Essential Companion to Life in Bible Times organizes material in thematic fashion and distills from the various articles the information that is most useful for appreciating the cultural background of the biblical writings. The book begins with a chapter on the family, describing what the Bible says about children, from their birth through their education, and discusses the roles played by men and women when they reached adulthood. The topics of sex, marriage, divorce, old age, death, and burial are also treated. From there, topics include: -The householdfrom house architecture and furniture to the subjects of food and waterand health and illnesses in biblical times. -Social life, including population, the calendar, economics, crafts, travel and trade, dress, and music. -Government in the towns, the larger cities, and the state; including the role of the king, as well as the function of elders and officials. -Israels religious lifefrom the use of high places and altars, to the importance of the tabernacle and the temple, to role of priests and Levites.