Old Testament Survey

An Introduction to the Old Testament

1. The Role of the Old Testament

      A. The Old Testament is God's Word.

It has power to reveal God and transform lives (2 Tim 3:14-17). The Old Testament helps us understand the life and ministry of Christ. Jesus taught that His mission was to fulfill the Law. To understand and apply the fullness of the work of Christ, we must understand "the Law" which He came to fulfill. The Old Testament reveals God's perfectly planned preparation for man's salvation.

B. The Old Testament reveals the character of God.

In the Old Testament we read of God's action. We are able to see Him as He invades our world with His love and truth.

C. The Old Testament is an important part of the New Testament.

Every book in the New Testament contains references to the Old. An understanding of the Old Testament is vital for a complete understanding of the New Testament.

2. The Culture of the Old Testament

A. The People of the Old Testament

1. Israel - Israel was chosen by God to be His instrument for salvation to man. God's rule over Israel caused them to stand out from all other nations. Their laws, religion and moral standards were different from their neighboring countries.

2. Philistines - The Philistines were Israel’s enemies living in the land of Canaan. The word "Palestine" is derived from "Philistine" as they settled and developed in that region.

3. Assyria - The Assyrians settled to the north of Israel. They were in constant battle with Israel and fought for spiritual reasons. They were responsible for the destruction of part of Israel. They are best known for their central city Nineveh, where Jonah was sent by God.

4. Babylonia - The Babylonians worshipped more than 2500 gods. They were responsible for the captivity of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Men of God such as Daniel spent much of their lives in Babylon.

5. Others - Many other nations, such as Egypt and Syria, play important roles in the story of the Old Testament. God used these nations for the fulfillment of His plan.

B. The Writing of the Old Testament

1. contains 39 books

2. covers thousands of years of history

3 written by more than 30 authors -- including kings, shepherds, politicians, orphans, priests, and many more

4. there are gaps in the history of the OT where not much is written, such as the 400 years of Egyptian slavery

5. God’s story – The Old Testament is more than the history of Israel. It shows God's plan of redemption and relationship for all of people.

C. An Outline of the Old Testament

Period 1: The Beginning

Overview of Events: The story of creation; the fall of man; God's destruction of most all of creation with a flood; and the tower of Babel and birth of nations.

Date: Creation??? - 2100 B.C.

OT Reference: Genesis 1-11

Period 2: The Patriarchs

Overview of Events: God's calling of Abraham; the continuation of the chosen family line; Jacob's move to Egypt

Date: 2100 B.C. - 1800 B.C.

OT Reference: Genesis 12-50

Period 3: The Exodus

Overview of Events: The exodus from Egyptian captivity; Mount Sinai; and the wilderness wanderings of Israel.

Date: 1446 B.C. - 1400 B.C.

OT Reference: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

Period 4: The Promised Land

Overview of Events: The conquest of Canaan; the division of the land amongst the twelve tribes; and the rule of the judges.

Date: 1400 B.C. - 1050 B.C.

OT Reference: Joshua, Judges, Ruth

Period 5: The United Kingdom

Overview of Events: The nation of Israel under the reign of kings Saul, David, and Solomon.

Date: 1050 B.C. - 922 B.C.

OT Reference: 1 Samuel, 1 Kings 1-11, 1 Chronicles, 2 Samuel,

2 Chronicles 1-9

Period 6: The Divided Kingdom

Overview of Events: The division of God's chosen nation into two nations, Israel and Judah.

Date: Israel (Northern Kingdom): 931 - 722 B.C.

Judah (Southern Kingdom): 931 - 586 B.C.

OT Reference: 1 Kings 12-22, 2 Chronicles 10-36, 2 Kings

Prophets: Isaiah, Amos, Joel, Jonah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Hosea, Habakkuk, Nahum, Zephaniah

Period 7 The Captivity

Overview of Events: Judah, the Southern Kingdom, is taken into captivity by Babylon.

Date: 586 B.C. - 538 B.C.

OT Reference: No historical books for this period.

Prophets: Jeremiah 40-44, Daniel, Ezekiel, Obadiah

Period 8: The Restoration

Overview of Events: Israel's return from captivity; the rebuilding of Jerusalem; and the dedication of the Temple.

Date: 538 B.C. - 400 B.C.

OT Reference: Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

Prophets: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Period 1: The Beginnings

Unit Scripture Genesis chapters 1-11

Four Beginnings

1. The Creation: The Beginning of Life

The first chapters of Genesis describe how God created the world. He created everything, and proclaimed that it is all good. He created man and woman in His own image, and allowed them to have close fellowship with Him.

2. The Fall of Man: The Beginning of Sin

Man was created in the image of God and was given authority over all creation, yet he chose to reject his God-given place. Adam and Eve, representing each of us, fell to the temptation of putting themselves before God

A. Temptation and Sin

Adam and Eve did not immediately sin. It was the work of Satan in the form of a serpent, which led to the fall of man. At the beginning of man's sin is Satan. Man is responsible for his actions before God, but this story teaches us that sin involves choice that is often manipulated by God's enemy.

B. The Result of Sin

1. Sin for all generations. Scripture teaches that Adam's sin resulted in the transference of sin to future generations. (Romans 5:12-21) This sin (our choice in rejecting God's plan for our lives and living for ourselves) results in guilt and bondage. The mission of Christ was to deliver man from that guilt (forgiveness through the cross) and bondage (overcoming the enemy).

2. Decay of society. The next story in Genesis is an account of two brothers. One (Cain) murders the other (Abel) because of jealousy and pride. The story illustrates how sin decays society. From this point on the Bible portrays society as continuing to get worse.

3. Death. Man died spiritually on the day he sinned. This means that his relationship with God was broken. He also eventually died physically one day. Before he sinned, there would have been no death.

C. Cure For Sin

During the story of the fall of man, we read about God's plan for saving man and dealing with sin. God pronounces a curse upon Satan and tells of his defeat through Christ (Genesis 3:15)

3. The Flood: The "New" Beginning

During the time from Adam to Noah society grew more evil. Finally God had no more tolerance for man and brought a flood. However, Noah and his family, being holy, were spared.

A. Sin's Impact on Society

Society, from the time of Adam to Noah, grew evil. Without a respect and love for God, man became completely self-centered.

B. Sin's Nature in Man

Even with the elimination of evil people in the flood, sin still existed. The story of Noah concludes with an account of how his sons sinned against him and showed disrespect. Sin was something "inside" of all men. Mankind needed an internal cleansing.

C .God's Covenant with Man

After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah. This covenant gives us insight into God's covenant with all humanity:

1. God gave Noah authority over all things (Genesis 9:3).

2. God demanded an accounting for all things (Genesis 9:5).

3. God commanded Noah to replenish the Earth (Genesis 9:7).

4. God promised to never again bring destruction on man by a flood (Genesis 9:11).

4. The Tower of Babel: The Beginning of Nations

A. The Attitude of the People

The people were motivated by pride. They had taken over God's plan and devised their own plan for what they thought was their good.

B. God's Response

God dispersed the people through confusion. He handicapped man by giving him different languages. This resulted in the spreading out of man and the development of different people groups. God would now turn His attention to one specific people group.

