Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible

Barry L. Bandstra

Preface

Changes to the Fourth Edition
Internet Support
Notes
   Note to Students
   Note to Teachers
   Book Notes
Acknowledgments

Introduction: Reading the Bible

1 Reading the Bible
   1.1 Text
   1.2 Author
   1.3 Referent
   1.4 Reader
2 Academic Study of the Bible
   2.1 Teaching and Learning the Bible
   2.2 The Bible in the Modern World
3 Which Bible?
   3.1 Hebrew Bible to Old Testament
   3.2 Spoken Word to Written Text
   3.3 Which Bible Should I Choose?
4 The Biblical Story
   4.1 Primeval Story
   4.2 Ancestral Story
   4.3 Birth of Israel
   4.4 Promised Land
   4.5 Israelite Kingdoms
   4.6 Exile in Babylon
   4.7 Restoration of Judea

Part One. Torah

Prologue to the Torah

1 Introduction
   1.1 Torah Terms
   1.2 The Torah Story
2 Composition Analysis
   2.1 Mosaic Authorship
   2.2 Documentary Hypothesis
   2.3 Current Status of the Documentary Hypothesis
3 Narrative Design
   3.1 Priestly Covenants
   3.2 Promissory Structure
4 Text and History
Study Guide

Chapter 1. Genesis 1–11: The Primeval Story

1 Introduction
   1.1 The Primeval Story: A Summary
   1.2 Study Guide
2 Creation to the Flood (1–7)
   2.1 Creation (1–3)
   2.2 Preflood Generations (4:1–6:4)
   2.3 The Flood (6:5–7:24)
3 Re-creation to the Ancestors (8–11)
   3.1 Re-creation (8–9)
   3.2 Postflood Generations (10:1–11:9)
   3.3 Generations to Abram (11:10–32)
4 Composition of Genesis 1–11
   4.1 Compositional Unity
   4.2 Structural Unity
   4.3 Theme and Genre
Study Guide

Chapter 2. Genesis 12–50: The Ancestral Story

1 Introduction
   1.1 The Ancestral Story: A Summary
   1.2 Reading Guide
2 Abraham Cycle (11:27–25:11)
   2.1 Call and Covenant (12–17)
   2.2 Abraham and Isaac (18–22)
   2.3 Last Days (23:1–25:11)
   2.4 Interlude: The Ishmael Toledot (25:12–18)
3 Jacob Cycle (25:19–35:29)
   3.1 Jacob versus Esau: Stealing the Blessing (25:19–28:22)
   3.2 Jacob versus Laban: Building a Family (29–31)
   3.3 Jacob versus God: Wrestling for a Blessing (32–35)
   3.4 Interlude: The Esau Toledot (36)
4 Joseph Cycle (37:1–50:26)
   4.1 Joseph and his Brothers (37–45)
   4.2 Israel in Egypt (46–50)
5 Genesis as a Book
   5.1 Toledot of Genesis
   5.2 Themes of Genesis
Study Guide

Chapter 3. Exodus: Deliverance and Covenant

1 Introduction
   1.1 Deliverance and Covenant: A Summary
   1.2 Historicity of Exodus
   1.3 Reading Guide
2 Exodus: Deliverance Traditions (1–18)
   2.1 Israel in Egypt (1)
   2.2 The Early Moses (2–4)
   2.3 Plagues (5–11)
   2.4 Death and Passover (12:1–13:16)
   2.5 Exodus from Egypt (13:17–15:21)
   2.6 Wilderness Journey (15:22–18:27)
3 Sinai: Covenant Traditions (19–40)
   3.1 Theophany on the Mountain (19)
   3.2 Law and Covenant (20–23)
   3.3 Covenant Confirmation (24:1–15)
   3.4 Covenant Breaking and Remaking (32–34)
   3.5 Tabernacle (25–31, 35–40)
4 Exodus as a Book
Study Guide

Chapter 4. Leviticus and Numbers: In the Wilderness

1 Introduction
   1.1 In the Wilderness: A Summary
   1.2 Reading Guide
2 Leviticus
   2.1 Priestly Worldview
   2.2 Leviticus as a Book
3 Numbers
   3.1 From Mount Sinai to Moab
   3.2 Numbers as a Book
Study Guide

