Historical and Chronological Context of the Bible

Video Lectures

Displaying all 37 video lectures.
Lecture 1
Introduction to the Historical Context of the Bible
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Introduction to the Historical Context of the Bible
This is the first of a series of approximately 40 lectures covering the ancient historical setting of the Bible. This presentation is intended to introduce the topic, using a text of Isaiah 20 as illustrative of the questions involved. The instructor is Bruce W. Gore M.A., J.D., adjunct professor of biblical studies at Whitworth University, Spokane. The lecture was presented to a group of adult students at First Presbyterian Church, Spokane, and the bias of the teacher is generally sympathetic to the biblical text, while allowing at the same time for problem areas in the effort to coorelate biblical data with what is otherwise generally accepted from known ancient historical sources. For more free resources on this and other topics, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 2
Genesis 1 and Enuma Elish
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Genesis 1 and Enuma Elish
Ever since the discovery of the Mesopotamian creation myth, Enuma Elish, there have been attempts to reconcile the creation record of Genesis with the views of the ancient Sumerians. In this presentation, Prof. Gore shows the important similarities, but also highlights the significant differences between the two accounts, and explains why the comparison should be important to us. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 3
Noah's Flood and the Epic of Gilgamesh
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Noah's Flood and the Epic of Gilgamesh
When the Epic of Gilgamesh was discovered in the late 19th Century, it sent a shock wave through the world of biblical scholarship, as attempts were made to reconcile the account of Genesis with the similar account of the ancient Mesopotamians. In this lecture, Prof. Gore seeks to find the proper understanding of the relationship between the two, while summarizing in some detail the most important features of the great Gilgamesh tale. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 4
Abraham in Historical Context
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Abraham in Historical Context
Abraham, the patriarch of all three great monotheistic religions of the world, was born in ancient Mesopotamia just after the fall of the 3rd dynasty of Ur. He traveled to Haran, in southern Turkey, and from there to Canaan, receiving the covenant blessings that God promised to him and to his seed. In this lecture, Prof. Gore traces the history of the great hero of faith, and explains the major events and venues that formed the framework for his story. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 5
Moses and the Code of Hammurabi
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Moses and the Code of Hammurabi
The most enlightened example of civil legislation prior to Moses comes from the Babylonian ruler Hammurabi, who pre-dates Moses by at least 200 years. In this discussion, a comparison and contrast between the two great law-givers is provided, with a focus on the extent to which the law given through Moses shows a clearly superior approach to jurisprudence. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 6
The Adventures of Abraham in Egypt
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The Adventures of Abraham in Egypt
The ancient history of Egypt intersects for the first time with the Biblical narrative when Abraham traveled from Canaan to Egypt during the 12th Dynasty, possibly during the reign of Sensusret III. By that time the great pyramids had stood for hundreds of years, and Egyptian civilization had realized some of its most important accomplishments. There are no known Egyptian records attesting to Abraham's visit, as recorded in Genesis 12, but the story, taken a face value, presents a picture compatible with the history of the Land of the Nile, and that perspective forms the assumptions of the presentation here. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 7
Joseph and the Hyksos Pharaohs
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Joseph and the Hyksos Pharaohs
When Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt by his envious brothers, the region of Lower Egypt was dominated by the Hyksos pharaohs, the so-called "Shepherd Kings," who were Semitic in background. This may partially explain why Joseph was eventually installed as vizier to one of these pharaohs, after his prediction of 'plenty' followed by 'famine.' The story of Joseph remains one of the Bible's most beloved accounts, and his lecture endeavors to understand the narrative in light of its historical context. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 8
Exodus and the 18th Dynasty
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Exodus and the 18th Dynasty
Although there is on-going disagreement about the precise timing of the Exodus, the biblical chronology suggests it took place during the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. If that is correct, then it is conceivable that Hatshepsut was 'the daughter of pharoah' (later a pharaoh herself) who rescued Moses and reared him in the privileges of the royal household. His training as a prospective ruler of Egypt would certainly have been invaluable when it came to his actual career, the leader, lawgiver, judge, and military commander of the newly created nation of Israel. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 9
