History of Israel

Section 2

Old Testament Historical Books 6-17

The first 17 books of the Old Testament are considered historical, because they outline the history of the Hebrew people. They discuss the creation of man and the development of the nation of Israel.

*The first five books of the Old Testament are discussed in the blog Books of Moses.

Books 6 through 17 detail the history of God’s people, of ancient Israel’s formation, rise to prominence, collapse into moral and physical defeat, and restoration.  They record the history of Israel, beginning with the conquest of the land of Canaan and ending with the return of God’s people from foreign captivity.

Book 6 Joshua: Tells the story of Israel’s arrival at Canaan, the long-awaited Promised Land, under the leadership of Joshua. After a series of major battles (during which their dependence on God is repeatedly demonstrated), the Israelites establish a society in accordance with God’s law.

Book 7 Judges:  Israel is repeatedly oppressed by neighboring tribes and kingdoms, and God faithfully raises up judges to deliver His people.

Book 8 Ruth: Ruth tells the touching story of a foreign woman who is welcomed into Israelite society.

Book 9  First Samuel: These books describe the establishment of the Israelite monarchy, as the people cry out to be ruled by a king. In particular, they tell the story of David’s rise to power as Israel’s most famous ruler.

Book 10  Second Samuel: See above

Books 11 First Kings:  Israel’s story takes a tragic turn as the kingdom splits into two and begins a steady drift away from God

Book 12 Second Kings

Book 13 First Chronicles : Assyrians conquer Northern and Babylonians conquer Southern.  A return to the story of David and his successor kings, covering some of the same ground as 1 and 2 Kings.

Book 14 Second Chronicles

 Book 15 Ezra  The Persian king allows some Jewish captives to return to their homeland with Ezra. These two books skip ahead in history and document Israel’s return to their homeland after years of captivity in Babylon. Jerusalem is rebuilt and repopulated as a living example of God’s forgiveness and power to restore.
Book 16 Nehemiah:

 Book 17 Esther: The story of Esther, who risks her life to stop the genocide of her people.

Sequence of Events in Section 2

Books 6-17:

The last 12 books detail the history of God’s people, the troubles and their triumphs. They record the history of Israel, beginning with the conquest of the land of Canaan and ending with the return of God’s people from foreign captivity.

Israelites Established in the Promised Land of Canaan. After the death of Moses, God called on Joshua to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River and take possession of the promised land, Canaan. After forty years in the desert, the Israelites, known also as Jews, entered the promised land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua. God protected the Jews as they resettled in the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

During this time, there were constant problems with the Jewish people believing in idols and other “gods.”

Israel Ruled by Judges: Israel was repeatedly oppressed by neighboring tribes and kingdoms, and God faithfully raised up judges to deliver His people and to rule over the various tribes. These judges were governed by God, who communicated directly with them.

Israel Ruled by Kings This kind of government ended when the people demanded a king, and Saul was chosen to head the newly formed monarchy. He was succeeded by David, and after David, Solomon, who was the last ruler of the kingdom. The country became divided after Solomon’s death.

Kingdoms Divided into Israel and Judah

Ten tribes revolted and formed what came to be known as the northern kingdom, or the Israelite nation. The two tribes that did not revolt became the southern, or Judean, kingdom.

Assyrian and Babylonian Empires

Finally, after eight hundred years of rebellion, Israel was taken out of her own land and was made captive in the nations of Assyria and Babylon.

The Northern Kingdom– called Israel, fell to the Assyrians around 722 B. C. The people were taken into captivity, and their national existence ended.

The Southern Kingdom included the city of Jerusalem. The Southern Kingdom fell to the Babylonians in 586 B.C. When the Babylonians conquered the Southern Kingdom, a large portion of the Hebrew people was forced to live in exile.

The Babylonian exile lasted for more than a century but finally ended when permission was given to the Hebrews to return to their own land. The Hebrews rebuilt the city of Jerusalem, restored the Temple and its services, and organized their state along lines that had been laid down by the prophets and priests of the exile. However, the restored state never enjoyed the peace and prosperity that was anticipated. Internal difficulties arose, the land was troubled with drought and pestilence, and the danger of attack from surrounding states never diminished.

Greek Ruler Antiochus Torments the Jews

The close of the Persian period and the death of Alexander the Great brought about a new set of circumstances most unfavorable to the Hebrews. Egypt and Syria were two rival powers, each struggling for supremacy over the other, and the Jewish nation became a buffer state between them. Toward the latter part of the second century B.C., the Maccabean wars, launched by Antiochus of Syria, brought extreme suffering to the Jews and threatened complete destruction of their state. Fortunately, the Jews were able to survive this crisis.

Jews have independence for 100 years

Under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus and his successors, they were able to regain the land that was taken from them and once again become free and independent. However, this situation did not last very long, for the Roman government ultimately conquered the region.

Although the Hebrews rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem in 520 B.C., they never regained strength and were eventually conquered by Rome.

Roman Government takes over Israel

But God continued to speak through prophets during the Jews’ captivity. Some of the messages were calls to repentance, while others were prophecies about the Savior who would come to rescue sinful mankind.