The sky is always blue beyond the clouds. There is always hope and encouragement here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Genesis - Malachi, Old Testament Snippets

Moses is assumed to be the writer of this book. The book of Genesis dates back to the very beginning of time.
Genesis is the book of beginnings. In it God creates the world and everything in it, simply by speaking it into existence. And then He pronounced it as good. 
Because of their choice to sin, humankind falls into moral decay. The decline is so bad that God decides to destroy it all, by flood, except for one righteous man and his family and enough pairs of animals to repopulate the earth.  
The people multiply and God chooses some people as His own. One man, Abraham, becomes the father of us all. 

Moses is thought to be the writer of this book under the direction of God, Ex. 34:27. The time is around 1400BC.
Joseph, son of Jacob, is in Egypt, because his brothers intended him harm. But while there, Joseph grew and gained much knowledge and wisdom. Because of this he was in position to help his family during a severe famine in the land. 
His family grew into a nation and caused fear in the Egyptians, who then made them slaves in the land. After many years Moses comes as a deliverer to the people. God sends ten plagues on the Egyptians to convince Pharaoh to free the people. God instructs the people to put blood on their door posts while the death angel passes over, killing every firstborn male, whether man or animal. Pharaoh's son was killed and so he agreed to let Moses and the people go. 
Because of sin, their journey took 40 years in the desert. During this time, God gives laws to His people. 
The journey has many examples of their sinning and rebellion against The Lord.

Again, Moses is thought to be the writer of this book that takes place in mid 1400S BC.
The name, Leviticus means, About the Levites. Levites were the priests and this book gives the details to the laws that the priests were required to follow in the worship. There were special offerings, rules pertaining to food, laws about purification of humans, animals and utensils and other items used by the priests. There were special Holy days outlined as well. Aaron, Moses' brother is ordained to be the formal priest.
Many of these laws and ceremonies are leading up to Jesus being our Perfect Sacrifice, once and for all.
Just as God demanded dedication to strict adherence then, He wants us to be just as dedicated today.

Another book that is attributed to Moses, written approximately 1400 BC. 
The name comes because of the census taken during this time. A little over a year after leaving Egypt the men were counted. They numbered 603,550. This did not include women, children or the priests. 
These people became known as The Israelites. 
Punishment causes them to wander through the desert and even Moses does not make it to the Promised Land.
God hates sin and will bring punishment to those that disobey.

Another book written by Moses at least until his death and then probably by Joshua. The events taking place around 1400 BC.
Deuteronomy means "second law." Moses speaks to the people reminding them of all the things that God has done for them. And reminding them of all the laws that God requires. He inspires them for the challenges ahead. And then he died after a God gave him a view I to the Promised Land. God buried the body of Moses. 
Deuteronomy inspires us to realize that God's rules are not set as limits, but for our benefit.

All but the last few verses are written by Joshua around 1375 BC.
This book describes how the Israelite people conquered the Promised Land and claimed it as their own. This is after the whole generation of disobedient people died in the desert. One of the battles was against Jericho. A prostitute, named Rahab, helped the spies and her and her family were spared in the destruction of the city when the walls came tumbling down. 
After the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites are driven out or killed, the land is divided among the 12 tribes.
Joshua was a godly man and a great leader. He was very obedient with only one record of him not seeking council from God and making a peace treaty with the Gibeonites, instead do destroying them as God commanded.

The author is unknown, although possibly Samuel, written in 1050BC.  
After the death of Joshua the Israelites really fall into vicious cycles of living by pagan ways, sinning terribly, suffering at the hands of their enemies, crying out to God for help, getting help from God and then cycling back to living by pagan ways, etc.
Help from God came in the Judges that put the people back into God's ways but then they would fall away again. 
There were many judges. Deborah was the only female judge. Samson is another famous judge. God gave him incredible strength, but he had a weakness for women. This led to his affair with Delilah which led to the end of judging. He died while pulling down the temple and killing many Philistines. 

No one knows the author of this book. 
Ruth was a gentile from Moab.  She marries into a Jewish family when the family moved to her country during a severe famine. 
All the men of the family die. Naomi, the mother in law decides to return to her native land. Ruth goes with her and will not be persuaded to stay. 
Ruth gleans the fields daily after the workers to scrounge grains for herself and Naomi. 
Boaz, the rich owner of the field, is a relative of Naomi, he takes Ruth to be his wife. 
Ruth is the great-grandmother of David the King.

