Sunday, April 12, 2015

Old Testament History

The historical books of the Old Testament (the first 17 books in the typical organization of Christian Bibles) tell the story of the rise and fall of the Israelite nation. The big chunks of history are organized in this manner:
1- Founding the nation and receiving the Law (the Pentateuch, which includes Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy),
--The conquest and early settlement of Canaan (Joshua and Judges),
3-The early roots of a kingdom in Israel (Ruth and I Samuel),
4-The Israelite Kingdom (II Samuel, I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles), and
5-The end of captivity and rebuilding of Jerusalem (Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther).

The books are not organized in a strictly chronological order. In addition, there are overlaps and gaps.

A theme that runs through the books is the active engagement of God. He is engaged in all of His creation, and particularly in the history of the Israelite nation. He called them out to be His people, he caused them to rise and prosper as a nation, and when they turned away from them, He brought them low.

Another theme in these books is the importance of moral leadership. When the nation had morally upright leaders, the people tended to also be morally upright. When the leaders were selfish, greedy, lustful, and following false gods, the people followed them into every kind of sin. We are strongly influenced by others, especially our leaders.

The Holy Bible. New King James Version. Nashville, TNThomas Nelson, 1982.