This prophecy was given to David through the prophet Nathan see The 1 st Book of the Kingdoms 3rd of Kingdoms according the Septuagint. Here we read about the reign of Solomon who, for his faith and humility, was gifted by God with great wisdom. Solomon built in Jerusalem a temple, the beauty and riches of which surpassed those of all palaces and pagan temples of the time. Under Solomon, the nation of Israel reached the peak of its well-being and glory Ch.
Yet, high taxes and harsh construction labors were a heavy burden on the people and caused protests. Solomon's reputation of a wise ruler was spoiled by polygamy and construction of pagan shrines around Jerusalem. Dissatisfaction with Solomon among the people led to the division of his kingdom after his death, under his son, Rehoboam Ch. The kingdom split into two parts: the kingdom of Judah with the capital in Jerusalem, ruled by the kings of the family of David, and the kingdom of Israel with the capital in Samaria, ruled by kings of various dynasties B.
The 1 st and 2 nd 3 rd and 4 th books of the Kingdoms recount, in parallel, the events in both kingdoms: the acts of kings, heroic feats of prophets as well as wars and religious life of these kingdoms. The kings of Israel were afraid that, if their subjects visited the temple in Jerusalem, they might want to reunite with the kingdom of Judah. For this reason the Israelite kings began to build pagan shrines in various parts of Israel and to encourage people to worship idols. These policies led to apostasy of the Israelite people from God.
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During this time of religious decline, God sent Israel a few remarkable prophets who slowed down the process of spiritual decay. Two of these messengers from God - the prophet Elijah and his disciple, Elisha - stand out in a special way. The prophet Elijah years B. Grieving over the spiritual death of his people, Elijah was determined and tough in punishing the wicked. Elijah was called to prophetic ministry under the wicked Israelite king Ahab. Ahab's blood-thirsty wife, Jezebel, who was a daughter of a pagan priest from Sidon, put many Jewish prophets to death and filled the land of Israel with pagan priests of Baal.
To teach Ahab and the people of Israel a lesson, Elijah struck the land with a three-year-long drought. The prophet himself was first hiding at a creek, where he was fed by a raven that brought him food daily. After the creek had dried up, the prophet lived in the house of a widow in Zarephath. The prophet prayed, and a small amount of flour and oil miraculously lasted two years, providing food for the widow's family and the prophet.
When the widow's only son died, Elijah prayed, and the boy rose from the dead. At the end of the three-year-long drought, Elijah invited the king, the pagan priests and all the people of Israel to come to the mount of Carmel. Here, at Elijah's prayer, fire in the form of lightning came down from heaven and, in front of all that were present, devoured the sacrifice offered by Elijah. Having seen such a great miracle, the people believed in God and, in tears, repented of idol worship. The priests of Baal that came to the mountain were put to death.
Then, at last, it began to rain. The famine was over. For his holy life and a great love for God, the prophet Elijah was taken to heaven alive in a fiery chariot. The story of the 2 nd 4 th Book of the Kingdoms starts with this event. According to prophecy, Elijah will come again before the end of the world in order to expose the lies of the antichrist. At that time he will die as a martyr. The holy prophet Elisha was a disciple of the prophet Elijah and received the mantle and the prophetic gift of Elijah, when Elijah was being taken up into heaven.
Elisha labored for over 65 years, under six different kings of Israel, from Ahab to Joash. He was fearless in telling the wicked kings the truth and rebuking them for their wickedness. He was greatly respected by the people of Israel, he was strong in the spirit and in the faith, and he also had a gift of seeing the future. During his life, prophetic brotherhoods in the kingdom of Israel thrived more than ever before or after him. Among his most glorious miracles were the resurrection of a young man, turning fresh the salty waters of a spring in Jericho, and healing Naaman, a Syrian military commander, from leprosy.
Besides, the prophet Elisha secured numerous victories for the kings of Israel by his wisdom and ability to see the future. Elisha died a very old man in the city of Samaria during the reign of king Joash Ch.
Every believer should be familiar with the lives and acts of these prophets. Despite the efforts of the prophets Elijah, Elisha and others, idol-worship and disgusting pagan customs eventually did damage to the spiritual foundation of the people of Israel. Because of this sin of apostasy, God allowed the kingdom of Israel to be destroyed. After being defeated by the Assyrian armies several times in B. C, the kingdom of Israel fell Ch. Then large numbers of Israelites were relocated to Assyria , and some inhabitants of Assyria were relocated to Israel. The Israelites intermarried with the Assyrians, and the nation of Samaritans was thus formed.
