The books from Joshua through Esther in the Old Testament are known as the historical books. They cover about seven hundred years in the history of God's chosen people, the nation of Israel.

Major events covered by these books include (1) the settlement of the people in the Promised Land after their escape from Egypt and their years of wandering in the wilderness; (2) the transition from rule by judges to rule by kings; (3) David's anointing as king of the united kingdom; (4) the division of the nation into northern and southern factions; (5) the destruction of the northern kingdom; and (6) the captivity and return of the southern kingdom.

Here are brief summaries of the themes of the twelve books in this significant section of the Old Testament:


The capture and settlement of the Promised Land.


The nation of Israel is rescued by a series of judges, or military leaders. Three of the best-known deliverers were Deborah, Gideon, and Samson.


A beautiful story of God's love and care.

1 and 2 Samuel:

The early history of Israel, including the reigns of Saul and David.

1 and 2 Kings:

A political history of Israel focusing on the reigns of selected kings from the time of Solomon to the captivity of the Jewish people by the Babylonians.

1 and 2 Chronicles:

A religious history of Israel, covering the same period as 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings.


The return of the Jewish people from captivity in Babylon to Jerusalem.


The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem after the Jewish exiles returned from Babylon.


God's care for His people under gentile rule.



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