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Synopsis Of The Orthodox Bible

Old Testament

GENESIS . . . Creation of the world -- The garden of Eden -- Adam and Eve -- Man's disobedience, sin and punishment -- Cain and Abel; the murder of Abel -- Birth of Seth -- Genealogy of the patriarchs -- The world's wickedness -- Noah, the ark and the flood -- The rainbow, God's promise -- Generations of Noah -- Tower of Babel -- Abraham, first of God's chosen people -- Battle of the kings -- Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael -- Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah -- Isaac and Abraham's offering -- Death of Sarah -- Rebecca, Isaac's wife -- Esau and Jacob -- Jacob's vision -- Jacob's children -- Covenant between Jacob and Laban -- Jacob and Esau reconciled -- Death of Isaac -- Joseph sold by his brothers -- Joseph cast into prison in Egypt -- Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dreams -- Famine in Egypt -- Joseph's brothers visit him -- Joseph meets his father -- Jacob blesses his sons -- Burial of Jacob -- Death of Joseph. (Author . . . Moses.)

EXODUS . . . Birth of Moses -- Moses sent to deliver Israel -- God's message to Pharaoh -- The rod becomes a serpent -- The ten plagues -- Israelites leave Egypt -- Passage through the Red Sea -- The Ten Commandments received on Mt. Sinai -- Various laws and ordinances -- The priesthood -- Ark of the covenant -- Aaron's golden calf -- The tabernacle. (Author . . . Moses.)

LEVITICUS . . . Laws of offerings -- Aaron and his sons consecrated to priesthood -- Slaying of Nadab and Abihu -- Clean and unclean things -- Laws of leprosy -- Aaron's sin offering -- Unlawful marriages -- Feasts of the Lord -- The year of jubilee -- Vows and their redemption. (Author . . . Moses.)

NUMBERS . . . The twelve tribes numbered -- Families, number and charge of the Levites -- Service of the Levites -- The trial of jealousy -- Law of the Nazarites -- Offerings of the princes - Journey from Sinai to Paran -- Seventy elders appointed -- Sedition of Miriam and Aaron -- Evil report of the spies -- Laws of offerings -- Punishment for breaking the Sabbath -- Plague of fiery serpents -- Balak and Balaam -- All Israel numbered -- Two and forty journeys of the Israelites. (Author . . . Moses.)

DEUTERONOMY . . . Israel's history by Moses -- Conquest of Canaan -- Exhortation to obedience -- Cities of refuge -- The Ten Commandments -- Idolatry forbidden -- Various laws and ordinances -- Song of Moses -- God's charge to Joshua -- Death and burial of Moses. (Author . . . Moses. Last chapter added by another.)

JOSHUA . . . Rahab and the spies -- People pass over Jordan -- Downfall of Jericho -- Death of Achan -- The crafty Gibeonites -- Sun and moon stand still -- Kings conquered by Joshua -- The cities of Judah -- The land divided -- Cities given to the Levites -- Death and burial of Joshua. (Author . . . Joshua. Last verses added by another.)

JUDGES . . . The heathen in the land -- An angel rebukes the people - Nations left to prove Israel -- Deborah and Barak deliver Israel -- Jael kills Sisera -- Song of Deborah and Barak -- Exploits of Gideon -- Conspiracy of Abimelech -- Jephtha and his rash vow -- Angel appears to Manoah -- History of Samson -- The Benjamites smitten. (Author . . . Unknown, probably Samuel.)

RUTH . . . Misfortunes of Elimelech -- Ruth cleaves to Naomi -- Ruth gleans in the field of Boaz -- Boaz shows Ruth great favor -- Ruth at the feet of Boaz -- Boaz marries Ruth. (Author . . . Unknown, probably Samuel.)

I SAMUEL . . . Hannah's prayer -- Birth of Samuel -- Hannah's song of thanksgiving -- The ministry of Samuel -- Destruction of Dagon -- Israel desires a king -- Saul anointed by Samuel -- Jonathan smites the Philistines -- Saul rejected for disobedience -- Saul kills Azag -- David slays Goliath -- Friendship of Jonathan and David -- Envy of Saul -- Saul seeks to kill David -- Death of Samuel -- Saul consults witch of Endor -- Saul and his sons slain. (Author . . . Samuel. Completed by Nathan and Gad.)