Chapter 5. Deuteronomy: The Torah of Moses

1 Introduction
   1.1 The Torah of Moses: A Summary
   1.2 Reading Guide
2 The Torah of Moses
   2.1 The Great Commandment (6:4–9)
   2.2 The Place That Yhwh Chooses (12:2–7)
   2.3 A Prophet Like Me (18:15–22)
   2.4 The Earliest Creed (26:5–9)
   2.5 Choose Life! (30:15–20)
3 Torah and Covenant
4 Deuteronomy as a Book
   4.1 Themes
   4.2 Style and Structure
   4.3 Deuteronomistic History
   4.4 Authorship
Study Guide

Part Two. Prophets

Prologue to the Prophets

1 Introduction
   1.1 Prophet Collections
   1.2 Reading Guide
2 Former Prophets
   2.1 Deuteronomistic History
   2.2 Historiography
   2.3 Israelite Religion
3 Latter Prophets
   3.1 The Nature of Prophecy
   3.2 Forms of Prophetic Speech
   3.3 Social Location of Prophecy
4 The Prophets as a Whole
Study Guide

Chapter 6. Joshua: The Conquest of Canaan

1 Introduction
   1.1 Conquest of Canaan: A Summary
   1.2 Reading Guide
2 Campaigns of Conquest (1–12)
   2.1 Joshua’s Commission
   2.2 First Campaign: Jericho and Ai
   2.3 Second Campaign: Five City-States
   2.4 Third Campaign: Hazor
3 Tribal Territories (13–21)
4 Covenant Considerations (22–24)
   4.1 Joshua’s Farewell
   4.2 Covenant Renewal at Shechem
5 Joshua as a Book
Study Guide

Chapter 7. Judges: Securing the Land

1 Introduction
   1.1 Securing the Land: A Summary
   1.2 Reading Guide
2 Deuteronomic Introduction
   2.1 What Is a Judge?
   2.2 Deuteronomic Theme
3 Judge-Heroes
   3.1 Ehud (3:12–30)
   3.2 Deborah (4–5)
   3.3 Gideon (6–9)
   3.4 Jephthah (10:6–12:7)
   3.5 Samson (13–16)
4 Judges as a Book
Study Guide

Chapter 8. Samuel: The Rise of Kingship

1 Introduction
   1.1 Rise of the Monarchy: A Summary
   1.2 Archaeology of David’s Kingdom
   1.3 Reading Guide
2 Samuel Cycle (1 Samuel 1–12)
   2.1 The Early Samuel (1 Samuel 1:1–4:1a)
   2.2 Travels of the Ark (1 Samuel 4:1b–7:17)
   2.3 Search for a King (1 Samuel 8–12)
3 Saul Cycle (1 Samuel 13–31)
   3.1 Saul’s Disobedience (1 Samuel 13–15)
   3.2 Saul versus David (1 Samuel 16–31)
4 David Cycle (2 Samuel 1–24)
   4.1 David’s Rise to Power (2 Samuel 1–8)
   4.2 Dynastic Succession (2 Samuel 9–20)
   4.3 David’s Last Days (2 Samuel 21–24)
5 Samuel as a Book
Study Guide

Chapter 9. Kings and Prophets 1: The Early Monarchy

1 Introduction
   1.1 History of the Kingdoms: A Summary
   1.2 Kings as a Book
   1.3 Reading Guide
2 Solomon and the United Monarchy (1 Kings 1–11)
   2.1 Solomon’s Rise (1 Kings 1–2)
   2.2 Solomon’s Wisdom (1 Kings 3–4)
   2.3 Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 5–8)
   2.4 Solomon’s Demise (1 Kings 9–11)
3 The Divided Kingdoms
   3.1 Division of the Kingdom (1 Kings 12–16)
   3.2 Elijah Cycle (1 Kings 17 to 2 Kings 2)
   3.3 Elisha Cycle (2 Kings 3–13)
Study Guide

Chapter 10. Kings and Prophets 2: The Assyrian Crisis

1 Introduction
   1.1 Second Kings 14–20: A Summary
   1.2 Reading Guide
2 Israel (Northern Kingdom) in Crisis
   2.1 Amos
   2.2 Hosea
   2.3 Jonah
3 Judah (Southern Kingdom) in Crisis
   3.1 Isaiah of Jerusalem (First Isaiah)
   3.2 Micah
Study Guide

Chapter 11. Kings and Prophets 3: The Babylonian Crisis

1 Introduction
   1.1 Second Kings 21–25: A Summary
   1.2 Reading Guide
2 Ezekiel’s Warnings (Ezekiel 1–24)
   2.1 Throne-Chariot Vision (1–3)
   2.2 Symbolic Acts 1 (4–7)
   2.3 Vision of the Corrupt Temple (8–11)
   2.4 Symbolic Acts 2 (12–24)
3 Jeremiah and Judah’s Last Kings
   3.1 During Josiah’s Reign (640–609 BCE)
   3.2 During Jehoiakim’s Reign (609–598 BCE)
   3.3 During Zedekiah’s Reign (598–587 BCE)
4 Books of the Twelve
   4.1 Zephaniah
   4.2 Nahum
   4.3 Habakkuk
Study Guide