1 Samuel
It isn't certain who the writer is although Samuel might have written some of this himself. The time is between 1100-1000 BC.
A godly woman begs God for a child. He gives her a son, Samuel. She brings her child to the temple to be trained by the priest, Eli. 
Samuel grows and becomes a judge and prophet. 
The people become sinful under the sinful sons of Eli. They ask for a King. God tells Samuel to anoint Saul as King.
Saul is good at first, but then falters in his actions. He performs priestly duties and angers The Lord. God tells Samuel that Saul will be replaced. 
David, a young shepherd, comes to the battlefield and kills the giant, Goliath. He becomes famous. He and Saul's son, Jonathan are best friends.
Saul is jealous. He tries to kill David. David runs to save his life. 
Several times he has opportunities to kill Saul, but he does not.
Saul eventually dies in battle.

2 Samuel
It is not really known who wrote this book, although some believe that it might have been the priest, Abiathar. It takes place around 1010-970 BC, while David was King.
The tribes have split into two countries, Israel and Judah. 
After the death of Saul, the Judean tribe selected David as King.  Then 7 years later, after the death of Saul's son, David becomes King of the northern tribes as well, making him King of all of Israel. 
David made Jerusalem capital of his unified nation. 
David has an affair with Bathsheba and has her husband killed. He marries her but their child is sickly and dies.
David turns from sin and back to The Lord. God forgives him but the consequences of his sin linger as unrest throughout his family. Many of them do evil things. 
After many hardships, David returns to Jerusalem and raises up another child with Bathsheba, Solomon. 

1 Kings
It is not known who wrote the books of 1 & 2 Kings although it might have been Jeremiah.
The events in this writing take place from 970-850 BC.
When David becomes deathly ill, he names Solomon as successor. God speaks to Solomon and offers him anything that he would like. Solomon chooses wisdom, which shows that he might already have been pretty wise. God gives Solomon such great wisdom that rulers the world over come just to talk to him. He is offered many foreign wives, which he accepts. 
After building a beautiful temple to The Lord, Solomon is enticed by his wives, which now number over 700. 
After the death of Solomon the nation divides. Ten northern tribes form Israel under the rule of Jeroboam. Two southern tribes form Judah. These nations go through many ruler changes . Most are poor choices, occasionally one would serve The Lord.
Elijah, the prophet, is prevalent. He confronts the evil King Ahab and his wicked Queen, Jezebel, who worship the idol, Baal. Elijah defeats 450 false prophets on Mount Carmel.

2 Kings
It is not known who wrote the books of 1 & 2 Kings although it might have been Jeremiah.
The events written about cover a period from 800-500 BC.
Bad rulers continue to be chosen, very few good rulers were ever in power. Elijah is taken by a chariot of fire straight to Heaven by God. Elisha became prophet following Elijah. 
Because of such wicked leaders, God allows the northern kingdom to be carried away into exile. The southern kingdom failed a few years later by Babylonia. 
The Babylonians, under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar, destroyed the temple and carried away everything of value, including the valiant armies and all craftsmen. 

1 Chronicles
It is believed that Ezra, the priest, could be the writer.
It cover the period from the death of King Saul to the death of King David.
1 Chronicles is basically a history book from Adam to David. It tells of David's fame and godliness. 
This book reminds Israel that they are God's chosen people and that David would be the beginning of an eternal Kingdom.

2 Chronicles
Ezra, the priest, could possibly be the writer. The events take place from Solomon to the 500s BC, when the Jewish exiles return to Jerusalem.
This is a more detailed historical account of Solomon, the temple, the division of the Kingdom and the captivities. At the end of this book, we see that King Cyrus of Persia allows the Jews to return to rebuild the temple.

Chapter 7, verse 11 leads us to think that Ezra is the writer. The events take place from 530-450 BC. 
Persia is the world leader. King Cyrus is the ruler. He allows some of the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. 42,000 people go, and 70 years later, Ezra returns with a smaller group. 
He begins to re-teach God's laws to the people and strongly cautions against intermarriage and pagan gods, which God hates.
Ezra urged the men to divorce their foreign wives. 

