Fun with Bible & Data Science 1. Middle and shortest/longest

biblesqlA few years ago, I left my regular job doing IT for schools to learn databases and the SQL language.    So I needed to do some study and learn stuff for myself.

I found a dataset of an NIV bible from MySQL then dumped it to a text file then uploaded it to my Microsoft SQL Server lab set up.   I’ve added a few columns to show old or new testament, and I’ll add which type of book later (Torah, Prophets, Pauls Letters, etc) a little later.

One thing I have always wanted to do is to take the bible and do some data analysis and look for interesting patterns or transform the data into readable charts.   I’m not really interested in weird stuff that’s on the internet like Gammatria, more looking for patterns of things that would encourage me and other people to study more.

The book of Genesis has the first generations of men who all lived to a long time and therefore had a lot more than today’s 3-4 generations of a family alive at once which would have made family parties interesting.    I’d like to make some charts of all the prophecies Jesus fulfilled and some of the places Paul trekked to and make some fancy diagrams using Tableau or similar.

In my regular church, we are studying Psalms 119 which is the longest chapter in the bible.   Its often well thought that the middle of the bible is here.

But actually, is it?   Now, this depends on your bible and translation.   Also how many lines of text and size of print in a paper bible, if you go by counting the number of pages and divide this amount by two you could get this.

totalVersesIt seems most people agree that there are 31,102 verses in the bible, including the King James.

So my Database server says the same.

bibleHalfWay

So, if I do a search to see where that is halfway…   It’s Psalm 103 : 1.   (I added a -5 figure so you can see the verses before.)

Some folks have mentioned the shortest verse is John 11 : 35 “Jesus wept”

bibleShortest

Actually, Jesus wept, is the 7th shortest.  Wait, why is there hyphens and “See footnote”  seems my NIV has some differences from other bibles.   If I run this query without these, its Job 3 : 2.

bibleShortestKJV

With King James, yes Jesus wept is the shortest, at 11 characters.   I might try and push the Hebrew and Greek texts in some time.

bibleLongestNIV

bibleLongestKJV

Enter a caption

Here’s the longest verses in NIV and KJV.

I’ll cover more later.  Feel free if you would like me to look for some patterns of interesting things in the bible.

 

Israel like every other country still needs Yeshua (Jesus)

I saw this advert in Hebrew popped up on social media for a festival called Desert Ashram in the Negev village of Shittim in Israel which has 30 permanent residents.    (You will need Google translate)

Some of my Israeli friends have told me about these events.   You can see the fun-loving hippy spirit in many Israelis where they can get away from the rat race, enjoy the outdoors, camp and see live music.

I totally connect with this, as I love travelling and seeing places from the bible and famous films, I managed to meet Israelis when I have been travelling in Morocco, China, Ireland, Hungary and Germany by accident, as my ear has become tuned to picking up spoken Hebrew language.

As well as seeing religious and historical places, during the time I lived in Israel, I went to see concerts of secular Israeli music in bars (but I like Israeli Hebrew worship music too) also I like camping, hiking and exploring and I’m a bit anti-authority.

On the other hand, looking at a translation for this event shows lots of things of a completely different spiritual experience, Hindu/Kundalini, Buddhism, New Age, Tarot cards, and similar, which are forbidden in the bible.

Why is this?  I think often Israelis get jaded with religion and need to find a break.   Often, there is a need to cry out and ask questions about the meaning of existence.

On a few occasions, I’ve heard exciting stories from Israeli Messianic Jewish evangelists who show some chutzpah who go to these places to chat, pray with them, and tell them the gospel, as its probably one of the best opportunities for young Israelis to hear the authentic message of the Jewish Messiah.

This and this mentions more on festivals in this particular desert community.

Bratislava, Slovakia 2. River Danube

What’s interesting is Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest all share the beautiful Danube river.

Austria borders with Slovakia and Hungary, and they are all in the EU.

Slovakia only adopting the Euro currency in 2007, and Hungary using their own proprietary currency called the Forint.  Yet, there is quite a big economical divide between them, as Austrians earn double the salary of the other two.

