1 The Lord said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated, and the people he had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the site of Shechem, at the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 But the Lord appeared to Abram and said, "I will give this land to your offspring." So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. 8 From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and worshiped Him. 9 Then Abram journeyed by stages to the Negev. 10 There was a famine in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine in the land was severe. 11 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "Look, I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' They will kill me but let you live. 13 Please say you're my sister so it will go well for me because of you, and my life will be spared on your account." 14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 Pharaoh's officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh, so the woman was taken to Pharaoh's house. 16 He treated Abram well because of her, and Abram acquired flocks and herds, male and female donkeys, male and female slaves, and camels. 17 But the Lord struck Pharaoh and his house with severe plagues because of Abram's wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh sent for Abram and said, "What have you done to me? Why didn't you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, 'She's my sister,' so that I took her as my wife? Now, here's your wife. Take her and go!" 20 Then Pharaoh gave [his] men orders about him, and they sent him away, with his wife and all he had. — Genesis 12
What Is the Historical Context (Old Testament)?
by Roger Severino
This week we are taking a break from our normal devotionals to equip all of us to be better students of reading, interpreting, and applying the Bible. Next week’s devotionals will go back to reading a specific Scripture passage which relates to our new study, “God’s Unfolding Story.”
OLD TESTAMENT TIMELINE
The timeline below was designed to accompany the 13 lessons in our new Foundations Study: Encountering Christ in Scripture: Venture In. After the introductory chapter based on Luke 24, the remaining lessons follow a chronological sequence of important events in Old Testament history and, more notably, signficant events in salvation history.
In Genesis 1-11 we highlight the importance and implications of Creation (Genesis 1-2) and the Fall (Genesis 3). The actual timeline begins with Abraham who lived around 2,000 B.C. and continues with some of the important characters in the storyline, most of whom are covered in our study.
You will notice that the timeline divides after Solomon because following his reign the kingdom is split between the north (Israel) and the south (Judah). Later, the Northern Kingdom falls to Assyria around 722 B.C. and the Southern Kingdom is conquered by Babylon, with the destruction of Jerusalem’s walls and temple around 586 B.C.
The dotted line that comes after this event represents the period known as the Exile, when many of those in the Southern Kingdom are deported from the land. The solid line resumes about 70 years later when the Jews are allowed by the Persians to return to their homeland, and they begin to rebuild the temple and the city walls. We end with Nehemiah because chronologically he is one of the last figures in Old Testament history.
The various nations on this timeline do not represent signficant geography per se, but rather are attempts to reflect the major world powers that would have had a direct impact on Israel (or the Hebrews) throughout Old Testament history.
There is a lot more that could be added to this timeline, but we have intentionally kept it simple with the hope that its simplicity and ease will make it user friendly.
CLICK HERE to view Old Testament Timeline
History: Can you identify the chronology of the following:
- Which world powers dominated Israel (or its land) in sequence: Greece, Persia, Egypt, Rome, Babylon, Assyria?
- Which people show up in the Bible in historical sequence: Moses, Ezra, Abraham, David, Paul the Apostle, Jacob, Solomon, King Saul?
- What happened to the Kingdom of Israel after the reign of Solomon? When did the Northern Kingdom fall (and to whom)? When did the Southern Kingdom fall (and to whom)? Approximately when did the southern exiles begin to return to Judah? Which nation / empire allowed this?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.