I feel like I've been a little M.I.A. on here lately... it's because I have this new love that's been taking up all my free time lately.... studying the Old Testament! It started out of reading Bible stories to the boys in the morning at breakfast. Then I finish their story, they leave the table, an I end up sitting there for an hour or more just reading and reading, with google open nearby, and I have found so many little interesting pieces I've missed my whole life before this. I feel like prior to this when I've read the Bible I've been reading with application to my own life as my only thought. The past two weeks I've been reading with historical context as my focus. I learned all the Bible stories when I was little, but never strung them all together on a timeline like I'm doing now. It is SO COOL to see God's sweeping plan unfold from one story to the next. To see how they all fit together to accomplish his ultimate purpose. And as I put things on a timeline I get these new little revelations about the character and heart of God. New things to meditate on and ponder.
I don't know what it is exactly, but I love the chronological order of things. Timelines make me happy :) I have this vision of studying and compiling a huge timeline of how and when things actually took place in the Old Testament. (The Bible is organized by type of literature opposed to date written) As I've studied I start to feel like I know these people a little bit, like I'm getting a peak into the real lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob...
Some fun facts I've uncovered in my self-study so far:
- It's possible that there was actually 6,000 years between creation and the flood. I've been processing what this means for days now, and coming up with lots more questions. (More time pre-flood than there has been post-flood??! God seriously STARTED OVER. What did the Nephilim-God's reason for destroying everyone in the first place-actually look like? (They were the result of demons coming and co-habitating with humans. Some people think the gods of Greek mythology were based on them) Most likely the sin in the world was worse then than it even is now.
-Did you know that Job and Abraham were most likely contemporaries of each other? I always assumed Job was an Israelite. But if this is the case then he wasn't.
-Abraham was a descendant of Shem, one of the son's of Noah. It is possible Shem was still alive when Isaac was born due to the longer lifespans back then.
-Abraham and Sarah, who were husband and wife, were also half brother and sister. Sounds gross right? But the laws preventing inter-marriage didn't come from God until almost 500 years later, during the time of Moses. So Abraham married his half sister. Their son Isaac married his second cousin, Rebekka. Isaac and Rebekka's son Jacob married his two cousins Leah and Rachel. Isaac's other son, Esau, married his half cousin (Ishmael's, Isaac's half brother's, daughter) All of them besides Isaac had more than one wife.
-It is most likely that Sarah acquired her maidservant Haggar (who was Ishmael's mother) during Abraham and Sarah's stay in Egypt when the Pharoah took Sarah into his harem not realizing that she was Abraham's wife. When he realized she was a married woman he returned her to Abraham with gifts, including livestock and servants. In rabbinic literature there is a legend that Haggar was not just a servant, but actually the daughter of the Pharaoh himself, and that he said he would rather her be a maidservant in the household of someone like Sarah than mistress of her own household. If this is true then Ishmael came partly from Egyptian royalty.
-God told Abraham he would be the father of nations. Even though God's chosen people would be Israel, he knew that would not be the only nation to come from him. The entire Arab world came from Abraham's son Ishmael. After Sarah died Abraham remarried and had six more sons after Isaac. I would love to find out if we have modern day nations that came from any of them too .
-God's people were also called Hebrews because Abraham first settled in the land of Hebron.
-Esau became a nation too, and his descendants were called the Edomites. They lived among the Israelites and were considered brother nations until the Babylonian Exile. At that time the Edomites turned against the Israelites and helped their enemies. The book of Obadiah is about God then wiping the house of Edom off the face of the earth.
Ok, well I think that's where I'm gonna stop for today, but there's so much more interesting stuff I could share about Jacob's family, how Jesus came through the line of Judah, and how I wonder why he came from him instead of through someone like Joseph, and the story of Judah and Tamar, and all five of the women who are listed in the lineage of Christ for that matter (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, & Mary)
Anyway, if you want a really interesting read, just start reading Genesis. It is amazing, and so full of interesting detail. (Another fun fact: Moses wrote Genesis. He was able to read and write because of the fact that he was raised in the palace of pharoah. Interesting how God prepared those who he would inspire to write the Bible. Also, even though Moses was 500 years after Abraham, and possibly 6,000 some years after creation, he still knew all the stories that had been passed down through the generations. Makes me wish we were better at passing down stories today.)
Ok, really stopping now.... I'm sure I'l share more later.