I wasn’t sleeping on the bus, but I didn’t actually notice the border when went over it.   I just suddenly saw roadsigns in another language that was different from German.

IMG_20180326_170925165 1024

IMG_20180327_083859312 1024Just to the left of this concrete wall is the bus station where you can arrive into Bratislava via Flixbus.

Next to the river Danube where I am standing is a castle, and the government buildings.

Slovakia – 1. Austria’s neighbour and travel hacks – 2. River Danube – 3. Strange mirrored museum – 4. Things I learned from my visit to Slovakia – 5. Slovakia protests and strange goings on

Hungary – 1. Feeling Hungary – 2. Jewish Hungary and the Grand Synagogue – – 3. Christian revival hits Hungary4. Hungary Eating

 

Bratislava, Slovakia 1. Austria’s neighbour and travel hacks

This trip was part of something I did during April of 2018.   I got invited to a wedding in Vienna, Austria.    This couple is friends I know from London, a Christian and a Messianic Jew.

Another friend of mine, his mum works in an airport on the outskirts of London (Standsted) let me know a few industry secrets; a cheaper way to get to Vienna is to fly to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia and take a bus over.

So this interesting airline ‘hack’ meant I then decided to see a few other places after the wedding.

This journey according to Google is 75km and one hour, but its a little longer than that, as the bus stops at the city centre and the airports of both nations.  It’s widely believed that the two closest captial cities in the Europe are Helsinki, Finland and Tallin, Estonia, but this is more at 90km. (by boat)

Popular German coach company Flixbus did a great deal to get over, although I recommend prebooking on your smart phone as the first bus when I got off the airport was full from prebooked passagers.

Austria is nice, but I’ve already been there before when I was doing some IT work the previous summer, and I love the Ringstrasse and the theatres and concerts there.   My friends who also came to the wedding all went home, so I took a bit more days off to see some of Eastern Europe.

Slovakia – 1. Austria’s neighbour and travel hacks – 2. River Danube – 3. Strange mirrored museum – 4. Things I learned from my visit to Slovakia – 5. Slovakia protests and strange goings on

Hungary – 1. Feeling Hungary – 2. Jewish Hungary and the Grand Synagogue – – 3. Christian revival hits Hungary4. Hungary Eating

Djerba, Tunisia trip – 23. Going home

IMG_20191122_193455339 1024

I got back to my hotel for my last evening there, there is no one else staying, and the manager of the place brought has two friends over, offered me to join them with the big bowl of spaghetti which was really nice.

IMG_20191123_121254347 1024

I loved exploring Tunisia, the markets, the Jewish and Muslims communities and Tunisian culture in general, and the scenes from the Star Wars movie, that George Lucas chose a fascinating ancient underground home for the most loved movie ever.   I hope it inspires you, and anyone thinking of going to go and visit soon.

This last photo symbolises Tunisian culture well.   Streets with neatly trimmed trees with hundreds of birds roosting in before sunset, dozens of scooters buzzing around with young men without helmets, elderly men sitting outside cafes drinking strong coffee or mint tea, bakeries with cakes just as a good as a French Patisserie, yellow taxis and paintings of leaders gone by.  The end.

In 2015, I visited Morocco

1. Plans – 2. French Connection – 3. My hotel in Djerba – 4. El Griba synagogue outside – 5. El Griba synagogue inside – 6. Markets – 7. Christianity in Tunisia – 8. Ferry to mainland Tunisia – 9. Getting to Matmata, Tunisia – 10. Sidi Idris Hotel New Hope Star Wars filmset – 11. Secrets I learnt about the famous Matmata Star Wars set – 12. Cave homes for would-be Jedis – 13. More what you don’t see in Star Wars at Hotel Sidi Idris – 14. How hospitable is Sidi Idris? – 15. ATM machines and drought – 16. Matmata Nouvelle (New Matmata) – 17. Tunisian butchers and fisherman – 18. Libyan and Algerian neighbours – 19. Jewellery businesses in Djerba – 20. Tunisia and Israel relations – 21. Hara Kebira, Jewish school, soap and TV repair shops – 22. Jewish community of Hara Kebira23. Going home

Djerba, Tunisia trip – 22. Jewish community of Hara Kebira

DSCF1078 1280.jpg

There are two Jewish communities of homes in Djerba.   One is Hara Sgira (Large quarter in Arabic)  and Hara Kebira (smaller quarter) I spent a day at the latter.

