The Hebrew Scriptures, what we call the Old Testament is the story of a People & their God. But it's also the story of a People & their Land. Therefore one of the quickest ways to understand the history and storyline of the Old Testament is to look at a map . . . or maybe a few maps.
Act I Abraham & Sarah begin the story. (2000 BC)
The red line below traces Abraham & Sarah's trip from Ur to the Holy Land. In Genesis 12 God calls them to leave their homeland and go to a new land where God promises to make them a great nation. They started walking . . . . and the rest is history, the history of the Israelites.
Act II Patriarchs & Matriarchs
Generation #1: Abraham & Sarah settle in the Promised Land, called Canaan & Palastine in ancient times.
Generation #2: Isaac & Rebekkah give birth to Jacob & Esau
Generation #3: Jacob & Rachel & Leah & 2 servants have 12 Sons.
Their families become the 12 Tribes of Israel
Act III Jacob's Family relocates to Egypt
Act IV The Exodus (around 1450 BC)
Act V Joshua leads the Israelites into the Promised Land
Joshua leads the Israelites into the Promised Land.
Then a series of "Judges" (military rulers, including Deborah) leads the nation.
But the Israelites want a king just like all the other nations.
Act VI United Kingdom - Saul, David, Solomon (1000 BC)
|Israel is about the size of New Jersey, but without Newark.|
David was a flawed but great king, writing about half of the psalms.
Solomon was said to be the wisest man who ever lived. Israel's a great power.
Act VII Civil War - The Nation Divided after Solomon's Reign
The Southern Kindgom is called Judah (includes Jerusalem).
Act IIX Defeat & Exile - Babylonian Captivity
The Southern Kingdom falls to the Babylonians, 586 BC.
Notice that they're almost back where Abraham & Sarah started from - Ur!
Act IX The Return of the Exiles
538 BC 1st group returns under Zerubbabel
458 BC 2nd group returns under Ezra
432 BC Last group returns under Nehemiah
That's the history, geography and story of the Old Testament. It's a story Christians need to know. For as Paul wrote:
Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for your faithfulness to the Israelites and to us. Make us a faith-filled people who know you, follow you and make your goodness known to others; for we like the Israelites have been "blessed to be a blessing." Amen.