From this point on, the story of the 4 th Book of the Kingdoms focuses on the kingdom of Judah. From among the kings of Judah, we should mention the godly king Hezekiah. Having inherited the throne from his wicked father, Hezekiah was determined to bring law and order to the weakened Judea. First of all, he took care of the internal affairs of the nation whose religious life had declined.
Influenced by their pagan neighbors, the Jews began to gradually forget the true God and started building altars to pagan deities. These altars were sometimes erected next to the temple. Hezekiah boldly demolished the shrines of idols, cut down groves devoted to pagan gods and destroyed everything that reminded the people about idols. Thus he restored the true faith in Judea.
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Among the events that took place during his reign, the most remarkable was the miraculous defeat, by an angel, of ,strong Assyrian army that besieged Jerusalem under the command of Sennacherib Ch. Good lessons can also be learned from the miraculous healing of Hezekiah who was about to die, yet God had mercy on him because of his faith and his good works. Hezekiah was a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah - one of the greatest prophets of all time. Being a highly educated man and a poet, the prophet Isaiah wrote a remarkable book full of prophesies about the Messiah and His Kingdom of grace.
Isaiah is also known as the Old Testament Evangelist. Hezekiah's successors on the throne encouraged idolatry. The prophets were persecuted and put to death under these kings. For example, the elderly prophet Isaiah was cut in half with a wooden saw during the reign of Hezekiah's son Manasseh. The prophet Jeremiah also suffered a lot. The kingdom of Judah was filled with lawlessness, just as it happened in Israel some years earlier. Despite the alliance with Egypt, the kingdom of Judah fell, having been defeated several times by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.
The magnificent temple and the city of Jerusalem were leveled with the ground. Numerous inhabitants were killed or taken away to Babylon as captives B. The Babylonian captivity lasted 70 years from B. The captivity ended in the third year after the conquest of Babylonian Empire by the Persian king Cyrus in B.
The captive Jews were spiritually supported by the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel. The stories of the books of the Kingdoms clearly illustrate a general and unchangeable spiritual law: faith in God and godly living prolong the well-being of a nation, whereas wickedness inevitably leads to destruction. Military power, diplomatic skills and other apparent advantages are of secondary importance for the well-being of a country. The validity of this law can be traced throughout the history of many nations!
Hoshea Jehoshaphat Zedekiah Elijah. Ezra collects the books of the Holy Scripture T he book of Ezra deals with the events at the end of the Babylonian captivity. In the Hebrew Bible, there is only one book of Ezra. In the Greek Bible of the Seventy Septuagint , there are two more, so-called deutero-canonical, books of Ezra, for a total of three. In some English versions of the Bible the Book of Nehemiah is called 2 nd Ezra, so there are four books of Ezra - trans. The main topic of the book of Ezra is the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity.
The first return followed the Decree of Cyrus in and was lead by Zerubbabel and the high priest Jeshua. It was then that the rebuilding of the Temple began. The second return was led by Ezra during the reign of Artaxerxes Longiman. Ezra was a grandson of the high priest Seraiah who was killed by Nebuchadnezzar. Ezra was close to the Persian court and was among the educators of Artaxerxes Longiman.
In the 7 th year of his reign B. After ruling the people for 14 years, Ezra delegated all authority to Nehemiah and focused on teaching the people about God's Law and collecting the books of the Holy Scripture into one book. He founded The Great Synagogue - a group which, under the guidance of the last prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, helped Ezra to review and correct the Holy Scripture and to collect it into one book, thus completing the canon of the Old Testament. The books written after Ezra were not included in the list of Sacred books, for which reason they are called deutero-canonical, even though they are highly respected and can be found in many translations of the Bible.
Most of the books, composed after Ezra, were written in Greek which was commonly used at the time. N ehemiah descended from the tribe of Judah and was likely a member of the royal family. He occupied the high post of the butler at the Persian court. In the 20 th year of the reign of the Persian king Artaxerxes Longiman B.
He convinced the king to send him to his country as a ruler with high authority. He rebuilt the city and surrounded it with walls, despite resistance on the part of the Samaritans. Having rebuilt and populated the city and sanctified its walls, Nehemiah, together with Ezra, began to educate the people about religion, morals and the life of society. The Law of Moses was read, the feast of Tabernacles was celebrated, the rich forgave the debts of the poor, the covenant between the people and God was renewed.
Then Nehemiah returned to Artaxerxes, but later came to Jerusalem again and uprooted various crimes among the people. Thus, during 30 years before his death, Nehemiah labored to restore Jerusalem and strengthen the faith among the people. Just as Nehemiah continued the cause of Ezra, his book is also a continuation of the book of Ezra. Ezra describes the beginning of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, namely the reconstruction of the temple and the religious and moral education of the people.
