The Books of the Old Testament
The Pentateuch/ The Torah (5 books)
Genesis - Genesis, which means "beginnings," begins with the creation of the world and man. The first half of the book also covers the early history of man, the story of Noah and the Flood, and the Tower of Babel. The second half of the book is about the Patriarchs of God's chosen people ... from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob. It ends with the story of Joseph and the Israelites moving to Egypt.
Exodus - Enslaved in Egypt for about 400 years, the Israelites call out to God for help. God brings up Moses, who delivers the people out of bondage. The travel to Mt. Sinai, where Moses receives the laws from God. The people make a covenant with Him ... so that He will protect and bless them, if they keep the laws and obey Him.
Leviticus - This priestly book lists most of the laws that God gave to the people at Mt. Sinai.
Numbers - Named for the two censuses found in the book, Numbers also gives the narrative of what happened to the Israelites from Mt. Sinai until they arrive at the border of the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy - Poised at the edge of the Promised Land, Moses speaks to the people ... telling of the story of their Exodus, the laws they were given, and encouraging them to keep the covenant with God. Moses dies at the end of the book and passes the mantle of leadership on to Joshua.
The History Books (12 books)
Joshua - Under the leadership of Joshua, the Israelites enter the Promised Land. After years of battles, they take control of the land and divide it into 12 parts ... for the 12 tribes.
Judges - After Joshua had died, Israel had no single leader. For the next few hundred years, the nation went through a number of cycles. The people would sin, an oppressor would take control, they would cry to God for help, He'd bring up a leader/judge to deliver the people, there would be a time of peace, and then the judge would die and the people would revert back to sin. The most famous judges were Deborah, Gideon, Samson, and Samuel (the last judge).
Ruth - This is the story of a Moabite widow who takes care of her mother-in-law. Her loyalty and trust results in her marriage to an Israelite named Boaz. Her great-grandson turns out to be David.
1 Samuel - The first half of the book covers Samuel's period as the last judge. Listening to the will of the people, a king is chosen. Saul is the first king over Israel. He soon sins and God finds a replacement ... a youth by the name of David. Saul spends most of the rest of the book trying to kill David, while David avoids him while gaining recognition. Saul is killed at the end of the book.
2 Samuel - David is anointed king. He is a "man after God's own heart" and extends Israel’s domain. But even mighty King David falls and commits adultery and 'murder.' After this, things go downhill ... militarily, spiritually, and with his own family.
1 Kings - Solomon, David's son, becomes Israel's wisest king. His reign is peaceful, and he enjoys great wealth. Solomon built the first temple, a grand structure. But for all his wisdom, he fails God by allowing his foreign wives to lead him into worshiping other gods. When he dies, the kingdom splits apart. David's descendants continue to rule lower Judah, while a series of dynasties rule in northern Israel.
2 Kings - Israel has nothing but bad kings. It is conquered in 722 BC by the Assyrians and the kingdom is obliterated. Judah did a little better; it had some good kings and some bad kings. But eventually, Judah's failure to obey God led to their fall. The people were taken away to Babylon into captivity. The nation was completely fallen by 586 BC, when Jerusalem was destroyed. 1 Chronicles - Written after the Exile, Chronicles covers only the kingdom of Judah (since Israel had been 'gone' for 200 years when Chronicles was written). The first nine chapters of this book covers the genealogies of the Jews. The latter...
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