Chapter 1 v.1 says these are the words of Nehemiah, however, Jewish scholars think that Ezra wrote this book. It was written about 445 BC.
Nehemiah worked in the daily presence of the Persian King as his cupbearer. He becomes very depressed because the Jews have been returned from exile to their homeland almost a hundred years ago, they still haven't rebuilt the city walls. He asks the King if he can go and the King allows him to go and rebuild the walls. Nehemiah gathers a team of workers and in only 52 days they complete the task. 

Author is not stated. It is written during the reign of King Ahasuerus, around 486-465 BC. Esther is crowned his queen around 479 BC.
A contest is held throughout the whole land to seek the most beautiful young woman for the King. Esther is chosen. She lives a pampered, cultured life, but never forgets her Jewish roots. 
When one of the kings officials schemes to have all the Jews slaughtered, Esther risks her own life by pleading with the King for her people. The King favors Esther is is angered by his official and has him hanged in the very gallows he built to hang the Jews. 
The Jews celebrate this event to this day. It is called Purim.

Author is not known. The date is also unknown.
Job is a wealthy man. He is considered to be very upright in the sight of The Lord. The devil thinks God has special favor on Job and asks permission to test him. God allows it. Satan takes away all Job's possessions and all his children. And eventually even attacks Job's health. 
Job's faith remains strong and steadfast. His friends visit and question his faith and beliefs. Job is unswayed. In the end God restores Job's health, wealth and 10 more children.

The psalms (songs) were written by various people including, Asaph, Moses, Solomon, but most are attributed to David.
The time period is large, from the 1400s BC to 500s BC.
These are a collection of poems and songs. The longest chapter of the Bible is psalm 119. It is also the longest book of the Bible with 150 chapters. Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter of the bible. Psalm 117 is also the center of the Bible. It has 594 chapters before it and 594 chapters after it in the Protestant Bible.
Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord ! (Psalm 117:1, 2 ESV)

Proverbs is written mainly by Solomon, although some of the writings are by Agur and some by King Lemuel. 
Solomon was ruler from 970-930 BC, so he probably wrote during that time.
Proverbs is a collection of instructions for wise living. The proverbs cover about any topic that one will come across. 
Chapter 31 is all about a wise and godly woman. 

It is believed to have been written by Solomon. It was probably written about 900 BC.
Solomon points the readers to knowing that you can learn, you can play, you can work hard, you can own many things, you can have health and be full of laughter but apart from The Lord, your life will be unsatisfying. He also makes known that life is not fair. There is a time and purpose for everything. 
He concludes that one should Fear God and keep His commands.

Song of Solomon
Solomon is considered to be the author. It was written during the years of his reign. 
This entire book is a love story. It tells of the celebration of married love. It is very explicit in their describing of their physical love.
God is never mentioned in this biblical book.

Written by Isaiah around 740-700 BC. 
Isaiah was a prophet that warned against sin. He also prophesied about the coming of the Messiah. He had a vision from God which began his life of service. 
He tells of God's punishment at the hand of the Babylonians. But then he also tells of the Israelites restoration, god's promise for salvation and also about God's eternal Kingdom.

The possible writer is Jeremiah. This book was written around 586 BC.
Jeremiah earns his nickname as the Weeping Prophet as he cries while witnessing Jerusalem's captivity by the Babylonians. 
God's punishment is very severe towards the Jewish nation. God has utterly rejected them for their disobedience.

The Priest Ezekiel, is the writer. The approximate date of this writing is 590-570 BC. 
Ezekiel is an exile in Babylonia. He becomes a prophet to the others in captivity. He shares his godly visions with them, teaching them to turn from their sin if they want to be restored.
Ezekiel had a unique vision of a valley of dry bones that come together, get flesh and come back to life. This story is found in chapter 37:7-10.
Ezekiel teaches that each person's choice to sin or not determines if their soul will live or die.

This book seems to be written by Daniel although perhaps not all of it. It was written between the years of 605-538 BC, during the captivity by the Babylonians.
Daniel was one of the exceptional young men that was captured and taken to be trained and used by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. 
The King built a huge statue of himself and commanded that all would bow and worship it. 3 very godly men refused and were thrown into a fiery furnace. But They were unharmed and another man (Angel) was seen in the furnace with them.
Belshazzar the next King has a party and a mysterious hand writes a message on the wall. Daniel is called to interpret it's meaning. He tells the King that he is about to lose his empire to another country.
Soon, the Medes conquer. Darius, the King, keeps Daniel on as an advisor. 
A new law hurts Daniel and he is put into a den of hungry lions but is untouched by them. 
Daniels was a great prophet with many visions from God. 

