Easy Bible History for Dummies, with an excursis on why Persia is so much less threatening than Iran

Right about now in Gospel Doctrine classes, everyone should nearing the Divided Kingdom stories, when Jereboam breaks off and takes 10 tribes with him, and we get two Israelite kingdoms (Israel and Judah) with two Israelite kings (Reheboam and Jereboam.)

And coincidentally  right about now, it gets darn hard to keep everyone straight. Instead of one  story, we’re now switching back and forth between narrative of the northern kingdom and narrative of the southern kingdom, like in Lord of the Rings where you have multiple groups to keep track of. Worse, actually, because kings get replaced left and right, there’s a series of prophets with odd names in the north and south, and frankly even for Bible nerds and academics, it’s hard to maintain a good mental picture of who’s who and when. And frankly, I’m not going to try on the Israelite side. (Here’s a chart of the kings, dates and passages from the Institute manual. Here’s one with more data and colorized according to empire, not sure where I got this from.)

On the international scene, though, this is the time we start to hear about some of the other big players. We’ve encountered Egypt before, and will again (KJV “Shishak“/Sheshonq invades the S. Kingdom of Judah around 920 and ransacks Solomon’s temple, 1 Kings 14:25.) Egypt is pretty hard to confuse with any other nation though. No one ever says, “I was in… Egypt? Or was it Sweden? I confuse the two.” Why not? Egypt has these

and these

plus that whole Bible Exodus/slavery thing, brought repeatedly to public knowledge by Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter and “Mozez.” Or Prince of Egypt.

But when we come to the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians, no one can really tell them apart, or know when they were around and important.

So, here’s what I do with my Institute classes.

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  • Emily U

    That was interesting. I’m in Nursery now, and I feel like I’m missing out on some good OT stuff, so it’s nice to get some of that here.

  • http://www.lifeongoldplates.com/ BHodges

    What a great way to remember. Nicely done.

  • carrie monson

    my favorite part of this posting? “I was in… Egypt? Or was it Sweden? I confuse the two.” hilarious.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen M (Ethesis)

    Couple things, I’d much prefer a single page layout as an available option.

    Second, what about getting into the Philistines.

    Where they:

    (a) Phoenicians?
    (b) (i) Hellenic Greeks (including Greek mercenaries serving in Egyptian armies)?
    (b) (ii) Post-Achaean Greeks?
    (c) Native Semitic peoples (including Hyksos and others)?
    (d) Native non-Semitic peoples?
    (e) Other migratory peoples?
    (f) all of the above (depending on the time).

    The fact that the answer appears to be some sort of (f) makes for interesting discussions.

  • Ben S

    I talked about the Philistines (and Sea Peoples) a bit in one of the podcasts on David, a few weeks back.

  • Neylan

    SO helpful. Thanks Ben as always.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen M (Ethesis)

    Ben, is there a transcript somewhere?

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen M (Ethesis)

    I ask having downloaded the transcripts I could find and not having seen in either the word doc or the pdf the material you are referring to.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen M (Ethesis)

    Ah, found a transcript I missed, you put the Philistines as Cretans. No Mycenaean influence at all.

    I’d still say my (f) is a better description, but I could well be wrong.

    I think the military band that David led for a while was probably more Greek than Cretan.