Survey of the Old Testament


Genesis– The title of the book is from the Greek word “Genesis” which means beginning. Each of our Old Testament Books have a Greek title that in many cases gives us a clue as to what subject we will find covered in the book. The book of Genesis covers a period of about 2,300 years and gives us an account of the beginning of the World, the beginning of Man, the fall of man, the beginning of the Hebrew Nation, the Flood, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and the origin of kingdoms and nations. The author was Moses.

Exodus– The Greek word “Exodus” means exit or departure. The book of Exodus gives the account of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. It tells of the 400 years in Egypt, the Exodus out of Egypt, the giving of the Ten Commandments and the Tabernacle. It is also the beginning of the story of the life of Moses which continues in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Exodus was written by Moses.

Leviticus– The word “Leviticus” means pertaining to Levites. The book contains the Laws regulating the Levitical priests. The tribe of Levi was set apart for the work of God. One family of Levites, Aaron and Sons, were set apart to be Priests with the rest of the Levites as assistants to the Priests. The Levites were to take care of and offer services in the Tabernacle and later the Temple, they were to be Teachers, Scribes, Musicians, Officers and Judges. Moses wrote Leviticus.

Numbers– The book is called “Numbers” because it covers the Forty years that the Children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, and because it contains the census taken at Mt. Sinai which showed that Israel was comprised of 603, 550 males above the age of 20, excluding the Levites. Numbers was written by Moses.

Deuteronomy – The Greek word “Deuteronomy” means second law. The Law of Moses was given in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. As the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years all the fighting men of war who came up out of Egypt died due to unfaithfulness. Therefore, the Law of Moses needed to be recorded again for another generation. This book predicts the coming of a Prophet like Moses (Deut. 19:15-19), a reference to Jesus, words that Jesus quoted to the Devil (Deut. 6:13, 16; 8:3), a recounting of History, rehearsal of principal laws, solemn warnings and Moses’ farewell address. Deuteronomy was written by Moses.

Joshua– The book of Joshua concerns itself with the change in leadership from Moses to Joshua and includes the crossing of the Jordan on dry land, the fall of Jericho, victories over the Canaanites and the conquest and settlement of the land of Palestine. Joshua was written by Joshua.

Judges– The book of Judges tells us about the History of the Hebrew Nation during the time of the “Judges.” This is the period of time immediately after the death of Joshua and lasting for some 300 years. There was no central government in Israel at this time, the only unifying force in Israel was their God. God intended to be the direct ruler of the nation through the Judges he selected to be his spokesmen, but the people did not take their relationship to God very seriously and they suffered through alternate oppressions and deliverance’s. In Judges a cycle is seen over and over again of service to God, service to sin, oppression by the enemies of God’s people due to their sin, and a return to God to serve Him. The author of Judges is unknown.

Ruth– The book of Ruth is the story about Ruth who was the great grandmother of King David. A Jewish couple (Elimelech and Naomai) who had two sons were forced to leave Bethlehem due to the famine in their country and settle in Moab. Both sons married Moabite women. After ten years the father and both boys had died. Ruth, widow of one of the boys returned with Naomi to Bethlehem where she was discovered by Boaz gleaning in his fields. Boaz took her in marriage. Boaz was the son of Rahab (Josh 2:1) therefore David’s great grandmother was Moabite, and his great grandfather was half Canaanite foreshadowing a Messiah for all nations. The setting for the book of Ruth is the time of Judges. The author of Judges is likely Ruth herself.

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