Nehemiah deals with the construction of the walls, the settlement and rebuilding of the city, the structure of the society based on religious principles. Both books record the history of the people of God and show the ways of God's Providence by which the nation was saved and prepared for the coming of the promised Messiah.
The decree of Artaxerxes, issued to Nehemiah in B. As a historical reminder about God's mercy to the chosen people, the book of Nehemiah contains numerous lessons for us to learn. Nehemiah's self-sacrificial love for his country and his people, which caused him, like Moses, to neglect the luxury and comfort of the royal court, his constant hard work for the well-being and glory of his country - all this provides us with a model worthy of imitation. T he book borrows its title from its main character named Esther, which means Star.
For her beauty, a Jewish orphan by the name of Hadassah became the wife of the Persian king Artaxerxes or, probably, Xerxes who reigned in B. Her name was later changed to Esther. Esther was raised by her uncle Mordecai who was a gatekeeper at the royal court. A few years earlier, Mordecai saved the king's life, when some of the king's servants conspired to kill him. Mordecai's service to the king was recorded in the Persian documents. Some time after Esther became the queen, the king's powerful and proud minister named Haman, who hated the Jews, decided to exterminate all of them within the borders of the Persian Empire.
For this purpose, he wrote an appropriate decree, as if on the king's behalf, and began to look for a convenient occasion to have it signed by the king. By God's Providence, Mordecai learned about Haman's plan. Being confident of success and hating Mordecai, Haman built gallows on which to hang him.
But Haman's plan fell through. At a banquet, Esther boldly exposed his conspiracy and rebuked him for his intention to hang her uncle who had saved the king's life. Having learned about the evil character of Haman, the angered king frustrated the plan of Haman and ordered him to be hanged on the gallows prepared for Mordecai as a Russian saying goes, "do not dig a pit for someone else, for you will fall into it yourself". To commemorate deliverance of the Jews from Haman, the feast of Purim was established Purim is Hebrew for casting lots.
T he events described in the book of Judith took place in Israel during the reign of the king Manasseh. The book is named after its main character. Judith was a beautiful and godly widow of a certain Manasseh of the tribe of Simeon from the city of Bethulia. By her courageous deed she saved her city and the whole country from the Assyrian armies that came to devastate the land under the command of Holofernes approx. Having occupied all of the coastal land, Holofernes and his huge army made a stop on the border of Judea near Bethulia in the tribe of Issachar.
The inhabitants of Bethulia were suffering from starvation and thirst and were about to surrender, when Judith, being firm in her faith in God's coming help, showed up in the enemy's camp. Having found favor with Holofernes, Judith decapitated him at night, after a party. Then she took the commander's head to her fellow-citizens. Encouraged by this, the Jews drove the Assyrian army away. After this Judith was highly respected, lived a long godly life and died at the age of T hese books bear the name of the heroes whose actions they describe. The books recount the events that took place in B.
His huge Empire did not last long. After Alexander's death, it was split into four kingdoms, two of which - those of Egypt and Syria - played an important part in the history of the Jewish people. Palestine ended up being a disputed territory as the rulers of these two kingdoms fought over the inheritance. In B. Judea changed hands, and the Jews suffered much under the rule of the kings of Syria, since the Syrian rulers made every effort to convert the Jews to a pagan religion.
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During his reign, the Greek pagan cult was declared to be the official state religion. Those who refused to convert to paganism were persecuted and put to death. God's temple was desecrated. Antiochus claimed the honor due to God and called himself Epiphanes, which means the appearance of God. For his cruel persecution of believers, he became a type of the coming last persecutor of the faith - the Antichrist. When writing about the Antichrist, Apostle Paul predicted that he would sit in the temple of God, claiming to be God 2 Thes.
When Jesus Christ was talking about the abomination of desolation in the sanctuary of God's temple which was predicted by the prophet Daniel in Dan. Antiochus was struck by a terrible disease and died, being devoured alive by worms. The 1 st Book of Maccabees , after a brief remark about the conquests of Alexander the Great and the division of his kingdom between his commanders B.
The priest Mattathias and his five sons stood up to defend the faith. For their successful fight against the supporters of paganism, they were named Maccabees , i.
Why Are the Books of the Bible Placed in a Particular Order?
