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The translation at the beginning of each chapter (and in other biblical quotations) is my own. I have stuck closer to the Hebrew than modern translations often do when they are designed for reading in church so that you can see more precisely what the text says. Thus, although I prefer to use gender-inclusive language, I have let the translation stay gendered if inclusivizing it would make unclear whether the text was talking in the singular or plural— in other words, the translation often uses “he” where in my own writing I would say “they” or “he or she.” Sometimes I have added words to make the meaning clear, and I have put these words in square brackets. Space confines do not allow for including the whole of the biblical text; where there is insufficient room for that, I make some general comments on the material I have had to omit. At the end of the book is a glossary of some terms that recur in the text (mostly geographical, historical, and theological expressions). In each chapter (though not in the introduction) these terms are highlighted in bold the first time they occur...

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