Exile for kids

Exile for kids June 26, 2012

This is the last in a series of posts summarizing the way I’ve taught an Old Testament survey to kids aged 5-11 this summer. Overall, it’s worked well. We’ve covered a lot, and the kids have learned some of the basic patterns of the Bible. It got more difficult the further we went in the Old Testament, since we were covering less familiar territory. Some of the chants are convoluted and need more work.

Briefly, the last session was partly review, partly about the exile and return. For review, I did a game show. I divided the kids into teams and then quizzed them on the chants that we learned through the summer. I rewarded the kids on the winning team with candy. Parents love that.

The final session also gave a basic overview of the prophetic “eagle” period of Old Testament history.

First, we asked, What is a prophet? The answer is:

A pro phet is a member of God’s coun cil

During the prophetic/eagle period of Israel’s history, the nation is scattered among the nations. They have moved from garden (tabernacle/priest) to land (temple/king) to the world.

After the exile, they return to the land and reestablish Israel in the holy land. The sequence for reestablishment of Israel can be chanted out as a list of people:

Josh ua, Ze rub ba bel , Ez ra, Ne he mi ah

It can also be chanted as a series of building projects. Joshua and Zerubbabel work on reestablishing the altar and the temple, then Ezra comes to teach the people the law, and finally Nehemiah comes to build the city walls. This replicates the order of the original creation in a way: garden, land, world.

al tar, tem ple, peo ple, ci ty

Israel went into exile in Babylon, and were returned to the land by the Persians. They lived in the land under two other Gentile powers, Greece and Rome. These are the four imperial powers symbolized by the four metals on the statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2). This makes an easy chant:

Ba bylon, Per sia, Greece , and Rome

The exilic and post-exilic periods of Israel’s history are hugely important, and the least known periods. I’ve given them far too little attention in this Bible survey. That’s one of the things that needs work next time we do this.


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