History is important. I know that many of us do not have fond memories of history class or for that matter the history teacher droning on for what seemed like an eternity about some minor point of former days. Whatever your experience with history class might have been, that does not negate the importance of understanding our past. This is especially true when it comes to engaging Scripture. Given the events recorded in the Bible are actual history, if we are to be able to have a proper framework for the flow of Biblical history, then we need to be students of history. One helpful book that focuses on biblical history is A Biblical History of Israel: Second Edition by Iain Provan, V. Philips Long, and Tremper Longman III.
Now this is admittedly a scholarly book through and through. The authors are noted experts in matters related to the Old Testament and it shows in the information provided in this book. The reader is walked through the entire spectrum of biblical history as it relates to Israel, starting with the period of the patriarchs and ending with the post-exilic period with a brief interaction with the intertestamental period.
There is a veritable plethora of information to read in this book. In fact, I would argue it is a text not meant to be read cover to cover, but rather to be accessed as needed when the reader needs to obtain information about a particular period of biblical history. To sit and read this book cover to cover would take one a great deal of time and I believe would detract from its intended purpose, namely that of a reference tool. What a reference tool this is by the way as it is full of scholarly insight, helpful maps, tables, and footnotes. Please do not overlook the footnotes as they provide an even larger means by which to further your study of the biblical history of Israel.
The authors pose the question at the outset of this book as to whether biblical history is dead as a subject matter. The answer thankfully is a resounding no due in part to excellent resources such as this book. I highly recommend this book for those in Bible College and Seminary especially. I recommend it for anyone interested in deepening their understanding of history as it relates to the Old Testament. You will find yourself presented with a great deal of information to absorb, but it is quality, salient, and important information that will go a long way to helping you grow in your understanding of the events that take place in the Old Testament period.
I received this book for free from Westminster John Knox Press and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”