One of the things I noticed about this community is the kiosks and concrete blocks as a mini-checkpoint in the road to stop traffic in case of any hostility to this area.   The decorative iron grills over the windows are pretty similar to all the apartments I see in Israel.

I saw a police van whilst I was taking photos here.   A policeman got out and approached me and spoke in French, then English.   He asked me what I was doing.   I just told me I want to get some photos of this area to show my Jewish friends at home.   He asked me where I was staying and for my passport.   I had to stop and think about the name of the hotel I was at.   He also asked me what was the drawings in my UK passport, I told him I thought it was Nelson.    After staring at me, for an awkward 7-8 seconds, he shook my hand and said welcome to Tunisia!

IMG_20191122_112704820 1024

DSCF1354 1024

Two things I wanted to understand better.   Normally Amazigh (Berber) people have a three-branch symbol logo who are native to North Africa, but the Jewish Amazigh people have a 5 pointed one, which looks kind of like a Menorah with 2 stems short.  I’ve never seen this in Israel.

fishwall 1024These hand symbols I see a lot (like at the jewellery stores) on the blue door are from the “Hamsa”, the hand of Fatima.   I don’t understand why this is both Jewish and Islamic symbolism.   Hamsa is the Arabic word for the number 5, and is also popular is a name for Muslim boys and is part of the teaching of the Koran but not the Tanakh.

These fish symbols show here quite a lot.   I have seen these in Matmata as well despite the town is quite a long way (130km) from the sea.   Here the fish symbols show a hand above on many of these Jewish homes.   Normally fish symbols are often thought to be part of early Christianity and associated with Jesus and his disciples out fishing.

DSCF1080 1024

Here are some dried up palm leaves discarded on the road.   This is just a few weeks after the Jewish holiday of the Succot (Feast of Tabernacles) so it would appear they recently cleared down the palm branches and decorations.

DSCF1355 1024

DSCF1361 1024Many streets in Djerba are named of previous leaders of Tunisia and Muslim sages I think.   In the Jewish places, streets are named after fruit, vegetables and nuts.  Like Rue Raisin and Rue Figueres.

This door of this home has some Hebrew scratched on symbols on the right-hand section of the right door that says “Rabbi”.

Some of the houses have both a mezuzah (fragment of Jewish Torah scroll, inspired by Deuteronomy 6:9) on the door frame and higher up is a plaque of an Islamic Shahada (the caligraphic passage of a quote from the Koran)    I think maybe after many of the Jews left, these houses are lived in by Muslims but haven’t removed some of the decorations, or, a block of flats with families of different faiths.

pano17 1024

Hara Kebira is still growing, and these new houses being built look large and majestic looking.

DSCF1084 1024

DSCF1085 1024

Some of these streets are elegant and neat and some look quite scruffy.   This field here has some sheep grazing and lots of olive trees.   So it appears the Jewish community probably keep their own livestock to ensure kosher slaughter.   This area has lots of plastic bags, a broken TV and other waste lying around which s is a bit of a shame as the olive trees are large and look very old.

Although this is a desert country, the community feels quite different to Israel, mainly because its flat I guess.

IMG_20191118_092340185 1024Later on, I was reading my bible in my hotel room and munching some dates, for no particular reason I was reading Isaiah 11, which talks about both the prediction of the Messiah and how scattered Jewish people from around the world will head back to Israel.   Including those from islands of the Mediterranean!  Interesting words indeed.   I didn’t get to see it here, but there are Tunisians finding Christ according to some Christian magazines that know North Africa well.