Egypt and the Era of the Israelite Judges
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Egypt and the Era of the Israelite Judges
The Israelite nation gradually established itself in Canaan during a period of significant international conflict between Egypt and the Hittites, culminating in the Battle of Qadesh in 1276 b.c. The mention of the "Apiru" by the Phoenicians, as well as the reference to Israel in the so-called "Israel Stele" of Meremptah, all point to a significant Israelite population in Canaan during the latter part of the second millenium b.c. According to the biblical chronology, this would coorelate with the era of the charismatic leaders in Israel generally known as the 'judges.' For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 10
The Hittites and the Era of the Israelite Judges
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The Hittites and the Era of the Israelite Judges
While the Israelites were settling into their territories of Canaan during the era of the judges, international conflicts were playing out around them, involving especially the great powers of Egypt to the south and the Hittites to the north. In spite of these surrounding threats, God protected his people and established them securely in the possessions that had been promised to Abraham. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 11
The Assyrian Empire and the Israelite Monarchy
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The Assyrian Empire and the Israelite Monarchy
The beginning of Assyrian recovery coincided with the division of the Israelite monarchy. The failure of the tribes of Israel in the north to honor their covenant God led eventually to their subservience to the Assyrians as reflected in the Black Obelisk now housed in the British Museum. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 12
The Assyrian Empire and Jonah
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The Assyrian Empire and Jonah
The Assyrian Empire was expanding both in territory and brutality toward the beginning of the eighth century b.c., but entered a strange period of relative silence and peace for about 40 years following the preaching of Jonah in the great capital city of Nineveh. For more free resources please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 13
The Assyrian Empire, Isaiah and King Ahaz
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The Assyrian Empire, Isaiah and King Ahaz
When Isaiah told the King of Judah, Ahaz, to ask for a sign, Ahaz hypocritically declared that he would not tempt the Lord God. At the same time he was negotiating a deal with the king of Assyria, Tiglath-Pileser III, to come protect him against local enemies, and thus he strapped Judah to tribute payments that would last for years to come. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 14
Hezekiah, Sennacherib, and Big Surprises
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Hezekiah, Sennacherib, and Big Surprises
One of the great military reversals of history, attested to in Herodotus and the Bible, and implied in Assyrian records, involves the defeat of the vast army of Sennacherib as he attempted to assert control over Egypt and Judah. King Hezekiah was delivered, not by military prowess, but by faith in the God of Israel. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 15
Manasseh and the End of the Assyrian Empire
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Manasseh and the End of the Assyrian Empire
The last and greatest king of the Assyrian Empire was Ashurbanipal, who left the vast library that was eventually discovered by Austen Henry Layard. He also captured the Jewish king Manasseh and kept him in chains, only reinstating him to his royal throne after his repentence for his sinful and idolatrous practices. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 16
Assyria Falls, Babylon Rises, and Josiah Reforms
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Assyria Falls, Babylon Rises, and Josiah Reforms
Assyria fell to a combined assault by Nabopolassar of Babylon and Cyaxeres of Media, and with its fall the Babylonians began to dominate the region of Syria and Israel. During those years, Josiah of Judah attempted to restore proper worship of the God of Israel, but his brilliant career was cut short in battle with Necho II of Egypt. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com
Lecture 17
Nebuchadnezzar and Jeremiah's Letter to the Exiles
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Nebuchadnezzar and Jeremiah's Letter to the Exiles
The greatest king of the Neo-Babylonian era was Nebuchadnezzar, who dominated the ancient Near East and who forms much of the background for the books of Daniel and Jeremiah. In this lecture the first few years of Nebuchadnezzar's reign are detailed, along with the counsel from Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon. For more free resources. please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 18
Jehoiachin, Belshazzar, and the Fall of Babylon
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Jehoiachin, Belshazzar, and the Fall of Babylon
After Nebuchadnezzar, the succeeding kings of Babylon show less brilliance until finally during the reign of Nabonidus, the last king, the empire falls to Cyrus the Persian. Belshazzar, the son of Nabonidus, watched in terror as "handwriting on the wall" declared the end of his reign, just as Cyrus is marching into Babylon to take the capital of the once mighty kingdom. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 19
