Three Awesome Stories from the Old Testament
Stories from the Old Testament of the Bible
As a boy, I delighted in reading awesome stories from the Old Testament of the Bible. All of the stories were illustrated and readily caught my eye. It has been a long time since I have read the Old Testament; however, it is something I am now doing from start to finish.
The Old Testament is the first part of a Christian biblical canon which is based mainly upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible. It is a collection of ancient religious Hebrew writings by Israelites, believed by most Christians and religious Jews to be the sacred Word of God.
The Old Testament has distinct books by various authors over centuries. Christians divide the Old Testament into four sections as follows:
1. The first five books or Pentateuch (Torah;)
2. History books telling the history of the Israelites from their conquest of Canaan to their defeat and exile in Babylon;
3. Poetic and wisdom books and;
4. Books of biblical prophets warning of the consequences of turning away from God.
Facts about the Old Testament were taken from Wikipedia.
In this article, I narrate three awesome stories from the history books--the Battle of Jericho, Samson, and David and Goliath.
Joshua and the Battle of Jericho
The following is based on Joshua 1-6 in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible.
After Moses led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, he received the Ark of the Covenant with the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai. Moses and the Israelites then wandered in the desert wilderness for 40 years until God led them to the outskirts of the Promised Land of Canaan.
God, however, denied Moses' request to lead the Israelites into Canaan. At the age of 123, Moses died and the Lord God commanded that Joshua, son of Nun, Moses' aide cross the Jordan River and lead the Israelites to the Promised Land that He had proclaimed to Abraham many years ago. This promised land would extend from the desert to Lebanon and from the great river, the Euphrates, and all the Hittite country to the Mediterranean Sea.
When Joshua showed fear of going into Canaan, the Lord assured him not to fear due to God's presence with the Israelites.
Before leading the Israelites across the Jordan, Joshua sent two spies to look over the Promised Land and especially the city of Jericho. When the King of Jericho sensed that Israelite spies had entered Jericho, he pursued them. The spies, however, were given refuge by a prostitute named Rehab. They then returned to Joshua and reported their intelligence findings.
Also, all of the Israelite men born in the wilderness who would go into battle had to be circumcised. After the wounds from circumcision healed, Joshua was ready to cross the Jordan River.
On the day that Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan, the Lord parted the waters of the river to give the people a crossing just as he did when Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea.
Before Joshua attacked Jericho, the Lord appeared as a human and identified Himself as the commander of the Lord's army. He instructed Joshua to march around the city once a day for six days with all of his armed men. Seven priests carrying and blowing trumpets of rams' horns would precede the Ark of the Covenant being carried in front of the fighting men.
On the seventh day, Joshua and his men would march around the city seven times. During the seventh time when the priests were blowing the trumpets, they would make a long blast of the trumpets. This would be a signal for the whole army to shout and the walls of the city would then collapse.
Joshua did as the Lord commanded and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. His army entered the city and killed all of the terrified men, women, children, oxen, sheep, and donkeys. Only Rehab who had assisted the spies and her followers were spared. The city's loot of gold, silver, and iron was taken and given as an offering to the Lord.
Samson and Delilah
Forty years before the birth of Samson, the Israelites were doing evil in the eyes of the Lord by worshipping pagan gods. God punished the Israelites by selling them first into the hands of the Canaanites and then into Philistine bondage.
At this time, a man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of Danites, had a childless wife. The Angel of the Lord appeared to her and said that she would give birth to a son. He remarked that the son's head was never to be touched by a razor because he was going to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. This boy would also lead the Israelites from the hands of the Philistines.
The childless woman then gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. The Lord blessed him.
When older, Samson married a Philistine woman because the Lord was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines. The Philistines would not let Samson stay with his wife so he took his revenge on the Philistines.
Two occasions of Samson's strength are narrated in the Book of Judges. On one occasion, when Samson went to Timnah with his parents, he was attacked by a young lion. With the spirit of the Lord, Samson killed the lion with his bare hands. On another occasion when Samson was being captured to hand over to the Philistines, he broke loose. Taking a donkey's jawbone, Samson killed 1,000 Philistines.
Altogether, Samson led Israel for 20 years.
Toward the end of his reign, Samson fell in love with another Philistine woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. Knowing this, the Philistines offered her a lot of silver to find out the secret of Samson's strength.
Samson was betrayed by his lover Delilah who learned the source of Samson's strength. While he was sleeping, Delilah ordered a servant to cut off Samson's hair and then gave him to his Philistine enemies. They gouged out his eyes and forced him to grind grain in a mill at Gaza.
Samson let his hair grow again. When he was taken to the temple of Dagon to entertain 3,000 Philistines, he rested against two pillars and tore the temple down killing himself and the Philistines.
The above information is taken from the Book of Judges 13-16.
Samson and Delilah
David and Goliath
The Lord told Samuel, an Israelite spiritual leader, to send for David the youngest son of Jesse. After David arrived from tending his father's sheep, Samuel anointed him and from that day, the spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.
At that time, King Saul who was leading the Israelites in battle with the Philistines wanted someone who could play the lyre and make the king feel better when the evil spirit of God came upon him. Having heard about David, Saul sent a messenger to Jesse and asked for David who was also a brave man and warrior.
Jesse loaded a donkey with bread and a skin of wine for David to take to his brothers who were in Saul's army. After David arrived at Saul's camp, he became one of Saul's armor-bearers.
The Israelites and Philistines were facing each other in the Valley of Elah. Twice a day for 40 days, morning and evening, Goliath, the champion of the Philistines came out between the lines of battle and challenged the Israelites to send out a champion to decide the battle outcome in single combat.
Goliath who was a hulk of a man at a height of six cubits and a span (9'9") terrified King Saul and the Israelites. After Saul sent no Israelite out to face the giant, David volunteered because he had learned that Goliath had defied the armies of God.
After declining to wear Saul's armor, David faced Goliath with only his sling and five smooth pebbles taken from a nearby creek. With his sling-shot, David hit Goliath in the forehead with pebble(s) causing the giant to fall and die. David then took Goliath's sword and cut off the Philistine giant's head.
The Philistines ran away and the Israelites pursued them to the entrance of Gath and the gates of Ekron killing a number of them.
David took Goliath's head to Jerusalem and received a reward from Saul. The reward included getting to marry King Saul's daughter and having his family exempt from taxation.
Accounts of the story above are taken from 1 Samuel 16-17.
David and Goliath
© 2020 Paul Richard Kuehn