1. Plans – 2. French Connection – 3. My hotel in Djerba – 4. El Griba synagogue outside – 5. El Griba synagogue inside – 6. Markets – 7. Christianity in Tunisia – 8. Ferry to mainland Tunisia – 9. Getting to Matmata, Tunisia – 10. Sidi Idris Hotel New Hope Star Wars filmset – 11. Secrets I learnt about the famous Matmata Star Wars set – 12. Cave homes for would-be Jedis – 13. More what you don’t see in Star Wars at Hotel Sidi Idris – 14. How hospitable is Sidi Idris? – 15. ATM machines and drought – 16. Matmata Nouvelle (New Matmata) – 17. Tunisian butchers and fisherman – 18. Libyan and Algerian neighbours – 19. Jewellery businesses in Djerba – 20. Tunisia and Israel relations – 21. Hara Kebira, Jewish school, soap and TV repair shops – 22. Jewish community of Hara Kebira23. Going home

Djerba, Tunisia trip – 21. Hara Kebira, Jewish school, soap and TV repair shops

DSCF1073 1024

At the bottom of Hamout Souk, Djerba is a road junction and this field with large cacti.   On the other side of here is the community of Hara Kebira.

DSCF1356 1024

DSCF1364I chatted to this man and asked to take pictures.  As I love repairing things, I am intrigued by someone who still fixes TVs, where most CRT TV has vanished from western living rooms, along with analogue UHF transmission.

In the same street as the Jewish school, and the TV repairman was this corner shop which had these bottles.   From the faded ‘Perfumery’ text above, It looks like someone makes homemade soap, reusing old water bottles.

DSCF1360 1024Some excited Jewish children came out of their school around the corner going back home for the Sabbath.

DSCF1359 1024

I saw what I think is a smaller synagogue, and also this tall building which has a door at the bottom which is not real, but actually is painted on.

DSCF1363 1024

There was a kosher sandwich shop called Brik Ishak which I thought might be open before the Sabbath (I’m here on an early Friday) but its already closed.   A flood of Jewish kids ran out of the school to buy some toys for sale from an outside street vendor.  But this little scooter van has in Hebrew a message about ‘Yelidim’ (children in Hebrew) so probably advertising a kindergarten.

Walking around seeing Jewish homes had a few more surprises left…

1. Plans – 2. French Connection – 3. My hotel in Djerba – 4. El Griba synagogue outside – 5. El Griba synagogue inside – 6. Markets – 7. Christianity in Tunisia – 8. Ferry to mainland Tunisia – 9. Getting to Matmata, Tunisia – 10. Sidi Idris Hotel New Hope Star Wars filmset – 11. Secrets I learnt about the famous Matmata Star Wars set – 12. Cave homes for would-be Jedis – 13. More what you don’t see in Star Wars at Hotel Sidi Idris – 14. How hospitable is Sidi Idris? – 15. ATM machines and drought – 16. Matmata Nouvelle (New Matmata) – 17. Tunisian butchers and fisherman – 18. Libyan and Algerian neighbours – 19. Jewellery businesses in Djerba – 20. Tunisia and Israel relations – 21. Hara Kebira, Jewish school, soap and TV repair shops – 22. Jewish community of Hara Kebira – 23. Going home

Djerba, Tunisia trip – 20. Tunisia and Israel relations

So its no secret like most Arabic countries Tunisia doesn’t recognise Israel – well for the most part.  Ok – now I have to talk about some of the ugly parts of this nation afraid.

palestine1.jpg

palestine3

Support for Arab Palestine is not hard to see on at least 4 bits of graffiti I saw out there.  Not for any other Arab country like Iraq or Syria which has far more problems.

palestine2

Seeing the top two pictures were not really a surprise but this particular one made me upset for several reasons.

