one end of the room served as a place to dine and sleep.
  2. OBJECTIVES- Farming, craftsmanship, and fishing were the most common occupations for males.
  3. Even though women remembered scripture, it was against the law for them to read or write at the time.
  4. – Those without a regular employment would have been primarily casual laborers, whose daily wages were determined by the whims of those who hired a group of employees each morning.
  5. FOOD-The variety of foods available in New Testament times was far less than it is today.
  6. beans, onions, lentils, leeks, cucumbers), seasoned with herbs and salt, were the basis of a staple meal.
  7. – Fish was readily available, particularly in Galilee, and could be preserved by drying and salting after being caught.

– According to Jewish tradition, there were rigorous rules concerning which animals might be consumed and which animals were considered ‘unclean.” CLOTHING- Clothes in the first century were considerably more basic than they are in our modern day.

– For both men and women, an ankle-length tunic near to the skin, frequently with a belt around the waist, would be the standard attire (which could also be used as a purse).

– Tassels were supposed to be fastened to the cloak’s four corners according to Jewish law.

– A long flowing gown known as a’stole’ was worn on important occasions to provide a touch of elegance.

LANGUAGE- The languages that were spoken were as follows:- – Aramaic, which was the ordinary, everyday language;- – Hebrew, which was the language of prayer; and- – Greek, which was the language of the country.

Recreational activities such as feasting, singing, storytelling, and dance all had their place in ancient times.

Archaeologists have uncovered a number of gaming boards with playing pieces, with one exceptionally well-preserved example located in what may have been the Roman fortress in Jerusalem, when Jesus was brought before Pilate for his crimes against humanity.

Fill in the blanks in the table on the accompanying Google doc with the information you’ve just learned.

It demands you to define particular characteristics of each of the parts of life that existed during Jesus’ time, as well as to add an image that represents that aspect of life.

Once you’ve finished, you can go on. Make a presentation to your instructor and have their initials added to your contents page.

The Life & Times of Jesus of Nazareth: Did You Know?

Image courtesy of Trevor Hurlbut on Flickr. Sign up for Christianity Today and you’ll gain instant access to back issues of Christian History! In Jesus’ day, the population of Palestine ranged from roughly 500,000 to 600,000 people (about that of Vermont, Boston, or Jerusalem today). Approximately 18,000 of these inhabitants were clerics, priests, and Levites, according to census data. Jerusalem was a metropolis of around 55,000 people, but at big feasts, the population may grow to as many as 180,000.

  1. Archaeologists have discovered whistles, rattles, toy creatures on wheels, hoops, and spinning tops, among other things.
  2. The game of checkers was very popular at the time.
  3. Carpenters put wood chips behind their ears, tailors had needles tucked into their tunics, and dyers used brightly colored rags to protect their skin from the sun.
  4. Because “graven images” were prohibited by the second commandment, there are few Jewish pictures depicting women in period clothing.
  5. The masonry and carpentry of the time appear to be purely functional.
  6. Bread was the primary dietary item at each of the two daily meals.
  7. A more substantial dinner consisted of vegetable (lentil) stew, bread (made from either barley, or wheat, depending on one’s socioeconomic status), fruit, eggs, and/or cheese.
  8. Locusts were considered a delicacy and were said to taste similar to shrimp.
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Home Life at the Time of Christ

“The Domestic Sphere in the Time of Christ,” The Ensign, September 1987, page 56 During one of the Savior’s teaching sessions in the lakeside hamlet of Capernaum, four men labored to tear through the roof over his head using hammers and chisels. They were hoping to acquire access to him on behalf of a buddy who was suffering from cerebral palsy. It appears that they had exhausted all other options for approaching the Lord, since the home and surrounding region were swarming with people eager to hear him speak.

  • Some people are concerned for the safety of the Lord and others in the vicinity.
  • Others are perplexed as to how the men were able to break through the ceiling.
  • 1 Peasant dwellings were typically tiny, with only one room and a few outbuildings.
  • Those with more money had flagstones laid on their floors, whilst nobility preferred wood or mosaic tile as a flooring material.
  • The windows were few and tiny, and they were located high up in the walls.
  • The windows also served as vents for the smoke produced by little fires that were burned inside for cooking or heating purposes.
  • Homes were often gloomy, confining, and smelly, and individuals spent the most of their time outside in fresh air.

