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Lesson Plans for Biblical History: What Events Coincide with the Modern Telling of History

The events chronicled in the Bible offer a profound intersection with the history taught in schools today. While the Bible serves as a sacred text for many, its narratives often echo the broader human experience, transcending religious boundaries. Historical events such as the Israelite Exodus, the conquests of David and Solomon, or the Babylonian Exile find resonance with broader themes of migration, territorial expansion, and the impact of geopolitical shifts. Additionally, the biblical emphasis on ethical teachings and the struggles of communities against oppression mirrors universal human aspirations for justice and morality. The Bible, as a repository of ancient wisdom, presents a tapestry of stories that, when considered alongside mainstream historical narratives, provides a nuanced understanding of the shared human journey through time. By acknowledging these parallels, educators can facilitate a more holistic exploration of history, encompassing both the secular and the sacred, fostering a comprehensive understanding of our collective past.


 NOTE: This unit was requested by fans of the game Historical Conquest and so we are providing a simple set of lesson plans to compare the sources of historical knowledge.


1 - Event: The Building of the Ark of the Covenant (circa 1446 BC) - Exodus 25-30

Description:

The construction of the Ark, a sacred container, and its significance in Israelite worship. Similarities can be drawn with the creation of revered religious artifacts in different cultures.

 

2 - Event: The Exodus (circa 1446 BC) - Book of Exodus

Description:

The Israelites' liberation from slavery in Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Drawing parallels to struggles for freedom and civil rights movements in history.

 

3 - Event: The Israelite Conquest of Canaan (circa 1406 BC) - Book of Joshua

Description:

The military campaign led by Joshua to conquer the land of Canaan. Similarities can be drawn with historical instances of territorial expansion and conquests.

 

4 - Event: The Fall of Jericho (circa 1400 BC) - Book of Joshua

Description:

The conquest of the city of Jericho by the Israelites, marked by the miraculous collapse of its walls. Historical events involving the fall of significant fortifications can be compared.

 

5 - Event: The Story of Ruth (circa 11th century BC) - Book of Ruth

Description:

The story of Ruth, a Moabite woman, and her loyalty to her Israelite mother-in-law. Can be compared to historical narratives of individuals demonstrating loyalty and resilience.

 

6 - Event: Reign of King David (circa 1010-970 BC) - 2 Samuel

Description:

The establishment of David as king of Israel and the expansion of the kingdom. Can be compared to the rise of powerful rulers and empires in various historical contexts.

 

7 - Event: The Wisdom of Solomon (circa 971-931 BC) - Proverbs and Ecclesiastes

Description:

Solomon's wisdom and contributions to literature. This can be paralleled with periods of intellectual flourishing and the works of influential philosophers throughout history.

 

8 - Event: Construction of Solomon's Temple (circa 957 BC) - 1 Kings

Description:

The construction of the First Temple in Jerusalem under the rule of King Solomon. Similarities can be drawn with the building of monumental structures throughout history.

 

9 - Event: The Israelite Monarchy Divided (931 BC) - 1 Kings 12

Description:

The division of the united kingdom into Israel (northern kingdom) and Judah (southern kingdom). Comparable to political divisions and secessions in history.

 

10- Event: Elijah and the Prophets of Baal (circa 9th century BC) - 1 Kings 18

Description:

The confrontation on Mount Carmel, where Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal. Comparable to moments of religious conflict or reformations in various historical periods.

 

11- Event: The Healing of Naaman (circa 9th century BC) - 2 Kings 5

Description:

The healing of Naaman, a commander suffering from leprosy, through the prophet Elisha. Comparable to historical instances of miraculous healings and medical breakthroughs.

 

12- Event: The Fall of Samaria to Assyria (722 BC) - 2 Kings 17

Description:

The capture of the northern kingdom of Israel, Samaria, by the Assyrians. Comparable to historical instances of cities falling to invading forces.

 

13- Event: The Siege of Jerusalem by Assyria (701 BC) - 2 Kings 18-19

Description:

The historical event involving the Assyrian invasion of Judah and the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem. Can be likened to historical sieges and military conflicts.

 

14- Event: The Reign of King Josiah (640-609 BC) - 2 Kings 22-23

Description:

The righteous reign of King Josiah and his efforts to reform religious practices. Comparable to historical periods of religious revival and reform movements.


15- Event: Babylonian Exile (586-538 BC) - Book of Daniel

Description:

The Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of the Israelites to Babylon. This historical event aligns with the experiences of Daniel and other exiles.

 

16- Event: The Return from Babylonian Exile (538 BC) - Books of Ezra and Nehemiah

Description:

The return of the Israelites from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. Similarities can be drawn with historical events involving the rebuilding of cities and infrastructure.


17- Event: The Story of Esther (circa 5th century BC) - Book of Esther

Description:

The story of Esther, a Jewish queen, and her courage to save her people from genocide. Can be paralleled with historical accounts of individuals taking bold actions to protect communities.


18- Event: The Maccabean Revolt (165-160 BC) - Books of Maccabees (As per some translations of the Bible)

Description:

The successful rebellion of the Maccabees against the Seleucid Empire, leading to the rededication of the Temple. Comparable to historical instances of successful uprisings for religious freedom.


These parallels offer connections between biblical narratives and historical events, providing a context for understanding both religious and secular perspectives on the unfolding of human history.

 

From the New Testament:

Here's a list of events in the New Testament compared to historical events taught in history classes:


1 - Birth of Jesus (New Testament) vs. Roman Empire (History):

The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem occurred during the reign of Caesar Augustus, a pivotal period in Roman history. Read more about this in the Lesson Plans for Christmas.


2 - Ministry of Jesus (New Testament) vs. Ancient Near East (History):

Jesus' teachings and miracles took place against the backdrop of the Roman occupation, reflecting the socio-political dynamics of the Ancient Near East.


3 - Crucifixion and Resurrection (New Testament) vs. Roman Judea (History):

The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus are situated within the historical context of Roman-ruled Judea.


4 - Spread of Christianity (New Testament) vs. Roman Empire Expansion (History):

The spread of Christianity parallels the expansion of the Roman Empire, influencing various regions and cultures.


5 - Apostle Paul's Journeys (New Testament) vs. Mediterranean World (History):

The journeys of the Apostle Paul illustrate the interconnectedness of the Mediterranean world during the Roman Empire.


6 - Nero's Persecution (History) vs. Persecution of Christians (New Testament):

The persecution of Christians under Emperor Nero is a historical event mentioned in the New Testament.


7 - Council of Nicaea (History) vs. Early Christian Church (New Testament):

The Council of Nicaea played a key role in shaping early Christian doctrine and is mentioned indirectly in the New Testament.


8 - Fall of Jerusalem (History) vs. Prophecies in Matthew 24 (New Testament):

The fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, as predicted by Jesus in Matthew 24, is a historical event.


9 - Roman Emperors (History) vs. Events in Revelation (New Testament):

Some interpretations connect the events in the book of Revelation to historical periods, including the reigns of Roman emperors.


10- Spread of Early Christianity (New Testament) vs. Byzantine Empire (History):

The spread of early Christianity aligns with the Byzantine Empire's influence in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.


These parallels highlight the intertwining of biblical narratives with historical events, offering a multifaceted perspective on the cultural, political, and religious tapestry of the time.

 

Over the next few weeks we will write up more specific lesson plans on each of these time periods and what can be learned. Please stay tuned.

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