The Beginnings: A Message of God's Promise

Man's Failure God's Salvation Promise

The Fall (Genesis 3) .................................. Promise of a Seed (Genesis 3:15)

The Flood (Genesis 6-8) ............................ Promise to not destroy the earth

with a flood again (Genesis 9:11)

The Tower (Genesis 11) ........................... Promise of Blessing to All Nations (Genesis 12:1-3)

The first period of The Beginnings lays the foundation for the rest of the Bible. In this period God created the universe and placed man in it with dominion over all creation. God revealed Himself and His will and purpose for man. Man rebelled against God and His creation, yet God in His mercy gave the promise of salvation. The rest of the Old Testament is the story of God working out His plan of salvation for mankind. He began by choosing one person and one nation to be His vessels of salvation for the world.

Period 2: The Patriarchs

Unit Scripture -- Genesis chapters 12-50

The Patriarchal period covers the life of four main Old Testament figures: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. As the story continues through each generation, God continues to reveal His plan in establishing His chosen nation.

The Patriarchs: The Founding of a Nation

Abraham: The Father of All Nations

1. The Events of Abraham's Life

A Abraham follows God and settles in Canaan.

God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldeans and led him to Canaan where he settled. During this journey, there were manyincidents God used to strengthen and develop Abraham's faith. God gave Abraham a covenant promise that, although he and Sarah were old, they would have a son.

B. Abraham awaits the fulfillment of God's promise.

Abraham knew God had promised him a son but began to become impatient and doubtful that Sarah would ever give birth. With Sarah's encouragement, Abraham went to the maidservant Hagar, who gave birth to Ishmael. This was not part of God's plan and eventually Hagar and Ishmael were sent away from Abraham and his family. While Abraham awaited the birth of his son, God continued to give him signs of his covenant. The covenant was sealed through the act of circumcision. Finally, Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah when they were 100 and 90 years old, respectively.

C. God tested Abraham.

After the birth of Isaac, God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son. God wanted to know that Abraham was still fully committed to Him. Abraham was faithful and Isaac was spared.

D. Abraham prepares for the end.

After the death of Sarah, Abraham began to prepare for the end of his life. He bought a burial place for his family and made sure that Isaac found a wife. Her name was Rebekah. Abraham was 175 years old when he died.

2. Insights into the life of Abraham.

Through Abraham’s life we learn about God's covenant promise and how God can change a man's life.

The Elements of the Covenant Promise (Genesis 12:1-3)


A. God - The foundation of the covenant was God. He initiated the covenant and would bring it to its fulfillment.

B. Land - The region of Canaan was promised to Abraham as the land of his nation.

C. Nation - Although Abraham was just one man, God would bring about an entire nation through him.

D. Recognition - Abraham was a simple nomad. Yet under God's direction he was given recognition with kings and nations.

E. Protection - God's divine hand of protection watched over Abraham and his family.

F. Mission - God gave the covenant to Abraham because God had a plan for Abraham. God would use Abraham to bring salvation to all nations.

3. Abraham: An Ordinary Man Used by God

Joshua 24:2 states that Abraham's forefathers worshipped many gods before meeting Jehovah. Abraham was no different than most men. He was no richer and no more intelligent. His life had both successes and failures. Abraham's greatness is found not in who he was, but in whom he believed and obeyed. It was God and His faithfulness that enabled Abraham to do great things.

4. Abraham: A Man of Great Faith

The Apostle Paul uses the example of Abraham in Rom 4 to teach the action of Christian faith. Abraham was a great man of faith. Abraham's faith had action. He followed God to Canaan. He rescued Lot with only a few men. He trusted God at His Word and was blessed because of it.

Isaac: The Continuation of the Promise

1. The Events of Isaac's Life

Compared to the other patriarchs, little is known of the life of Isaac. His life is given only a few chapters in the Bible. Isaac was married to Rebekah who gave birth to his twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Isaac was deceived into giving his birthright and blessing to Jacob rather than Esau who was the eldest.

2. Insights into the Life of Isaac

Hebrews 11 lists Isaac as a man of faith. The life of Isaac teaches us the faithfulness of God more than the greatness of an individual person. God had made a promise and He would be faithful to that promise.

Jacob: The Transformation of a Deceiver

1. The events of Jacob's life

A Jacob's early life

Jacob was born the younger of twins. He deceived his older brother into selling his birthright. Then he deceived his father into giving him the blessing as well. Jacob was a deceitful person.

B. Jacob flees to Haran

After stealing the birthright and blessing, Jacob fled to Haran. Along the way God gave him a dream that he would one day serve God and not himself. In Haran, Jacob worked 14 years to marry Leah and Rachel.

C. Jacob returns to Canaan

Jacob fled from Laban (his father-in-law) and returned to Canaan. Along the way he met up with Esau. The night before his meeting with Esau, Jacob wrestled with an angel of the Lord and submitted his life to God. He would no longer be Jacob, the deceiver. Now he would be called Israel, one who struggles with God. Jacob and Esau were reunited in peace.

2. Insights into the Life of Jacob

Jacob received God's patient faithfulness. He was transformed from a deceiver to an overcomer because of God's never-ending faithfulness to His children. Jacob's life also meant the beginning of the nation of Israel. Jacob's twelve sons would become the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Joseph: The Follower of God's Plan

1. The Events of the Life of Joseph

A Joseph's early life

Joseph was his father's favorite son. Because of this, he was hated by his brothers. While plotting to kill him, Joseph's brothers instead sold him into slavery to merchants who took him to Egypt.

B. Joseph, a slave and a ruler

Joseph was purchased and put to work in Potiphar's house. After rejecting the temptations of Potiphar's wife, Joseph was thrown in jail. While in jail he interpreted the dreams of a cup bearer and baker. Years later, the ruler of Egypt had a dream he could not understand. The cup bearer remembered Joseph in prison and recommended Pharaoh to ask Joseph to interpret it. Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream which represented an upcoming famine in the land. Pharaoh was so impressed that he put Joseph in charge of all the land.

C. Joseph is reunited with his family in Egypt

The famine also affected regions surrounding Egypt. This included the region where Joseph's family lived. They traveled to Egypt to ask for food and assistance. Through a series of events Joseph and his family were reunited. Joseph's family relocated to Egypt where they lived in luxury.

2. Insights into the life of Joseph

The story of Joseph illustrates the faithfulness of God, and also the faithfulness of a man in obeying God regardless of the situation. Joseph did not always understand why events occurred the way they did, but he trusted God's activity. He knew that God was at work (Genesis 50:19,20) and remained faithful in following Him. Joseph is an Old Testament model of the character of Christ.

The Patriarchs: The Revelation of God

1. The Faithfulness of God

God was faithful with all four patriarchs. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob made serious mistakes yet God remained patient with them and developed their faith.

2. The Presence of God

God was never absent during the lives of the patriarchs. His presence may not have always been obvious (as in the case of Joseph) but He was always with them.

3. The Fulfillment of His Blessing

The key theme in the patriarchs is covenant. God had made a promise to the patriarchs. The stories of their lives show how He kept His promise.

