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Report
Mike Bryant
First Lutheran Church
Course Overview
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Or
Old Testament History in 2 Slides or Less
Course Overview
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1. Origins: the Israelites before ca. 1200 B.C.
 Sojourn in Egypt
 The Exodus
 Emergence in Canaan
2. Toward a kingdom (1200-931 B.C.)
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Era of the Judges
The Philistines
Foundation of the monarchy
David & Solomon
Course Overview
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3. The Kingdom Divided
 Israel: the northern kingdom (931-722 B.C.)
 Israel falls to the Assyrians
 Judah: the southern kingdom (931-586 B.C.)
 The Babylonian captivity
4. A Conquered People
 Persian rule: Cyrus the Great (539-332 B.C.)
 Greek rule: Alexander, Ptolemies and Seleucids (332164 B.C.)
 Independence under the Maccabees (164-63 B.C.)
 Roman rule
Review 1
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 Egypt & Canaan
 Trade, then migration, then hostilities
 Hyksos (Canaanite) rule (1650 B.C. – 1550 B.C.)
 Dating the Exodus
 No firm evidence, biblical or otherwise
 Stela of Pharaoh Merneptah, 1208 B.C. mentions Israel
 Israelite origins
 Archaeological record begins 1200 B.C.
 Links to Hyksos and habiru
Toward a Kingdom
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Defining Israelite
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 By 1200 B.C. a people calling themselves Israel
and/or Hebrews existed in Canaan
 Multiple tribes but belief in a common ancestor:
Abraham
 Belief in a shared history: the Exodus
 Worship one god: Yahweh
The Cult of Yahweh
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 YHWH: the Hebrew name for God
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No vowels in ancient Hebrew
Original pronunciation unknown
Yahweh most common rendering
Jehovah another
 Yahweh the god who revealed himself to Abraham &
Moses
 Covenant between Yahweh and Israelites
 An “exclusivity agreement”
The Cult of Yahweh
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 Midianite origins?
 Midian one of Abraham’s sons
(Genesis 25)
 Moses visits Midian after
fleeing Egypt
Moses was minding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, priest of Midian. He
led the flock along the side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain
of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the flame of a burning
bush.
Exodus 3:1-2
The Cult of Yahweh
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 Possible Egyptian references to
a god named Yahweh
 13th century BC
 Shasu-Bedu—southeast of
Dead Sea & Sinai
The Cult of Yahweh
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 Monotheism or henotheism?
 Henotheism: only one god is worshipped but existence
of other gods is acknowledged
Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord…
Who among the gods, O Lord, is like you?
Among the gods, not one is like you, O Lord…
Exodus 15
Psalms 86:8
You shall have no other god to set against me…you shall not bow down to
them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous god.
Exodus 20
The Cult of Yahweh
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 The Tabernacle: original shrine of Yahweh
 Hebrew for “dwelling place”—i.e., for the Divine
presence
 A tent constructed according to God’s specifications,
described in Exodus
 An outer chamber and
 the holy of holies
The Cult of Yahweh
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 The Ark of the Covenant
 Holds tablets containing 10 commandments
 God’s throne?
From the cover, between the two
Cherubim over the Ark, I shall deliver
to you all my commands to Israelites.
Exodus 25:22
The Ark of God, which bears the name
of The Lord of Hosts, who is
enthroned upon the cherubim
2 Samuel 6:2
The Cult of Yahweh
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 The Ark of the Covenant
 Priests of Yahweh carry it before the army to ensure
victory
When they came to a certain threshing
floor, the oxen [transporting the Ark]
stumbled, and Uzzah reached out to
the Ark of God and took hold of it.
The Lord was angry with Uzzah and
struck him down for his rash act.
2 Samuel 6:6-7
The Judges
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 Bible presents judges as a series of 12 national
leaders
 Reality is probably that judges were local, leading
their tribe, or possibly a confederation of a few tribes
 The Song of Deborah (Ch5), describing a battle, lists 10
tribes, 4 of whom did not join the fight
 Later chapters describe fighting amongst the tribes
 Abimelech described as “prince over Israel for 3
years” (Ch9) but details of his rise and fall are all
localized in Shechem
The Judges
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 What is a biblical judge?
 No concept of permanent government
 Settling disputes only peacetime “government”
 Judge=Hebrew word shaphet
 Local wise folk gain authority by charisma and
reputation for fairness
At that time Deborah wife of Lappidoth, a prophetess, was judge in Israel.
It was her custom to sit beneath the Palm-tree of Deborah and the
Israelites went up to her for justice.
Judges 4:4-5
The Judges
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 What is a biblical judge?
 No concept of permanent government
 Charisma equated with divine favor: “the Spirit of
Yahweh” was upon them
 Deborah described also as a prophetess
 Office of judge not hereditary; 12 described arise
spontaneously in different tribes
The Judges
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 What is a biblical judge?