2 Courts were developed as a result of the addition of extra rooms to a house.

They frequently had walls constructed at the front and rear of this room, with a door put into the wall facing the street on the street side.

This allowed for outdoor exercise while still maintaining a certain level of seclusion.

In this case, a family would only be allowed to access each room of the house by passing through the court.

Small stone rollers were used to push the clay down onto the boards by the roof builders, who covered the entire structure with heath, reeds, or palm fronds before covering the whole thing with clay.

The Mosaic law stipulated that a parapet wall be built around the perimeter of the roof to provide protection from the elements.

22:8 for further information.) Rain was able to escape via small breaches in the parapet.

It served as a drying rack for clothes, fruits, and vegetables, a place to store wood for the winter, a place to snooze, and a place to worship.

(See Acts 10:9–20 for further information.) On warm days, family members could assemble on the roof and enjoy the cool winds, and they frequently slept on the roof during the evenings.

If we consider the Lord’s admonition, “That whatsoever you have murmured in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops,” (Luke 12:3), it takes on a new and tremendous dimension of significance.

Some homes were equipped with both.

Many of them stretched well beyond the court, creating a wide shaded space.

That would ensure that the largest number of people could hear him.

The palsied man’s companions ascended to the roof, most likely using the exterior stairwell, and lifted him to a location above the Lord’s presence.

They were able to lower their companion through this more readily constructed hole.

These upper rooms were sometimes referred to as summer rooms, and they were frequently utilized as guest bedrooms by the hosts.

Some people even considered this chamber to be a place of honor, and they enjoyed being seen in it.

(See Mark 12:38–39 for further information.) Such chambers played an important role both at the beginning and at the conclusion of the Savior’s life.

(See Luke 2:7 for further information.) Ikataluma is the Greek term that Luke used.

Initially, such locations were chosen because they were convenient flat areas near a well, spring, or a small stream.

Many of these establishments offered housing, board, and shelter to both humans and animals in exchange for a charge.

(See Luke 10:30–37 for further information.) However, Joseph was not interested in staying in an apandocheion, as those establishments were frequently crowded, open, and boisterous, with little opportunity for solitude.

Joseph was on the prowl for akataluma.

Eighth, it’s possible that Joseph had wanted to remain with relatives in akatalumaof Bethlehem because his family had connections to the city.

According to an early Christian narrative, Joseph discovered a cave that had previously been used as a shelter for animals.

The Last Supper is the next time the Lord and an upper room are addressed in the same paragraph.

(See Mark 14:12–16 for further information.) Water pots were commonly found in the courtyards of Jewish households.

Upon receiving a full pot from the host, the guest would dip the lower parts of both arms into the water, which would ceremonially wash away all traces of paganism from his or her person.

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This practice was at the heart of the Lord’s rebuke of the disciples for eating grain from a field without first washing their hands before doing so.

As a result, the water pots were sometimes rather enormous.

(John 2:6).

11The total volume of liquid contained in the six pots would be between 120 and 180 gallons in the United States.

In order to avoid embarrassment and humiliation for the family and the newlywed couple, the hosts felt a tremendous need to give sumptuous hospitality.

Mary’s role at the wedding is unclear, but given her care for the wine and ability to order the servants, it is likely that she was a close relative of the couple getting married.

Not only were weddings lavish affairs, but so were banquets and dinners held to commemorate holidays or entertain distinguished guests, among other things.

Oil would be applied to the heads of the distinguished visitors, and the host would lead them to their seats at the dinner, arranging them according to their age or significance.

As a result of this tradition, the mother of James and John’s desire that her sons be seated at the right and left hands of the Lord in his kingdom has more significance.

20:20–24 for further information.) At these meals, the Jews sat according to the Syrian custom of arranging themselves.

13 The table for such feasts was likewise low, and it was frequently in the shape of a U.

The sofas were arranged at right angles to the table, and some of them could accommodate up to three people.

14 Someone at his immediate right and on the same sofa as another was claimed to be at his bosom, according to the narrator.

When conversing in confidence, John was on the Lord’s right side, and it is possible that he leaned his head against the Lord’s breast.

The food was frequently served by the host, particularly as a mark of respect.

It was Judas who would get the piece of bread or meat that he dipped into a communal bowl.

After entering a residence, it was customary for guests to remove their sandals at the entrance in order to avoid soiling the freshly laundered floor mats.

