Abiding Savior Free Lutheran Church Confirmation

Abiding Savior Free Lutheran Church Confirmation
“Old Testament Survey—The Historical Books”
This lesson is due in class for discussion and review on January 18, 2012.
Read any 5 portions of your Bible this week. Note the section you read and write out at
least one thing you appreciated learning or found as an encouragement.
Sections read: 1.
Appreciation or Encouragement:
After completing the assignment the student will be able to:
a. Describe the following terms: Israel, Hebrew, Promised Land, Judges,
Philistines/Canaanites, Babylonians, and Exile.
b. Provide a brief description of the contents of each of these books.
c. Identify the main participants in these books, including Joshua, Caleb, Deborah,
Gideon, Samson, Ruth, Boaz, Saul, David, Samuel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.
d. Identify at least one purpose of the Historical books for modern readers.
e. Identify at least 4 major events these books tell us about.
f. Recite from memory the Pentateuch and the books of History.
The books from Joshua through Esther in the Old Testament are known as the historical
books. They cover about one thousand years (1450 B.C.-400 B.C.) in the history of
God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel. Many folks feel history is ‘boring’, yet it is
vital for us to remember what an encouragement these books were to God’s people. In it
God’s faithfulness is shown to His people, as is His protection and provision for the
people of Israel. They also tell of the awful price of disobedience, and the great blessing
of obedience. Today, we too can be encouraged and challenged by these same truths.
There are a few terms we must define as we begin. Israel describes both a people and a
place. It refers to the people God called out of Egypt, and also refers to the land He
promised to this nation of people. Sometimes these people are called ‘God’s chosen
people’. We also apply the term Hebrew to this people. The Promised Land refers to the
land that God promised unto His people to live in. It consists in what is now modern day
Israel, and areas in Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. Judges are people who led the nation of
Israel after the time of Joshua. They led in both a military and judicial way, meaning they
also served as judges and political leaders. The Philistines and Canaanites were
enemies of the people of Israel. They were living in the Promised Land, and Israel was
ordered to destroy them because of their very great wickedness. The Babylonians were a
nation of people that eventually would conquer Israel and take them into exile. They were
from the nation Babylon, which is formed today primarily by Iraq. Exile refers to a
period of time (605 B.C. to 538 B.C.) that God’s people Israel spent in Babylon away
from their homeland.
Major events covered by these books include (1) the Hebrew people escape from
Egypt through the Red Sea and after wandering through the wilderness for 40 years they
are led into to Promised Land; (2) the change in government from judges to a king (3)
David is anointed as king; (4) after David’s death, the one kingdom is divided into two—
the Northern kingdom and the Southern kingdom; (5) the destruction of the northern
kingdom; and (6) the captivity and return of the southern kingdom from Babylon.
Here are brief summaries of the themes of the twelve books in this significant section of
the Old Testament:
Joshua: The conquest and settlement of the Promised Land (Canaan). The people of
Israel are characterized by obedience and of following in God’s way. Main events include
the crossing of the Jordan River and the taking of the walled city of Jericho. The book is
named for the Israelite who led Israel during this time—Joshua. A key feature in the
book is “land”, and main people include Joshua and Caleb.
Judges: The nation of Israel is rescued by a series of judges, or military leaders.
Three of the best-known deliverers were Deborah, Gideon, and Samson. God can be
counted upon to judge sin, but all the more to forgive and restore those who repent.
Disobedience is a key feature in the book.
Ruth: A beautiful story of God’s love and care as it was extended also to people who
did not know the true God. Ruth was an ancestor of Jesus. The book shows us how
common, ordinary people, as they are trusting of God, will be used mightily of Him. Key
people are Ruth and Boaz.
1 and 2 Samuel: The early history of Israel, including the first kings of Israel, Saul
and David. Key figures are Eli, Hannah, Samuel, Jonathan, Saul, and David. Special
emphasis is placed upon the rise and fall of King David. King Saul’s story is one of the
most tragic in the Bible.
1 and 2 Kings: A political history of Israel focusing on the reigns of selected kings
from the time of Solomon to the captivity of the Jewish people by the Babylonians. Main
people in these books include David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Jeroboam, the queen of
Sheba, and Elijah the prophet. King Solomon was one the wisest men of all time, and his
building of the temple in Jerusalem was one of the world’s grandest buildings.
1 and 2 Chronicles: A religious history of Israel, covering the same period as 2
Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. These books were written after Israel’s return from exile in
Ezra: The book details the return of the Jewish people from captivity in Babylon to
Jerusalem. A key feature of the book is God’s faithfulness to His promise of returning
His people to their land after a 70 year exile. Key figures are Cyrus, King of Persia,
Zerubbabel, Haggai, and Ezra. The book also tells of the rebuilding of the Temple and
religious improvements in Israel.
Nehemiah: The book tells of the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem after the Jewish
exiles returned from Babylon. Led by Nehemiah, the people were encouraged by his
leadership and trust in God. This book has a focus of the political structure and restoring
Jerusalem to its right role of spiritual and political center of the Jews.
Esther: God’s care for His people under the rule of a foreign (Persian) king. God’s
hand of protection and guidance is very evident in the book, although God’s name
appears nowhere in the entire book! A key feature is seeing how God is always in control
and puts people in the right place at the right time. Main people include Esther, Haman,
Mordecai, and Xerxes.
Please answer the following questions:
1. Read Joshua 1:1-9. Write out three great truths, principles, or observations that
you make from these verses.
2. Read Judges 2:6-13. Write out two great truths, principles, or observations that
you make from these verses.
3. Read 1 Samuel 15:13-23. Write out two things you learn from this passage.
4. Read 1 Samuel 16:7. What does the Lord look at? How does this compare to what
we often look at?
5. Read 1 Kings 8:54-61. What do these verses say about God’s word and promises?
What do they say about our hearts?
6. Read 1 Kings 17:1-24. What two great things happen in this passage? How much
did the widow trust Elijah?
7. Read 2 Kings 19:14-19 & 19:30-37. What do these verses teach us about God?
What do they teach us about Hezekiah?
8. Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-25. What do we learn about King Jehoshaphat in this
passage? What do we learn about God?
9. Read Nehemiah 8:1-8. What do we learn about the way the people worshipped in
Nehemiah’s day? What was a very important part of their worship?
10. Read Esther 4:6-14. This is the key passage in the book of Esther. How would
verse 14 apply to our own lives?
11. Match to correct words with their definition:
__________ God’s people of the Old Testament
__________ a place given to the Hebrew people
__________ a great prophet of God
__________ a Hebrew queen
__________ leader of the people in the conquest of Canaan
___________ the first king of Israel
Promised Land
__________ an enemy of God’s in the Promised land
__________ an enemy who took Israel into exile
__________ a spy in Canaan
12. A main portion of our memory work for this unit of study will be the
memorization of all the books of the Old Testament in order. Can you write out the
books of the Pentateuch and the Historical books without looking at your cheat
sheet yet? Try it here.