Period 3: The Exodus

1. The Book of Exodus

A Israel in Egypt (Chapters 1-6)

B. Deliverance from the Egyptians (Chapters 7-12)

C. Travel to Mount Sinai (Chapters 13-18)

D. Israel at Mount Sinai (Chapters 19-40)

1. The Law given (Chapters 19-24)

2. The Tabernacle built (Chapters 25-40)

2 The Book of Leviticus

A. Offerings and worship (Chapters 1-7)

B. Handbook to the priests (Chapters 8-17)

C. Laws of conduct for the people (Chapters 18-27)

3. The Book of Numbers

A. Organization of the Jewish nation at Mount Sinai (Chapters 1-10)

1. Political organization (Chapter 1)

2. National organization (Chapter 2)

3. Religious organization (Chapter 3-10)

B. Travel to Kadesh Barnea (Chapters 10-12)

C. Wilderness wanderings as punishment (Chapters 13-21)

D. Preparation to enter Canaan (Chapters 22-36)

4. The Book of Deuteronomy

A. Final instructions of Moses (Chapters 1-30)

B. Joshua commissioned (Chapters 31-33)

C. Death of Moses (Chapter 34)

The Exodus: The Development of a Nation

The Period of the Exodus covers the liberation of the Hebrew people from Egyptian captivity. Although the period only covers about 40 years of Old Testament history, much attention is given to this time. After being silent during their 400 years of Egyptian slavery, God now becomes clearly involved in their daily life.

1. Slavery in Egypt

The Bible gives no account of the period of Egyptian slavery which the Israelites endured. There is a 400 year gap between the last chapter of Genesis and the first chapter of Exodus. During this time the Israelites had grown from the family of Jacob to a band of slaves numbering 3-4 million.

2 The Ministry of Moses

God selected a man by the name of Moses to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses was thoroughly trained by God for this task. He spent the:

o   first 40 years being raised in the Egyptian court

o   second 40 years as a shepherd in the wilderness

o   third 40 years leading the Hebrew people

3. The Plagues

God used nine plagues to convince the Egyptian rulers to let the Israelites leave their captivity in Egypt. The plagues revealed the reality of God and His supreme power. Each plague was specifically chosen by God to show His power over the gods of Egypt. Some Egyptians left with the Israelites due to these signs.

4. The Passover

The Passover (commonly referred to as the tenth plague) was the final act of God in liberating the Israelites. This event is still celebrated by Jews today as a reminder of their freedom from slavery and the founding of their nation.

5. Israel at Mount Sinai

Israel traveled to Mount Sinai upon their escape from Egypt. This route seemed to take them away from Canaan, their destination. However, God had a purpose.

o   The Israelites fear of the Philistines (who stood in the way of a direct path to Canaan) would cause them to return to slavery in Egypt (Exodus 13:17,18).

o   The Israelites were not a nation, but a band of slaves. They needed to develop into a nation in order to successfully occupy Canaan. They needed laws to govern them and a system of order.

God guided the Israelites by cloud at day and fire by night to Mount Sinai where they would dwell for a year and a half, transforming from a band of slaves into a nation.

A. Political Affairs

God established the nation of Israel as a theocracy. A theocracy is a system of government where God is the king and men carry out His purpose for the nation.

B. Civil Affairs

1. God gave the Israelites the law (Torah) by which they would be governed. These laws were practical and gave standards by which to live their daily life. Their economic system, their judicial system, and their social structure were developed from these laws. The center of these laws were the Ten Commandments.

2. God did not give these laws to the Israelites as a means of salvation for them. He had already delivered them from Egypt and had given His covenant to Abraham. They were God's nation. The law was given to instruct them as to how God's nation should live out their special calling, and as a means for them to demonstrate their loyalty to God.

C. Religious Affairs

1. The Covenant

God's covenant with Moses and the Israelites was similar to the covenant He had made with Abraham. God was reminding the Israelites of their special place before Him. They were His people, and were given the land of Canaan to live out their purpose. Their response to His covenant would be to obey His laws.

2. The Tabernacle

Along with the laws which instructed the Israelites regarding how they should offer sacrifices as atonement, God instructed them to build a tabernacle. This "tent" was portable (although not easily) and held great significance.

a. The tabernacle was a sign of God's presence.

b. The tabernacle was the place to offer sacrifices and receive atonement.


c. The tabernacle symbolized the care of God over the Israelites.

The tabernacle, the sacrifices, and the religious institutions were cared for by the Levites, a tribe of Israelites set apart to fulfill the spiritual functions of the nation.

6. Travel From Mount Sinai to Kadesh Barnea

After a year and a half, Israel was prepared to occupy the land of Canaan. They were no longer a band of wild slaves. They had become a well organized nation that had an established leadership. It took them about three months to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh Barnea.

7. The Sin of Israel: Wilderness Wanderings

The Israelites sent twelve spies into the land of Canaan in preparation for their conquest. Upon their return the spies told of the large cities and giants they would have to conquer to occupy Canaan. Two spies, Joshua and Caleb, believed that with God they would be successful. The other spies, in fear, convinced the Israelites not to enter Canaan. This act of disobedience met with a strong punishment from God:

1. No Israelite over the age of twenty (except Joshua and Caleb) would enter Canaan.

2. The Israelites were forced to wander the wilderness for approximately 38 years.


8. Preparation to Enter the Promised Land

After their 38 years of wilderness wanderings the Israelites were ready to enter the Promised Land. On the plain of Moab Moses repeated the law of God to the Israelites (the book of Deuteronomy, which means "second law") and commissioned Joshua as their new leader. With a new leader and a new generation of people, Israel would now attempt to conquer the land that they had rejected 38 years ago.


Choose one chapter to study from any of the books of Genesis – Deuteronomy. Remember to follow the three steps of Bible Study (Observe, Main Point, Apply). Write out the main point(s) of the chapter, and one or two ways you can apply these truths to your life:

Period 4: The Promised Land

Unit Scripture

The books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth

The Promised Land: Conquest & Occupation of Canaan

1. The Conquest

A. The situation in Canaan

The land of Canaan was made up of various city states, each like a small independent country. Each city state was involved in pagan worship. Their religion was characterized by a belief in many gods.

B. The Battles

Joshua led the Israelite army in the conquest of Canaan. The conquest began with a miraculous victory at Jericho where God caused the city walls to fall. God was showing the Israelites that He would be with them in their battles. Joshua used the strategy of "divide and conquer." First the Israelites took the northern region of Canaan and then the southern. Within 25-30 years Joshua had led the Israelites to victory in Canaan. They had defeated more than 30 kings.

2. The Division of the Land

A The allotments

The land was divided by giving each tribe a portion of Canaan. The tribes settled in their region. However, not all the foreigners had been driven out and they intermixed with the settling tribes.

B. The institutions

Each tribe governed itself. A central sanctuary was established at Shiloh and the priestly tribe of Levi was responsible for the spiritual life of all the twelve tribes.

3. Rule of the Judges

The period of the Promised Land brought an end to centralized leadership in Israel. Moses and Joshua had led the people, but upon settling in Canaan each tribe developed its own leadership of individuals called judges.

A. Life after the conquest

The Israelites found their life dramatically changed after settling in Canaan. No longer were they one nation, now they were twelve tribes. No longer did they wander the desert as nomads, they now settled as farmers. Soon they began to be influenced by their neighboring foreigners. The different tribes started adopting religious beliefs of these foreigners and eventually fell away from God.

