Archive | July, 2014

Isaiah Prophesies against Moab

c. 718 b.c. Over a hundred years before Isaiah’s time, the nation of Moab, distantly related to the Israelites (Genesis 19), had expanded their territory northward across the Arnon River into area formerly belonging to Israel. This may have led to the pride for which Isaiah condemned them. He foretold of the doom that awaited them […]

Assyria Advances toward Jerusalem

Isaiah prophesied that although Assyria would pose a great threat to God’s people, God would stop them from fully carrying out their destruction. Isaiah 10:28–34 may recount how the prophet envisioned the Assyrian army advancing closer and closer to Jerusalem until they are finally stopped at Nob, just outside the city.

Assyria Captures Northern Israel

c. 733 b.c. Suffering attacks on all sides due to his refusal to join an alliance against Assyria, King Ahaz of Judah called upon Tiglath-pileser III (also called Pul) of Assyria for help. The Assyrians captured Syria and all of Galilee and Gilead from Israel (2 Kings 15:29). As Isaiah had foretold (Isa. 7:17), however, Ahaz’s […]

Syria and Israel Attack Judah

c. 740–732 b.c. As the Assyrian Empire expanded westward, Syria and Israel sought to compel Judah and the other nearby states to form an anti-Assyrian alliance. Judah refused, leading Syria, Israel, and perhaps Edom and Philistia to attack Judah (2 Kings 15:29–37; 2 Chron. 28:1–19). Isaiah assured Ahaz that he needed only trust in God, who would […]

The Near East at the Time of Isaiah

c. 740 b.c. The prophecies of Isaiah are set against the backdrop of a rising Assyrian Empire. This resurgent ancient nation posed a great threat to Israel and Judah, and it would eventually engulf nearly the entire Near East from Ur to Ararat to Egypt.

The Persian Empire at the Time of Esther

c. 479 b.c. Long before Esther’s time, the people of Israel and Judah (later called Jews) had been dispersed throughout the Near East by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. Eventually the Persians absorbed nearly all of these lands into their empire, which reached its greatest extent during the time of Esther. Thus Haman’s plot to exterminate […]

Judea under Persian Rule

538–332 b.c. Under Persian rule, the lands of Israel (now called Samaria) and Judah (now called Judea) were minor provinces within the satrapy called Beyond the River. Returning Judeans settled mostly in the province of Judea, but a few settled in the plain of Ono and Idumea as well. The fact that the plain of Ono […]

Jerusalem at the Time of Nehemiah

c. 445 b.c. Though Nehemiah gives a careful listing of the sections of Jerusalem’s walls that were rebuilt, it is difficult to be certain exactly which walls and gates he was referring to. The city had extended beyond the city of David and the Temple Mount by the time of Hezekiah, but it appears that only […]

The Persian Empire at the Time of Nehemiah

c. 450 b.c. During the time of Nehemiah, the Persian Empire had reached its greatest extent, engulfing nearly the entire Near East. In 539 b.c. the Persians under Cyrus the Great defeated the Babylonians and absorbed the lands of Israel and Judah (known as Beyond the River) into his empire. The next year he allowed the people of […]

Jerusalem at the Time of Zerubbabel

538–515 b.c. Among the first tasks undertaken upon the exiles’ return was the rebuilding of the altar and the temple. Almost immediately the altar was set up, and regular burnt offerings were resumed. About a year later the foundations of the temple were laid, but opposition from other local governors halted the completion of the temple […]