The Eleven Foundational Books of the Old Testament


GENESIS = Beginnings

Written: 1450-1410 B.C.

Genesis records the beginning of heaven, earth, animals, man, sin, redemption and Israel.
Key chapter: Genesis 12: God called Abraham 
Genesis records that 75 Hebrews go into Egypt.

EXODUS  = Hebrew: Shemot = Names

Written: 1450-1410 B.C.

Key chapters: Exodus 12: Passover and Exodus 
                        Exodus 20: Ten Commandments 
Exodus records that 2.5 million Hebrews leave Egypt.

NUMBERS  = Hebrew: Be midbar = Wanderings

Written: 1450-1410 B.C.

Key chapters: Numbers 13: Spies sent into Canaan. 
                        Numbers 14: Israel refused to go into Canaan. 
Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years (Numbers 14:33-34). 
The good spies were Joshua and Caleb.

JOSHUA = God is our Salvation

Written: 1400-1370 B.C.

Before Moses died, he appoints Joshua the next leader. (Deut. 31:7). 
Israel went into the Promised Land. Joshua divides up the land.
The Israelites settle in and did not kill everyone like they were supposed to. 
Joshua dies and Israel is without a central leader.


Written: 1050-1000 B.C.

The "Sin Cycle" = During this time Israel would sin, break the Sabbath, commit idol worship, 
and God would reject them - They would go into captivity. They would cry out to God for 
a deliverer and God would send a judge to deliver them. Then the cycle would repeat.


Years of Judging

Memorable Act(s)


Othniel 40 He captured a powerful Canaananite city. Judges 3:7-11
Ehud 80 He killed Eglon and defeated the Moabites.  Judges 3:12-30
Shamgar unrecorded He killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad.  Judges 3:31
Deborah 40 She defeated Sisera and the Canaanites.  Judges 4-5
Gideon 40 He destroyed his family idols, used a fleece to determine God's will, raised an army of 10,000 and defeated 135,000 Midianites with 300 soldiers. Judges 3:6-8
Tola 23 He judged Israel for 23 years.  Judges 10:1-2
Jair 22 He had 30 sons.  Judges 10:3-5
Jephthah 6 He made a rash vow, defeated the Ammonites.  Judges 10:6- 12:7
Ibzan 7 He had 30 sons and 30 daughters.  Judges 12:8-10
Elon 10 He judged Israel for 10 years.  Judges 12:11-12
Abdon 8 He had 40 sons and 30 grandsons.  Judges 12:13-15
Samson 20 He was a Nazarite, killed a lion with his bare hands, burned the Philistine wheat fields, killed 1,000 Philistines with a donkey's jawbone, tore off an iron gate, was betrayed by Delilah, and destroyed thousands of Philistines in one last mighty act. Judges 13-16
Samuel - He judged Israel all the days of his life.  1 Samuel 7:15


Written: 930 B.C. or later.

The (United) Monarchy era begins. 
Key verse: 1 Samuel 8:7 - God told Samuel: "They have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me."
Key figures: Samuel, Saul & David. 
Deaths recorded: Samuel, Saul, Jonathan.



David becomes king over Judah and Israel. 
David has an affair with Bathsheba. David repents. 
Death of David. Before David dies he appoints Solomon as king. 
Solomon built the temple. Death of Solomon

1st. KINGS

Written: 550 B.C.

Key chapter: 1 Kings 12: Divided monarchy began when Rehoboam began to reign and he raised taxes.   Jereboam and the ten northern tribes of Israel rebelled.  931 B.C. They split into the northern kingdom with the 10 tribes of Israel and southern kingdom with 2 tribes of Judah. Israel's capital: Samaria - Judah's capital: Jerusalem.

2nd. KINGS


2nd. Kings records the history of both kingdoms and their tragic end. 
722 B.C. Assyria conquered Israel (2 Kings 17:5-8). 
586 B.C. Babylon conquered Judah (2 Kings 24-25).



586 B.C. - Babylonian captivity. 516 B.C. - Temple completed. 
Daniel and Ezekiel prophesied during this time.
Jeremiah 25:12 -Jeremiah predicted the 70 captivity in Babylon at approximately 605 B.C. Jeremiah 29:10 -Jeremiah predicted the 70 captivity in Babylon at approximately 594 B.C.
Isaiah 44:28 - God predicted that Cyrus would be used to guarantee the return of a remnant of Jews to Jerusalem.   Jerusalem would be rebuilt and the Temple restored.

EZRA was the spiritual leader

Written: 456-444 B.C.

Ezra records the first return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel

Year Number of People Returned

Persian King

Jewish Leader

Main Accomplishment

538 B.C.  50,000 Cyrus  Zerubbabel Rebuilt the Temple, but only after a 20 year struggle. The work was halted for several years but was finally finished.
458 B.C. 2,000 Artaxerxes Ezra Ezra controlled the spiritual disobedience of the people, they repented and established worship at the Temple. But the wall of Jerusalem remained in ruins.

NEHEMIAH was the administrator.

Written: 445-425 B.C.

Year Number of People Returned Persian King Jewish Leader

Main Accomplishment


445 B.C.  Small Group Artaxerxes Nehemiah City was rebuilt and a spiritual awakening followed. But the people still struggled with ongoing disobedience.



For more information: Pick the following link:
Framework of the Old Testament