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  1. Lesson 1 - Old Testament Survey
  3. Old Testament Survey

Lesson 1 - Old Testament Survey

His father, Terach Terah , was a merchant of idols… It is likely; therefore, that Abraham owned and worshipped a number of gods himself. On the other hand, he could have been one of a few that still believed in the One God that Noach Noah spoke of, but that is unlikely. Certainly if Avraham had despised idols, it is not easy to imagine his getting along well with his father, who would have taught him otherwise. The spiritual mind of the people of that time had no problem with the idea of worshipping many gods and adding a new one if he or she happened along.

One of the great curiosities of history is that it appears that atheism, the belief that there is no god, that there is no spiritual world and that there is nothing greater than mankind, is a relatively modern concept, as every ancient society ever discovered is found to have worshipped superior beings. Avraham had two brothers, an unusually small family for that time. One died. Avraham Abraham married Sarai Sarah , his half-sister, who was unable to give him children. Marrying close family members was the norm for the day and not yet forbidden by God. In any case, the family decided to settle in Haran.

One day, when Avraham Abraham was about 75 years old, God revealed Himself to him. The way the scriptures seem to flavor it, it is not a first time introduction.

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God strikes a covenant, a unilateral contract, with Avraham that if he will follow Him, God will give him a land of his own, bring forth a great nation from his seed, and from this the whole world will be blessed. There is practically no information at all about Avraham Abraham prior to this time. All things considered, he was probably a fairly ordinary person, and surprised as anybody at this God choosing him to carry out such a grand plan.

As an Amorite, Avraham was surrounded by a number of idols and gods. Avraham Abraham took his wife Sarai Sarah and Lot, his nephew the son of the deceased brother , a few servants and probably a number of cousins, and struck out for parts unknown. That is, it is a generalized geographical area that has been given a title. The widely scattered inhabitants of Canaan were called Canaanites and, although there were ancient family ties between the residents of the various city-states and villages in Canaan, they were not a homogenous people.

Speaking of them as Canaanites is roughly analogous to our speaking of the inhabitants of the Middle East as Arabs. In reality, the so-called Arabs of the Middle East see themselves based on a national identity Iraqis, Iranians, Egyptians, Syrians, etc. They would not all have even been descended from Canaan.

When Noach awoke and found a cloak over him, he was incensed and asked what had happened. The exact nature of the offense is unclear. As with many biblical curses and blessings, the one Noah pronounced upon Canaan was prophetic in nature. Many of the sons that Canaan spawned eventually spread over the area, grew and divided to become their own tribes, and then established their own city-states and villages.

In time, they even warred with one another.

Some years later, we find those descendents of Canaan who had stayed in the land fighting to keep Moses and the Israelites out. Tribes from other areas also settled in that region. Jebusites, Girgashites, Hittites, Hivites, and even the tribe Avraham originally belonged to, the Amorites, all eventually became enemies of Israel. NOTE: If Avraham, who it is confirmed in the Bible is a descendent of Shem, was indeed an Amorite a tribe originating from Ham , then it must have been so through intermarriage, or perhaps simply by joining the Amorite tribe by a statement of allegiance; a customary event.

For by the time of the birth of Avraham, centuries had passed since the origination of the Amorite tribe and, as happened with many other tribes, the Amorites had grown, splintered into factions, and some faction members had moved to other areas and become sub-tribes in many other regions. The location inside the land of Canaan that Avraham first stopped at was a place called Shechem. There, at Shechem, God made His plan clear to Abraham. As written in Gen.

Abraham built an altar there, presumably made an animal sacrifice and, after a short stay, moved on; eventually all the way south to Egypt, because a severe famine had come upon Canaan. Canaan was a tough place to live. Everything was based on the soil, which means it depended on the fickle rains.

No rain, no crops, no pastureland, no survival.

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Which would explain why the Canaanites might have held the world record for the number of gods they had. A god for rain, a god for wind, a god for clouds, a god for barley; you name it, they had a god for it. But, the chief god was Baal. At least, he was the most popular. Despite the difficult living conditions apparently Avraham and his nephew Lot prospered. So much so that they had to part company because their herds and flocks were growing large enough to outstrip the land they mutually occupied, and it caused disputes among the herdsmen [Gen.

Lot must have liked the city life because he moved to Sodom, somewhere near the southwestern bank of the Dead Sea. A little time later, without warning, peaceful old Avraham finds himself having to be a warrior leader [Gen. It seems some kings that is, several city-state rulers from a region east and north of Canaan decided to invade 5 Canaanite Kings in the area where Avraham lived. In the process the invading kings sacked the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and made Lot one of their prisoners.


Family being what it is, Avraham Abraham recruits men and off they go to chase down the kings of the east, in hopes of rescuing Lot. A few miles north of Damascus Syria they catch up to the raiders and defeat them, free Lot, and reclaim the stolen booty.

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Avraham returns to the cheers of the people and the gratitude of the Canaanite Kings. He is also honored by the mysterious King and High Priest of the city of Shalem centuries later this city will be called Jerusalem ….. It is Hebrew tradition that Melchizedek was none other than Shem, a son of Noach. And, although Shem would have been hundreds of years old by then, the table of generations in the Bible indicates that Shem was indeed alive while Abraham was living in Canaan.

Old Testament Survey 1

Online Tutorial. Childs ISBN: The Old Testament Library from Westminster John Knox Press is a multi-volume commentary targeting students, pastors and teachers with a critical, theological interpretation. Smyth and Helwys - Isaiah by Patricia K. Tull ISBN: An easy-to-read commentary with lots of enrichment material, visuals, and other useful material.

Old Testament Survey

Isaiah by John D. Watts ISBN: A scholarly commentary series that incorporates Hebrew studies. Isaiah by Christopher R. Seitz; James L. Mays Editor ; Patrick D. Miller Editor ; Paul J. A series of commentaries that focuses on theological and practical interpretation, these are also relatively easy to read. This stands as a core class and a prerequisite to other Bible-related classes.

It is foundational not only for the understanding of the New Testament but also to the understanding of the Bible as a whole. The Old Testament was scripture quoted by Jesus and the Apostles, but it also represents the foundational theology for early Christians and the Church prior to the development of the biblical canon.