Normally, servants were responsible for performing the ceremony, but on the occasion of the Last Supper, the Lord himself took care of everything.

(See John 13:4–17 for further information.) In addition to the upper rooms, affluent people’s homes typically contained rooms that were specifically designated for banquets.

The door had adjustable curtains, which provided some privacy, but passers-by could still stop and look in to see who was being entertained, and they could even engage in conversation with guests.

16 The fact that the rooms were so open explains why the Pharisees were often able to tell with whom the Lord was dining.

9:10–11 for more information.) In several instances, the Savior was a guest at a dinner party when an uninvited guest approached him and spoke with him.

(See Luke 7:36–50 for further information.) When a woman approached the Savior during the meal, Simon recognized her as a sinner.

Speaking about guest-treatment customs, he gently pointed out that Simon had offered no water to wash his feet, no kiss, and no anointing of the head with oil, but the lady had completely completed these courtesies and transformed them into expressions of love and devotion.

(See also Luke 7:47.) When Mary the sister of Martha performed a similar act six days before the Savior’s death, she anointed the Savior’s feet with costly oil and wiped them with her hair, which was recorded in the Gospel of Luke.

These were some of the circumstances in which the Lord was forced to live.

Understanding that time period allows us to provide answers to some of the issues that may emerge concerning his mission at that time period.

In spite of the many disparities between our society and the reality of ancient Palestine, one thing shines out: the Master’s message has no temporal limit. Its strength and beauty transcends time and space, and it caters to the needs of people from all walks of life.


“Home Life in the Time of Christ,” a book published by the University of Chicago Press in 1998. September 1987 issue of The Ensign, page 56. Four men were working to open the roof above the Savior’s head one day while he was teaching in a house in the lakeside village of Capernaum. On behalf of a friend who was suffering from cerebral palsy, they hoped to gain access to him. Because the house and surrounding area were crammed with people who were intent on hearing the Lord, it appears that they had run out of options for approaching the Lord.

  • Those who read this story are frequently left with unanswered questions.
  • The feelings of the home’s owner are a source of speculation for some people.
  • Understanding social practices, customs, and settings associated with ancient Near Eastern homes at the time of Christ helps us understand this and many other incidents in the Savior’s life much better.
  • The floor was made of tamped earth, which was occasionally covered with lime to harden the surface and discourage dust from accumulating on it.
  • In poorer neighborhoods, the ceiling was approximately six feet above the ground level of the dwelling.
  • They sometimes had shutters to keep out the bad weather and to help keep the heat in during the colder seasons.
  • It was customary to cook outside on warm days.

This contributed to the popularity of courts.

The majority of the time, families did not place new rooms next to existing ones, but rather left a space roughly equivalent to a room’s width in between them when space permitted.

The court was formed by the open space in the middle of the field.

Whenever a family required a third room, they could often create one by cutting a door into the back wall of the court.

3 Almost all of the roofs were flat, constructed of beams that were anchored to the walls and covered with planks of pine lumber.

The roof was partially waterproofed with a layer of lime.

In the book of Deuteronomy, verse 8, it says: It rained because of a couple of small holes in the parapet.

You could use it to dry clothes and fruits and vegetables; store wood for the winter; take a nap; and pray.

4It was while praying on the roof of Simon the tanner’s house that Peter received the revelation that he was to take the gospel to the people of the Gentile nations.

An unavoidable drawback of living on the roof was that neighbors could overhear animated conversation and arguments.

Access to the roof was usually provided by a stairway that was built along the outside wall of the house or within the court yard.

An awning made of palm leaves, brushwork, or tenting material was frequently used to protect the doors facing the court and could be quite sturdy in some cases.

5 It is likely that Jesus was standing in one of the doorways facing the court when he delivered his sermon to the throngs of people gathered at his home in Capernaum.

Some people may have stood outside on the street in an attempt to hear the proceedings because the courtroom was so crowded.

Because it would have been extremely difficult, it is likely that they did not break through the roof above one of the rooms, but rather worked through the awning instead.

A number of the houses featured a permanent structure on the second floor.

The honor of this room was even assumed by a few who enjoyed being seen in it.

For more information, read Mark 12:38–39.

When Joseph and Mary arrived at the inn, Luke informs us that there was no room for them.

(See also Luke 2:7) The Greek word iskataluma is used by Luke to describe the situation in the story.

To begin with, such locations were simply flat areas close to a water source (well, spring, or a small stream).

