The Old Testament World. The world of the Old Testament
goes from the land of Egypt in the South, to Chaldea and Persia in the East, up
through Media and Urartu in the north, and over to Lydia and the land of the
Hittites to Greece and Macedonia on the west. These were the borders of the Old
Testament world, also known as the ancient near East. In the middle of them was
the land of Canaan which became Israel, the inheritance of the descendants of
Abraham. there were many nations in the land of Canaan, and also around the land
like the Amorites and the Edomites in the Moabites. To the north of Israel were
the Phoenicians on the coast, and the Syrians to the east. Moving further east
from Israel where the Assyrians, and journeying down the Tigris and Euphrates
rivers was Babylonia, and Chaldea. To the east of them were the Persians and the
Zagros Mountains. There are many cities and mountains and rivers and deserts
mentioned in the Bible within this area known as the Old Testament world.
Israel in the Old Testament. The land of Israel was
originally called the land of Canaan. The Canaanites were very evil and were a
cursed people by the Lord. When the time is right God called the descendants of
Abraham to come into claim the promised land. Moses brought them to the border,
and Joshua the captain of the Lord's army brought Israel across the Jordan River
and into the land of Israel to conquer the nations that live there. the seven
nations of Canaan where the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the
Jebusites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, and the Girgashites. After they
conquered the land they divided it among the 12 tribes of Israel, and then there
was the period of the Judges. The Judges were raised up as deliverers whenever
Israel would disobey God and the enemy would come and torment the land. We
finally cried out for a king and Saul was chosen, but later David was the
rightful King and he built Israel into a great kingdom, and later his son
Solomon made Israel wealthy and famous. After Solomon's death the kingdom
divided into North and South. The Northern Kingdom was conquered by the
Assyrians in 722 BC because of their rebellion against God, and the southern
kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Later the Persian ruler
Cyrus allowed the Jews to return and rebuild their temple. The Old Testament
ends Israel paying tribute to the King of Persia.
The Nations. It is important take a brief look at the
nations that existed during Old Testament times. Let's follow the map above and
look briefly at a few of the nations that existed during Old Testament times.
Egypt. In the earliest times Egypt was the first most
powerful kingdom in the ancient world. Egypt was the land of the Nile River and
it was called Mizraim in Hebrew, and there are some 30 dynasties in Egyptian
history. In the Old Testament when the famine hit the land of Canaan that was
during the period of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt or the 11-12th dynasties
Syria. Ancient Syria was the territory of the
Aramaeans, it was located north of Israel and its capital was Damascus. Syria
was a powerful nation and a threat to Israel, and they went to war many times
throughout the period of the Kings.
Assyria. Ancient Assyria was also known as the land of
Asshur, and it's capital was Nineveh. This nation was called by God 722 BC to,
destroy the northern kingdom of Israel. God made them a fierce fighting machine
and they were unstoppable, they were also ruthless and barbaric. They became a
mighty empire before they were conquered by the Babylonians and the Medes in 612
Babylonia. Ancient Babylonia was the southern portion
of ancient Mesopotamia, the soil was very fertile and this was the area of the
Tower of Babel. The ancient Babylonians became dominant as a world power and
under King Nebuchadnezzar they conquered Jerusalem in 586 BC. Their capital city
Babylon gained world fame under the monarch Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He built
the great Ziggurat on the ruins of an earlier Ziggurat. The golden table in his
palace weighed 20,000 pounds of solid gold. The Jews were brought captive to the
land of Babylon, to the land of idolatry.
Chaldea. The ancient land of Chaldea dominated southern
Mesopotamia in the ancient world. Ancient Sumer and Ur were powerful cities in
ancient Chaldea. In 700 BC the famous King Nabopolassar of Chaldea founded the
Persia. The ancient Persians were descendents of Elam,
the grandson of Noah and oldest son of Shem. The famous cities of the Persians
were Persepolis, Susa, and Pasargadae. The famous rulers were Xerxes, Darius,
and Cyrus the Great. Cyrus was the Persian King who uttered a decree to allow
the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple. According to the
prophet Daniel the Messiah would die in Jerusalem 483 years after this decree
was made. Queen Esther was also an important part of the Old Testament being the
wife and Queen of the Persian King Ahasuerus (Xerxes). The Old Testament ends
with Israel being a satrapy of the Persian Empire.