It is assumed that Hosea himself is the writer. It was written sometime between 750-722 BC.
Hosea is a prophet and in the first chapter, verse 2 God tells him to take a prostitute for his wife. Hosea does and he loves her and they begin a family together. Then she decides to fall back into her former way of life. Hosea cries and mourns for her and finally buys her back from the slave traders.
This book is all about God loving and mourning for his adulteress nation of Israel.  God will punish sinfulness but always welcomes repentance.
God is always good and faithful.

Amos is the writer of this book. It was written about 760BC.
Amos was a shepherd, a lowly man. But he was instructed by God through visions to take on the leaders of Israel. 
He had a vision of a plumb line indicating that the people were not measuring up to God's standards and another vision of a bowl of fruit, meaning the nation was ripe for God's wrath.

Obadiah which means servant of God, is the author  and the book was written not long after Babylon invaded Judah, which took place in 586 BC.
Remember the twin sons, Jacob and Esau? Esau was the firstborn but sold his birthright to his brother, Jacob. And Jacob also deceived his father into a blessing from the deathbed. These sons and their descendants were at conflict for centuries.
Esau's people were the nation of Edom and this nation helped the Babylonians invade Jerusalem. Because of that God sent Obadiah to pronounce judgement on Edom. 
Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament.  

This book is written about Jonah, but it written in the third person leading one to think that someone else is the writer. 
Jonah was a prophet during the reign of King Jeroboam II so this book was probably written around 760 BC.
Nineveh is the capital of Assyria. They are a wicked nation. God tells Jonah to go preach to them, but Jonah is afraid and tries to run from God. He eventually is cast overboard from a ship and is swallowed by a huge fish. He has three days of reflection inside the belly of the fish. And then decides to obey God. 
After hearing Jonah, Nineveh repents. And God does not destroy the city as He was going to.
God is concerned for these pagan people.

Micah is probably the writer or at least had someone write it for him. It was written about 700BC.
Micah preaches to both the northern and southern nations of Israel. He tells them that God will punish their sinfulness by giving them over to the Assyrians. 
He tells that a faithful remnant will be saved.
Micah 6:8 He has showed you, what The Lord requires of you, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with The Lord.
Good instruction to all that love God.
Micah predicted that the savior would come from Bethlehem.

Nahum is the author and it was written in the early 600 BC time period, but before 612.
Nineveh is the capital of The Assyrian Empire. 
Because of repentance and Jonah's preaching, Nineveh had been spared God's destruction already. But now they are wicked and powerful again. Nahum warns them of God's coming judgement but they don't want to hear it.
So in 612 BC Babylonia conquers Nineveh.

Habakkuk is the writer and it was written around 600BC.
A prophet tells the disobedient Judah that the Chaldeans will overtake them. Habakkuk is upset because he knows that the Chaldeans are wicked and do not know or fear The Lord. 
But God tells him that the Chaldeans are the means that He is using to try to get the sinful nation to repent. 
Habakkuk understands then that our world is full of hatred and violence, but God is still in control no matter what.

Zephaniah, the great, great grandson of King Hezekiah is the writer. It was written during the reign of King Josiah, who was named King at just 7 years of age, between the years of 640-620BC.
God is so very angry with Judah that He says that He is going to consume all things off the land and that even nearby nations would be destroyed in the fire of His jealousy.
But God also says that in His mercy! He will one day restore the faithful remnant of Israel.

Haggai is the author and it was written in 520 BC during the second year of King Darius.
The new world power of Persia is now in command. King Darius allows the former Babylonian captives to return to Jerusalem. They begin to rebuild their beautiful homes while ignoring the rebuilding of the temple. 
Haggai rebukes the people and reminds them to get their priorities in order.

Zechariah is the writer. It was written approximately 520-475 BC. 
Zechariah urges the Jews backs from exile to get busy rebuilding the temple. He also has some visions of the last days when the savior comes for the final battle of the nations.

Malachi means, My Messenger. He is the writer. The time of the writing is around 450 BC.
It is now 100 years after the Exile. Malachi is speaking God's words to the Jews. He is telling them that God is upset about their ritualistic sacrifices, their failure to give God their tithes, their divorcements to marry pagan women, and just their attitudes in general toward God.
Although God is always willing to bless those who honor Him and keep His commandments. 
This is the final book of the Old Testament. 

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