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History in the Bible

May 21, 2017

In the final episode of series one, I explain why I am leaving the remaining books of the Old Testament to my second series. I introduce the lush literature of the Second temple period, and describe in detail the nature of Judean religion as it was at the destruction of the kingdom of Judah. I reflect on what I...


May 7, 2017

Scholars are divided about the Babylonian destruction wrought on Judah. The Biblical sources tell different stories. How many were deported to Babylon, and how many stayed behind? Was Judah left utterly desolate, as the Book of Chronicles says, or just reduced, as the Book of Kings says? We find out what happened to the...


Apr 23, 2017

Four prophets lived in the last decades of the kingdom of Judah. In his short and miserable book, Zephaniah rails about the destruction to come. Jeremiah is a foreign policy advisor, and spreader of doom. We are all going to die! Surrender to your new overlords: Babylon! In a short and nasty work, Nahum gloats at...


Apr 9, 2017

The Egyptians kill Josiah, who is acting on behalf of Babylon against Egypt. They remove his pro-Babylonian son Jehoahaz from the throne, replacing him with the pro-Egyptian Jehoiakim. After the Egyptians are defeated, the Babylonians capture Jehoiakim and the city of Jerusalem, placing on the throne Jeconiah....


Mar 26, 2017

The Bible tries to explain why the evil King Manasseh reigned for more than 50 years in peace and solitude, while his sublimely virtuous grandson, Josiah, was slaughtered in his prime. Josiah conducts a religious revolution and discovers the book of Deuteronomy.