Studying the Historical Books


After completing our 3 1/2-year cycle of readings in the Torah, we’ve decided to continue with the historical books that follow, beginning with Joshua. We’ll read first about the conquest of the Canaanite tribes, then examine the disappointing time of the Judges – punctuated by the exploits of Gideon and Samson – and the turmoil that led up to the anointing of Saul as King.

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January 16, 2022 – 1 Samuel 15 – Saul Spares Agag

God had commanded Israel to “blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” But King Saul neglects to kill the Amalekite King Agag. For this disobedience, Saul’s kingdom would be taken from him and given to another – David.

Notes on 1 Samuel 15:1-35

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January 9, 2022 – 1 Samuel 14:24-52 – Saul’s rash Vow

King Saul makes a rash and dangerous oath that almost causes the death of his son Jonathan.

Notes on 1 Samuel 14:24-52

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January 2, 2022 – 1 Samuel 14:1-23 – Jonathan’s Bold Attack

When the Philistines move against Israel, Jonathan and his armorbearer attack without consulting his father Saul. In the midst of the resulting miraculous victory, Saul again disobeys God.

Notes on 1 Samuel 14:1-23

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December 19, 2021 – Celebrate Hanukkah!

The eight-day feast of Hanukkah, a festival of lights, occurs in the darkest time of year. It commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 B.C. after it was cleansed by Judas Maccabeus when the Jews prevailed against the Seleucid Greeks of Syria.

When the special oil for the Temple lamp stand could not be obtained in time, Judas Maccabeus took a step of faith (and a risk) by lighting the lamp with only one day’s supply of oil. It burned miraculously for eight days until the extra oil arrived.

Many scholars place the time of Mary’s annunciation and the conception of Christ (rather than his birth) at this time of year, and the festival contains numerous types and foreshadowings of Christ’s coming.

Read our Notes on Hanukkah here

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December 12, 2021 – 1 Samuel 13 – Saul’s Impatience

After two years as king, Saul is faced with a Philistine invasion. But instead of waiting to confer with Samuel, as he was told, Sauls feel forced into offering a sacrifice, a requirement before his army can respond. Because of this disobedience, Samuel tells him, “thy kingdom shall not continue.”

Notes on 1 Samuel 13:1-23

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December 5, 2021 – 1 Samuel 12 – Samuel hands over authority to Saul

The judge and prophet Samuel transfers his authority over to Saul, but not without first reminding the people how they sinned in desiring a king.

Notes on 1 Samuel 12:1-24

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November 28, 2021 – 1 Samuel 11 – Saul defeats the Ammonites

Confronted by an Ammonite threat against Jabesh-gilead, Saul butchers a yoke of oxen and sends the pieces to each tribe, calling them to war. Israel’s victory convinces the people (and Saul) that he is is the right man to be king.

Notes on 1 Samuel 11:1-15

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