Notes on King James Bible - Old Testament Themes

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King James Bible - Old Testament Topic Tracking: Contracts


Contracts 1: This is one of the many covenants made in the Old Testament. There are two major contractual transactions between God and man. Man sacrifices and God blesses family, crops, and the like. This is the more basic relationship. In the covenants, God makes promises of prosperity in exchange for certain behavior from men. Noah makes a covenant with God, understanding that he and his descendants are never to be as wicked as those men who were destroyed.

Contracts 2: Abram goes out of Canaan with the understanding that God will make him great. When God promises to give him a son, even in his old age, he makes a new covenant. All of his male relatives and servants will be circumcised. God rewards Abram for his pious behavior in sacrifice and demeanor. God promises Jacob the land upon which he sleeps in the future. These are the fields of Israel.

Contracts 3: An agreement is made between the children of Israel and the pharaoh. He grants them the rights to fertile land with the understanding that they will give a fifth of their crop to him as taxes. They agree to this and are prosperous during this pharaoh's life but the next pharaoh is not as kind.


Contracts 4: God makes His greatest of all contracts with the Israelites. Mirroring the covenant of Abraham, the Israelites are to keep certain laws and God will watch over them. Now they must keep three feasts and a very specific series of laws. In exchange God not only promises that He will watch over them, but He also promises them prosperity.


Contracts 5: God lays out a very elaborate and lengthy series of rules for the behavior of His chosen people. These rules cover everything from nudity to murder, from diet to taxes. The penalty for not following these commandments is also clear. A man may sacrifice to atone for lesser sins, but if all of the people turn from the covenant, God will destroy them.


Contracts 6: The 'deal' with God becomes more and more intricate. God gives clear laws for almost everything and declares that no new laws shall be added to these. He gives the people a place to settle and promises that if they keep His commandments they will prosper here. On the other hand, it is very clear that not following these commandments will result in death.


Contracts 7: After the fall of Moses and Joshua, the tribe of Israel undergoes a long series of wandering from the contract. Each time they wander, they suffer terribly and are led back by a good judge. Each time a judge dies, they do wrong again and must be punished by God for not keeping up their end of the contract.

1 Samuel

Contracts 8: God accepts certain leaders with the understanding that they will follow His laws and make the Israelites keep the covenant. Whenever a leader fails in this task, God replaces him. Saul was made the first king of Israel and became very powerful, but as soon as he acted against the command of God, a replacement was readied. David was made king with the same task as given to Saul.

1 Kings

Contracts 9: Kings are successful or not depending on how well they maintain the covenant with God. Most of the kings are not successful and those who are need a prophet like Samuel, Nathan or Elijah to direct them. Even when they keep the covenant, they often stray and this prompts God to seek new rulers.

2 Kings

Contracts 10: The covenant is broken again and again with God, but He gives his people many more chances. Slowly, however, the benevolence fades. God lets Israel and then Judah slip into the hands of their enemies as the people continue to worship Baal and false idols.


Contracts 11: The people of Israel were scattered from their lands because they did not keep the covenant with God. When they finally came back it was clear that they were still not keeping this covenant. Ezra knew that they had been expelled because they did not keep these laws and he made a new covenant with the hope that his people would endure and become prosperous again.


Contracts 12: The book of Job is one of the most troubling books in the bible. Job has honored his covenant with God to the furthest extent but because of Satan's challenge God tortures him. God destroyed all of Sodom and Gomorrah but saved Lot because he was righteous. The treatment of Job disrupts the divine balance of the covenant. Although men have broken the covenant on multiple occasions, this is the first time God breaks it completely. The Book of Job addresses the question "why do bad things happen to good people?" with only a spiritual answer.


Contracts 13: The prophetic books of the Old Testament all voice the same concern and prediction: the children of Israel have sinned, punishment is coming. They herald the fulfillment of the covenant that was made with God. God promised that if the covenant were broken they would suffer. At the end of the book, Isaiah asks God why He made them so that they would sin. It seems that the prophet is questioning God in a way that Job did not. Job did not sin, he was righteous. Isaiah wonders if people are able to stop sinning.

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