Church Education Trust

Church and the Bible


The Historical Books.

There are 12 historical books in the Old Testament which describe the occupation and settlement of the land of Canaan by the Israelites. During that period there is a progression seen in the development of the nation from the period of the Judges to the kings of Israel who ruled a united kingdom under Saul, David and Solomon which later became a divided kingdom ruled by 39 kings.

The divided kingdom took the form of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The historical books relate the decline and eventual captivity of the kingdoms by Assyrian and Babylonian Empires, who were then defeated and controlled by the Persian Empire who eventually allow a remnant of the nation of Israel return to their beloved Jerusalem.

The 12 historical books (1405-1043 B.C.) divide into three distinct divisions reflecting "Theocracy" indicating that the nation was being led by God, this is reflected in the 3 books of,

  • Joshua

The book of Joshua records a period of about seven years where the Hebrew people invaded the land of Canaan. Joshua led his army against the inhabitants of the land conquering land, towns and cities as he went.

During that period he established the concept of a nation led by God and God alone. After his victories the conquered land was divided and given to each of the 12 tribes of Israel as their portion of the inheritance promised to their forefather Abraham.

  • Judges

In the book of Judges we see the nation having experienced the blessing and provision of God became a self sufficient nation departing from obedince to God and his word to self determination. Their disobedience was seen in the fact that the Children of Israel began to take part in Canaanite religious rituals which where offensive to God. Idolatry became ingrained in their relious practices and before long the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was forgotten. The Judges were sent to remind the nation what happened in the past when the nation failed to honour God. Unfortunately they did not easily learn from their sin nor did they repent of it.

  • Ruth

This historical book recounts the beauty of a nation that longs for righteousness, love and faithfulfness, it is a picture of hope in a hopless situation, a ray of light penetrating the darkness of personal and national disobedience to God. 

Kings of Israel.

After this period the settled nation was led by Kings (1043-586 B.C.) and their stories are related in the 6 books of,

  • 1 & 2 Samuel

First Samuel covers a period of time between the rule of the Judges to the Kings of the Kingdom. In this book Samuel the prophet anoints Saul to be the first King, later he anointed David as Saul`s replacement.

Second Samuel covers the fall of Saul from power and the elevation of David`s as king who united all the tribes of Israel. The nation became prosperous and strong as a world power under his leadership.

  • 1 & 2 Kings

In first kings we see King Solomon in action, his wisdom was unmatched and the nation became a world power but he failed towards the end of his reign to such a degree that the nation after his death in 931 B.C.was divided into two kingdoms each electing their own king.

In second kings the history of the kingdom of Isreal and the kingdom of Judah is continued. Israel had 19 kings who where corrupt in their ways, the outcome of their actions was captivity at the hands of the Assyrians in 722 B.C. Judah had 20 kings, 8 of whom where faithful to God but eventually they to where over run by the Babylonians and taken into captvity in 586 B.C.

  • 1 & 2 Chronicles

First Chronicles reflects a divine understanding of the history of Israel from the reign of king David to the periods of national captivity in 722 & 586 B.C. Genealogies are reflected strongly in the early chapters of the book while the later chapters deal with the life of King David from a spiritual perspective.

Second Chronicles reminds the reader of the ministry and life of king Solomon, his leadership in the building of the Temple. It also reflects the history of the kings of Judah and their sin against a Holy God.  

The final historical section reflects the return of the nation from captivity to Jerusalem, these events are recorded in the 3 books of,

  • Ezra

The book of Ezra is an account of a remnant of Jews returning to their homeland after some 70 years of  captivity. The book reminds us that the Persian king issued a decree in 539 B.C. that captives could be allowed to return to their homelands. For the Jews this was good news and under the leadership of Zerubbabel some 50000 returned tasked to rebuild the Temple.  

  • Nehemiah

On the other hand Nehemiah returned to rebuild the city walls in 444 B.C. With the walls in place and the temple built Ezra and Nehemiah introduced the word of God to the remnant nation and led the people into an experience of reform and complete restoration with their God.

  • Ester

Ester`s beautiful story fits in between the events of Chapter 6 & 7 of the Book of Ezra. The remainder of the nation which did not return to Jerusalem with the remnant where now in great physical danger and God used Ester and Mordecai to save them.

Almost 1000 years of the history of Israel is contained in these books and it is reflected through the generations and lives of millions of people who where known as the children of Israel. While a thousand years with God is like a day yet this historical account reveals how important Israel was to God and how often He came to their rescue.

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