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EXEGESIS > Old Testament > History          


For Protestants, generally speaking, the books of History—twelve books relating the history of ancient Israel—begin with Joshua and end with Esther, a period covering nearly 1,000 years. Detailed in these books are the conquest of Canaan under Joshua; the period of the Judges; the kingdom under the first three kings (Saul, David, and Solomon); the division of the kingdom into Israel in the north and Judah in the south; the decline of both sections and the subsequent captivity of Israel by Assyria and Judah by Babylon; and the return to and restoration of the southern territory under Ezra and Nehemiah.

The organization of the Hebrew Bible is different from the Bibles of Christians. Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings comprise the Former Prophets, which is part of a larger division, the Prophets (the other part of the Prophets is the Minor Prophets). Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Ruth, and Esther belong to the Writings. The three major divisions of the Hebrew Bible are: Law, Prophets, and Writings.

For this website the following division of the Old Testament is used: Pentateuch, History, Writings, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets.

Prominent themes in the Historical Books are: God’s Sovereign control over Israel and all other nations; the persistent departure of the people from the one and true God and their pursuit after false gods, the gods of the surrounding nations; the patience and longsuffering of God in the face of the people’s constant rebellion against His commands; God’s eventual and effectual determination to punish wrongdoing; the people’s recurring repentance that was always seemingly brief and without endurance; and the longing of the people for a future and better day, which prompted the people to turn to God for help even in the midst of His judgment upon them.




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