Cyrus and the Liberation of God's People
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Cyrus and the Liberation of God's People
When Babylon fell to the Persians, it marked the end of the exile of God's people, as Cyrus the Persian announced that any who wished to return to Jerusalem were encouraged to do so. Cyrus therefore represents a great blessing for those who had been so long separated from their home, and for this he is honored with the title "messiah" by the prophet Isaiah, the only non-Jew in the Old Testament to recieved such a stamp of approval. For more free resources please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 20
Darius and the Completion of the Second Temple
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Darius and the Completion of the Second Temple
The construction of the temple in Jerusalem was impeded by local oppostion and a change of official policy in Persia. That changed, however, when Darius the Great took the Persian throne in 621 b.c. Under the inspiring preaching of Haggai and Zechariah, the people of God once again took to the task and the temple was completed and put back into operation in 616 b.c., exactly 70 years after its destruction under the Babylonians. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 21
Xerxes the Great and Queen Esther
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Xerxes the Great and Queen Esther
The Persian king traditionally identified as the husband of Esther is Xerxes the Great, who succeeded Darius and fought the Second Persian War. While Persian records make no direct reference to the events described in the Book of Esther, the chronology of Xerxes's career is fully compatible with the story described in the famous book of the Hebrew scriptures. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 22
Artaxerxes, Ezra, and Nehemiah
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Artaxerxes, Ezra, and Nehemiah
The last great king of the Persians, Artaxerxes I, authorized the return of Ezra to the Holy Land to deal with deficiencies in the practice of worship among the people of God, and Nehemiah, who dealt with political problems, and oversaw the rebuilding of the walls of the city of Jerusalem. Later Malachi brought the last prophetic word to God's people before the lengthy 'intertestamental period' that would end with the ministry of John the Baptist. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 23
The Greeks Seek for Wisdom
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The Greeks Seek for Wisdom
The sweep of Greek history provides a remarkable story of how and a language and a culture were prepared for the advent of the message of the Gospel. Beginning with the Minoans and finishing with Alexander, this lecture surveys the major epochs of Greek history as part of the story that leads to the historical setting of the New Testament era. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 24
Alexander the Great and the Old Testament
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Alexander the Great and the Old Testament
When Alexander swept through the ancient world, conquering the Persian Empire, and establishing a Greek presence throughout the Near East, the entire shape of the ancient world changed. It was this moment that transformed ancient civilization to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. Though never mentioned by name, the career of Alexander is the subject of certainly Old Testament texts summarized in this presentation. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 25
The Hellenistic Age: Alexander to Antiochus III
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The Hellenistic Age: Alexander to Antiochus III
Following the death of Alexander, his vast domains were split up among four of his military commanders, and thus commenced the age of Greek influence throughout the Mediterranean World. The eleventh chapter of Daniel, though complicated and challenging to read, provides insight into this era and evidence of God's providence in protecting his people during turbulent times. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 26
Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees
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Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees
The greatest crisis of the Jewish people during the Hellenistic era involved the persecution imposed by the ruler of Syria, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. His reign of terror sparked the backlash known as the Maccabean Revolt, and the eventual effect of this movement was to liberate Israel from outside control for the better part of a century. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 27
The Roman Empire and Nebuchadnezzar's Vision
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The Roman Empire and Nebuchadnezzar's Vision
The dream of a statue described in Daniel 2 provides an insight into the nature of the great Gentile empires that would span the time from Daniel to the coming of Messiah. Most prominent among the empires was the last of them, described as iron mixed with clay, an apt representation of the Roman world into which the Messiah was born, and during which the Christian movement began. For more free resources. please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 28
Lessons from Rome's Seven Kings
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Lessons from Rome's Seven Kings
