The Old Testament in Four Pages
(A very quick overview of the Old Testament.)
Most people will have been taught certain well known stories from the Bible. Stories such as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Jonah and the whale, Moses crossing the Red Sea and David and Goliath etc.
However many people cannot get their heads around the Old Testament, i.e. when did these things occur and in what order they happened?
Here is a very quick and brief history of the Old Testament.
It all began in Genesis, the first book of the Bible.
The Creation of the Heavens and Earth and all living creatures, culminating in God making Adam and Eve.
Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden and were given all the fruit of the garden to eat except one, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
God said in the day that they disobeyed and ate from that tree, they would surely die.
Satan came and tempted Eve to eat, telling her that she would not die but that she would become like God. She ate and gave some to Adam who also ate. Because of this they were sent out of the garden and their fellowship with God was broken. It was at this time that Cain killed his brother Abel and Seth was born.
Adam and Eve had many more children and so did their children.
Man began to multiply on the earth and the earth became full of evil so God called Noah to build a boat and then God destroyed all life by a great flood, except Noah and his family. The Biblical data places the Flood at 2304 BC ± 11 years.
Following this, man began to multiply again and it was around this time that the book of Job was written, the date of this book is not known. it is believed to be the oldest book of the Bible.
10 generations after Noah came Abraham. (2165—1990 B.C) God called Abraham and told him that He was going to bless him with a son and make him a great nation.
Abraham and his wife Sarah were very old and Sarah was past child bearing but God promised them a son.
Sarah could not wait so she told Abraham to go to her maid, he did and she had a child called Ishmael. God said He would bless Ishmael and make him a great nation. Ishmael became the father of the Arab nations.
Eventually Sarah did have a son of her own in old age and he was named Isaac.
Isaac grew and married Rebecca and they had twin boys Jacob and Esau.
Jacob married two sisters Leah and Rachael. Between them they had twelve sons that became the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel.
One of these sons was a man called Joseph, (the one with the coat of many colours). Joseph was the favourite son of Jacob. The other brothers were jealous of Joseph and sold him into slavery in Egypt.
Pharaoh liked Joseph and he became very important. All Joseph’s family came to Egypt because of famine and Joseph forgave his brothers and they all lived in Egypt.
The Israelites increased in number and Pharaoh eventually made slaves of them.
It was at this time that Moses came on the scene (1525 B.C). Moses mother put him in a basket as a child and put the basket into the Nile river. Pharaoh’sdaughter found him and raised him as her own. He grew up and became very high up in Pharaoh’s kingdom.
One day he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave and Moses killed the Egyptian. Moses fled Egypt and became a shepherd, he married and when he was about 80 years old, God called him to go back to Pharaoh in Egypt and tell him to set the Israelites free.
Moses and his brother Aaron went and got the Israelites out of Egypt but they ended up wandering in the wilderness for forty years. This was called the Exodus, which happened around 1445 B.C.
Whilst in the wilderness, God gave Moses the Law, including the Ten Commandments.
This was the time that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament known as “The Torah”, Genesis and Exodus account and also the book of the Law, Leviticus, he also wrote the book of Numbers and Deuteronomy.
When Moses died, Joshua took over and led the Israelites into the promised land.This was the time of the Battle of Jerecho. We read about this in the book called Joshua. Written around (1405—1385 B.C).
Israel was at this time ruled by a series Judges. Judges spans about 350 years from (1398 B.C) until the judges Eli and Samuel. Amongst these were Deborah, Gideon and Samson along with many others. This is recorded in the book of Judges.
Around this period we read of Boas and Ruth contained in the book of Ruth.
Next comes the Judges Eli and Samuel. 1 and 2 Samuel. Samuel anointed the first Kings.(1043 B.C).
All the countries around Israel had kings and Israel was crying out for a king of their own. We read about this in 1 and 2 Kings. Written between (561—538 B.C)
Saul was the first King.
Then there is the story of David and Goliath. David the son of Jesse killed Goliath with a slingshot.
When Saul died, David became King of Israel. David wrote most of the Psalms. We read of King David and Bathsheba. Bathsheba was the wife of a man called Uriah a soldier in King David’s army. David had him killed so that he could have Bathsheba for himself. David and Bathsheba had a son named Solomon.
Solomon became King after David and ruled for 40 years, (971—931 B.C). He was a very wise man and wrote the book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.
In 922 B.C Israel split into two separate parts, the northern kingdom ruled by Jeroboam, it included ten tribes of Israel and the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin, which was ruled by Rehoboam.
The Israelites kept turning away from God and worshipping pagan gods. God raised up Prophets to preach to Israel.
Prophets to the northern kingdom of Israel were Jonah, Hosea and Amos. The prophets to southern Judah were Isaiah, Micah, Habakuk, Zephaniah and Nahum and the books of these prophets where written at this time.
Eventually Assyria invaded the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C and the northern tribes were lost. However Judah survived.
Next to invade was Babylon in 605—597—586 B.C and took Judah into captivity. At this time the prophets Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah and Obadiah prophesied and their books were written.
This was the time of Nebuchadnezzar and his dream of a great statue. The head of gold, the arms and breasts of silver, the belly of brass, the legs of iron and the feet of iron and clay. This was when Daniel the prophet, prophesied the kingdoms that would follow Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.In 538 B.C, Persia invaded and Cyrus the King allowed Judah to go back and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. This was the time of Zerubabel, Ezra and Nehemiah.
Following these were the prophets Haggai, Joel and Zachariah.Last came Malachi which is the last book in the Old Testament.This was 450 B.C and there would be silence from God for the next 400 years.
In between the Old and New Testaments, the land was conquered twice more.
In 330 B.C, Persia was overtaken by the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great which only lasted seven years till 323 B.C.
In 323 B.C the kingdom was split between Syria and Egypt. This was the time of the Maccabees, who brought Jewish independence which lasted from 166—63 B.C.
In 63 B.C the land was conquered by the Roman Empire which fulfilled the prophecies given by Daniel 500 years earlier.
Daniel also prophesied that Rome would divide into two legs, the Eastern and Western Roman Empire. Which also came to pass.
It was during the time of the Roman Empire that Jesus was born, died and was raised from the dead.
This began the time of the New Testament.
We are now living in what is known as the age of Grace which according to the prophecy of Daniel is the times of the feet of iron and clay.