From among the sons of Mattathias, Juda, Jonathan and Simon became particularly famous. The 2 nd Book of Maccabees complements the first one by giving more details about the fight of the Palestinian Jews against the enemies of the faith sent by the Syrian kings, starting with Heliodorus sent by the king Seleucus Philopator to rob the Jerusalem temple, to the victory of Juda Maccabee over Nicanor - a commander sent by Demetrius Seleucus.
During the persecution raised by Antiochus Epiphanes, a year-old priest Eleazar, the seven brothers and many others were put to death as martyrs in B. The 3 rd Book of Maccabees contains an account of earlier persecutions of the Jews in Egypt that started in B. The persecution was caused by king Ptolemy's anger with the high priest Simon, at whose prayer the king was prevented by God from entering the sanctuary of the temple at Jerusalem.
The book describes Ptolemy's plot to destroy the Jews by luring them to the Hippodrome and trampling them with elephants. At the high priest's prayer, God send two angels who scared the elephants, and the Jews were thus saved. Based on records in Latin and other languages,. Scholars Ray Pritz and the Catholic Priest Bagatti both concluded that Jerome got some of his information on the Bible from the Nazarenes and from various synagogues Pritz, pp. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi, 13 Maii Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 14 Junii Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, , pp.
Letter to Augustine, Chapter 4. Jerome also wrote that he was friendly with at least one of the believing Hebrews that seemed to assist him as he wrote:. Patrologia Latina 22, ; alternatively 22, The edition by J. Migne, c. Thus, it is logical to conclude that Jerome got some of his information on which books from people who held to Church of God doctrines.
This seems to be indirectly acknowledged by some modern scholars. Notice a 21st century account by Gerd Theissen:. Therefore we can advance the hypothesis that above all those writings entered the canon on which the Christian communities of Asia Minor and Rome could agree. Theissen G, Translated by John Bowden.
Fortress introduction to the New Testament. Fortress Press, , p. Taking this a step further, even those who later compromised in Asia Minor apparently recognized that they knew of the complete canon and thus they and probably others influenced the Church of Rome. Jerome's order does not change the fact that he nor his church actually came up with the books, though it took the Church of Rome many centuries to final their 'canons' of scripture--and when they did so, they added books in the Old Testament that Jerome opposed, but was essentially forced to put in his Latin Vulgate Bible.
The New Testament Canon - From the Bible and History This article, shows from the Bible and supporting historical sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not. Former WCG scholar Ernest Martin has been credited for doing a lot of research in figuring out the original order. Notice also the following from Dr.
Judd W. His book entitled, Restoring the Original Bible , is the most systemic, documented, referenced and scholarly work on the Inspired Order of the Bible. Now, while Jerome is the primary figure responsible for the Traditional arrangement of the books of the Bible, there is more to the historical story. Briefly, sometime in the second or third centuries A. Simultaneously they abandoned the Hebrew order of the books or scrolls as maintained at the Temple, and rearranged the books into a more subject-oriented or topical arrangement.
Then the poetic books were placed together Job , Psalms and Proverbs followed by the poetic works of Solomon Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. Finally, the prophetic books were grouped together Isaiah through Malachi. Check it out in your own Bibles. Perhaps some Bible students were unaware of this organizational three-part rationale for this Traditional Bible book order - historical, poetic and prophetic? He had a choice to make. What should he do for his own translation? Well, he decided to use the Septuagint order in his Latin Vulgate version of the Bible. The rest is history, as the saying goes!
The point is that while Judaism did not lose the original Bible arrangement of twenty-two books, Christianity did, primarily through the influence of the Catholic theologian Jerome. Again, the Protestant translators, with few exceptions, relied on the Latin Vulgate version of Jerome in their translations and thereby the Protestant world lost the original book order.
Now, since the Bible does specify the order of each of the books, it is probably best to refer to the order as the original order or believed original order as opposed to being the inspired order. The classical passage for the sequence of the books is the Baraita in B. With the exclusion of interjected remarks chronicled there, it runs as follows:. Who wrote the books? Moses wrote his book, the section of Balaam and Job; Joshua wrote his book, and the last eight verses of the Torah; Samuel wrote his book, Judges, and Ruth; David wrote the Psalms, by the hand of the ten Ancients; namely, through Adam Psalm cxxxix.
From the fact that in this account of the authors Moses is mentioned as the author of the Torah, it may be inferred that in the collection from which the Baraita is cited the sequence also of the five books of the Torah was probably given. Bible Canon. Jewish Encyclopedia of The Hebrew titles used the first word of each book actually a Scroll as the name. For example, Genesis would be called Bereshith which means In Beginning of.
The Septuagint titles emphasized a perceived major subject.