The early history of Rome was dominated by seven kings who established seven fundamental themes that would characterize the life and culture of Rome for centuries to come, and which would each shape the world in which the events of the New Testament took place. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 29
The Rise of the Roman Republic
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The Rise of the Roman Republic
When the Romans threw off the rule of kings, they replaced it with their remarkable experiment in republican rule, a system that took shape in the 5th century b.c. After this, the Roman power spread throughout the western Mediterranean, and by the beginning of the second century b.c., had reached the doorstep of Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 30
Rome and Israel Collide
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Rome and Israel Collide
By the time the expanding Roman world had reached Jerusalem, it had transformed into the beginnings of an empire, largely due to the influence of several military leaders. One of those leaders, Pompey, was the commander who took control of Jerusalem, and from that time until its destruction about a hundred years later, Israel was under Roman domination. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 31
Augustus Caesar and Imperial Rome
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Augustus Caesar and Imperial Rome
The Roman civil war, that pitted the military power of Julius Caesar against the Senatorial power of Pompey, resulted in the transformation of Roman government, paving the way for the first true Caesar of Rome, Augustus Caesar, under whose watch came the greatest of all human events, the birth of God's son and the beginning of the new era of the gospel and the kingdom. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 32
Herod the Great
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Herod the Great
The New Testament begins with two "kings" of the Jewish people. Herod, who had been appointed by Rome, and Jesus, who had been appointed by God. The contest between them represented the culmination of a career in which Herod attempted to prove himself, but for all his achievements, his life ended in disaster and ignomeny. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 33
Tiberius and Christian Beginnings
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Tiberius and Christian Beginnings
The gloomy Caesar Tiberus reigned over the empire during the single most important week in history - the week of Christian beginnings, commencing with Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and culminating with his resurrection and ascension as king of the universe. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 34
Caligula, Agrippa, and a Sermon to Cornelius
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Caligula, Agrippa, and a Sermon to Cornelius
The brief reign of Caligula was marked by instability and moral collapse. The emperor's close friend, Agrippa I, grandson of Herod the Great, shared the lamentable condition of his ruler, and brought much of his ethic to the Jewish people until his fateful death in the year 44. At the same time, one of the most transforming events of early Christian history took place, the conversion of Cornelius under the preaching of Peter. Until that moment, the gospel had been restricted to Jews and Samaritans, but with this event, it was clear that anyone, Jew or Gentile, would be admitted to the household of faith, the commonwealth of Israel, by sheer faith with no prerequisites. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 35
Claudius and the Journeys of Paul
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Claudius and the Journeys of Paul
When the emperor Claudius reigned over Rome, the Christian church experienced some of its most important developments with respect to its early growth. The journeys of the Apostle Paul and the Council of Jerusalem combined to translate the Christian gospel into a message for all people, rather than a belief limited to the Jewish nation. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 36
Nero and Imperial Persecution of Christians
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Nero and Imperial Persecution of Christians
The Emperior Nero distinguished himself as the first ruler of Rome to authorize a state sponsored assault on the fledgling Christain movement. Aside from this, he represents one of the most unbalanced and vicious characters in the history of the Roman world. Nevertheless, during his reign the Christian message continued to spread, touching an ever increasing number of both Jews and Gentiles in the ancient world. For more resources, please visit www.brucegore.com.
Lecture 37
The Fall of Jerusalem and the Apocalypse
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The Fall of Jerusalem and the Apocalypse
The destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans in 70 a.d. brought to definitive conclusion the Old Covenant era, and freed the fledgling Christian church from its tether to the city what had become, in the words of the Apocalypse, the figurative 'Sodom' and 'Gomorrah.' While the interpretation of the book of Revelation remains controversial, it has always been the view of some that the colorful images of the last book of the Bible were intended to describe the final days of the 'harlot' city, 'Days of Vengeance,' as Jesus called them, while announcing the beginning of the New Covenant era under the regime of the Messiah. For more free resources, please visit www.brucegore.com