The next period is that of the Judges. The books of Judges, Ruth, and part of 1 Samuel cover this period of time. It lasted up until about 1050 BC; almost 400 years.
Next are two periods or phases. The first is the period of the United Kingdom of Saul, David and Solomon. Upon the death of Solomon in 931 BC, the kingdom divides into the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (Tribe of). We call this next period the Divided Kingdom period.
During this latter period, a number of evil kings rule Israel and a mixed number of evil and good kings rule Judah. The books of 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, and 2 Kings cover these periods of time. 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles which were written at a later date also cover these periods of time. The poetical books (Psalms, Proverbs, and others) were written mostly by David and Solomon, but it is speculated they had other authors. Also during these periods, several prophetic books called the pre-exilic prophetical books were written to warn both Israel and Judah of their coming judgment if they refused to turn back to God. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyria in 722 BC as warned by God through the prophet Isaiah.
The Southern Kingdom of Judah lasted until around 605 BC when it was conquered in three phases by the King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. This begins the period called the Judean Exile. The first phase of the exile began about 605 BC when Daniel and many of the nobility in Judah were exiled by King Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. The second phase occurred in 597 BC when Ezekiel and 10,000 Jews were exiled to Babylon. And the third phase occurred in 586 BC when Nebuchadnezzar attacked again destroying Jerusalem and the temple in Jerusalem exiling all but the poor farmers of Judah.
The conquering of the Kingdom of Judah is written about in the books of 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and some of the prophetical books. The Exilic prophets cover the period of the exile – which lasted 70 years.
JIV note – ever since the demise of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, 722 BC, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah, 605, 597, & 586 BC, were exiled. Descendants of Israel and Judah have been and remain dispersed all over the earth while a few of the very poor and some farmers have always remained in their homeland to this very day. This is why we find Israelites on all the continents and in various countries around the world (Matthew 24:31, Isaiah 11:12, Revelation 7. This event is called the Diaspora. Only recently have as many Jews (Israelites) begun to live in Israel than are scattered around the world. I heard that up to recently there were more Jews living in United States than in Israel; particularly New York City. Possibly the Diaspora is ending.
It should also be noted that we are not exactly sure what happened to the people from the Northern Kingdom of Israel, though there are theories and some evidence about different people groups throughout the world being related to the “ten lost tribes of Israel.” The term Jew comes from the name Judah – so Jews in general are descendants of the Southern Nation of Judah, consisting mainly of three of Israel’s tribes, Judah, Benjamin, and parts of Levi. We studied the migration of the Israeli Tribes in a previous study.
The next period of Old Testament history is the Post-Exilic period. After 70 years in Babylon, a group of Judean Jews returned to the land of Israel by order of the conquering Medes and Persians. They rebuilt both the temple and the city of Jerusalem. The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther as well as the post-exilic prophets cover this period of history. It concludes about 400 BC. There is a gap between this time and the beginning of the New Testament.
The final period of Old Testament history is this 400 year Interim-Testament period. During this period of time, no Scripture was written so technically it is post-Old Testament and pre-New Testament history. It is sometimes called the 400 Silent Years. This is a period of time after the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple after the exile, and leading up to the birth of Christ about 4 BC. It is also the period of time when the Maccabeus books from the Apocrypha were written.
During this time an evil ruler named Antiochus Epiphanes killed many of the remaining Judean-Jews desecrating their temple by setting an idol in the temple and offering a pig as a sacrifice. (We will run into him again in our study of Daniel) The Maccabean revolt occurred against Antiochus Epiphanes. The Jews of today get their celebration of Hanukkah from this period in history.
Finally this leads up to the New Testament birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Christ was born around 4 BC and died sometime around 30 AD. Right after Christ’s death and resurrection, the Church Age began, and has continued up until now.
JIV NOTE: The entire New Testament was written and completed before 100 AD.
Islam [Mohammed] began its first roots 500 plus years later; 610 A.D.
How does the book of Daniel fit into Old Testament history? The book of Daniel covers a period of time from about 605 BC, up until around 535 BC. It is the period of time called The Exile. Daniel was kidnapped and exiled to Babylon (in present day Iraq) about 605 BC. He was about 15 years old. He served King Nebuchadnezzar and 2 other kings in Babylon. He also served King Darius, the Medo-Persian ruler right after he conquered the Babylonian Empire of Belshazzar.
Daniel’s book prophesies in detail about the period of time between when he lived up through the time of Christ. He prophesies when Jesus the Messiah or Christ was to come. And he gives detailed prophecies about still future events leading up to the end of the world; i.e. the Millennial period. The Bible ceases to give us information after the millennial period.
(JIV) Two covenants given by God are unchangeable and exist throughout this entire O.T. and N.T. period; the promise to Israel of a land free from outside influence and honored as God’s chosen People by their neighbors, and, the covenant of the Church Rapture.