 Occasional military leaders
 “Judge” only concept of a leader though judging and
military leadership very different
 Same wise charismatic people trusted to judge are
turned to in times of military crisis
The Judges
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 Growing distinction between military and judicial
leaders without corresponding terminology
 Deborah
Female judge but as a woman cannot lead army
Appoints Barak to act as general
Barak agrees only on condition that she accompany him
She warns that his eventual victory will bring him no
glory because the enemy will “fall into the hands of a
woman;” he goes anyway
 Song of Deborah (Ch5) considered oldest fragment in the
Bible—very similar to ancient Canaanite battle poems
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The Judges
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 Growing distinction between military and judicial
leaders without corresponding terminology
 Gideon
 Midianites have conquered “Israel”
 Gideon arises as a military hero apparently out of
nowhere: “look at my clan: it is the weakest in
Manasseh and I am the least in my father’s family”
 Gideon’s people try to offer him permanent leadership
and a dynasty
The Judges
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 Growing distinction between military and judicial
leaders without corresponding terminology
 Gideon
 Midianites have conquered “Israel”
 Gideon arises as a military hero apparently out of
nowhere: “look at my clan: it is the weakest in
Manasseh and I am the least in my father’s family”
 Gideon’s people try to offer him permanent leadership
and a dynasty
The Judges
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 What is happening during the era of the Judges?
 Conflict and co-existence with Canaanites
 Battles against Canaanite kings, absorption of Canaanite
territory
 Deborah/Barak vs. Jabin, Canaanite King of Hazor
 Apparent peaceful blending with Canaanites as
evidenced by repeated flirtation with pagan cults of Baal
and Asherah
 Judge Gideon also has a Canaanite name: Jerub-Baal (let
Baal plead)
 Bible explains this as a nickname for tearing down Baal’s
altar
The Judges
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 What is happening during the era of the Judges?
 Conflicts with Trans-Jordanian peoples:
 Arameans, Amonnites, Moabites, Midianites
 Israelites—or at least some tribes—temporarily succumb
to foreign rulers
 Conflicts among the Israelite tribes
 “All the Israelites from Dan to Beersheba” join forces
against Benjamites
 Punishment for disturbing story in chapter 19
 Conflicts with the Philistines
The Philistines
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 One of the “Sea Peoples” described by the Egyptians
 Vikings of the Mediterranean world
 Egyptian word is Peleset
 Generally equated to Aegean Pelasgians
 Inhabitants of Greece and/or Western Asia Minor
 Archaeological finds similar to Mycenaean Greece
 First mentioned by Homer in The Iliad as allies of Troy
"I will tell you truly all," replied Dolon. "To the seaward lie the Carians, the
Paeonian bowmen, the Leleges, the Cauconians, and the noble Pelasgi.”
The Iliad, Book X
The Philistines
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 Carve out a niche in
southwestern Palestine (modern
Gaza strip) beginning around
1200 B.C.
 “Palestine” derived from
Philistine
 Possibly settled as vassals by
Egypt
 Five city-states
The Philistines
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 Conflict with Israelites: Dan
 Philistia’s northern neighbor
 Samson a Danite
 Migration of Dan
The Philistines
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 Capture the Ark
 Philistines camp near Aphek
 Israelites take Ark from Shiloh, hoping for divine
assistance in battle
 Philistines rout Israelites, kill sons of Priest Eli
 Move Ark from town to town, but Yahweh plagues locals
with hemorrhoids
 Finally move Ark into temple of major god, Dagon
 Statue of Dagon found prostrated before Ark, twice
 Philistines rid themselves of the Ark
The Monarchy
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 A response to Philistine threat
 Samuel, king-maker
 Judge and prophet
 Saul, a Benjamite, chosen
 Anointed by Samuel
 Initial victory over Amonites
 Early victories over Philistines
 Breaks their strangle-hold on iron trade
David
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 David & Saul
 Lyre-player in Saul’s court
 Soothes king when “evil spirit” afflicted him
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Fells the Philistine giant Goliath
Slays 200 Philistines to earn princess’s hand
His military successes earn Saul’s jealousy
David and his band flee into the wilderness
 Becomes a mercenary leader, fights for Philistines
David
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 David King (ca. 1010 B.C.)
 Saul dies in battle
 Ish-Bosheth succeeds but Judah
recognizes David
 Ish-Bosheth murdered, kingdom
united
 David’s conquests
 Zenith of Israel’s political power
 Jebusite (Canaanite) city of
Jerusalem—David’s capital
Solomon
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 Solomon King (ca. 970-931 B.C.)
 Disputed succession
 Son of David’s Jebusite wife,
Bathsheba
 Continues David’s glory
 Builds Temple
 Respected world leader
 Marries Pharaoh’s daughter
 Allied with Hiram of Tyre
 Visited by Queen of Sheba
Solomon
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 Decline begins
 Loses Aram in north and Edom
 Revolt of Jeroboam
 Foreman of forced laborers
 Conspires against Solomon, is
discovered and flees to Egypt

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