  • Christ is being picked up by Mary who has blue hair (?)
  • This has been twisted into a weird political thing as Palestine and Tunisia, which were two places that didn’t exist during the time of Jesus.  Islam, Mohammed and the Koran didn’t exist till later as well, although Arab people (Ishmaelites) were mentioned in the book of Genesis, who are smart and business savvy travelling and trading goods which of course they are still today.
  • Jesus’ body is free of any lacerations and blood, the not so clear circular drawing with the Palestine flag on the right shows blood.   You couldn’t really twist this any more.
  • Right next to here was animals for sale which are treated cruelly.   Many people on the political left in the western world are often attracted to jump on the Palestine bandwagon maybe vegans and animal lovers, but probably don’t have much clue how animals are treated in an Arab Palestine or any other Arab nation.  I saw chickens with their legs tied together for sale, and someone picking up a rabbit by its ears.  Israel has a much better treatment of animals and has a large number of vegetarian/vegan folks and concern for animal welfare.

IMG_20191117_100004158 1024On the other hand, more encouragingly; many Israelis come to the Djerba to celebrate the holiday of Lag B’Omer in the small island Jewish community.

Tunisian Jews don’t really show flags of Israel or Zionism as this would almost certainly cause a lot of upset, so likely to just have quiet discreet respect of the Jewish state.

So Israeli visits seem to be tolerated only in small numbers for the purpose of tourism.

However, this story I saw concerned me just before I left for Djerba.
https://www.israeltoday.co.il/read/new-president-of-tunisia-elected-for-his-hatred-of-israel/

I’d imagine that the Jews who have left Tunisia (100,000 in 1956 and 1,000 in 2019) have done so for either the reason of a 1. A stronger and wider sense of community, or 2. Fulfil religious goals of being in their land of their ancestors, 3. May have endured anti-semitism in some towns and may have had to pay Jizya tax for non-Muslims or even 4. Just purely for better future with jobs, homes and education.

Tourism books paint a picture of Tunisia as an example of tolerance of Jewish/Muslim relations in an Arab country, whereas relations might seem good in some degree, there are the familiar conflicts we see elsewhere.

My thinking as a Christian with many Jewish friends, and lover of the bible, is eventually all of the Jews in Tunisia will eventually pack up and leave one day.   The bible gives me a true picture of past and present for Jews and Gentiles alike, rather than a pathetic Banksy-wannabe painting a blue-haired Mary.

1. Plans – 2. French Connection – 3. My hotel in Djerba – 4. El Griba synagogue outside – 5. El Griba synagogue inside – 6. Markets – 7. Christianity in Tunisia – 8. Ferry to mainland Tunisia – 9. Getting to Matmata, Tunisia – 10. Sidi Idris Hotel New Hope Star Wars filmset – 11. Secrets I learnt about the famous Matmata Star Wars set – 12. Cave homes for would-be Jedis – 13. More what you don’t see in Star Wars at Hotel Sidi Idris – 14. How hospitable is Sidi Idris? – 15. ATM machines and drought – 16. Matmata Nouvelle (New Matmata) – 17. Tunisian butchers and fisherman – 18. Libyan and Algerian neighbours – 19. Jewellery businesses in Djerba – 20. Tunisia and Israel relations – 21. Hara Kebira, Jewish school, soap and TV repair shops – 22. Jewish community of Hara Kebira – 23. Going home

Djerba, Tunisia trip – 19. Jewellery businesses in Djerba

IMG_20191121_194814555 1024

DSCF1103 1024So after getting the big bus from Matmata via Gabes, I am back onto Djerba island.   So apart from the synagogue, I wanted to take a closer look at the Jewish community.

There are quite a few jewellery stores in Hamout Souk part of Djerba, and some are Muslim and some are Jewish.    On a Saturday you can see which ones are closed, and some have the owners names as Ahmen, Mohammed, Simon, Rene, Sion, or Jonathan.

DSCF1339 1024 DSCF1340 1024

This Jewish owned shop has common types of jewellery, rings, bracelets and necklaces, new and antique, but also Jewish implements like menorahs (candlestick used for the Sabbath lighting) and seder plates and other things.