Many of these establishments offered room, board, and shelter to both humans and animals in exchange for a small charge.

The following passage is from Luke 10:30–37: The apandocheion, on the other hand, was not where Joseph wanted to stay because those inns were often crowded and noisy, and they offered little privacy.

In search of akataluma was Joseph.

It’s possible that Joseph had hoped to stay with akatalumaof relatives, because his family has ties to the city of Bethlehem.

The group was unsuccessful and ended up in a room with a manger as a result of their failures.

10When the Lord was born, he was in complete privacy.

Jesus sent two of his disciples ahead of him on “the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover,” according to Mark, giving them instructions on how to find “a large upper room,” according to Luke.

(See Mark 14:12–16 for more information).

These water reservoirs were used not only for cleaning and cooking, but also for the ceremonial washing of the hands and feet of guests who came to stay with them.

10 For many Jews, washing their hands before eating was also customary.

(See Mark 7:1–5, for more information.) Even if one had only a small number of guests, the custom of ritual washing required a large volume of water.

It is recorded in John 2:1–11 that there were six empty water pots “in the manner of the purification of the Jews, each containing two or three firkins” present at Jesus’s first miracle, which occurred at the wedding feast in Cana (see John 2:1–11).

Firkin translates the Greek wordmetretes, which is a unit of measure equal to approximately ten gallons (in the United States) of water.

Weddings were held at the bride’s residence and were as elaborate as the family’s financial resources allowed, lasting anywhere from one day to a week.

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As she informed her son that the wine had run out, it’s possible that Mary was aware of the situation.

He instructed his servants to fill the pots to overflowing capacity, then to transfer the contents into serving vessels and deliver them to the governor, who served as a kind of master of ceremonies.

A host would greet each guest with a kiss on the cheek and place wreaths on the heads of those who had achieved the highest rank in society.

The most prestigious seats were located on the right and left sides of the stage.

(SeeMatthew 20:20–24 for more information.) These meals were held in the Syrian tradition of seating, which the Jews followed.

13 Such feasts were also served at low tables that were frequently in the shape of a U.

There were three couches arranged at right angles to the table, with some of them accommodating as many as three people.

14 Someone to his immediate right and on the same couch as another was said to be at his bosom, and this was confirmed by the other person.

When conversing in confidence, John was on the Lord’s right side, and it’s possible that he leaned his head against his breast.

The food was served from communal bowls rather than individual plates.

Jesus could readily identify who would betray him if Peter and John asked him to do so.

In John 13:26, the Bible states that It is not unusual for such behavior to go unnoticed.

The fact that the feet were bare and pointed away from the table, as well as the sitting position, made cleaning the feet a breeze.

It is likely that Peter objected because he believed that the master should not undertake the duties of a servant.

In John 13:4–17, we see a similar statement.

These rooms were often exposed to the street on one side, making it easy for people to enter.

This was not seen as unfriendly at the time of publication.


An unwanted guest approached Christ on many occasions when He was a guest at a dinner party, according to the Bible.

The following passages are from Luke 7:36–50.

Jesus says this in Luke 7:38.

He reasoned, “If this guy were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman she is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.” Jesus says this in Luke 7:39.

Regarding the practices involving the treatment of guests, he gently pointed out that Simon had offered no water to wash his feet, had given him no kiss, and had not anointed his head with oil, whereas the woman had fully performed these courtesies and transformed them into acts of devotion and love.

The Bible says (Luke 7:47) When Mary the sister of Martha performed a similar act six days before the Savior’s death, she anointed the Savior’s feet with expensive oil and cleaned them with her hair in a similar occurrence.

The actions of the two women were consistent with the general custom of anointing guests of honor, but the deviations from the traditional approach (anointing the feet instead of the head and wiping them with hair instead of cloth) demonstrated an unusually high level of respect, honor, and love for the guests in question.

When he was alive, the world in which he lived was very different than the one we live in now, both in terms of time and tradition.

In spite of the many changes between our society and the reality of ancient Palestine, one thing shines out: the Master’s message has no expiration date. Its power and beauty transcends time and space, and it caters to the needs of people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

How People Made a Living in the Time of Jesus

Cultures and lifestyles from throughout the world are described in detail in the Bible. The era from the time of Abraham to the time of the early church is approximately two thousand years in length. People’s means of subsistence differed based on the time period and location in which they lived. Others lived in tiny groups as nomads, tending flocks of sheep and goats while migrating from one location to another in order to feed and protect their animals. Others enjoyed more fixed lifestyles, cultivating crops or giving services to people in cities and metropolitan regions, while others traveled more widely.

