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A Brief History of Israel

What relevance is Israel at this point in time (I’m talking about Biblical Israel, not the country in the Middle East in 2015)?  Didn’t Jesus end the Israelites as God’s people and establish his new church?  Would it be surprising to you that Israel is actually more important today than it ever has been?  This week’s podcast for the Joshua Ensley Show is centered around the history of biblical Israel. The show can be found at (LINK NO LONGER ALIVE; new podcast can be found here), but here you will find a written outline of the episode. I hope that you are learning a little bit about Israel and what role she has in the world! 🙂


  • Adam and Eve were created in the garden (Gen 1-2).
  • Cain killed Abel and was cursed (Gen 4).
  • Adam and Eve had Seth (Gen 4).
  • Seth fathered the generations of Noah (Gen 5).

The Flood

  • Noah, his sons, and his sons’ wives were spared from the flood (Gen 6-9).
  • Shem, Ham, and Japheth were Noah’s sons and fathered the whole of humanity following the flood (Gen 10).
  • Shem’s descendants are called the Shemites (Semites) and through him Abraham was fathered (Gen 11).


  • Abraham was told by God to leave his home and travel east (Gen 12).
  • Abraham was given a promise by God that his descendants were to be a multitude of nations and that they would be given the land of Canaan (Gen 12).
  • God made a covenant with Abraham concerning his descendants (Gen 15).
  • God gave the sign of his covenant with Abraham – circumcision (Gen 17).
  • Isaac was born (Gen 21).
  • Abraham is told to sacrifice his son Isaac and faithfully obeys God, but God stops Abraham the last minute (Gen 22).
  • Isaac marries Rebekah (Gen 24).
  • Isaac and Rebekah give birth to Jacob and Esau (Gen 25).
  • God renames Jacob to Israel (Gen 32/35).
  • Israel has twelve children, including Joseph (Gen 29-30)
  • These twelve children father the 12 tribes of Israel; commonly known as the children of Israel.


  • Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers (Gen 37).
  • Joseph rises to power in Egypt (41).
  • Joseph brings his brothers and his father Israel into Egypt to escape a famine in Canaan (Gen 42-48).

Slavery of Israel

  • After 400 years of being in Egypt, the pharaoh had forgotten about Joseph and made Israel into slaves (Exod 1).
  • Moses, of the tribe of Levi, was raised by pharaoh’s daughter and became her son through adoption (Exod 2).
  • Moses rises to power in Egypt (Exod 2).
  • Moses sees an Egyptian beating an Israelite and he murder him and fled to Midian where he married his wife (Exod 2).
  • Moses experiences a visit from God in the form of a burning bush where God reveals his name to Moses and Moses’ duty to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt and its slavery (Exod 3).
  • Moses tries reasoning with Pharaoh but Pharaoh does not let Israel go (Exod 7).
  • God sends ten plagues to Egypt, ending in the death of the first born, and Pharaoh agrees to release Israel (Exod 8-11).
  • On the night of the Passover, God killed all those who did not keep the Passover meal, including Pharaoh’s son (Exod 12).
  • Moses and Israel leave Egypt but Pharaoh changes his mind shortly after and comes after Israel (Exod 14).
  • God parts the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea) while Israel walked through, but he let the waters come back in on Egypt, killing them (Exod 14).
  • Israel wanders in the desert for 40 years as they anticipate the fulfillment of God’s promise to their father Abraham concerning the land of Canaan (Exod 15 – Deut 34).

Joshua and the Conquest of Canaan

  • Moses dies and Joshua takes over as commander of Israel (Deut 34).
  • Joshua leads Israel into battle as they destroy many pagan nations on their way to reclaim the promised land of Canaan (Josh 1-24)
  • After Joshua’s death, Israel is led by “judges” and they continue the conquest of Canaan (Judg 1-21).

The Kingdom of Israel Establish

  • The final “judge” was Samuel and he was told by God to appoint Saul the Benjaminite as king of Israel (1 Sam 9).
  • Saul is anointed king of Israel (1 Sam 10).
  • Saul disobeys God continuously and God strips the kingdom from his hands (1 Sam 15).
  • Saul is killed and David is appointed king of Israel (1 Sam 31).
  • David continues to fight the Canaanites and finally conquers the city of Jerusalem (2 Sam 6).
  • David sets up the tabernacle of God in Jerusalem (2 Sam 6-7).
  • David rules the kingdom for many years and died as king (1 Kings 2).

The Downfall of the Kingdom

  • David’s son Solomon becomes king after David dies (1 Kings 2).
  • Solomon builds the first Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6-8).
  • Solomon messes everything up by marrying hundreds of foreign wives and building alters to sacrifice to their gods (1 Kings 11).
  • God tells Solomon that his disobedience will result in the kingdom being taken from him (1 Kings 11).
  • Ahijah the prophet prophesies that the kingdom will be taken from Solomon and 10 tribes will be given to Jeroboam (1 Kings 11).
  • Jeroboam rises up against Solomon (1 Kings 11).
  • Solomon dies and his son Rehoboam becomes king of Israel (1 Kings 11).

The Kingdom Divided

  • Solomon’s son Rehoboam oppressed Solomon’s council of elders (1 Kings 12).
  • The kingdom splits into two nations (Northern Kingdom of Israel; Southern Kingdom of Judah (1 Kings 12).
  • The Northern kingdom was composed of 10 tribes of Israel, making it the majority; thus, it remained named “The Kingdom of Israel” (1 Kings 12).
  • The Southern Kingdom was composed of the remaining 2 tribes (Judah and Benjamin; Judah being majority of the two); thus, it was named “The Kingdom of Judah” (1 Kings 12).
  • Jeroboam became king of Israel; Rehoboam, son of Solomon, became king of Judah (1 Kings 12).
  • God prophesies through Jeremiah and Ezekiel that if the two kingdoms continue to live in disobedience, they will be scattered throughout the world (Jeremiah – Ezekiel; Jer 3 & Eze 7 to be highlighted).

The Dispersions

  • For years, both kingdoms were ruled by wicked kings (2 Kings).
  • In 722 BCE, because of her disobedience, God allows Assyria to defeat and capture the Northern Kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 17).
  • Israel is taken into Assyria and then dispersed throughout all of the ends of the earth, completely losing their identities (2 Kings 17).
  • In 586 BCE, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was destroyed, including the temple, and the people were taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon (2 Kings 24-25).
  • After 70 years, in 516 BCE, Persia captures Babylon and allows the remaining people of Judah to return to their homeland (Ezra – Nehemiah).
  • The Temple is rebuilt under the decree of King Darius (Ezra 5-6).
  • Only a remnant of the tribe of Judah returns to their homeland and reclaimed it.
  • Judah, the Jews, were the only people to come back from either captivity aside from a few from Benjamin; thus, the other 11 tribes of Israel were assimilated into the world and lost their identities (Ezra 1).

The Hope of Deliverance

  • God continues to prophecy that he will one day regather his lost sheep as a mighty shepherd (Ezekiel 34; Zech 13; etc.)
  • 500 years later, Jesus was born and said, “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10) and “I came only for the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15).
  • Paul and the apostles inform us that through Christ, Israel will be regathered by God and that he will finally fulfill the promise given to Abraham concerning his descendants being a multitude of nations (Rom 11; James 1).

Though God’s curse to Israel was to scatter them, he promised to bring them back, and when God through Christ brings his people back, they won’t be coming back alone; the whole world is following them to the creator of the universe.


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