B. The need for judges -- A common cycle is portrayed in the story of the judges. This cycle of the Israelites created the need for the rule of the judges.

1. Sin -- The Israelites would engage in sin against God, usually some form of idolatry.

2. Punishment -- God would punish the Israelites for their sin. Often this punishment would come in the form of an attack from a foreign neighbor.

3. Repentance -- In response to their punishment the Israelites would repent from their sin and call upon God to save them.

4. Deliverance -- God would raise up a leader, a judge, who would deliver the Israelites from their situation. Yet after a short period the Israelites would return to the beginning of the cycle and sin against God, starting the process all over again.

Judges in Ancient Israel

Judge (Tribe or Region)



Othniel (Judah)

Chap 3


Ehud (Benjamin)

Chap 3



Chap 3:31


Deborah (Ephraim) & Barak

Chap 4-5

Northern Canaan

Gideon (Manasseh) & Abimelech

Chap 6-9


Tola (Issachar)

Chap 10


Jair (Gilead)

Chap 10


Jepthah (Gilead)

Chap 11-12


Ibzan (Bethlehem)

Chap 12


Elan (Zebulan)

Chap 12


Abdon (Ephraim)

Chap 12


Samson (Dan)

Chap 13-16


4. The Promised Land: A Sign of a Need

The 400 year period during which the judges ruled was characterized by sin and a rejection of God by the Israelites. The judges were not successful in bringing the Israelites back to God. Their deliverance of the Israelites was only temporary. Man needed a more permanent answer to his sin.

Period 5: The United Kingdom

Unit Scripture

An Outline of the Books Covering the United Kingdom:

1. Transition Period -- 1 Samuel 1-8

2. Saul -- 1 Samuel 9-31 / 1 Chronicles 10

3. David -- 2 Samuel 1-24 / 1 Chronicles 11-29

4. Solomon -- 1 Kings 1-11 / 2 Chronicles 1-9

The United Kingdom: Israel Under the Rule of Kings

During the period of the United Kingdom, Israel returned to its position of centralized leadership. This period lasted approximately 120 years. It is the period of Israel's three kings, Saul, David and Solomon.

1. The Transition Period

A. Samuel

Samuel was the last judge of Israel. He was a holy and righteous ruler. He also was a prophet and a priest. It was during his leadership that the people of Israel began to demand a king, someone who would govern all twelve tribes as a single nation.

B. Israelites Demand For a King -- The Israelites demanded a king for several reasons:

1. Enemy threat -- Israel was fearful that they were too weak as twelve separate tribes. They wanted to be united as a nation so they could protect themselves from any invading nation. Their desire for a human king revealed their lack of faith in their divine king.

2. Desire to be like others -- Israel saw all the surrounding nations with their great kings and desired to be like them. A national king was a sign of prominence and strength. The people of Israel were jealous of the neighboring countries and decided to establish a kingship.

3. Samuel was old, and his sons who were appointed as judges were wicked.

2. The Reign of Saul

A. His Reign

At the age of 30 Saul was anointed as king of Israel. His main task was to unite the twelve tribes of Israel with the main objective of defeated the growing Philistine army. During Saul's forty year reign little changed in Israel. At the end of Saul's reign there still existed tribal borders and the army of the Philistines were an even greater threat to Israel.

B.. The Rejection of Saul by God

Although Saul's kingship began in honor to God, it didn't end that way. God eventually withdrew His Spirit from Saul as Saul grew in his pride. Saul, as king of Israel, had tried to replace God. Being tormented by his own choices, Saul finally killed himself in battle with the Philistines.

C. Scriptures Concerning Saul’s Reign

1. 1 Sam 11:1-11 -- Early victory for Saul

2. 1 Sam 13:5-14 -- Saul’s disobedience; told that his kingdom will not endure

3. 1 Sam 15:1-31 -- Saul disobeys again and tries to cover it up

3. The Reign of David

A. The Character of David

The Bible gives us much information on the character of David. Unlike Saul who was self-centered, David had a heart for God. He was a man of great ability, a great warrior, and liked by many. However he struggled as an overly passionate person (shown in his many psalms).

B. Reign of David

David developed a relationship with Saul through his soothing music. David's music alleviated Saul's torment of an evil spirit. David developed into a great warrior and soon people began saying he was greater than Saul. Saul spent much of his final years attempting to kill David. After the death of Saul, David was anointed as king of Israel.

C. David's Tasks

1. unify Israel

2. defeat the Philistines

3. bring about spiritual revival in Israel

D. David's Success

Although he made mistakes, David still followed after God and God blessed him with success. The Israelite tribes joined together and conquered many nations. They experienced times of spiritual revival as well. David had shortcomings, but he loved God and served Him well.

E. Some Scriptures for Study in the Life of David

1. 1 Sam 16:1-13 – David’s calling

2. 1 Sam 17 -- David defeats Goliath

3. 2 Sam 6:12-22 -- David brings the Ark to Jerusalem

4. 2 Sam 11-12 - David’s sin, cover-up, & repentance (see Ps 32 & 51)

4. The Reign of Solomon

A. Solomon's Kingdom

Solomon was one of David's sons. However his style of leadership was much different from David's. Solomon was not a warrior, he was a statesman. His defense policy consisted of making treaties and compromises with other nations. He began to tax the people more and more to pay for the tributes due to these allied nations.

B. The Decline of Israel

Solomon's 40 year reign was known as the "golden age". It was a time of economic growth, literature and music. However, it also was a time of great spiritual decline. The influence of other nations, the focus on materialism, and the pride of the people led to a rejection of God. By the end of Solomon's rule, the economy had eroded and the nation entered into turmoil. Upon Solomon's death the nation was divided as to who would be their next king.

C Scriptures from Solomon’s Reign

1 1 Ki 3:1-15 -- Solomon asks God for wisdom

2 1 Ki 8:3-11 -- Solomon builds the temple

3 1 Ki 11:1-13 -- Solomon’s fall

Discussion Groups:

·       Think about the lives of Saul, David, and Solomon. What made David such a better king than the other two?

·       What lessons can you learn from each of their lives?

Period 6: The Divided Kingdom

Unit Scripture

An Outline of the Books Covering the Divided Kingdom

A. The Division of Israel -- 1 Kings 12 / 2 Chronicles 10-11

B. The Divided Kingdom -- I Kings 13-22 / 2 Kings 1-17

C. The Southern Kingdom -- 2 Kings 18-25 / 2 Chronicles 12-36 (Captivity of Judah and the destruction of temple)

The Divided Kingdom: Defeat of the Hebrew Nation

During the reign of Solomon, the people began to grow apart in their ways. Because Solomon failed to follow God, God decided to divide the kingdom. After Solomon's death, his son Rehoboam was anointed king of Israel. The northern tribes proclaimed that Jeroboam would be their king. From this point on, the Hebrew nation became two nations, Israel (northern tribes) and Judah (southern tribes).

The Two Nations

The Northern Kingdom: Its Kings and Prophets

The Northern Kingdom was called IsraelEphraim and Samaria during its existence. Its capital was located in Samaria. It was comprised of approximately 10 of the twelve tribes. The 19 kings who ruled Israel were all evil in God's sight. Israel was in constant conflict with Judah (the Southern Kingdom) and Syria. After almost 200 years of existence, Israel was destroyed by Assyria. Most of the Jews were deported to various parts of the world. Israel would never regain its identity as a nation.

