Bible Books – Comparitive Religion

 

Book of Joshua

Book of Joshua is a narrative account of Israel as per the Christian Old Testament. Joshua, successor of Moses leads the twelve tribes of Israel to conquer Cannan following the orders of God to assign them their Promised Land. Rehab the harlot is important here as she helps Joshua’s spies to get information about Jericho and thus, is an important figure in Israelite history. Another event in the book was Israel army crossing Jordon River when Joshua dried it up to reach Jericho. As Joshua and army reached Jericho, they meet a mysterious man who claims to be a commander of God but does not give any instructions or messages. Israelites win the battles where they are obedient to God’s laws and orders and loose when they do not obey Him, like in Ai. Further, the book divides the conquered land amongst the twelve tribes as they settle in the conquered land. At the end, Joshua calls upon them to be faithful to God’s laws and to follow Him and their religion.

 

Book of Job

The Book of job falls under the wisdom genre of the Christian Old Testament. It addresses the basic question of human race that why does God give suffering to mankind. The book contains the story of Job, a blameless man who has complete faith in God. When Satan, “the adversary” challenges God that Job will curse God if He takes away all his blessings, i.e., children, flock, health, etc. Job doesn’t curse God through his trials, even when Satan inflicts him with skin boils. When he sits with his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, he curses the day he was born. The friends blame him that the misfortunes are due to his wrongdoing and God is punishing him for his deeds. Job says that he is being wrongly punished. Elihua, the fourth friend joins them telling Job must trust God and believe in his graciousness. At the end, God speaks to them rebuking the three friends, talks about omnipotent powers of God and tells them that they cannot understand his actions. God gives Job everything back.

 

Book of Ruth

The book of Ruth is a narrative account in the Old Testament. The main purpose of the book is unsure but it touches upon several ideas. The book begins with Elimelech, wife Naomi and two sons Mahlon and Chilion leaving Bethlehem to settle in Moab due to famine. When Elimelech dies, his two sons marry Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah. Thus, the book accepts the practise of intercaste marriage. After the sons die, Naomi urges their wives to return to their home but Ruth refuses to leave her highlighting faithfulness. Ruth goes to work in the fields of Boaz, a distant relative of Elimelech. Naomi wants Ruth to marry Boaz to continue family name through Levirate law of marrying within the family.  Boaz also agrees to ‘redeem’ Ruth, showing the theme of kindness. After the marriage is sanctioned by Ploni Almoni and other town members, they marry giving birth to Obed who is the grandfather of David, the greatest king of Israelites and an ancestor of Jesus. Thus, the book outlines the family history of Jesus.

 

Book of Ezra

The book of Ezra is an important narrative of the Old Testament. The central purpose of the book is to bring in the theme of Restoration of the Jews and the community. After the Babylonian captivity, God of Israel inspired a Persian king, to commission the restoration of Jerusalem. The three missions assigned to the three leaders are rebuilding the Temple assigned to Zerubbabel through the return of the exiles during Cyrus I, purifying the Jewish community assigned to Ezra and building a wall around the city assigned to Nehemiah, the last two during the reign of Artaxerxes I. The third mission is given in the next book of Nehemiah. Here, the return of exiles is given along with Ezra going to Israel and laying down the laws which he did by reading the Law of Moses which the Lord prescribed for Israel. The law tells the people to not marry with the non – Jews. Haggai, the main prophet during the times of Ezra assisted him in carrying out the second mission.

 

Book of 1 Samuel

The primary theme of the book of 1 Samuel, a narrative, is the transition of Israel from a theological state to a monarchy to a political estate. Samuel is born to Hannah whom she gives up to Eli, the chief priest of Shiloh where the Ark of Covenant is located. God chooses Samuel to carry out His sermons. In a battle, Philistines capture the Ark and take it with them. But, when the Philistine people start dying due to diseases, they return the Ark to Israel. As Samuel grows old, Israelites demand a king. Samuel and God claim that if the people are faithful to God, monarchy will not be doomed. God chooses Saul as the king. Despite many victories, Saul commits mistake by not giving proper recognition to priest in performing ritual sacrifices and favouring physical rituals over theological orders. God decides to bless David, a shepherd and youngest son of Jesse as the new king. He defeats Philistines in a battle with Goliath, the nine feet giant through divine powers of God. After Saul, David becomes the ideal king of Israel for a long time.

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