Notes on Nehemiah

I suppose the first thing to say about this book is that it is, in a sense, the last book of the Old Testament. That is, while it does not come last in the Bible, it does cover the latest historical period prior to New Testament. The book is written mostly in the first person … [Read more…]

Notes on Ezra

This book falls squarely in the history genre, and it is straightforward, plausible, and well-documented history at that.  The basic narrative is simply the return of Jewish exiles after the Babylonian captivity, their rebuilding the temple, and the rejection of intermarriage — nothing supernatural.   A number of official decrees are quoted at length, and … [Read more…]

Genesis: Who’s Your Favorite?

I’m writing something on each book of the Bible, and for some books this is easier than for others.  Genesis definitely falls in the more difficult category.  It’s a relatively long book (the third longest or so, there being different translations and ways to count), and can’t really be summarized, and the stories in it … [Read more…]

Notes on Jeremiah

This book is a mixture of verse and prose, of history, poetry, and biography.  Sometimes the prophecy is woven directly into the  historical narrative.  And speaking of historical narrative, here’s a timeline of the major prophets that might be useful: Isaiah’s ministry, 740-681 B.C. Israel (northern kingdom) falls, 722 B.C. Jeremiah’ ministry, 627-586 B.C. Judah … [Read more…]