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Bible Books Summary

Session 8: Section 2

Overview of the books of the Bible (Part 4)

In the last "overview" section (Session 6, Section 1) we left off with the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians. The Assyrians then turned their attention to the southern kingdom.

This time we follow the southern kingdom of Judah from the reign of Hezekiah to when the kingdom was destroyed. At this time they were taken to Babylon, where they stayed for seventy years. At the end of the seventy years, they returned to the land of Israel. The next phase in the story leads up to the birth of Christ.

This is a not an easy period to understand, so it will help you to look at the time chart again Ė (part 1 and part 2 ).

2 Kings 18 and 19
The Assyrians invaded Judah, conquering virtually all the kingdom except the city of Jerusalem. This occurred during the time when Hezekiah was King of Judah.
An Assyrian soldier from the palace of Sargon II. He had a curled beard, and held a quiver and bow, heavy club and sword.
Isaiah 36 and 37

The king of Assyria came with a vast army which surrounded Jerusalem while Hezekiah was king. They called for Hezekiahís surrender. The Assyrians had overcome all the gods of the other nations, so they thought that they could conquer Israel. They thought that the God of Israel was no different from the gods of the other nations.


Hezekiah took the problem to God in prayer. Isaiah brought an answer from God:

Open Bible
Read Isaiah 37 v 33 to 35

We see Godís dramatic response:

Open Bible Read Isaiah 37 v 36

This is a graphic example of Godís deliverance, because He wanted to show that He was different from all other gods.

2 Kings 21

Hezekiahís reign was followed by two very wicked kings, Manasseh and Amon. It was because of the wickedness of Manasseh that God told them that their nation would be taken into captivity for a period of seventy years.

The seventy years captivity was foretold by Jeremiah:


Open Bible

Read Jeremiah 29 v 10


2 Kings 22

The next king, Josiah, was a good king. When Josiah became king at a very young age, he removed the idols which past kings had established.

While clearing out the temple, the priests found a book of the law.

Josiah had the book read and was concerned because clearly the nation had strayed away from God. And so Josiah made further efforts to remove idol worship.

Unfortunately, these efforts were short lived as Josiah died prematurely in a battle against Egypt.

2 Kings 23 v 31
to 2 Kings 24 v 20

As a result of Josiahís death, his sons came to power and the next four kings are wicked. These are Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah. Zedekiah was the last king.

2 Kings 25

During Zedekiahís reign, the Babylonians invaded. Jerusalem was ransacked and the Temple was destroyed.

The southern kingdom was then taken captive to Babylon for seventy years.

Towards the end of the seventy years, Babylon was conquered by the Medes and Persians, and a decree was granted allowing the Jews to restore the Temple.

An artistís impression of "great Babylon".

Ezra and Nehemiah

Zerubbabel, Joshua, Ezra and Nehemiah were leaders at various times. There were several interruptions to the rebuilding as the surrounding nations interfered, but eventually, through a series of decrees, the Temple and the city walls were constructed.

Haggai and Zechariah

Haggai and Zechariah were prophets who encouraged the people in their job of building the Temple.

Esther

The book of Esther also enters into this time period. Esther was married to a king of Persia and she interceded when there was a plot to destroy the Jews. The Feast of Purim, still kept by orthodox Jews today, is a celebration of this event.

Leading up to Christ

There is a period of silence from God for 400 years.

The Persian kingdom was conquered by the Greek empire.

The region of Israel was now ruled by the Greeks, who encouraged harmony and practised religious tolerance for a time.

The Greek empire was divided and Israel became a place of dispute between two sections of the Greek empire.

Antiochus Epiphanes was a particularly cruel Greek ruler over the land of Israel. He imposed terrible evil on the Jews and humiliated them in their worship. As a result of this, a Jewish family known as the Maccabees rose in revolt, reclaimed Jerusalem and purified the Temple.

The Jews ruled their land for a short time until the Roman empire swallowed up the Greek empire and asserted control over the area then known as Palestine, which included the land of Israel.

.......... And so this sets the scene for the New Testament period.

Optional Assignment 11

Overview of the books of the Bible

Continue making your own summary of the Bible story using the references we have given you and add it to your summaries from assignments 6 and 8.

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