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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  • 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.