Chapter 12. Postmonarchy Prophets: Exile and Restoration

1 Introduction
   1.1 Exile and Restoration: A Summary
   1.2 Reading Guide
2 Prophets of the Exile
   2.1 Obadiah and Jeremiah
   2.2 Ezekiel after the Fall of Jerusalem (25–48)
   2.3 Isaiah of the Exile (Second Isaiah)
3 Prophets of the Restoration
   3.1 Isaiah of the Restoration (Third Isaiah)
   3.2 Haggai
   3.3 Zechariah
   3.4 Malachi
   3.5 Joel
4 Latter Prophets Collections
   4.1 Isaiah as a Book
   4.2 Jeremiah as a Book
   4.3 Ezekiel as a Book
   4.4 The Twelve as a Book
Study Guide

Part Three. Writings

Prologue to the Writings

1 Introduction
2 Roots of Judaism
3 The Writings as a Collection
4 Apocrypha
Study Guide

Chapter 13. Psalms: Complaint and Thanksgiving

1 Introduction
   1.1 Reading Guide
2 Biblical Poetry
   2.1 Formal Features
   2.2 Literary Features
3 Psalm Types
   3.1 Speech Forms
   3.2 Psalm Genres
4 Psalm Themes
   4.1 Worship the King
   4.2 Life and Death
5 The Psalter
6 After the Psalter
Study Guide

Chapter 14. Proverbs and Job: The Wisdom of Israel

1 Introduction
   1.1 Wisdom Literature
   1.2 Reading Guide
2 Proverbs
   2.1 Prologue (1–9)
   2.2 Proverbial Wisdom (10–31)
   2.3 International Connections
   2.4 Proverbs as a Book
3 Job
   3.1 Story Line
   3.2 Dialogues
   3.3 Job as a Book
4 Apocryphal Wisdom
   4.1 Wisdom of Solomon
   4.2 Sirach
Study Guide

Chapter 15. Five Scrolls: Stories of the People

1 Introduction
   1.1 Reading Guide
2 Song of Songs
3 Ruth
   3.1 Scene 1
   3.2 Scene 2
   3.3 Scene 3
   3.4 Scene 4
4 Lamentations
5 Ecclesiastes
6 Esther
7 The Five Scrolls as a Collection
8 Apocryphal Additions
   8.1 Tobit
   8.2 Judith
   8.3 Additions to Esther
   8.4 Baruch
   8.5 Letter of Jeremiah
Study Guide

Chapter 16. Daniel: From History to Apocalypse

1 Introduction
   1.1 Apocalyptic Literature
   1.2 Reading Guide
2 Heroic Tales (Daniel 1–6)
   2.1 Keep the Faith
   2.2 Lord of History
3 Apocalypses (Daniel 7–12)
   3.1 Son-of-Man Apocalypse (7)
   3.2 Other Apocalypses (8–12)
4 Daniel as a Book
5 Apocryphal Additions
   5.1 Addition 1: The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews
   5.2 Addition 2: Susanna
   5.3 Addition 3: Bel and the Dragon
Study Guide

Chapter 17. Chronicler’s History: Retelling the Story

1 Introduction
   1.1 Reading Guide
2 First and Second Chronicles
   2.1 Premonarchy History (1 Chronicles 1–9)
   2.2 History of the Davidic Monarchy (1 Chronicles 10–2 and Chronicles 36)
3 Ezra and Nehemiah
   3.1 Book of Zerubbabel (Ezra 1–6)
   3.2 Ezra Memoirs (Ezra 7–10 and Nehemiah 8–9)
   3.3 Nehemiah Memoirs (Nehemiah 1–7 and 10–13)
4 Chronicler’s History as a Collection
5 Apocryphal History
   5.1 Maccabees
   5.2 Esdras
Study Guide

Conclusion: After the Hebrew Bible

1 Jewish Additions
   1.1 Apocrypha
   1.2 Pseudepigrapha
2 Canon
   2.1 A Hebrew Bible Appears
   2.2 Old Testaments Appear
3 Dead Sea Scrolls
   3.1 Biblical Manuscripts
   3.2 Documents of Judaism
4 New Testament
5 Rabbinic Literature
Study Guide

Works Cited

Glossary

Abbreviations