The period of the Babylonian Exile was predicted early in the Old Testament
During the time of the Exodus, right before Moses’ death and right before Israel conquered the land of Canaan, God warned Israel through Moses the consequences of disobedience to God’s Law. (JIV) I believe the same thing is true of the Canaanites. God used His chosen People to exert judgment upon a people originating from Ishmael and Esau who totally rejected God.
God continues the warning to Israel through Moses in the verses following Deuteronomy 28:48. In the next verses he predicts:
The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand, a nation of fierce countenance who shall have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young. Moreover, it shall eat the offspring of your herd and the produce of your ground until you are destroyed, who also leaves you no grain, new wine, or oil, nor the increase of your herd or the young of your flock until they have caused you to perish. And it shall besiege you in all your towns until your high and fortified walls in which you trusted come down throughout your land, and it shall besiege you in all your towns throughout your land which the LORD your God has given you. … Deuteronomy 28:49-52 (NASB)
If one continues reading God’s warning, s/he will see where Moses predicts the Exile and the Diaspora:
… And it shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you shall be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known.
Deuteronomy 28:63-64 (NASB)
God warns them that disobedience to His Law, and in particular idolatry, will bring on the punishment that happened in the time of Daniel. This passage, written during the time of the Exodus, was written about 800 years before it was fulfilled!
I should mention, that just as God through Moses predicted the Diaspora, He also predicted the Restoration (Millennium). God gives them hope. We see this in the following passage:
So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where
the LORD your God has banished you, and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back.
And the LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live. And the LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.
And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; if you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.
Deuteronomy 30:1-10 (NASB)
A partial restoration from the exile to Babylon happened a few years after the death of Daniel. Up until this day, there has not been a full restoration of Israel back to its land. We are however, some 3400 years after Moses’ prophecy, are seeing this restoration happening – fulfilled prophecy from 3400 years ago! In 1948 we saw the establishment of Israel as a nation, and we see a migration of Jews going back to Israel. Many millions today have lost their identity as of Israeli descent, but DNA testing will alert or shock this Israelite sea of people in the four corners of the world.
Question to ponder. What is the probability that these two prophecies – the Diaspora and the Restoration – would occur 800 years and 3400 years after their respective predictions? Only God could make such a prediction!
Manasseh the son of Hezekiah; (Hezekiah was a good and godly king mentioned in 2 Kings 20.) Manasseh was evil. He whole-heartedly brought idolatry into Judah. A partial summary of his evil is given in the following verses:
Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem; his mother’s name was Hephzibah. He did great evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD dispossessed before the sons of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them.
And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” For he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he made his son pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD provoking Him to anger. Then he set the carved image of Asherah that he had made, in the house of which the LORD said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever.”
2 Kings 21:1-7 (NASB)
Notice that Manasseh not only was into idolatry, but he also worshipped Molech and to which he sacrificed one of his sons:
And he made his son pass through the fire …. 2 Kings 21:6 (NASB)
Manasseh was not only disobeying God’s Law, but he was whole-heartedly doing one of the same things for which God destroyed the Canaanites when he allowed Israel to conquer them.
Amon son of Manasseh: An evil king who reigned only two years. Notice that he conceived his son Josiah when he was about 15. Does this speak of immorality in the land? People did marry younger upon occasion, so I am not sure, but it is something to ponder.
Josiah son of Amon. Josiah, unlike his father and grandfather, was a good and godly king. He undid most of what his grandfather Manasseh did, tearing down the altars and places of idolatry which Manasseh had set up. Again we see the child sacrifice of his father and grandfather mentioned where it says that he got rid of it:
He (Josiah) also defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire for Molech.
2 Kings 23:10 (NASB)
Jehoahaz son of Josiah; An evil king who reigned only three months. Put on the throne by Pharaoh Neco (of Egypt) when Neco had killed the godly king Josiah. We can see the suggestion here that these kings did not raise their sons in the way of God.
Eliakim son of Josiah. (Renamed Jehoiakim) He was another evil king who reigned eleven years.
Jehoiakin son of Jehoiakim. Another evil king reigned eight years and was taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon along with many others including Daniel, Shaddrack, Meshach and Abednego.
Mattaniah (Zedekiah) uncle of Jehoiakin. He was another evil king who was basically a puppet of Nebuchadnezzar. Again he was walking in the paths of his evil fathers, including the terrible sin of child sacrifice:
Then the king of Babylon made his uncle Mattaniah, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah. 2 Kings 24:17 (NASB)
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah, king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, they put their detestable things in the house which is called by My Name, to defile it. And they built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-hinnom to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them nor had it entered My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. Jeremiah 32:1, 34-35 (NASB)
So what were conditions like just before the Babylonian/Daniel exile? They were like the conditions (idolatry, immorality, child sacrifice, etc.) in which God warned them not to get involved 800 years earlier under Moses.
They were doing the same things for which God had destroyed the Canaanites through the ‘semi-conquering’ Israelites! They simply did NOT complete their mission as commanded by God.
Dr. J. Stark