Media. The Medes are mentioned throughout the Old
Testament, and originally the Persians and the Medes were all one big territory.
They were fierce fighters and dwelt in mountainous territories below the Caspian
Sea. The Medes helped the Babylonians conquered Assyria, and the Medes helps the
Persians conquer Babylon. It is also important to note that both Daniel and
Esther mention the laws of the Medes and the Persians.
Urartu. Ancient Urartu was a large kingdom around the
time of king Solomon in the mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
In the Old Testament the main focus of this area is with Noah's Ark resting on
the Mountains of Ararat, which was located in the region of Urartu.
Lydia. During the time of David and Solomon the
territory in the far north in Asia Minor was called Lydia. The powerful Hittites
were the rulers of that region for centuries. The Bible talks much about the
Hittites and how powerful the Warriors were. They were one of the seven nations
in the land of Canaan when the Israelites took the land.
Macedonia. Macedonia was a country in the Balkan
Peninsula north of Greece. Alexander the Great was the famous Greek conqueror
who is originally from Macedonia, the son of Philip of Macedon. The kingdom of
Greece and Macedonia had not fully developed by the end of the Old Testament.
During the end of the Old Testament Persia was in power, and Israel was a
province or satrapy in the Persian Empire. Although the prophet Daniel mentions
in his prophecy about the four world governing empires, that Greece will arise
as the third world power in his vision.
The Empires of the Old Testament. The empires that
ruled the world during Old Testament times were the Babylonians, the Assyrians,
and the Persians. The prophet Daniel made an astounding prophecy that came true
exactly as he said. He predicted that the empires that would rule the world
would be the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman Empire. He
also declared that at the end of time that would be another Roman Empire before
the Messiah returns to set up His Kingdom on earth that will never pass away.
Important Old Testament Events. The major events that
happened throughout the Old Testament are divided into three major sections:
from Adam to Abraham, from Abraham to King David,and from King David to Malachi
and the end of the Old Testament. All the events of the Old Testament happen
during these three periods. The main events were: Creation, the Fall, the
Promise of a Messiah, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, Abraham's Journey from Ur
to Canaan, Moses and the Exodus, the 10 Commandments, The Wilderness Wanderings,
Joshua and the Promised Land, The Period of the Judges, The Period of the Kings,
The Assyrian Captivity, The Babylonian Captivity, The Return And Rebuilding of
Jerusalem and the Second Temple.
Important Old Testament Men. Some of the important men
mentioned in the Old Testament were: Adam, Cain Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, Uzziah, Josiah, Hezekiah,
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Nehemiah, and Ezra.
Important Old Testament Women. Some of the important
women mentioned in the Old Testament were: Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Rachel, Leah,
Rebecca, Rahab, Deborah, Bathsheba, Naomi, Ruth, and Esther.
The study of the Old Testament is very important in the study of the
Bible, let's pray:
Dear Jesus, we thank you that you are the same God
yesterday today and forever. Your Word declares in the Old Testament that you
are awesome in power, fearful and praises, and doing wonders. It also says that
your mercies are new every morning, and we need your mercy today Lord.
Everything in the Old Testament happened for a specific reason, and the ultimate
goal was that you would lead us to Christ. We thank you Lord that your plan is
the wisdom of the ages.
Help us to trust your wisdom and to be thankful for your mercy. We love you. In Jesus name… Amen!
Map of the World of the Old Testament for Bible Study
Kid's Bible Maps
The Geography of the Bible
© Bible History Online ( http://www.bible-history.com)