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The Historical Books

The Historical Books
by Timothy Kenney, PhD

The Historical Books consist of the next sixteen books of the Orthodox Bible, or Holy Scripture, (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I&II Samuel, I&II Kings, I&II Chronicles, Nehemiah, Esdras, Ezra, Tobias, Judith, Esther, I-IV Maccabees). These books were composed at different times and places but have been arranged in a sequence that tells the story of God’s people from the occupation of Canaan through the rise and fall of the northern and southern kingdoms, and the return and rebuilding of Jerusalem in the Persian period. Therefore, the historical books do not provide a chronological history, but instead look at certain important times and leaders.

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The Historical Books of the Old Testament cover the life of the Jewish people from the time they entered the Promised Land under Joshua the son of Nun (1451 BC) to the time of the Maccabees (150 BC). The books of Joshua and Judges cover the earliest period in the history of the Israelites, when the Jewish tribes that populated the Promised Land had not yet been united into one state. The books of Kings and Chronicles cover a time when the history of the Israelites were governed by monarchy, a period that lasted about five hundred years. This period ended with the fall of the Kingdom of Judah and the beginning of the Babylonian captivity in 586 BC. The books of Esdras, Ezra, Nehemiah, Judith and Esther tell us of the events that followed the Babylonian captivity and of the restoration of Jerusalem. Finally, the books of the Maccabees cover the last period of the Old Testament history of the Israelites, as they were fighting for independence several hundred years before Christ.

Let us begin our look into the Historical Books by turning our attention first to the Book of Joshua.

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