Recently I’ve been diving into studies on the ancient Jewish context of the Old Testament, especially the Torah. We often read the first five books of the Bible in a bit of a vacuum. We read them (and in the case of Leviticus, we skim them) in order to make it through a yearly Bible reading schedule. We engage with the action-packed stories, but our eyes tend to gloss over at the more difficult passages that depict parts of ancient near-eastern culture that are entirely alien to us. As I have read about the patterns of Jewish life in ancient Israel, some things have stuck out to me like signal flares begging to be seen.