Friday, July 17, 2009

650 Years Summarized

History is a funny animal. We tend to learn about events in the singular and miss the flow of one event to another. If you learned Bible stories as a kid you probably experienced this as well, learning anecdotes of history without much time context.

I'm going to connect some of the dots for a short segment of biblical history. If you know some of the stories buy aren't a biblical scholar then you might get a sense of the bigger picture.

About 1700 BC:
  • God calls Abraham to pack up and leave to go to a land that God would show him, and promises him and his wife a child despite their advanced age and childlessness.
  • Abraham and his wife Sarah have a child, Isaac. God commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac but supplies a ram as substitute for the sacrifice at the last second.
  • Isaac and his wife Rebekah have children, one of whom is Jacob.
  • Jacob has 12 sons, one of whom is Joseph.
  • God gives Jacob the name "Israel" after wrestling with him.
  • Joseph's brothers are jealous of their father's obvious favoritism of Joseph (including the gift of a coat of many colors) and so they fake his death and sell him into slavery in Egypt.
  • Joseph interprets a dream Pharaoh's dream of fat/thin cows as meaning seven years of plenty were coming, followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh places Joseph in charge of storing the plenty to prepare for the famine
  • After the seven years of plenty, Jacob and his family move to Egypt to escape the famine.
  • The children of Israel (Jacob) thrive in Egypt, until a Pharaoh comes to power who does not know Joseph. The children of Israel are forced from residing in Egypt to being captive there.
  • About 280 years after captivity in Egypt begins, Moses is born.
  • At age 80, Moses leads Israel's children (now a multitude) out of Egypt.
If you actually read all that, did it fill in any gaps? Were there things you knew of connected in ways you hadn't known before? I'm just curious more than anything. As a child I did not grasp the connections in biblical history that as an adult I see.

1 comment:

  1. I find myself continually "skootching" historical events over in my mind as I add another chunk of time that I feel like I have a good sense of... like, closing the gap between 33 AD, the lives of the early Christians, up to the Fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD... I have a pretty solid comprehension of the stretch of events you describe, because I was always reading biblical historical fiction when I was growing up, and juggling placement in my mind.

    My mom decided to teach us the Old Testament when we were little - she had one of those steno pads, and each night she'd sit us down and talk through the notes she'd taken of "what happened next" in the Bible. She was amazingly direct; didn't gloss over anything. She barely remembers that time at all, but my mental picture of the Bible up through the Babylonian Exile(we fell off after that!) has retained the mental pictures I drew when I was 7 and 8.

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