DSCF1341 1024

I asked about this strange piece of machinery.  It’s actually a device to widen rings to them a bigger size.

DSCF1104 1024

DSCF1110 1024Actually, though I think this place is my favourite and makes creative use of the Arabesque designs of these sorts of buildings that seem part of Tunisia’s character.

Apparently, Bitan is a common Tunisian Jewish name and means small house in Hebrew!

So both this and the other Jewish shop had a Muslim guy on the counter running the business while the owner is away.

pano19 1024

The ceiling of this place is absolutely amazing, combining lots of languages and a mixture of flowers and Jewish and North Africa symbols.

DSCF1109 1024Jewish organisations around the world like Chabad (which originates from New York) and Breslov (from Ukraine) often provide calenders to remember religious holidays on them.   This one I was here was in a shop, but at the bottom has +216… which is the telephone code for Tunisia, so it seems the tiny Tunisian Jewish community make their own teaching materials.

There are some other Jewish symbols which seem different from what I have seen in Israel or Europe on tomorrow’s post.

1. Plans – 2. French Connection – 3. My hotel in Djerba – 4. El Griba synagogue outside – 5. El Griba synagogue inside – 6. Markets – 7. Christianity in Tunisia – 8. Ferry to mainland Tunisia – 9. Getting to Matmata, Tunisia – 10. Sidi Idris Hotel New Hope Star Wars filmset – 11. Secrets I learnt about the famous Matmata Star Wars set – 12. Cave homes for would-be Jedis – 13. More what you don’t see in Star Wars at Hotel Sidi Idris – 14. How hospitable is Sidi Idris? – 15. ATM machines and drought – 16. Matmata Nouvelle (New Matmata) – 17. Tunisian butchers and fisherman – 18. Libyan and Algerian neighbours – 19. Jewellery businesses in Djerba – 20. Tunisia and Israel relations – 21. Hara Kebira, Jewish school, soap and TV repair shops – 22. Jewish community of Hara Kebira – 23. Going home

Djerba, Tunisia trip – 18. Libyan and Algerian neighbours

You can see the south-east corner of the island of Djerba connects to the mainland, so you can drive all the way there from Libya which is 300-400km, to do business here, this is a poorer country, but more stable than Libya which the UK home office say is a no-go place for tourism.   The outer radius of Tunisia is not safe also.

DSCF1348 1024

So I’m in the main centre of Hamout Souk, in the Island of Djerba, Tunisia, but these flags are from a different African nation, actually one next door – Algeria.

DSCF1374 1024.jpg

The women’s dresses look nice, and I really like these big metal teapots.

DSCF1376 1024

IMG_20200103_225945038 1024A lot of these are handicrafts from Berber/Amazigh people, the original inhabitants of North Africa.  The three-pointed symmetrical symbol is part of their culture.

The best thing about this particular market is that everything is labelled and cheap, no need to barter.

I got this nice tagine.  I’m glad it survived the journey home, as want to try and do some cooking with it.  I see a lot of cars from Libya, as the licence plates are different, and I did a google translate of the words into Arabic and it matched what I saw.

1. Plans – 2. French Connection – 3. My hotel in Djerba – 4. El Griba synagogue outside – 5. El Griba synagogue inside – 6. Markets – 7. Christianity in Tunisia – 8. Ferry to mainland Tunisia – 9. Getting to Matmata, Tunisia – 10. Sidi Idris Hotel New Hope Star Wars filmset – 11. Secrets I learnt about the famous Matmata Star Wars set – 12. Cave homes for would-be Jedis – 13. More what you don’t see in Star Wars at Hotel Sidi Idris – 14. How hospitable is Sidi Idris? – 15. ATM machines and drought – 16. Matmata Nouvelle (New Matmata) – 17. Tunisian butchers and fisherman – 18. Libyan and Algerian neighbours – 19. Jewellery businesses in Djerba – 20. Tunisia and Israel relations – 21. Hara Kebira, Jewish school, soap and TV repair shops – 22. Jewish community of Hara Kebira – 23. Going home