1. Kings of the Northern Kingdom

A. Jeroboam I - 1 Kings 12:25-14:20 -- Jeroboam reigned for 22 years. Under his leadership, the northern tribes separated from the south. They established places of worship in Dan and Bethel so their people would not have to travel to the temple in Jerusalem.

B. Nadab - 1 Kings 15:25-28 -- reigned two years. He continued the sinful worship his father began.

C. Baasha - 1 Kings 15:28-16:7 -- murdered Nadab and then reigned over Israel for 24 years.

D. Elah - 1 Kings 16:8-14 -- reigned for 2 years.

E. Zimri - 1 Kings 16:15-20 -- reigned for 7 days. He destroyed the house of Baasha but when he heard that Omri, Elah's general, was returning to overthrow him, Elah committed suicide.

F. Omri - 1 Kings 16:15-28 -- reigned for 12 years. He built up Samaria as Israel's capital and made a critical alliance with Phoenicia, resulting in the marriage of his son Ahab to Jezebel.

G. Ahab - 1 Kings 16:29-22:40 -- reigned for 22 years. During his reign, Israel reached its peak of sinfulness. His wife, Jezebel, introduced Israel to the worship of Baal. It was during this time that the prophet Elijah was raised up by God to speak against Israel and Ahab.

H. Ahaziah - 1 Kings 22:51-53 / 2 Kings 1:1-18 -- reigned for 2 years. He was the son of Ahab.

I. Jehoram (Joram) - 2 Kings 1:17-18 -- reigned for 12 years. He attempted to reduce Baal worship in Israel. He joined the southern kingdom to battle foreign nations but was killed by Jehu, a military captain. During this time Elisha was at the height of his prophetic ministry.

J. Jehu - 2 Kings 9-10 -- reigned for 28 years. He is known for having killed Ahab's sons and Jezebel. He also murdered the king of the southern kingdom, Ahaziah. He eliminated Baal worship from the northern kingdom.

K. Jehoahaz - 2 Kings 13:1-9 -- reigned for 17 years. During this time he battled with Syria to regain what his father Jehu had lost in previous battles.

L. Jehoash - 2 Kings 13:10-25 -- reigned for 16 years. He defeated both Syria and Judah. Elisha died during the reign of Jehoash.

M. Jeroboam II - 2 Kings 14:23-29 -- Jeroboam II reigned for 41 years. During his reign Israel was at its highest point in influence and greatness. Yet it was also known for its great moral, spiritual, and social decay. During this time, Amos and Hosea began their ministry to the northern kingdom.

N. Zechariah - 2 Kings 15:8-12 -- reigned for only 6 months. He was assassinated by Shallum.

O. Shallum - 2 Kings 15:13-15 -- reigned for only 1 month. He was killed by Menahem, the military leader under Zechariah.

P. Menahem - 2 Kings 15:16-22 -- reigned for 10 years. Assyria invaded Israel and made the northern kingdom a vassal (forced to serve and pay tribute) of Assyria.

Q. Pekahiah - 2 Kings 15:23-26 -- reigned for 2 years. He was killed by his officer Pekah.

R. Pekah - 2 Kings 15:27-31 -- reigned for 20 years. He tried to conquer Judah. He was killed by Hoshea.

S. Hoshea - 2 Kings 17 -- reigned for 9 years. He was the final king of Israel. He rebelled against Assyria and was destroyed. Assyria destroyed all of Israel in 722 B.C.

2. Prophets of the Northern Kingdom

A. Elijah -- had an impact on the Hebrew people in Israel as he fought against Baal worship.

B. Elisha -- followed Elijah. However Elisha's emphasis was on training people for prophetic ministry.

C. Amos

The Northern Kingdom of Israel had become wealthy and prosperous. However not all the kingdom benefited from the country's success. The rich were oppressing the poor and the governing leadership was corrupt. Accompanying this social immorality was a great spiritual decline. Amos spoke to this situation.

An Outline of Amos

1. Judgment On the Nations of Palestine - Chapters 1-2

2. Oracles Against Israel - Chapters 3-6

3. Visions of God's Purpose - Chapters 7-8

4. Future Restoration - Chapter 9

D. Hosea

Hosea spoke against the same society as Amos. Amos proclaimed a stern message against the sin of the Israelites. His message set the stage for Hosea's proclamation of hope and restoration for a repentant people.

An Outline of Hosea

1. Hosea's Family Life - Chapters 1-3

2. Hosea's Message to Israel - Chapters 4-14

a. Israel's Sin - Chapters 4-7

b. Decree of Judgment - Chapters 8-13

c. Repentance and Restoration - Chapter 14

The Southern Kingdom: Its Kings and Prophets

The Southern Kingdom was called Judah. Its capital was located in Jerusalem. Judah represented approximately two of the tribes of the Hebrew nation (Judah and Benjamin). During Judah's existence 19 kings and one queen sat on the throne. Although they were all from David’s line, only a few were considered righteous by God. Judah experienced four great revivals during its 350 year existence. Judah was put into captivity by Babylon, but later was able to return and restore Jerusalem and the temple.

1. Kings of the Southern Kingdom

A. Rehoboam - 1 Kings 12:1-24, 14:21-31 / 2 Chronicles 10-12 -- reigned for 17 years. He was a son of Solomon, and evil in the eyes of God.

B. Abijah - 2 Kings 15:1-8 / 2 Chronicles 13 -- reigned for 3 years. He followed in his father's (Rehoboam) sinful footsteps.

C. Asa - 1 Kings 15:9-24 / 2 Chronicles 14-16 -- reigned for 41 years. He was good in God's sight. During his reign he rid Judah of its pagan idols and introduced Judah's first period of revival.

D. Jehoshaphat - 1 Kings 22:41-50 / 2 Chronicles 17-20 -- reigned for 25 years. He, like Asa, was a good and holy king. He ordered the Levite priests to return to teaching the Book of the Law and Judah continued in a period of revival.

E. Jehoram - 2 Kings 8:16-24 / 2 Chronicles 21 -- reigned for 8 years. Through a treaty he married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. He was an evil king who murdered all his brothers to ensure no rival to his throne.

F. Ahaziah - 2 Kings 8:24-29 / 2 Chronicles 22:1-9 -- reigned for 1 year. He was evil and sought guidance from evil men. He was killed by Jehu from the Northern Kingdom.

G. Athaliah - 2 Kings 11 / 2 Chronicles 22:10-23:21 -- reigned for 6 years. She was the wife of Jehoram, and the only queen to rule over Judah. Being the daughter of Jezebel, she was evil and attempted to make Baal the state religion of Judah. She was eventually executed.

H. Joash (Jehoash) - 2 Kings 12 / 2 Chronicles 24 -- reigned for 40 years. He became king at the age of 7. He began his rule as a holy king, but later, with new advisors, turned evil. It was during the first part of his rule that Judah experienced their second period of revival.

I. Amaziah - 2 Kings 14:1-22 / 2 Chronicles 25-28 -- reigned for 29 years. Like Jehoash, Amaziah began as a holy king but later turned evil. His reign led to great spiritual decay in Judah.

