A History of Israel (by Walter Kaiser, Jr.)
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K. Allison Brannon

Kaiser-History Cover A History of Israel From the Bronze Age Through the Jewish Wars
Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.

A well-known book from a distinguished Old Testament scholar, A History of Israel is an important addition to anyone’s Accordance library. It will hold the attention of everyone from beginning Bible readers to seasoned scholars.  For those looking for a good way to dive into the Old Testament, this book is a good fit.  Readers call his work “engaging,” “a useful tool,” and “well-written and easy to understand.”  It has also been called the “most cogent defense of a conservative approach to historiography currently in print.” The Accordance development team used A History of Israel as one of its primary resources to inform the conservative dates in the Timeline.

In A History of Israel, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. has set forth a thorough and detailed account of Biblical history from the age of the Patriarchs to the birth of Christ. This work uses the Scripture itself in the construction of the history of Israel.  Not only does Kaiser explain the setting and archaeological context of Israel, he adds to the richness of the Biblical accounts by putting forth cultural and historical facts from other ancient Eastern documents and archaeological evidence.

A History of Israel begins with background information as an explanation of the different approaches to the history of Israel, geography of Israel, and brief explanations of each historical period. Then, working chronologically through the Old Testament, it goes into amazing detail about each person, nation, war, event, and kingdom, bringing facts from the Bible as well as from outside sources.  To read this book is to dig deeper into the world of ancient Israel.

Accordance has added some helpful features to this important book. The text is fully searchable by title, content, and Scripture text, meaning the user can do a search for “David” or “1 Kings 10” and find when those words are mentioned in the title of an article, in a paragraph heading, or in the body of the text itself.

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Another invaluable element in Accordance’s A History of Israel is contained in the Instant Details box. Moving the cursor over a word that Kaiser included in his glossary causes its definition to be displayed, making it easy to define a term and keep reading. Footnotes and Scriptures also appear in the instant details box, giving the user the ability to get the information needed easily and without losing his place in the text. If a longer passage of Scripture is cited, clicking on the reference will bring up another tab with the complete passage displayed.

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All of Kaiser’s charts are included within the body of the text. Maps are presented as thumbnails which open in a new tab. This is helpful especially as the user can navigate around the map, zooming in and out, and selecting sections for closer examination.

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And as always, the user can easily amplify the text by selecting a word or passage and then choosing a tool from the Library. The user can also amplify to the Timeline, the Atlas, or the Photoguide, providing further depth of study.

A History of Israel takes a complicated subject and makes it approachable and readable, without sacrificing information or depth. With the helpful features Accordance provides, this book is not one to miss, for anyone seeking to understand more about the Old Testament, about conservative Biblical scholastic thought, or about how archaeology and ancient documents interact with the history presented in the pages of Scripture.


A History of Israel can be ordered here.

(Article images updated September 2013)
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