Research Proposal: Old Testament Summary Genesis

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Old Testament Summary

Genesis: Genesis is a historical narrative/creation myth concerning the history of the world from its creation to the arrival of the Hebrews in Egypt (Fee & Douglas, 1993). Adam and Eve eat from the tree of knowledge against God's will and are banished from the Garden of Eden. Mankind grows evil and God sends a flood; only Noah and his family are spared. God makes a covenant with Abraham, and Jacob eventually leads the Hebrews to Egypt.

Exodus: After suffering many generations enslaved by the Egyptians, Moses leads the Hebrews out of Egypt. Pharaoh and the Egyptians suffer the ten plagues before this is accomplished. Part narrative and part law, this book also deals with the receiving of the Ten Commandments and the Pentateuch at Sinai. Moses, Aaron, and the Pharaoh are major figures in this book.

Leviticus: This book fits entirely into the genre of law. It deals with the duties of the Levites, the holy priests of the ancient temple. Specific laws detailed include animal sacrifice, what is permissible to eat, and laws concerning moral purity. The Sabbath day and year, as well as the Jubilee year, are mentioned in this book. Some laws/omissions represent "toleration" by God later rescinded (Harbin, 2005).

Numbers: Returning to the historical narrative where it was left off in Exodus, Numbers contains the episode of the Golden Calf. This leads to the punishment of wandering for forty years, until no one from the sinful generation is left to enter Israel. Joshua is selected to replace Moses as the leader. Also contains the incident of Moses striking a rock to bring forth water, angering God.

Deuteronomy: This book repeats many of the laws found in Leviticus and elsewhere, though it also contains moments of narrative. Moses recounts the journey and battles faced by the Israelites during their wandering in the desert. He repeats some of the laws, and makes predictions. Among these predictions is the return of the Israelites to idol worship and the punishment this will bring, and the coming of a prophet to lead them again, which has been interpreted as a prediction of Jesus' coming.

Joshua: Details the capture and occupation of Canaan. Historical narrative continues to describe the first seven years of the Israelites' return to their homeland. Contains the stories of Joshua's spies in Jericho and the tumbling of the walls from the sounds of trumpets. Battles continue to win the cities of Canaan, usually with no survivors, "o prepare for a Messiah whose mission was to redeem the world" (Harbin, 2005). Also contains description of how the land was divided amongst the peoples of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Judges: The historical narrative of the early days of the ancient nation of Israel continues in this book. The Israelites continually turn to the idol worship practiced by their Canaanite neighbors and suffer divine retribution. Judges are raised up by God to lead the Israelites back to a righteous path, but they are often unheeded. Deborah is one of the most significant figures in this book die to her wisdom and victory in battle, and also as an ancient female leader.

Ruth: Though taking palace at the same time as the book of Judges, Ruth is almost more of a parable than an historical narrative. As such, it should be read as having a specific point. Having converted to the Hebrew religion, Ruth eventually marries Boaz and becomes the grandmother of David by this marriage, making her a direct ancestor of Jesus though her faith.

Samuel 1: Continuing historical narrative describing the transition from Judges to Kings as the leaders of Israel (Fee & Douglas, 1993). Begins with the miracle of Samuel's birth after his mother's praying and Samuel's life in training for the priesthood. Continues to describe the rise of Saul to power and his reign. Saul and Samuel form the two most major figures of this first book attributed to the priest.

Samuel 2: The chief figure in this portion of the continuing historical narrative is David. Samuel details how David reaches the throne and his action as king including his adulteries and effective murders (Harbin, 2005). Nathan, a prophet, tells David that God has chosen his on to build the Holy Temple. The birth of Solomon is also recorded here. Another important event is David's taking a census of fighting men, which showed a lack of faith and started a plague.

Kings 1: This book is concerned almost entirely with the reign of Solomon. David gives the throne to Solomon after his death. Solomon prays for and is granted great wisdom, which is contingent upon his following the Lord's ways. The parable-like story of the "decision" to split a baby in two revealing the true mother is in this book. The temple is built. Solomon is the only major figure of this book. On his death, the kingdom is split into North and South (Harbin, 2005).

Kings 2: Detailing the time of the two kingdoms until their exile, this book records the nineteen kings of Israel and the twenty kings of Judah. The ten tribes of Israel are eventually captured and put into exile by the Assyrians. The southern tribes of Judea are exiled to Babylon, where they manage to hang on to their religion to a greater degree than the southern tribes.

Chronicles 1: The two books that make up the Chronicles recount the same time period as the books of Samuel and Kings. Traditionally supposed to be written by Ezra, these books supplement much of the information contained by the earlier texts with a postexilic view (Harbin, 2005). The first book has Saul dying because of his unfaithfulness to God. There is an extensive genealogy of David. Various officials, priests, Levites, and even singers are listed. The book closes with an account of David giving Solomon his plans for the Holy Temple.

Chronicles 2: Picking up right where Chronicles 1 left off, this narrative describes Solomon's building of the Temple. Other incidents of later kings are recorded as well, though only in the kingdom of Judah. Jehosaphat and Hezekiah are especially important in terms of showing the relationship of the kings to God and the affect this had on their history. Describes the exile in Babylon, and its eventual end after the take over by Persia and the decision made by the Persian king to send the Hebrews back to their homeland for them to build another Temple.

Ezra: Ezra tells much of the same story as Chronicles, but from a narrower focus. This book is a rather dry narrative with extensive lists of people returning from exile after Cyrus' decision to send the Hebrews home. Zerubbabel and others attempt to rebuild the Temple, but are stopped by others. Eventually, intervention by King Darius allows the Temple to be built. Ezra arrives in Jerusalem and gathers people to teach laws of God to the Persians, and another list of his followers is given.

Nehemiah: Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem sometime after Ezra and becomes governor of Judah under the Artaxerxes (Harbin, 2005). He rebuilds the walls and gates of the Temple and city. This book also contains mention of Ezra's reading of the law to the people. Nehemiah convinces the people not to intermarry, something which both he and Ezra deplored. The means of supporting the Levite priest class is established by Nehemiah, too.

Esther: This is the only book of the Old Testament in which God's name does not appear. it, too, is a historical narrative, yet also has some parable-like qualities (Fee & Douglas, 1993). It tells the story of Esther who was made Queen by Ahasuerus (likely Artaxerxes II). Haman developed a plot to kill the Jews in Persia to get back at Esther's uncle and guardian Mordecai, but Esther managed to convince the king to save them. Mordecai is at least as major a figure as Esther in this book.

Job: The book of Job is considered a poetical work. It is contemporaneous to the story of Abraham (Harbin, 2005). In it, God and Satan basically wager over Job's faith. A series of hardships occur to Job, and Satan is convinced that this will make Job lose his faith in God. Yet through it all, Job retains his faith, and God rewards him for his loyalty and piety by replacing all the wealth and love that he had lost during the trials of the bet God made.

Psalms: Attributed wholly to David (Harbin, 2005). These songs of worship cover many topics, from God's help in battle to his peacefulness and love. Also considered poetical or wisdom works like Job, they contain much of the philosophy and theology of the ancient Israelites and the resulting world religions.

Proverbs: Attributed to Solomon (Harbin, 2005). Also belonging to the wisdom genre, as is befitting given their ostensible author, the book of Proverbs deals more with conventional wisdom and philosophy than religion itself. At the same time, the precepts contained in the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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