J. Azariah (Uzziah) - 2 Kings 15:1-7 / 2 Chronicles 26 -- also known as Uzziah, reigned for 52 years. He was a good king and pleased God. His reign was characterized by national, political and economic strength in Judah.

K. Jotham - 2 Kings 15:32-38 / 2 Chronicles 27 -- reigned for 16 years. He was considered righteous in God's eyes. However the blessing of God in his life led to spiritual neglect and God raised Isaiah to speak to the nation.

L. Ahaz - 2 Kings 16 / 2 Chronicles 28 -- reigned for 16 years. He reintroduced paganism to Judah. During his reign the entire land became corrupt spiritually and morally.

M. Hezekiah - 2 Kings 18-20 / 2 Chronicles 29-32 -- reigned for 29 years. Judah experienced its third period of revival during this time. Hezekiah purged Judah of its paganism and destroyed the temples. He was a holy king,but later in life became proud and pursued his own agenda, not God’s will. During his reign Isaiah and Micah prophesied.

N. Manasseh - 2 Kings 21:1-17 / 2 Chronicles 33:1-20 -- reigned for 55 years. He reigned the longest of all the kings. However he was an evil ruler and led Judah away from God. During the last years of his reign he returned to God.


O. Amon - 2 Kings 21:19-26 / 2 Chronicles 33:21-25 -- reigned for 2 years, and did evil.

P. Josiah - 2 Kings 22:1-23 / 2 Chronicles 34-35 -- reigned for 31 years. During his reign Judah experienced its fourth and final period of revival. This was also the beginning of the prophetic ministry of JeremiahHabakkukNahum, and Zephaniah.

Q. Jehoahaz (Shallum) - 2 Kings 23:31-33 / 2 Chronicles 36:1-4 -- reigned for 3 months. During this time Egypt had gained control over Judah and the Pharaoh ordered Jehoahaz's older brother to assume the leadership thinking Jehoahaz would not cooperate.

R. Jehoiakim (Eliakim) - 2 Kings 23:34-24:6 / 2 Chronicles 36:4-8 -- reigned for 11 years. He was enthroned by the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco who controlled Judah. He reintroduced paganism and persecuted the prophets. Jehoiakim shifted his allegiance from Egypt to Babylon but then returned to an Egyptian alliance when Babylon attacked Judah.

S. Jehoiachin - 2 Kings 24:6-16 / 2 Chronicles 36:8-10 -- reigned for 3 months. He surrendered to Babylon when they attacked and was taken to Babylon.

T. Zedekiah - 2 Kings 24:17-25:7 / 2 Chronicles 36:10-16 -- reigned for 11 years. He was Josiah’s son and Jehoiachin’s uncle. He was a wicked and weak ruler. He attempted to rebel against Babylon, leading to the complete destruction of Jerusalem. Judah surrendered and was taken into captivity by Babylon in 586 B.C.

2. Prophets of the Southern Kingdom

A. Isaiah

Isaiah spoke to Judah concerning every aspect of its life. He spoke to the political leaders concerning foreign policies; he spoke of the social injustice in the land; and he spoke of the spiritual poverty which characterized the Southern Kingdom.

An Outline of Isaiah

1. Message of Judgment - Chapters 1-39

a. Introduction of Isaiah - Chapters 1-6

b. Judah's Fortunes In the World - Chapters 7-35

c. Crisis During Hezekiah's Reign - Chapters 36-39

2. Prophecies of Comfort For Captivity - Chapters 40-66

a. Prospects of Deliverance - Chapters 40-55

b. Oracles of Salvation and Blessing - Chapters 56-66

B. Micah

Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah. Although he was less known, his message had as much impact. Micah spoke to every level of society with an emphasis directed toward corrupt rulers, priests and false prophets who were misleading the people.

An Outline of Micah

1. Oracle Addressed to the Common People - Chapters 1-2

2. Oracle Addressed to the Leaders of Judah - Chapters 3-5

3. Oracle Addressed to All - Chapters 6-7

C. Nahum

Although Nahum's message was directed at Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, his true message was one of comfort and safety to the people of Judah. As a powerful nation, Assyria was a threat to Judah's existence. Yet Nahum proclaimed that God would destroy Assyria and Judah would not be overcome.

An Outline of Nahum

1. The Majesty of God - Chapter 1

2. The Destruction of Nineveh - Chapters 1-2

3. Reasons For Nineveh's Judgment - Chapter 3

D. Habakkuk

Habakkuk spoke to Judah just prior to the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem. God had given him knowledge of the upcoming event which he proclaimed to the Southern Kingdom.

An Outline of Habakkuk

1. Habakkuk Questions God - Chapter 1

a. Why allow Judah to go on sinning?

b. Why use Babylon in punishing them?

2. Reasons For Babylon's Woes - Chapter 2

3. Musical Prayer of Habakkuk - Chapter 3

E. Zephaniah

Zephaniah spoke during the reign of Josiah. He spoke of the Day of the Lord in reference to Judah and its upcoming captivity. Like most prophets, Zephaniah ended with a note of hope and restoration.

An Outline of Zephaniah

1. Judgment On Judah - Chapter 1

2. Judgment Upon Foreign Nations - Chapter 2

3. Judgment Against Jerusalem - Chapter 3

4. Promise of Restoration - Chapter 3

F. Jeremiah

Jeremiah was the best known prophet of his day. Much is known of his personal life due to the autobiographical sections in his writings. His purpose was to tear down the evil nation of Judah and rebuild the people to serve God once again. Jeremiah spoke before and during the period of Babylonian captivity.

An Outline of Jeremiah

1. Introduction of Jeremiah - Chapters 1-6

2. Proclamation of God's Word - Chapters 7-29

3. The Book of Hope - Chapters 30-35

4. Jeremiah's Personal Experiences - Chapters 36-44

5. General Prophecies - Chapters 45-51

6. Fall of Jerusalem - Chapter 52

G. Joel

It is extremely difficult to date the book of Joel. Joel's theme of the Day of the Lord covers three eras: the Babylonian conquest of Judah; the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2); and the final day of wrath.

An Outline of Joel

1. Call to Repentance - Chapters 1-2

a. God's Judgment: A Locust Plague - Chapter 1

b. The Day of the Lord - Chapter 2

2. Call to Judgment - Chapter 3

H. Jonah

Jonah is unique for although he originated from the Southern Kingdom, he spoke to a foreign nation (Assyria) concerning their sin. His message was to Assyria's capital, Ninevah.

An Outline of Jonah

1. Jonah Panics - Chapter 1

2. Jonah Prays to God - Chapter 2

3. Jonah Preaches to Nineveh - Chapter 3

4. Jonah Pouts (complains) - Chapter 4

Period 7: The Captivity

Unit Scripture

There are no historical books in the Bible covering this time period. The following prophetic books are from the captivity:

·       Lamentations

·       Ezekiel

·       Obadiah

·       Daniel

·       Portions of Jeremiah

1. The Captivity: The Crisis of Israel

Under the leadership of King NebuchadnezzarBabylon rose to great power. Having gained control of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar returned to his home in Babylon to regroup and continue his conquests. After his departure from Canaan, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah (kings of Judah) revolted against Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah again and completely destroyed it. The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and most of the Jews were deported.

