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

I write a large capitalized ABC on the left side of the board from top to bottom.

And then fill it out, and explain.

Cyrus the Persian

Chronologically, the Assyrians come first, then the Babylonians, then Cyrus (“the Great”) leading the Persian Empire, and everyone can remember ABC.

The Assyrians and Babylonians are really two sides of the same coin, coming from the same area and roughly the same culture, but two different centers. Assyria and Babylon were both centered in Mesopotamia, the area “between the rivers” (Gr. meso-potamia) of the Tigris and Euphrates. Assyria was centered in the north, Babylon in the south. Think of them like the North and South during the US Civil War, but then instead of the war being settled, imagine that every so often, the sides switched, and the South becomes culturally dominant instead of the North. That’s Assyria and Babylon, two sides of the same coin. (Map from American Bible Society here.)

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