Living Off the Land: Herding and Farming

There are many various sorts of tasks described in the Bible for individuals who lived in the ancient world, but caring for the land and caring for animals are two of the most important ones recorded. According to the book of Genesis, one of Adam and Eve’s sons herded sheep while the other cultivated the earth (Gen 4.2). Traveling from place to place, Abraham and Sarah, among the first progenitors of the people of Israel, were able to subsist by raising herds and flocks of animals (Gen 13.1-3).

  • (Lev 2).
  • They began as nomadic wanderers who lived in tents and had very little personal property.
  • They went from place to place, always on the lookout for food and water for their animals, which they found in abundance.
  • They made garments and other items out of the wool and hides of the animals, including the tents in which they lived, as well as their own.
  • They were within their rights to let their flocks to graze in surrounding pastures, and they would have been employed by landowners who need assistance harvesting their crops.
  • The life of a shepherd was not an easy one.
  • To keep their flock safe from thieves or wild animals, they would frequently sleep near it.

Shepherds would herd their flocks into “sheepfolds” each night, where they would spend the night.

When the sheep were brought into the fold each evening and when they departed for the pastures each morning, shepherds used their rod to assist them in keeping track of how many sheep they had.

Grains, such as wheat and barley, were the most significant crop since they were used to make bread and were also the most abundant.

Israelite farmers, in contrast to their counterparts in Egypt and Mesopotamia, did not have to rely on irrigation for water.

Growing crops in accordance with the annual cycle of wet and dry spells became second nature to the Israelite farmers.

As time went on, their farming expertise enabled them to plant a variety of crops, including melons, figs, dates, grapes, and olives, among others.

Crop production had an impact on the economy and social lives of the people.

The Harvest Festival, also known as the Festival of Weeks, was held in the spring to commemorate the wheat harvest (Exod 23.16).

The Sabbatical Year is a period of rest and reflection.

This was in accordance with God’s instruction to rest on the seventh day, known as the Sabbath (Exod 23.10–12), which dictated that people labor only six days out of every seven on which they were paid.

Crop RotationThe inhabitants may have also performed crop rotation, which would have helped to improve the land even more (Isa 28.23–29).

From a religious standpoint, however, the book of Deuteronomy makes it clear that a big crop was also contingent on how the people of Israel fulfilled God’s rules (Deut 11.10-17).

The majority of the fish that were available came from Lake Galilee and the Jordan River.

According to the Law of Moses, the Israelite people were not permitted to consume fish that lacked fins or scales (Deut 14.9), however the Bible does not specify which kind of fish were prohibited.

When Jesus summoned James and John to join his followers, they left the family fishing company to their father and the “hired employees,” raising the possibility that the fishing industry was more lucrative during Jesus’ time than it had been before (Mark 1.19,20).

More information may be found in the mini-article titled “Fish & Fishing.”

Special Skills and Crafts

As the Israelites grew more established in and around towns, they began to engage in a wide variety of various forms of employment. Some men and women went on to become skilled laborers or artisans, who worked on a variety of crafts, frequently from the comfort of their own homes. Many times, parents teach their children these talents so that they may utilize them to earn a living as well as they do. Skilled workers were held in high regard since people relied on their abilities and goods in order to live comfortably.

Such groupings of people who worked together in the same industry were still around in New Testament times (see Acts 19.24-27).

Arts and craftsAccording to the Bible, Jesus grew up assisting his father Joseph, who worked as a carpenter (Matt 13.55).

Several crafts, such as baking, cooking, and sewing, were carried out as part of the ordinary tasks of running a family, but some individuals exploited their talents to start their own companies.

Servants and Slaves

A large number of individuals, both free and enslaved, worked as workers to offer personal services. Included among these servants were those employed by royalty and other rich individuals, as well as domestic staff. Cooks, maids, groundskeepers, teachers, and others who assist in the care of children are examples of servants that fit this description. Household servants that were dependable were highly regarded. A cupbearer (Genesis 40.11; Neh 1.11) was a royal servant who delivered food and drink to a ruling monarch.