2. Jews During the Exile

A Jews in Judah

The region of Judah was left in ruins. The poor and lower class Jews were left and had to work hard just to feed and clothe their families. They embraced various pagan religions. Some Jews fled to Egypt for a better life.

B. Jews in Babylon

Babylon exported the "quality" Jews back to their homeland. The Jews in captivity had a community life in which they were able to build homes, farm and make a profit for themselves. Some prospered and were given governmental jobs. Daniel was one of these individuals.

C. Jews in Egypt and Elsewhere

In spite of the warnings of Jeremiah, many Jews fled to Egypt. A Jewish military colony was even established there. These Jews embraced both the social and religious customs of the Egyptians. A few Jews fled from Judah to other areas such as Moab, Edom, Samaria and Galilee.

3. Israel's Religion During the Exile

A.. The Crisis

The key to Israel's faith was her election and special status before God. Now, after being completely defeated, that foundation was seriously threatened. Pagan men had defeated God's people. Their pagan gods had supposedly defeated the one and only God. The temple, a symbol of God's very presence, had been destroyed by men.

B Confronting the Crisis

God raised up prophets who spoke to the Jewish nation proclaiming that their captivity was part of God's plan. The prophets taught the Israelites that they needed a new emphasis on God's Law rather than the empty rituals they were engaging in. Synagogues, centers for the study of the Law, became the new centers for Jewish communities.

C. The Jewish Hope

The Jewish people believed the prophets in their prediction of the defeat of Babylon and the restoration of Judah. The Jewish hope of restoration was both spiritual and political. Their hope was rooted in a leader they would call their Messiah.

4. The Captivity: The Message of the Prophets

A. Lamentations

Lamentations seems to have been written by Jeremiah while lamenting over the destruction of Jerusalem. Throughout this song of tragedy runs the theme of the faithfulness of God in the midst of suffering.

An Outline of Lamentations

1. The Meaning of the Destruction - Chapter 1

2. The Realization of the Destruction - Chapter 2

3. Factors in the Destruction - Chapter 3

4. Lessons From the Destruction - Chapter 4

5. Invoking God's Grace and Glory - Chapter 5

B. Ezekiel

Ezekiel was one of the most unique individuals in the Old Testament. He came from priestly descent and lived most his life in Babylon. His writings are difficult to interpret due to his varied use of literary styles in conveying his messages. Ezekiel wrote of the judgment against Israel and the future restoration.

An Outline of Ezekiel

1. Judgment Against Judah and Nations - Chapters 1-32

a. Introduction of Ezekiel - Chapters 1-3

b. Judgment On Judah - Chapters 4-24

c. Judgment On Foreign Nations - Chapters 25-32

2. Coming Salvation For Israel - Chapters 33-48

a. Redemption of Israel - Chapters 33-39

b. Exaltation of God's Kingdom - Chapters 40-48

C. Obadiah

Obadiah did not speak directly of Judah. His message concerned the outcome of the Edomites who had assisted the Babylonians in their conquest of Judah.

An Outline of Obadiah

1. Sin and Judgment of Edom - Chapter 1:1-16

2. Blessing and Restoration of Judah - Chapter 1:17-21

D. Daniel

Daniel was taken to Babylon in his teen years. He quickly rose to the ranks of leadership in the Babylonian government yet he always remained faithful to God. He spoke of visions he had concerning the final restoration by God.

An Outline of Daniel

1. Historical Stories - Chapters 1-6

2. Visions - Chapters 7-11

a. Vision of the Four Beasts - Chapter 7

b. Vision of the Ram and Goat - Chapter 8

c. Daniel's Prayer For Restoration - Chapter 9

d. Unpublished Vision of God - Chapter 10

e. Revelation of Persia, Greece and Rome - Chapter 11

3. Daniel's Conclusion - Chapter 12

Period 8: The Restoration

Unit Scripture

Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

1. The Restoration: Israel Rebuilds

After approximately 70 years of exile, Cyrus the king of Persia, issued a decree allowing the Jews to return home. Persia had conquered Babylon and had a greater tolerance toward the Jews.

A. The First Return: Rebuilding the Temple

1. Reference -- Ezra Chapters 1-6

2. Leaders -- Sheshbazzar, Zerubbabel, and Jeshua

3. Purpose -- The purpose of the first return was to rebuild the Temple. The Jews received some opposition from neighboring Samaritans (Jews who had mixed with other nationalities) and became discouraged. At the preaching of Zechariah and Haggai they completed the work and dedicated the Temple.

B. The Second Return: Instituting Religious Reform

1. Reference -- Ezra Chapters 7-10

2. Leaders -- Ezra, the priestly scribe

3. Purpose -- The purpose of the second return was to institute religious reform. Ezra finalized the purification of the Temple and purified the people.

C. The Third Return: Rebuilding the Walls of Jerusalem

1. Reference -- Nehemiah Chapters 1-12

2. Leaders -- Nehemiah, made governor of Judea

3. Purpose -- The purpose of the third return was to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah also purged the government of any corruption and the wall was dedicated.

D. The Fourth Return: Instituting Moral Reform

1. Reference -- Nehemiah 13

2. Leader -- Nehemiah

3. Purpose -- The purpose of the fourth return was to institute moral reform among the Jews. They removed foreign wives, cleansed the Temple, collected the tithes and led the people to living in God's morality. Malachi spoke to the people during this time.

2. The Restoration: The Message of the Prophets

A. Haggai

Upon returning to rebuild the Temple, the Jews encountered numerous difficulties. The zeal of the Jews shifted from one of desiring to rebuild the Temple to desiring to rebuild their own personal lives. It was this situation that Haggai addressed.

An Outline of Haggai

1. Challenge to "Consider Your Ways" - Chapter 1

2. Message of Comfort and Hope - Chapter 2

a. Concerning the Temple

b. Concerning Zerubbabel

B. Zechariah

During the period of restoration the Jews began to expect the return of the Messiah -- yet he did not appear. Zechariah spoke of the Messiah's return and the glory of God.

An Outline of Zechariah

1. Eight Visions - Chapters 1-6

2. Message on Fasting - Chapters 7-8

3. Future Restoration Through the Shepherd - Chapters 9-14

C. Malachi

Following the completion of the temple, spiritual decay set in among the Jews. The Messiah had not come and they became bitter against God. This bitterness was shown through idolatry, immorality, and the denial of God. Malachi addressed the Jews of their sin.

An Outline of Malachi

1. God's Love and Israel's Dishonor - Chapter 1

2. Condemnation of Marriage Practices - Chapter 2

3. Message of Hope - Chapter 3

a. The Coming Messenger

b. Plea For Repentance

c. Blessing on Godly Remnant


The Old Testament is a story. It's a very special story because it is God's story. It's His story about how He worked through the history of man, and especially one nation, to bring about His plan of redemption for all mankind.

It is impossible to master the Old Testament in a survey such as this one. It may be impossible to master it in a lifetime. It holds great revelations of God. As you read through the Old Testament look for the revelation of the character of God, His relationship to man, and His ultimate plan fulfilled in Christ.

The Old Testament is not a book of yesterday. It is not a book for the Jewish nation alone. It is a book for all people who desire to know God and His purpose for their life. As you continue in your study of the Old Testament, remember not just to read and study it but to live it each day of your life.

