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Did You Know?

Did You Know?

How was Roman citizenship an advantage for the apostle Paul?

Paul declared: “I appeal to Caesar!”

Roman citizenship entitled a person to certain rights and privileges wherever he went in the empire. A Roman citizen was subject to Roman law, not the laws of provincial cities. When accused, he could agree to be tried according to local law, yet he still retained the right to be heard by a Roman tribunal. In the case of a capital sentence, he had the right to appeal to the emperor.

On the basis of such rights, Cicero, a Roman statesman of the first century B.C.E., stated: “It is a crime to bind a Roman citizen; to scourge him is a wickedness; to put him to death is almost parricide,” that is, killing one’s own parent or close relative.

The apostle Paul preached extensively throughout the Roman Empire. He made use of his rights as a Roman citizen on three recorded occasions: (1) He informed the Philippian magistrates that they had infringed upon his rights by beating him. (2) He revealed his status to avoid a scourging in Jerusalem. (3) He appealed his case to Caesar, the emperor in Rome, so that it would be heard directly by him.Acts 16:37-39; 22:25-28; 25:10-12.

How were shepherds paid in Bible times?

A cuneiform contract for the purchase of sheep and goats, about 2050 B.C.E.

The patriarch Jacob shepherded the flocks of his uncle Laban for 20 years. Jacob worked the first 14 years for the hand of Laban’s two daughters, and for the remaining 6 years, he was paid in livestock. (Genesis 30:25-33) “Shepherding agreements such as those between Laban and Jacob,” says the magazine Biblical Archaeology Review, “would have been very familiar to the ancient writers and readers of the Biblical text.”

Ancient contracts unearthed at Nuzi, Larsa, and other sites in modern Iraq illustrate such agreements. A typical contract ran from one annual shearing to the next. Shepherds accepted the responsibility of caring for a specified number of animals listed according to their age and sex. A year later, the owner received a stipulated minimum of wool, dairy products, young stock, and so on. Anything produced in excess went to the shepherd.

Increase in flock size depended on the number of ewes entrusted to a shepherd. One hundred ewes were generally expected to produce 80 live lambs. The shepherd had to make good any shortfall, or loss. Thus he had great incentive to take good care of the animals entrusted to him.