  1. (Gen 38.14-18; Josh 2.1).
  2. Slavery existed in a variety of ways during the period of the Bible.
  3. A large number of slaves lived throughout biblical times as captives of war.
  4. It is written in the Bible that there are some regulations surrounding slavery.

Slaves were also expected to be treated decently and without cruelty, which was a common expectation at the time (Deut 23.15,16).

Military and Government Work

A variety of positions were associated with the upkeep of governments and kingdoms. The kings, queens, and emperors, diplomats and ambassadors, senators, and governors occupied the highest positions in the social system (Acts 13.7). There were deputies, advisors, interpreters (Gen 42.23), and messengers stationed throughout the palace (Num 20.14; 1 Kgs 20.5; 2 Chr 32.31). The interests of the leaders and the nation were safeguarded by armies that were composed of military officers (Matt 8.9; Acts 21.32), soldiers, and armor-bearers (Matt 8.9; Acts 21.32).

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For the government to function properly, extra employees were required, such as tax collectors (Luke 19.1,2), record keepers and secretaries (2 Sam 8.16,17), and attorneys (Luke 19.1,2).

Some monarchs employed musicians (1 Samuel 16.14-23) while others sought guidance from astrologers or fortunetellers at their own expense (Isa 19.3).

The governor (or procurator) was nominated by the Roman government, who was responsible for overseeing the collection of taxes and maintaining order in the region (Matt 27.2; Acts 24.1).

Special Servants of God

For thousands of years, the Temple in Jerusalem served as the focal point of religious life for the people of Israel. It required a large number of individuals to realize that its critical task had been completed properly. According to the Law of Moses, the members of the tribe of Levi were to serve as priests, ministering to the needs of the entire congregation of God’s people. They were granted a share of the offerings that were offered to God by the Israelites because they were not given their own territory by the Israelites (Josh 13.14).

More information may be found in the mini-article titled “Israel’s Priests.” Temples and Religious Practices are two types of religious practices.

Temple priests and a variety of other laborers were engaged by these organizations, and some even employed women to act as “holy prostitutes.” Architectural designers, builders, goldsmiths, silversmiths, and sculptors were among the numerous artists who worked on the construction and decoration of temples and shrines for all religious traditions (1 Kgs 5.13-18).

Other prophets operated as preachers on their own timetables (1 Sam 9.6-21). By the time of Jesus, an increasing number of instructors known as scribes and Pharisees were earning a living as teachers of the Law, according to tradition.

Other Occupations

Mining, cutting rocks, excavating wells, constructing roads, cleaning streets, teaching and driving camels, loading and unloading goods along trade routes, working as a crew member or rower on a boat, and tending and harvesting crops were among the demanding duties performed by unskilled laborers. Others worked as dancers, musicians, and even professional mourners, among other occupations. The Bible records that some of these mourners were paid to weep and wail during funeral processions (Jeremiah 9.17; Matthew 9.23); others played sorrowful music on flutes and pounded their chests with their hands, and some wore rough garments known as sackcloth (Gen 37.34).

Some affluent merchants possessed ships or a huge number of camels, which they utilized to carry products across vast distances, so enhancing their fortune.

Wages and Pay

Individuals were paid for specific types of labour in the Bible (Gen 29.15; Mic 3.11; Matt 20.1-15; Luke 3.14), however it is impossible to tell exactly how much people were paid early in Israel’s history because of the lack of historical documentation. Most likely, they were compensated in the form of products or food for the task they performed. During the reign of the monarchs, certain individuals were compensated in the form of weighed gold or silver coins. Later, in 600 B.C., the Persian Empire began minting coins, which were occasionally used to compensate laborers for their efforts.

The account Jesus recounted in Matthew 20.1-16 portrays vineyard laborers being paid the equivalent of one day’s salary, which was one denarius at the time of Jesus’ death.

The American Bible Society has been reaching out to people with the life-changing message of God’s Word for almost 200 years, thanks to the generosity of our devoted funding partners.

The Life & Times of Jesus of Nazareth: Did You Know?

In Jesus’ day, the population of Palestine ranged from roughly 500,000 to 600,000 people (about that of Vermont, Boston, or Jerusalem today). Approximately 18,000 of these inhabitants were clerics, priests, and Levites, according to census data. Although Jerusalem was a small city (around the size of Wheaton, Illinois today), it could accommodate up to 185,000 people for major feasts and festivals. Children in Jesus’ day played games that were comparable to today’s popular games such as hopscotch and Jacks.