Wisdom and Poetic Books

1. The Book of Job

A. The Outline

The story of Job centers around the discussion of 5 men (Job, his 3 friends, and Elihu) as to how man should respond when trials confront him. This discussion is given in chapters 4-42

1. Job was a godly, prosperous farmer with thousands of sheep, camels, other livestock, a large family, and many servants

2. Satan came before God to proclaim Job would curse God if he took his hedge of protection from him

3. God told Satan that he could test Job in any area he desired except he could not kill him

4. Thus began the test of Job's faith

5. Satan destroyed Job's children, servants, livestock, herdsmen and home but Job continued to trust God

6. Then Satan attacked him physically, covering him with painful sores; Job's wife even told him to curse God, but he suffered in silence

7. Three of Job's friends came and told him sin had caused his suffering, but Job maintained his innocence

8. Finally, God spoke out of a whirlwind and Job fell in humble reverence before God

9. God rebuked Job's friends, Job prayed for his friends, and Job's happiness, health and wealth were restored to him

10. It is easy to think we have all the answers, but God only knows exactly why things happen as they do and we must submit to him as our Sovereign and trust in him

B. The Theme

The theme of Job is found in the wrong theology of Job's friends and the right teaching in God's speeches. Job's friends have constructed a complete picture of what the nature of God should be, how God should work and what the fate of the righteous and wicked should be. Job struggles because he knows he is not wicked yet he has had trials come upon him. To make it worse, God does not answer Job's questions. Job is seeking vindication. God proclaims His own Divine might and greatness and Job discovers a whole new dimension of God.

C. Summation

The book of Job does not set out to answer the problem of suffering. It seeks to proclaim a God so great that no answer is truly needed, for such an answer would go beyond human thinking. God is presented as sovereign and caring, and to Job, in the midst of his suffering, that is enough.

2. The Book of Ecclesiastes

A. The Outline

The book of Ecclesiastes is unique in Scripture in that it gives us "the other perspective". Ecclesiastes records the attempts of one who looks for meaning in every area of life except God.

1. Life is meaningless (Chapters 1-11)

a. The emptiness of life (Chapters 1-4)

b. The emptiness of practical wisdom (Chapters 5-8)

c. The emptiness of legalistic rules (Chapters 8-11)

2. Conclusion: Only in God can meaning be found (Chapter 12)

B. Summary

After searching everywhere, the author of Ecclesiastes concludes that the only purpose of life comes from "living in fear of the Lord".

3. Psalms

A. Background

1. A compiling of several ancient collections of Hebrew songs and poetry for use in congregational worship as well as in private devotion

2. Collections of psalms were gathered at specific periods in Israel's history: the reign of King David, the rule of Hezekiah, during the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah

3. This collection process helps explain the duplication of some psalms; for example, Psalm 14 is similar to Psalm 53

4. The Book of Psalms was edited in its present form a few centuries before Jesus was born

5. Reflects the worship, devotional life & religious feeling of 1000 years of Israel's history

B. Content

1. Means "Book of Praise"

2. Psalms contains temple songs, hymns of praise, eulogies, laments, personal and national prayers, petitions, meditations, instructions, historical anthems, and tributes to noble themes

a. The writers pour out their true feelings reflecting a life changing friendship with God

b. Express their sins, doubts, fears; ask God for help in times of trouble; praise & worship

3. Subheadings are found at the beginning of many of the psalms which indicate "dedicated to", “for the use of", and "belonging to"

a. Some describe the historical occasion of the psalm and all deal with the life of David

b. Ps 7, 34, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 142 refer to events during David's relationship with Saul

c. Psalms 3, 18, 51, 60, 63 cover the period when David reigned over both Judah and Israel

d. Other subheadings preceding psalms refer to the musical instruments that are to accompany them; to the appropriate tune or melody; to which part of the choir is to lead; to what type of psalm it is

e. Some of the meanings of these notations are unknown today

4. There's a psalm that will help you in every situation; read and learn them as a guide

4. Proverbs

A. Outline

1. Introduction: the purpose and theme of the book - chapter 1:1-17

2. Instructions of a father to a son - chapters 1:8-9:18

3. Proverbs of Solomon - chapters 10:1-22:16

4. Words & Sayings of the Wise - chapters 22:17-24:34

5. More proverbs of Solomon - chapters 25-29

6. Words of King Lemuel - chapter 31:1-9

7. The virtuous wife - chapter 31:10-31

B. General Information

1. In these books under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the writers give practical insight and guidelines for life

a. A proverb is a short, concise sentence that conveys moral truths and the book of Proverbs is a collection of these wise statements

b. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (1:7)

c. The writers proceed to give hundreds of practical examples of how to live according to godly wisdom

2. Knowledge is good, but there is a difference between "knowledge" (having the facts) and "wisdom" (applying those facts to life)

a. We can accumulate knowledge in our minds, but without wisdom, our knowledge is useless

b. We must learn how to live what we know

3. Knowing God is the key to wisdom

5. Song of Songs

A. Purpose -- Different Views

1. To show love between a husband and wife in marriage

2. To show love between God and His covenant people (Israel)

3. To show love between Jesus and His bride, the Church (you)

B. Content

1. Song of Songs is a story of a man and a woman, their love, courtship and marriage. There are differences of opinion in its interpretation

a. It features the love dialogue between a simple Jewish maiden (the Shulamite woman) and her lover (Solomon, the king). They describe in intimate detail their feelings for each other and their longings to be together

b. A Shulamite woman, engaged to a handsome shepherd, is captured and taken to Solomon’s palace by some of his servants. Solomon tries to win her heart, but fails. She remains faithful to her shepherd, and for her faithfulness is given freedom to return to him.

2. This meaning of this book could be both God's love for the Church and a literal story about married love

a. We learn about love and marriage

b. We see God's overwhelming love for His people

3. As you read this book remember that you are loved by God and commit yourself to seeing life and marriage from His point of view

The Prophets

1. The Nature of a Prophet

A. prophet was a spokesman who represented God before man. He was not a "fortune teller". His function was to reinforce the covenant which God had given to man. His message was not original but more of a "reminder" of what the Israelites had forgotten.

2. The Message of the Prophets

The message of the prophets varied with each situation they were called on to address. However, there is a basic outline that is present in each prophet's message.

A. Proclamation of the Covenant -- A prophet would tell of God's covenant and the nature of God.

B. Denouncement of Specific Sins -- A prophet would point out the specific sins in which the people had engaged. He would tell them that they had abandoned God's covenant.


C. Punishment -- Due to their sins the people would face punishment. This punishment could come in the form of personal calamity, national misfortune and/or loss of God's favor and protection.

D. Final Note of Hope -- A prophet would call upon the people to repent and be restored to their rightful place with God. The prophet's message for the most part went unheeded.


3. The Prophetic Books of the Old Testament

A. Period 6: The Divided Kingdom

Northern Kingdom: Amos, Hosea

Southern Kingdom: Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah

Other Nations: Jonah, Nahum

B. Period 7: The Captivity

Israelites: Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel

Other Nations Obadiah

C. Period 8: The Restoration

Israelites: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi


Choose one chapter to study from any of the books of the prophets. Remember to follow the three steps of Bible Study (Observe, Main Point, Apply). Write out the main point(s) of the chapter, and one or two ways you can apply these truths to your life: