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Reading Summary: The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey and The Survey of the Old Testament

The primary purpose of the Old Testament is to show that God is the supreme being, yet he is caring and loving. The Old Testament is all about God and how he works through the life of His devoted followers, though they stumble from time to time. Even when the Israelites stumble, God reminds faithful to keep his promises (Exodus 34:6-7). God, through the writings of man and the carrying of the Holy Spirit, wrote the Old Testament to show that His attributes are so clearly and beautifully articulated. Benware proclaimed:

“It is the Old Testament that gives us our basic understanding of God’s majesty, power, holiness, and sovereignty. His love, goodness, and wisdom are subject of many psalms and numerous prophetic declarations.”

Benware notes that the Old Testament is all about God! He is the center of the Old Testament message.

Many theologians try to narrow down the message to one central idea. However, the message of the Old Testament is the glory of God and how his glory is shown through the nation of Israel. Even when the Israelites stumble, God reminds faithful and shows his Glory through their stumbling to help them grow in their faith. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that the Old Testament is showing us that God wants a relationship with us, and we should also want a relationship with God. God is truly Holy and Perfect.

In this Summary, the writer will be going over: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Ruth. This paper will be divided into two main sections, the Torah/Pentateuch and the Historical Books.

According to Barna Group, 54% of practicing Christians are resonating with postmodern viewpoints (The Barna Group, 2017). Due to this staggering statistic, people, in general, need to know what the Canon of Scripture is and how it originated which is found in Hindson and Yates book The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey. In Chapter 4 “The Canon and the Text of the Old Testament,” of The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey, Hindson and Yates defines the Canon of Scripture to be “the list of books recognized as divinely inspired and authoritative for faith and practice.” Many Christians now are embracing the view of partial inspiration and the view that the Bible is just a mythical book. Hindson and Yates refute this point in Chapter 3 “Archaeology and the Old Testament Digging Up the Past”. In this chapter, Hindson and Yates goes through the Dead Sea Scrolls and how it proves the historicity of the Bible. Hindson and Yates reports, “As the earliest existing Hebrew manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls are an important witness to the textual integrity of the OT.” The Dead Sea Scrolls were recovered by Shepherd Boys in a Cave in Qumran, Israel. The Dead Seas Scrolls are an integral part in proving if the Bible and the Old Testament is truly 100% accurate. The Dead Sea Scrolls validates the O.T. The Shepherds found a lot of jars of clay were found that had the Scrolls of the O.T. and N.T. were found. These Dead Sea Scrolls are 95% accurate. The other 5% is attributed to word order and grammatical differences. This was the most important archeological evidence that Hindson and Yates wrote about in The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey.

The Torah is the Pentateuch. The Torah is the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. The Torah is the Strong’s number 8451. The Word “Torah” comes from a Hebraic origin, which is the word “Torah” pronounced “To-rah.” Torah is referencing the Law of Moses, which includes the Mosaic Commandments. The law could also refer to the Law of YHWH (LORD) (Exodus 3). YHWH conveys God as “The Eternal One, the existing one.” The word “YHWH” originated in Exodus 3:10-15 when God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Alternatively, in other words, “I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE.” God is genuinely YHWH. God is indeed the eternal God.

The Torah was used in the life of David and King Solomon, as found by Psalms 119:18. Psalms 119:18 (ESV) states, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Most scholars report that King David wrote Psalms 119 to help instruct his Son, Solomon, on the laws and statutes. In Psalms 119:18, God can only open the Author’s spiritual eyes to understand the beautiful things found in God’s law. King’s David prayer request is for God to reveal His word to him. What a fantastic prayer request. King David and the Future King Solomon used The Torah to see God’s characteristics from His Law (which could be referring to the Mosaic law or the Word of God).

The Torah was also used to instill hope and remind the Israelites of God’s faithful promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Benware agrees that the entire Bible’s Pinnacle is Genesis 12 because everything after that is building up to the new millennium kingdom of Jesus Christ. Benware reports, “Genesis 12 is the cornerstone chapter of the Bible. It is here that God selects a man by the name of Abraham and enters into an eternal, unconditional covenant with him and his descendants.” The Abrahamic Covenant has several blessings or promises in the later chapters and books of the Bible. Benware proclaims, “These promises included personal blessings to Abraham and his descendants that would include all the rest of mankind.” In Genesis, Moses indicated that Only God entered this covenant relationship with Abraham.

Benware proclaims, “In this covenant, God promised that from Abraham he would make a great nation. The first four foundational books (Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and Joshua) record the formation of the nation of Israel. To have a nation, three basic elements must be present—people, law, and land.” Benware is correct in stating that these three essential elements are people, law, and land. God is so cool that he promised all three things to the Nation of Israel through the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant. Moses wrote these five books to remind the Israelites that God created the set-apart people to glorify his name through Israel’s nation’s foundation. Due to this reminder, Moses called on the Israelites to remain faithful to God. However, Israel had many missteps, but ultimately God remained faithful to the Israelites. Therefore, The Torah was used to instill hope for the nation of Israel. The Torah also helps scholars know how the nation of Israel was founded on a Theocracy. Theocracy is a government that is ruled by Yahweh Elohim (The LORD God).

These are the main highlights of the Torah. Let us take a deeper dive into the books of the Torah individually.

The Book of Genesis contains several exciting accounts. There are two major divisions. The first division of Genesis is the Primeval History which is found in Genesis 1:1-11:26. The second division is the Patriarch History which is found from Genesis 11:26 to Genesis 50:26. The Purpose of Genesis is to show us how God laid the foundation to establish a Theocracy through the Nation of Israel. Moses wrote a book that contains many beginnings. Benware noted, “Genesis is the book of beginnings. It was written, first to tell us clearly and definitely that God created all things directly.” Benware is correct in noting that the book of Genesis was written to help Christians understand that God created all things directly.

Benware, who wrote Survey of Old Testament has two slightly different divisions of Genesis. Benware divided the first 11 chapter of Genesis to be God’s Dealings with Mankind in General (Genesis 1-11). Benware divided the final 39 chapters of Genesis to be God’s Dealings with the Nation of Israel (Genesis 12-50).

Benware also believes that Genesis Creation Account is historically accurate. Benware reports: “Genesis is scientifically accurate. Genesis records the origin of all created life and matter. It tells of a worldwide flood and numerous miracles. In all cases, Genesis speaks truthfully and accurately.” Benware is correct in stating that the Genesis account is scientifically accurate.

Hindson and Yates, in their book The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey, found Genesis main division to be different than Benware. They reported that the two major division of Genesis is to be the Primeval History (Genesis 1-11) and the Patriarchal History (Genesis 12-50).

Moses wrote Genesis to educate the Israelites on how God set apart the Israelites for the glory of God. Modern and traditional scholars believe the message of Genesis is how Israel was set aside for a special purpose. Hindson and Yates agrees that the message of the book is this. Hindson and Yates wrote,

“In Genesis, Moses explains how God’s original plan for creation was marred by sin and how Israel was set aside for special purpose of mediating God’s redemptive blessings to the world…Genesis also emphasizes the importance of the Abrahamic covenant.”

This is important distinction of Genesis that Hindson and Yates uncovered in The Essence of Old Testament Survey. The First Chapter alone of Genesis argues for the Existence of God. This belief, according to Hindson and Yates, refutes Atheism, Pantheism, Polytheism, Materialism, Humanism, and Naturalism.” According to Hindson and Yates, Atheism is the belief there is no God. Pantheism is that everything is God. Polytheism is the belief that many gods exist. Materialism is the belief that Matter is eternal. Humanism is the belief that man is the measure of everything. Naturalism is the belief that nature is ultimate.[1] In the first Chapter of Genesis alone, all these beliefs were crushed with a big blow by the first sentence of Chapter 1. Genesis 1:1 proclaims, “In the beginning, GOD created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 also causes a big below to the Secular evolution. Hindson and Yates wrote,

“The Genesis account of creation also contradicts secular evolution, which theorizes that all life, including humans, evolved over billions of years from lower life forms by natural processes. Theories of origins that accommodate evolution (gap theory, day-age theory, revelatory day theory, theistic evolution, etc.) have all generally of creation and general evolutionary theory. The results of the naturalistic evolutionary hypothesis have left a spiritual void that ‘erases all moral and ethical accountability and ultimately abandons all hope for humanity.”[2]

The Creation account is important part of the Genesis account. Rejecting the Creation account is the rejecting the foundation of the whole book of the Bible. Without the Creation account, how do we know that we are created in God’s image?

Another important part of the Genesis and the pinnacle event of the Genesis is the Abrahamic Covenant. This event is found in Genesis 15, was the Abrahamic Covenant. God appeared in a vision and blessed Abraham with being a Father of the Nation of Israel. Abraham cut the pieces (therefore covenant means “to cut”) and that God walked through the cut animals, not Abraham (which signifies this was an unconditional promise because it was ONLY God that made the covenant). This Event starts with Abraham cutting the sacrifice. The Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional because God established this covenant while Abraham was sleeping. So, it is God who instituted this covenant out of love for his people. Hindson and Yates reports,

“In Genesis 12:2-3,7, the promises from Gen. 3:15 are restated in the form of the Abrahamic promises. According to these promises, God would give land, seed, and blessing to Abram’s descendants; and through these descendants the entire world will be blessed.”

Hindson and Yates are stressing the importance of the Abrahamic promises. The Abrahamic Covenant promised the following things. First, it is a personal blessing to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations, have a multitude of descendants, and prosper materially.

Second, it is a universal blessing. The covenant says, “and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” This points to Jesus Christ. Third, it promises blessings to Abraham’s descendants. Descendants promised greatness as a nation. This nation is promised land. There still must be fulfilled through Israel in the future. It is God alone who makes this covenant. It is God himself who is committing to fulfill these promises in the act of cutting the covenant.

This indicates that it is unconditional, meaning God intends to fulfill these promises, and the failure or unbelief of Abraham or Israel’s part will not set aside of this covenant. Since this covenant is unconditional, it means that these promises cannot be taken away and can only be fulfilled through the lineage of Israel. The Church does not replace the promises given to Abraham and His descendants.

These are two events in Genesis that were highlighted in The Essence of Old Testament: A Survey by Hindson & Yates and Survey of the Old Testament by Paul Benware.

Hindson and Yates wrote The Essence of The Old Testament Survey to show how the Israelites were set apart people whose purpose to glorify God in everything they do. Hindson and Yates also wrote Exodus to show the readers the importance of the book of Exodus. Paul Benware wrote Survey of the Old Testament to show his readers the key events and key words in each book of the Old Testament. Paul Benware reported the keyword in Exodus is Redemption. The Keyword of Exodus, which is found in The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey, is indicated to be Liberation. Liberation and Redemption has similar implications. Redemption means saving someone from great harm or from a great tragedy. Hindson and Yates, in Chapter 7 “Exodus: Exit from Egypt” of The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey wrote:

“The Book of Exodus tells a dramatic tale of faith, hope and love. It is also a story of betrayal, slavery, emancipation, and liberation. Its images are so powerful they are quoted more than 120 times in the Hebrew Bible. Exodus is the story of the Israelites’ exit from bondage in Egypt.”

Hindson and Yates sheds light that the whole essence of the book of Exodus is the liberation and freedom from the Egyptian regime. Hindson and Yates also indicates by this that Moses has a negative connation to the topic of Slavery. The First half of Exodus is God’s redemption of the nation of Israel. Hindson and Yates reports:

“The First half of the book involves God’s redemption of His elect nation of Egyptian servitude (chaps. 1-18). God accomplished this feat in the following three phrases: Redemption (1:1-12:30), Liberation (12:31-15:21), and preservation (15:22-18:27). Moses begins by providing information concerning why redemption was necessary (1:1-22).”

Hindson and Yates highlights how the nation of Israel was recovered from the Egyptian captivity, yet they complain that they were rescued later on in the story of Exodus.

This is the purpose of the Book of Exodus. The Purpose of the book of Exodus to show God’s redeeming love towards the Israelites.

Paul Benware highlights when the book was most likely written. Benware wrote, “Since Exodus is a record of Israel’s departure from Egypt (about 1445 B.C.), This book was most likely written about 1425 B.C.).” Paul Benware’s perspective was true that the book was written around 1425 B.C.

This is Benware’s and Hindson’s take on the book of Exodus. The Book of Exodus was written to reeducate the Israelites on God’s redeeming love and God’s purpose for the Israelites. The Purpose of the Israelites is to pursue a relationship with Yahweh Elohim.

Leviticus is the most underappreciated book in the Old Testament. Leviticus is all about the Grace of God. The purpose of Leviticus has two purposes. Paul Benware wrote, “The Purpose of Leviticus is twofold: (1) to teach the nation of Israel the way to God, and (2) to teach them how to walk with God. This book was given to direct Israel to live as a holy nation in the fellowship with a holy God.” Paul Benware is correct when stating that the purpose of Leviticus is twofold. Hindson and Yates reports the background of Leviticus. they proclaim, “The Hebrew title of the book is wayyiqra ‘and he called,’ derives from the first word of the book. The Jews entitled the book ‘The Law of the Priests’ and ‘The Law of the Offerings’ after its subject matter.” Hindson and Yates provided interesting information on the book’s name that most people haven’t heard in their everyday life. Hindson and Yates reports on the message of Leviticus. They report, “The Message of Leviticus is that the nation could achieve progressive sanctification and thus become distinct from the surrounding nations through daily access to God via the sacrifices (Chaps. 1-10) and through obedience (Chaps. 11-27).” Hindson and Yates is correct in stressing the message of the book to be on progressive sanctification. What is progressive sanctification? Progressive sanctification is the process by which the Israelites change their ways only through the power of God. The only way they can have progressive sanctification is by confessing their sin to the Priests and the Priests intercedes for the Israelites on God’s behalf. The Priests are the mediator between God and man in the Old Testament. The Israelites do this on the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16. Hindson and Yates reports, “The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is the holiest day on the Hebrew calendar. It occurs 10 days after the Feast of Trumpets, following the ‘days of awe.’” Hindson and Yates is correct in reporting that the Day of Atonement is the Holiest Day in the Hebraic Culture. However, Christ is the ultimate fulfiller of the Day of Atonement in today’s culture.

The Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16 is quite an interesting passage and event. Leviticus 16 referred to the “Atonement Cover.” Blood sprinkled on the lid of the ark made atonement for the Israelites on the Day of Atonement (vv. 15-17). In the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament, the word for “Atonement cover” is the same one used of Christ and translated “sacrifice of atonement” in Ro. 3:25. To ensure Aaron was cleansed and enter the Most Holy Place for the nation, Aaron had to sacrifice two male goats for sin offering. One goat was killed. This Goat’s blood was sprinkled in the Most Holy Place and its body burned outside the camp (vv. 15, 27). This symbolized the payment of the price of Christ’s atonement. The other goat, sent away alive and bearing the sin of the nation (v. 21),

Jesus Christ is the new mediator between God and man in the New Testament. Jesus Christ did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill the Law. Jesus Christ is the perfect sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:19-21).

The key word of the book of Leviticus is holiness. The God of the Universe is a perfect God that cannot allow sin in his presence. The Offerings that the Levitical priests offer is a way to have a personal relationship with God. Another purpose of the Offerings (more specifically Sin Offerings) in Leviticus is to confess our sins so that the God of the Universe can forgive the Israelites sins and cleanse the Israelites from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 paraphrased in the context of the Israelites circumstances).

The Book of Leviticus is an interesting writing specimen. It gives us detail on how Holy our God is and how gracious our God is. Our God does not want to see the Israelites in sin but come to see the Israelites come to a saving Faith in the God of Salvation who is none other than Yahweh Elohim in the Hebraic culture of the Israelites. This is the whole message of the Book of Leviticus how the Israelites should act in the presence of the God of the universe.

Numbers is another interesting writing specimen. Numbers reports the strengths and weakness of the Israelites. Numbers was written to show the inherent failures of the Israelites when they were too scared to attack the Giants that live in the Promised Land. Hindson and Yates wrote, “Numbers tells the story of initial success and ultimate failure of the exodus generation.” Numbers is hard book to decipher. However, Hindson and Yates helps people decipher the book of Numbers.

The First Ten chapters of Numbers reports the preparation of the First Generation at Sanai. Hindson and Yates wrote, “In the first major section of the book, Moses remembers the numerous blessings God gave to the first generation (Chaps. 1-10).” This so true. However, The First-Generation rebels against God and fails against God. The First Generation was kept from the Promised Land due to their lack of faith in the God of the Universe. Hindson and Yates wrote, “Unfortunately, unbelief resulted in the first generation’s disqualification from the blessings of Canaan.” Due to their unbelief, God kept the first generation out of the promised and killed them. Hindson and Yates wrote again, “Although Moses’ gracious intercession once again spared the first generation from immediate extinction (14:11-19), God permanently disinherited from the land blessings (14:20-38). Only Joshua and Caleb, the two faithful spies, plus all those who were under 20 years of age were exempt from responsibility.” Maybe the age of 20 is the age of accountability.

The Most important event in Numbers is the Bronze Serpent. The Bronze Serpent appears in the New Testament, so the Bronze Serpent must be important in Numbers as well. Hindson and Yates wrote,

“Moses’ intercession and God’s grace through the provision of the bronze serpent prevented the entire generation from being destroyed (21:4-9). The Gospel of John refers to the lifting up of the bronze serpent in the wilderness as something comparable to the lifting up of the Son of Man (John 3:14).

Hindson and Yates is correct in saying that the Bronze Serpent has some symbolizes to the Son of Man being lifted in the New Testament (John 3:14).

Paul Benware reports that the Keyword in Numbers is Wandering. The Key Chapter of Numbers is Chapter 14. Chapter 14 of Numbers tells the story of the unbelief at Kadesh-barnea. The Key verse of Number is 14:26-32. According to the Paul Benware the purpose of Numbers is “to record Israel’s History from their departure from Mount Sanai to their arrival in Moab on the east side of the Jordan river.” Paul Benware is correct that Numbers records Israel’s History from their departure from Mount Sanai to their arrival in Moab. Paul Benware also wrote, “Numbers continues the account of God’s faithfulness in making of Abraham a ‘great nation.” So another purpose of Numbers is to show God’s faithfulness in keeping the Abrahamic covenant.

As we saw through the helpful information of The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey and Survey of the Old Testament, the book of Numbers is an interesting writing specimen that records Israel’s failures and successes as a nation. We also saw that the book of Number was written to show God’s faithfulness to the Israelites in keeping the promise that was made with Abraham. This is the story on Numbers.

Most Scholars agree that the name “Deuteronomy” in Hebrew means “The Second retelling of the Mosaic Covenant.” According to Paul Benware, the keyword of Deuteronomy is “Observe, do, keep, obey.” So, the keyword of Deuteronomy is observation/remind. With this line of reasoning, Deuteronomy is the observation of the Mosaic Covenant and how the nation of Israel should live out the Mosaic covenant. Paul Benware wrote this on the purpose of Deuteronomy. He wrote, “The main purpose of the book is to remind Israel of their special relationship to God. They were the covenant people and were to obey His Laws.” Moses wrote Deuteronomy show that the Israelites could be reminded of their special relationship with God. Hindson and Yates also reported on the Purpose of the Book. Hindson and Yates wrote, “Deuteronomy was written to invoke a covenant renewal on the part of the second generation so they could enter Canaan, conquer the Canaanites, and experience prosperity and peace in the Land.” Hindson and Yates was correct in stating that the purpose of the book is a covenant renewal.

According to Hindson and Yates, Deuteronomy can also be noted that it is considered to be Sermonic for three reasons. The First sermon seeks “to get Israel to remember what God did for her by reciting God’s saving acts on her behalf.” The Second sermon calls for “Israel to love God with all their heart, to reverence Him, and serve Him.” The Third sermon invokes hope “by explaining what God will do for Israel and by providing a final summation of covenant.”

The First sermon is retrospective and historical. The First sermon is retrospective and historical because it reminds the Israelites of God’s saving acts on the Israelites behalf. Moses reminded them “of the discipline that was imposed on the first generation with the hope that the second generation would not repeat the same mistakes but would instead honor God’s covenant.” Moses also “explained God’s saving acts on Israel’s behalf so that the second generation would be confident that God would also intervene on their behalf as they enter Canaan.” Later on in his first sermon, Moses explained the conquest of the Transjordan. He included the Conquest of the Transjordan to emphasize the “cost of covenant disloyalty.” He ended his first sermon by “Exhorting the new generation to obey the covenant (4:1-40).”

Moses, in his second sermon, “articulates the covenant law (chap. 5) as well as its essence (chap. 6) and application (chap. 7-11) in the view of the impending Canaan conquest.” One of the most important chapters in Moses’ second sermon is Chapter 6 because it gets to heart of God’s purpose for the Israelites. God’s purpose for the Israelites is to love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.” This is the first and greatest commandment Love God and Love Others. Moses, in the second major section of his second sermon, applied each of the Ten Commandments to a variety of specific situations. The First set of the Ten Commandment (1-5) is Loving God. The Second set of the Ten Commandment (5-10) is Loving others. Moses emphasized in his second sermon to Love Yahweh Elohim and not serve the false gods of the Canaanite religion.

Moses, in his third major sermon, “continues with his theme of covenant renewal by forecasting Israel’s future destiny, calling upon the new generation to ratify the covenant (Chaps. 27-28) and receive the promises of the land covenant (chaps. 29-30).” Moses’ Third Sermon was more prophetic in its message. Moses begins this sermon by discussing how the covenant renewal ceremony is going to take place. Moses, in his third major sermon, indicated that the message of Deuteronomy is how to be in a covenant relationship with Yahweh Elohim.

Moses wrote these three sermons to help the Israelites know how to love God, how to love others, and how to be in a covenant relationship with Yahweh Elohim. Moses’ goal is to educate the Israelites on how to have a relationship with Yahweh Elohim. Even though the Israelites stumble at times in this covenant relationship with Yahweh Elohim, Yahweh Elohim remains faithful to the Israelites. However, there are punishments with their stumbling. This is the message of Deuteronomy.

The Historical books are timeless. The Historical books are historically accurate also. Hindson and Yates reports:

“The Books from Joshua to Esther tell the story of God’s sovereign actions in dealing with the nation of Israel from the conquest to the dispersion. Each book focuses on the key people, events, cycles, and patterns in its stories. While these books describe what humans did throughout the History of Israel, they also tell the story of the God who works in history to accomplish his divine purposes.”

The Historical books are written from a perspective of “Theological interpretation.” The Historical books are written for purpose of seeing how the Nation of Israel occupies the Promised and how they are to live in the Promised Land. The Historical books tell the History of the nation of Israel. The Nation of Israel’s History, that is found in the Historical Books, records how God’s Faithfulness lived out through all the generations from Joshua’s time all the way up to Esther’s time. The Historical books do not disappoint the average reader at all. Hindson and Yates recorded,

“The Twelve books that comprise the Historical Books of the Old Testament provide a rich treasure of information about Israel’s leaders: judges, kings, priests, and prophets. They also open up a window into the daily lives of the people: their culture, their customs, beliefs, practices, successes, and failures.”

Therefore, by this quote and the introduction, The Historical books do not disappoint the average reader at all.

The Historical Books includes Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther. In the Historical books Introduction, all the historical books will be individually and separately critiqued.

The Book of Joshua is interesting to say the least. Hindson and Yates reports, “The Book of Joshua tells the story of the conquest and settlement of the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua.” According to Hindson and Yates, the whole reason why the book of the Joshua is included in the Biblical canon is to show how the Abrahamic Promised Land was fulfilled under the leadership of Joshua. The division of the Land and the making of the boundaries shows God’s covenant faithfulness to Israel. Also entering the Promised Land met to conquest Canaan. The Book of Joshua ends with the nation in the promised land, just as God proclaimed through the Abrahamic covenant. And the history of the nation ends on a triumphant, victorious note.

According to Benware, the purpose of Joshua is “to record the conquest of the land of Canaan by Israel and therefore show the faithfulness of God in making Abraham ‘a great nation.’” Benware also reports, “The Book of Joshua covers about thirty years of Israel’s history. However, the emphasis is on the five to seven years (based on the testimony of Caleb, 14:6-11) of Joshua’s military activities.” So therefore, According to Benware, the book of Joshua shows the military activities of Joshua and how his conquests show the faithfulness of God in making Abraham ‘a great nation.’

According to Hindson and Yates, Joshua’s name means “The Lord is Salvation.” Hindson and Yates reports:

“The LXX title is rendered Iesous, which is also the Greek spelling of the name of Jesus (Savior). Thus, Joshua is depicted as a savior or deliverer of the Israelites. He is the representative of Yahweh and the human instrument of the fulfillment of His divine promises to the children of Israel.”

Hindson and Yates are correct in reporting that the Joshua is depicted as the savior or deliverer of the Israelites. Joshua’s name carries great meaning in the Israelites communities across Israel.

The book is written from “the perspective of an eyewitness, how one dates the book is contingent upon how one dates the exodus and the Conquest of Canaan.” The events that took place was around 1446 B.C. to 1406 B.C. The Book of Joshua can be divided into three parts. The First part of Joshua is the Conquest of Canaan (Joshua 1-12). The Second Part of the Joshua is the Division of Canaan (Joshua 12-21). The Third part is the Conclusion of Joshua’s Ministry (Joshua 22-24).

The most important event is the Walls of Jericho collapsing. Benware reports, “Jericho was a kind of ‘First fruits’ of the whole land and thus belonged to God (6:18-19).” Joshua remained faithful to God and conquered the Land of Canaan to create the nation of Israel that was promised to his forefather Abraham.

Joshua is written to Israelites to remind them of God’s faithfulness in keeping the Abrahamic covenant. Joshua also proves that his generation has claims to the Abrahamic covenant that is found in Genesis 12,15,17. Hindson and Yates expounds on the theological significance of Joshua. They found that “Joshua emphasizes God’s faithfulness to both the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants.” Hindson and Yates hits the nail on the head with this quote. God’s faithfulness is the paramount theme in the book of Joshua.

Joshua was written to the Israelites to remind them of God’s faithfulness by the conquest of Canaan. They destroyed Jericho but preserved the family of Rehab. Rehab was preserved because he believed in Yahweh Elohim and protected the spies. The story of Rehab is included in the book of Joshua to show God’s Grace towards Gentiles, those who outside of the Jewish faith. The Keyword of Joshua is Victory. This is the perspective of Joshua from The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey and Survey of the Old Testament authors.

Judges was written most likely by Samuel. The Keyword in Judges is Defeat. Samuel wrote Judges to “record the experiences of Israel during the era of the theocracy.” The Key chapter of Judges is Chapter 2 because it records the cycle of the judge. Gideon, Samson, and Jephthah. Judges titles reflect the key office in this period of Israel’s History. Judges took place in various locations within Israel. The Background points on Judges includes the concept of the Theocracy, The position of the Judge and the key background scriptures. Hindson and Yates declared the message of Judges as stories of Heroes and deliverers. Hindson and Yates wrote:

“Most of the biblical judges were heroes or deliverers more than legal arbiters. They were raised up by god and empowered to execute the judgment of God upon Israel’s enemies. The sovereignty of God over His people is seen in these accounts as God, the ultimate Judge (11:27), judges Israel for her sins, brigs oppressors against her, and raises up judges to deliverer her from the oppression when she repents.”

Hindson and Yates sheds the light that the message of the Book is how Judges were to revive the nation of Israel and deliver Israel from the oppression when they repent. Hindson and Yates the reports the reason why the Israelites needs Judges to rule over them. Hindson and Yates wrote, “While the book of Joshua represents the apex of victory for the Israelite tribes, the book of Judges tells the story of their struggle to maintain control of the land.” In order for Israel to maintain control of the Land, God raised up Judges to protect them from the dangers of the other inhabitants that live in the land.

The Book of Judges reports the cycle of the Israelites. The Israelites sin. After the Israelites sin, God sends a Judge to protect them and lead them back to their relationship with God. Since Judges only last a certain period, the Israelites return to their sin. This is basically the story of Judges from the perspective of the two books that I have read.

Ruth is another interesting writing specimen. The Importance of the book of Ruth is that it follows the Lineage of King David. Ruth was written to give the Israelites a ray of light and hope for the future. There are four elements in order to understand to the book of Ruth. Hindson and Yates wrote about the four elements:

“First, the Moabites were the descendants of Lot. Second, the right of redemption gives the next of kin the responsibility of buying back property that was sold because of foreclosure due to poverty. Third, under the principle of levirate marriage, the next of kin of a deceased man was to marry the widow and produce an offspring in order to prevent the deceased man’s lineage and name from dying out. Fourth, according to Deut. 23:2, A Moabite, or any of his descendants up to the tenth generation, could not gain entrance into Israel’s public assembly.”

According to Hindson and Yates, these are the four elements in order to understand the book of Ruth. Benware wrote that the Keyword of Ruth is Hope.

Ruth wrote a “four-act play.” The first act is Ruth’s determination (Ruth 1). The Second act is Ruth’s devotion (Ruth 2). The Third act is Boaz’s decision (Ruth 3). And the final act is the Family’s Destiny (Ruth 4).

The main theological significance of Ruth is God’s faithfulness to his own covenants. The other theological significance is God’s sovereignty. God is in control of the circumstances that Ruth was under and God remained faithful to Ruth. The final theological significance of Ruth is the Redeemer motif which appears more than “20 times in the book.” These are the theological significance of Ruth. This is the perspective of Ruth from the two books I have read.

1 & 2 Samuel are interesting writings. 1 & 2 Samuel was written by none other than Samuel. 1 & 2 Samuel use to be one book. 1 & 2 Samuel was divided in the third century B.C. The principal writer of 1 & 2 Samuel is obviously Samuel, but some scholars think that Nathan wrote some chapters in 1 & 2 Samuel. Benware wrote:

“The Jewish Talmud states that Samuel wrote part of the book (1 Samuel 1-24) and that Nathan and Gad composed the rest (cf. 1 Chronicles 29:29). The Idea of there being several authors does not detract from the unity of the books or from the doctrine of inspiration. For this study, a date of 975 B.C. is given for these books.”

Therefore, I agree with Benware that Samuel wrote most of First and Second Samuel.

Hannah is the principal character in the first chapter of First Samuel. Hannah was beseeching Yahweh Elohim to give her a child. Eli was in Lord’s house as Hannah was beseeching the Lord for a Child. God granted her request to have a son, named Samuel. After Hannah gave birth to Samuel, she dedicated Samuel to the Lord. Samuel was around 12 years old when Hannah dedicated Samuel to the Lord. Next, Samuel was in the trusty hands of Eli. Eli trained Samuel in the way of the Lord.

Benware proclaims the keyword of 1 Samuel to be King. Benware decided King was the best keyword because First Samuel was written to transition from the years of a theocratic nation through the Judges to the years of a monarchy. The Key Chapter of First Samuel is Chapter 8. Chapter 8 of 1st Samuel describes the first king of the nation of Israel. The Nation of Israel was not respecting any authority and doing things in their own eyes as demonstrated in Judges. However, The Israelites cried to God to rise up a King to rule over them.

The concept of Kingship caused a strained relationship between God and man; God did not want a King to be in power. He wanted to be the ruler of the Israelites. This caused turmoil in the book of 1st Samuel where King Saul was displeased and Jealous of David. Due to King Saul’s jealous attitude, King Saul sought to kill David because of his military achievements and his life achievements. Even though the Benware proclaimed the keyword of 1st Samuel to be King. The King concept strained the nation of Israel and Israel’s relationship with God of the universe. God did not want King Saul to be king. God wanted King David to be King who came from the Line of Jesse. King David was just a young shepherd boy minding his own business when all of a sudden, God called him to be the apprentice to King Saul. In the midst of his training, He had a great battle with Goliath. King David destroyed Goliath with one simple stone out of 5. The concept that arises out of the battle with Goliath is that God will fight our battles. When we are in the midst of a mighty spiritual storm, God will help us fight the devil’s flaming arrows and protect us from being heavy laden.

Just like King David is a Shepherd of his people, Jesus Christ is the Shepherd of his flock and knows each of sheep by name. The concept of King David being a shepherd kind of has some similarities to Jesus Christ and Psalms 23. Psalms 23 details how God is our ever-present shepherd who comforts us when we are distraught and afraid. Just Like David loved his sheep and will run after one, God is our Shepherd who cares and loves us and who seeks the one lost sheep and bring the sheep back into his fold. So, the concept of being Shepherd in 1st Samuel is quite significant.

The Purpose of First Samuel, according to Benware, is “given to record the great transition in the national life of Israel, as Israel left the theocracy and went into the monarchy. Samuel was the key individual during this time, and 1 Samuel provides the account of his ministry.” Benware is so correct. First Samuel is all about how the Nation of Israel transition of the years of Judges to the years of Kings. The First King ever recorded is the King Saul who was the ruler of the nation of Israel before David took the reigns of Kingship. David being a King or Saul being a King is not an easy task to say the least.

Another purpose of First Samuel, according to Hindson and Yates is “an apologetic for the new monarchy, which God graciously establishes for His people in spite of their sin.” Just because someone sins, God still remains faithful to that person in hopes that person would repent. First Samuel is all about the fall of the theocratic nation and the rise of a monarchy. This is the perspective of First Samuel from the perspective of Hindson’s and Yates’ book and Benware’s book.

God wrote, with the hand of Samuel, Second Samuel. Second Samuel has a fourfold system in place. Hindson and Yates wrote,

“The Book of 2 Samuel follows a fourfold division. The First section exemplifies David’s triumphs (chaps. 1-10). The Second section emphasizes David’s transgression (chaps 11-12). The Third Section highlights David’s troubles (chaps. 13-20). The Fourth section represents six nonchronological appendices dealing with the greatness of the Davidic covenant and kingdom.”

Hindson and Yates did a great job summarizing Second Samuel into 4 main classifications. The Book of Second Samuel deals with the Sovereignty of God because God was in control of the Israelites every move in the good times and also in the bad times. God had control over his people and helped guide and direct the Israelites into the right direction. Hindson and Yates report, “The Sovereignty of God is displayed as God unilateral transitions from one form of theocracy to the next and raises a lowly shepherd to the pinnacle of power.” Hindson and Yates were correct in stating that the sovereignty of God is actively displayed in First and Second Samuel. Benware displayed the keyword of 2 Samuel as “David.” Second Samuel as we seen in both Benware and Hindson & Yates book, is all about the life of David. Second Samuel details how David sinned with Bathsheba, but he was still a man after God’s own heart.

This is the story of David’s sin with Bathsheba. The keyword is Bath. Samuel had a sense of humor with the name Bathsheba. Anyways, One Day, King David saw this beautiful girl bathing. That is already a red flag there. King David got selfish and brought Bathsheba to his castle or mansion. As She was in the King’s castle, she slept with King David, which King David was at fault for doing this unclean act. As a result, Bathsheba got pregnant with a son. Due to this astonishing and horrific news, King David called for the Military to send Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, on the frontlines. In those days, the frontline soldiers usually got killed. Ultimately due to this military strategy, Uriah died due to the mistake that King David did. Nathan was so horrified that King David would do such a thing. Nathan told the story of the sheep and told him how he defiled the God of the Universe and a consequence would surely fall on him. Ultimately, the punishment for King David’s sin is the death of his firstborn son. Later on, Bathsheba married King David and they had a son called Solomon who was blessed by God to rule over the nation of Israel and establish the Solomonic Temple. David prepared the Temple in advance of King Solomon, who is King David’s son. Even despite the King David’s sin, God remained true to his steadfast love and his Faithfulness through the Davidic Covenant. The Davidic Covenant is unconditional because God made it to King David even when King David does not hold onto his end of the bargain. It is also unconditional because the eternality of the Davidic dynasty does not depend on the failure of the kings in the Davidic line. Even though God is loving, He can give people a just punishment for their sin. In the story of King David’s sin with Bathsheba, we see that God is both loving and just.

The whole purpose of Second Samuel is to show God remained steadfast in love towards David which corresponds with Psalms 1-51. Satan tries at every turn tried to discourage Christians from pursuing God’s will for my life. Satan comes to seek, kill, and destroy your life. To counteract this, one needs to befriend God’s faithfulness and God’s steadfast love as David did in Second Samuel.

When Christians encounter Satan’s attacks, Christians should read Psalms 1-51 and note how many times David rested in God’s faithfulness and God’s steadfast love. David also viewed God as a Stronghold for him when He was going through a spiritual storm of discomfort as seen in Second Samuel. Second Samuel goal is show how King David remained faithful to God despite his sin. Even when King David had distrust with God, he remained faithful and true to Yahweh Elohim (The LORD God). Just like King David rested in God’s faithfulness and God’s steadfast love, Christians should embrace God’s faithfulness and God’s steadfast love. This is the whole message of Second Samuel. This is the perspective of Second Samuel from Benware’s and Hindson’s and Yates’ books.

Surprising as might be, the writer of 1 & 2 Kings, Jeremiah, wrote First and Second Kings as one book. Benware wrote:

“It is generally agreed by commentators that the content of 1 and 2 Kings was compiled before the captivity of Judah, with the final editing taking place in the captivity period. Some believe that the author was a Jewish captive living in Babylon, whereas others point to the prophet Jeremiah as the most likely candidate. In either case, the date for writing would be around 600-575 B.C.”

Benware has an interesting perspective on the writer of 1 & 2 Kings. Most commentators and professors point the later answer of the Author. They believe the author is Jeremiah who wrote 1and 2 Kings. To increase the breadth of knowledge of these two books, 1 & 2 Kings should be critically critiqued individually.

First Kings was written to report the division of the United Kingdom and how the nation of Israel was growing into rebellion against God through their abandonment of God. Jeremiah wrote First Kings with the keyword of Division in mind. Benware proclaimed,

“First Kings was written to continue the story of the united monarchy under David’s son Solomon. It was also written to record the division of the kingdom into North and South. The book is not just a view of historical events but a commentary on the great spiritual issues that brought about those events.”

Benware is correct in reporting that the purpose includes the division of the kingdom into the Northern region and the Southern region. The Northern Kingdom is called Israel. The Southern Kingdom is called Judah.

Hindson and Yates concludes these are the major themes or events that took place in 1st Kings. First, First Kings opens with David, The King of Israel. Second, First Kings reports on Solomon’s glory. Third, First Kings reports how the Temple was built and consecrated. Fourth, First Kings begins with the concept that obedience to God leads to blessings. Fifth, First Kings reports the growing apostasy towards God. Apostasy is the idea that people are forsaking Yahweh Elohim (The LORD God). Sixth, First Kings reports on the division of the United Kingdom. Seventh, First Kings reports how the Kings failed. Eighth, First Kings reports the inner workings and the outer workings of Elijah. Elijah was predominantly in First Kings. Ninth, First Kings tells how Yahweh Elohim was patient towards The Israelites with their rejection of God. Finally, First Kings ends with a note of Despair. This is the summary of the themes found in First Kings from the perspective of Hindson and Yates.

The Book of Kings shows Yahweh’s faithfulness towards the Israelites in keeping the Davidic Covenant. Hindson and Yates reports, “The Book of Kings represents the outworking of both covenant discipline and God’s unconditional covenant promises to Judah.” The Davidic Covenant was ultimately fulfilled when Jesus Christ came into this world in the City of David which is none other than Bethlehem. The Book of First Kings has some references to the fact that Jesus Christ will come down and save the world later on. God loved the World so much that despite all the nations sin, God sent his only son to save the world and redeem the world from the world’s sin. Sin has both collectivistic and individualistic harms. When a person lies under oath in a courtroom, they harm both themselves and the defendant. Ultimately, when a person lies under oath in a courtroom, they are guilty of perjury. This is an example of how sin has both collectivistic and individualistic harms. Not only does sin have consequences here on earth, but also in the spiritual realm. In the spiritual realm, if you sin and do not repent of your sin, you are guilty and condemned to the Hell. Also, in the Spiritual Realm, if you repent of your sins and trust 100% that Jesus Christ came to the Earth, died on the cross for your sins, and rose on third day conquering death, you are freed from your punishment and have received the free gift of eternal life. Therefore, God is our salvation, and it is only by God you are freed from the punishment. The Israelites did not understand this, and they committed great atrocities. The Israelites forgot God and went their own way. The Israelites going their own way caused great harm in the Israelites’ communities and in themselves too. First Kings was written to urge the Israelites to go back to remembering God’s faithfulness and God’s steadfastness instead of going on the path of apostasy. This is the perspective of First Kings from Hindson and Yates and Benware.

Benware records that Jeremiah wrote Second Kings with the keyword of captivity in mind. Benware also found that The Key Chapters of Second Kings is chapter 17 and chapter 25. According to Benware, Chapter 17 records the captivity of the Northern Kingdom which is Israel, and Chapter 25 records the captivity of the Southern Kingdom. Benware reports that the key characters of Second Kings are Elisha, Jehu, Jeroboam II, Hezekiah, Josiah, and Manasseh. The Geography of Second Kings is the land of Israel and Judah. The Northern Kingdom is Israel, and the Southern Kingdom is Judah. According to Hindson and Yates, the Northern Kingdom, which is Israel fail into the Assyrian’s hand in 722 B.C. The Southern Kingdom, which is Judah, fail to the Babylonians, and destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

According to Benware, Jeremiah wrote Second Kings “to continue the story of the divided kingdom period and to record the taking captive of both the Northern and the Southern Kingdoms.” Benware is hitting the nail on its head. Benware is correct in assessing that Jeremiah wrote the book to record the taking captive of both the Northern and Southern Kingdom. Benware continues on, “The Book was written to show that God is faithful to word in judging His people for their disobedience and idolatry.” Benware is correct in noting that the book of 2 Kings was written to show God’s faithfulness. God is always faithful towards the Israelites even when the kings remain unfaithful to the God of the universe. The Davidic Covenant is unconditional. This is the perspective of 2 Kings from Hindson & Yates and Benware.

Ezra originally wrote 1 & 2 Chronicles in a united book. Ezra’s wrote 1 & 2 Chronicles to help the Israelites do practice true temple worship. Hindson and Yates wrote on the purpose and the message of 1 & 2 Chronicles. Hindson and Yates wrote,

“In order to exhort the Jewish returnees to unite and resume temple worship, the writer reminds them of their genealogical connection with God’s past purposes in general and with the Davidic covenant in particular (1 Chronicles 1-9).”

Therefore, Ezra wrote 1 & 2 Chronicles to help the Jewish returnees to unite and resume Temple worship.

Ezra wrote First Chronicles after Israel’s devastating exile from the Promised Land. First Chronicles emphasizes that God still has a beautiful plan for his people and his King in Jerusalem. First Chronicles reviews the importance of universal redemption through a Davidic King. Chronicles is a two-book series that goes through Israel’s history from Adam to the restoration. Ezra in First Chronicles focused on the theme of True Worship. The Themes of First Chronicles is summed up great in 1 Chronicle 29:10-19. Ezra highlighted three themes in First Chronicles: the theme of the preeminence of God, the provision of God, the Promises of God and the perception of God.

Ezra pointed out elegantly that the purpose of First Chronicles was to show that God will still bless them and keep the Davidic Covenant even despite the Israelites’ immense persecution under the Babylonian Captivity. Ezra demonstrated that the Chronicles’ purpose was to rekindle The Israelites’ relationship with the God of the Universe. According to Hindson and Yates, Ezra wrote this book “in order to exhort the Jewish returnees to unite and resume temple worship.”[3] Hindson and Yates continues, “The writer reminds them of their genealogical connection with God’s past purposes in general and with the Davidic covenant in particular (1 Chronicles 1-9). To this end, the writer also features David’s priority of pursuing temple worship (1 Chronicles 10-29).”[4] Hindson and Yates were correct in saying that Ezra’s purpose in writing the chronicles is to show the Israelites the importance of Temple Worship. Therefore, Ezra wrote First Chronicles to rekindle the Israelites’ relationship with the God of the Universe by pursuing Temple Worship.

Benware proclaimed the purpose of 1 Chronicles is the following: “These books are complementary to 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. They were intended to strengthen the remnant of the nation who had made it through the period of the Babylonian Captivity.” Benware’s goal is to rekindle their hope in God. The Phrase “Rekindle their hope” is to help the Israelites feel connected and have a personal relationship with God of the universe. Rekindling the hope of the Israelites meaning to help their weary souls feel better. Their weary souls will feel better when they experience true Temple worship. It is only by God’s power that the Israelites can rekindle their hope in God. This is the perspective of First Chronicles from the view of Hindson and Yates and Benware.

Second Chronicles emphasizes more on the Solomon’s construction of the Temple than anything else. Hindson and Yates wrote:

“This theme fits into the writer’s argument in three important ways. First, it reveals Solomon’s commitment to faithful worship that the writer hopes his audience will imitate. Second, it shows how Israel became the greatest nation on the face of the earth as Solomon made worship in the Temple his top priority. Third, this section emphasizes God’s sovereignty in bringing to pass many promises in the Davidic covenant.”

Hindson and Yates is correct in stating that Second Chronicles has hints of God’s sovereignty. Benware states that the keyword of 2 Chronicles is Temple. The Goal of Ezra writing both books is to help strengthen the Jewish remnant to pursue true Temple Worship to glorify God and to glorify himself. This first chapter of 2 Chronicles is the pinnacle of Solomon’s career. The first chapter is on how Solomon gets wisdom. God blessed Solomon. Due to Solomon’s wisdom, He was able to write Songs of Solomon, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. According to Hindson and Yates, Ezra “reminds the reader how Solomon’s pursuit of worship contributed to the greatness of empire.” Solomon’s greatness of his empire was due to his obedience to God of the universe. It is only by God’s grace that Solomon’s empire expanded.

The other half of Second Chronicles is how all the kings turned towards Apostasy. Hindson and Yates wrote,

“In the book’s final section (chap. 10-36), the writer focuses on the decline of Judah. Here he emphasizes the blessings on those reforming kings that prioritized worship as well as the withdrawal of divine blessings from those kings that apostatized from temple worship.”

In the final section of 2 Chronicles, The Kings turned away from God and embraced Apostasy. This is the perspective of 2 Chronicles from Hindson & Yates & Benware.

Ezra wrote the book of Ezra to show how the rebuilding of the Temple played out. Hindson and Yates wrote this on the message of the book of Ezra. Hindson and Yates wrote:

“In order to preserve the nation from assimilating into the surrounding Gentile cultures and in order for it to fulfill God’s messianic purposes, God sovereignty, worked among the pagan Persian leaders, as well as among His people, to preserve Judah’s religious and worship identity.”

Hindson and Yates is correct in how the book of Ezra plays a role in the messianic purposes. Benware indicated that the keyword of Spiritual Restoration. Ezra wanted to preserve the religious culture of the Jews that is why he built the Temple. Hindson and Yates wrote: “In the Book of Ezra, the writer seeks to show how God acted sovereignly in history to preserve the religious culture of the nation of Israel so that she could fulfill her covenant destiny.” Ezra truly wanted Israel to fulfill her covenant destiny, that is why he built the temple also.

Ezra wanted to demonstrate God’s sovereignty and God’s providence in the book of Ezra. Hindson and Yates continued, “In the book’s first major section, Ezra reveals how God’s providentially acted so that His people could return to their land and rebuild the temple.” Hindson and Yates hit the nail on its head by revealing that Ezra was writing the book to demonstrate God’s sovereignty and God’s providence. Ezra also wanted God to be glorified in the book of Ezra. It is interesting to note that the book of Ezra semi-backed up the book of Chronicles too. Ezra wrote the book of Ezra to demonstrate God’s sovereignty to Judah. Hindson and Yates wrote, “God’s sovereign purpose included confronting the nation regarding her syncretistic tendencies (Chaps. 7-10).” Hindson and Yates also recorded that Ezra was a “serious scholar.” According to Ezra 7:10, Ezra was determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes.”

The Primary purpose of Ezra was to showcase God’s sovereignty. God’s sovereignty is important in Ezra. Ezra obeyed God and went to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple under the guidance of God. God gave Ezra the strength and the perseverance to finish rebuilding the temple despite the naysayers. This is the summary of Ezra taken from the perspective of Hindson and Yates and Benware.

Ezra wrote the book of Nehemiah to showcase the political restoration of Jerusalem. Ezra wrote the purpose of Nehemiah is to restore the political landscape of Jerusalem by rebuilding the walls. Hindson and Yates wrote,

“In order to prevent the nation of Israel from assimilating into the surrounding cultures so she can fulfill her messianic and covenant destiny, the book of Nehemiah narrates the sovereign work of God among both the Persian rulers and his own people in Jerusalem. This covenant work was accomplished through the covenant obedience and skilled leadership of Nehemiah.”

Hindson and Yates was correct that Nehemiah fulfilled his purposes in life and rebuilt the walls to restore the political landscape of Jerusalem.

Benware indicates that the keyword of Nehemiah is “Political Restoration.” According to Benware, Ezra wrote Nehemiah “to show the work of God through a godly leader, Nehemiah.” Benware continued on to say, “The book records the building, fortifying, and reestablishing of the city of Jerusalem.” Benware is so correct in stating that the book of Nehemiah records the rebuilding of city of Jerusalem and the building of the walls and the city gates. Benware also states, “The book reveals the beautiful balance in the life of Nehemiah between zealous human effort and planning, and divine empowering.” Benware is again correct in stating that the Nehemiah was empowered by God to rebuild the Temple wall.

To recap, Ezra wrote Nehemiah to showcase the providence, the sovereignty, and the glory of God. The Key chapter of Nehemiah is the rebuilding of the Jerusalem’s walls in Chapter 6 of Nehemiah. This is the perspective of Nehemiah from Hindson & Yates & Benware.

Esther was written to show the sovereignty of God and the Providence of God. Benware proclaimed, “The Book was written to show God’s providential care for His people even while they were in captivity and in a poor spiritual condition.” Esther was written to show that God’s hand was in the Israelites despite Haman’s wicked plan. Hindson and Yates recorded the message behind Esther. Hindson and Yates wrote,

“Based on Esther’s wisdom and intercession, Haman’s evil intent was revealed, and he was executed. The King’s decree was supplemented with another decree that allowed the Jews to defend themselves against attacks. After this crisis the Jews were allowed to live in peace, and Mordecai took Haman’s place as prime minister. In Celebration of their victory, the Jews instituted a Celebration of the annual feast of Purim.”

Hindson and Yates was correct in stating that the primary purpose of Esther is to showcase God’s protection towards the Israelites. Benware was also right in saying that the Esther was written to showcase God’s providential care for His people while they are in captivity.

The First Chapter of Esther shows how Esther rose to queenship. So King Xerxes did not like Queen Vashti because she did not listen to the authority of King Xerxes. Due to Queen not listening to the Authority of King Xerxes, King Xerxes proclaimed a contest for the prettiest lady to become the next Queen. So, Mordecai decided to enter Esther in this contest. Mordecai forewarned Esther to not show her identity of being a Jew. Ultimately, she won the contest and became the Next Queen. Haman was unpleased and planned for the eradication of the Jews. King Xerxes unaware that Queen Esther’s uncle was a Jew signed this decree. Haman was happy. Mordecai secretly met with Queen Esther and told her about Haman’s ultimate plan for the destruction of Jews. So, Queen Esther hold three Banquets and each banquet got closer to asking King Xerxes to not eradicate Jews. Ultimately, she succeeded. This was the perspective of the Esther from Hindson and Yates and Benware.

In Conclusion, Hindson and Yates wrote a great narrative and provided excellent sources on the Historical books and the Pentateuch. I also loved Benware’s Survey of the Old Testament. The Goal of the Old Testament is how the nation of Israel provided a way for God to glorify himself. God was ultimately the groundbreaking figure in the first 16 books of the Bible. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the books in its entirety. I am glad that you assigned this assignment. It helped me think more critically on the 16 books of the Bible that the Hindson and Yates and Benware reported on. I hope to read more of the Old Testament in the future.

[1] Ed Hindson and Gary Yates. The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey. (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2012), 55.

[2] Ibid., 56.

[3] Ed Hindson and Gary Yates. The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey. (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2012), 189.

[4] Ibid., 189.

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