  • In addition to the younger children and adults, older children and adults found time to play, primarily with board games.
  • The insignia that tradesmen wore would allow them to be recognized in an instant.
  • These insignia were left at home on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • As a result of this limitation, the Jews were unable to produce much in the way of painting, sculpture, or carving, either.
  • One significant exception to the rule appears to be the allowing of dolls for children, which appears to be a rare occurrence.
  • The light meals, which consisted mostly of flat bread, olives, and cheese (usually from goats or sheep), were brought to work and consumed about mid-morning.
  • Despite the fact that fish was a mainstay, red meat was only eaten on exceptional occasions.

It’s possible that Jews weren’t aware of this since shrimp and all other crustaceans were considered “unclean.” Only people from the tribe of Levi were eligible to serve as priests, and they had to be free of any bodily flaws, infirmities, or deformities in order to do so.

During Jesus’ mission, there are a few signs of anti-Roman feeling to be seen.

In fact, one legion stationed in Jerusalem even adopted a boar as its mascot.

Jesus was not the only one who performed miracles during his lifetime.

Jesus appears to have been distinct in that he refused to utilize magical formulae or incantations, refused to accept payment, and spent time discussing the beliefs of people who came to him for assistance.

Sepphoris, the ancient capital of Galilee, was located just a short distance away from Nazareth.

We have no evidence that Jesus ever visited any of these cities, which is puzzling.

Mount Tabor, the peak where Jesus was transfigured, might be the location.

Jesus lived at the time of papyrus rolls, which were no more than 33 feet in length at the time of his death.

The length of literary works in antiquity was determined by this factor more than anything else. It is no coincidence that, for example, Luke’s Gospel is the longest ancient document ever written, necessitating the use of another papyrus roll to inscribe the Book of Acts, which is the shortest.

By the Editors

There were around 500,000 to 600,000.0 people living in Palestine during Jesus’ time (about that of Vermont, Boston, or Jerusalem today). Clergy, priests, and Levites accounted for around 18,000 of the population. Although Jerusalem was a small city (approximately the size of Wheaton, Illinois today), it could accommodate up to 185,000 people for important feasts and holidays. Jumping Jacks and hopscotch were popular activities among children in Jesus’ time. Among the items unearthed by archaeologists are whistles and rattles as well as toy animals on wheels, hoops, and spinning tops The opportunity to play was not lost on older children and adults, who mostly engaged in board games.

Because of the insignia that tradesmen wore, they would be easily identified.

These emblems were left at home for the Sabbath.

The Jews also created very little in the form of painting, sculpting, and sculptures as a result of this restriction.

Dolls for children appear to be an exception to this rule, which appears to be a noteworthy exception to the rule.

They were brought to work and consumed at mid-morning after a simple meal consisting of of flat bread, olives, and cheese (usually from goats or sheep).

However, red meat was only offered on exceptional occasions since it was considered to be unclean.

Shrimp and other crustaceans were considered “unclean” by Jews, thus they wouldn’t have known this.

There were malformed and dwarfish priests in fact, but they were not permitted to offer sacrifices, even if they were permitted to partake of the sacred meal with the other priests and Levites.

His sending the demonic “Legion” (a Roman term) into a herd of swine stirred up thoughts of the Roman military legions, which was clearly a nod to the past.

Sending the demonic legion to its ultimate doom would have served as a strong emblem for the downtrodden Jews of the time period.

A list of hundreds of miracle workers who were inspired by God may be compiled by Jews and Romans equally.

Three important ancient cities were within striking distance of Jesus’ home.

In Tiberias, pilgrims travelled through Scythopolis on their way to Jerusalem, which was on the other side of the water.

As carpenters, Joseph and Jesus would have mostly worked on farm implements (carts, plows, winnowing forks, and yokes), house components (doors, frames, posts, and beams), furniture, and cooking utensils, to name a few projects.

Contrary to popular belief, despite Jesus scolded Peter for recommending he construct three homes on the mountain, by the 700s, three churches had been built atop the mountain as a memorial to the events of the day.

The length of literary works in antiquity was dictated by this factor more than anything else at the time.

Because Luke’s Gospel is the longest ancient text, it is no coincidence that another papyrus role was required to inscribe the Book of Acts, which was written on a different papyrus role than Luke’s Gospel.

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