II SAMUEL . . . David becomes king of Judah -- Battle of Gibeon -- David mourns for Abner -- David becomes king of Israel -- Ark brought to Jerusalem David's great transgression -- Uriah slain -- Parable of Nathan -- Birth of Solomon -- Rebellion of Absalom -- Death of Absalom -- Civil dissension in the kingdom -- Seven sons of Saul hanged -- David's mighty men. (Authors . . . Nathan and Gad.)

I KINGS . . . Salomon anointed king -- Solomon asks wisdom of the Lord -- Solomon judges between two women -- Solomon's greatness -- King Hiram's message -- Building of Solomon's temple -- Dedication of the temple -- Solomon builds cities -- Visit of Queen of Sheba -- Idolatry of Jeroboam -- Wicked reign of Ahab -- Elijah fed by ravens -- Elijah raises widow's, son -- Baal's prophets confounded -- Mantle of Elijah falls on Elisha -- Naboth's vineyard -- Death of Ahab. (Author . . . Unknown, probably Jeremiah.)

II KINGS . . . Elisha brings fire from heaven -- Elisha raises Shunammite's son -- Naaman cured of leprosy -- Jezebel slain -- The temple repaired -- Last events in history of Israel -- The good reign of Hezekiah -- Babylonian captivity. (Author . . . Unknown, probably Jeremiah.)

I CHRONICLES . . . Genealogy of the sons of Israel -- Families of the Levites Cities of the priests -- David's mighty men -- Summary of events during the reign of David. (Author . . . Attributed to Ezra.)

II CHRONICLES . . . Solomon's strength and wealth -- Summary of the ac-count of the building of the temple -- Ark brought into the holy place -- Death of Solomon -- History of the southern kingdom -- Burning of the temple -- The Jewish captivity. (Author . . . Attributed to Ezra.)

EZRA . . . Proclamation of Cyrus for building the temple -- Number of people returning from Babylon -- The temple's foundation laid -- Adversaries attempt to hinder the work -- The temple completed -- Feast of the Passover-- Commission of Artaxerxes to Ezra -- Ezra's prayer and confession of sins -- The people separated from strange wives. (Author . . . Ezra.)

NEHEMIAH . . . Feasting and prayer of Nehemiah -- Commission to rebuild Jerusalem -- Names of those building the wall -- Work continued despite scoffers -- the work finished -- Genealogy of those returning from Babylon -- Gifts of the people -- Feast of tabernacles -- Prayer of the Levites -- Points of the covenant -- Dedication of the walls. (Author . . . Nehemiah.)

ESTHER . . . Queen Vashti refuses to attend feast of Ahasuerus -- New queen to be chosen -- Esther preferred as queen -- Haman's advancement -- Esther's feast -- Esther accuses Haman -- Haman hanged -- Jews victorious over enemies -- Feast of purim instituted. (Author . . . Ascribed to Ezra. Possibly written by Mordecai.)

JOB . . . Riches and virtues of Job -- Job's trials and patience -- Tempted by Satan, Job curses day of birth -- Eliphaz teaches God's judgments are for the wicked, not the righteous -- Happy end of God's correction -- Justice of God in dealing with men shown by Bildad -- Afflictions no proof of guilt -- God's wisdom declared unsearchable by Zophar -- State and portion of the wicked -- Job protests his integrity -- The greatness of God's works -- God's mighty works -- Job humbles himself -- Job's captivity ended and his happy state restored. (Author . . . Unknown, attributed to Elihu.)

PSALMS . . . A collection of 150 spiritual songs or poems, many of them being set to music for Tabernacle and Temple worship. The book of Psalms is divided into five sections, each ending with a doxology -- The six psalms, 113th to 118th are the Passover psalms -- three sung before and three after the Passover -- The 120th to 134th are processional psalms, sung by pilgrims going up to the feasts -- The five final psalms are the Hallelujah psalms: all beginning with "Praise the Lord" -- The Psalms cover varied subjects -- praise, thanksgiving, prayer, historical, instructive and prophetic -- including prophetic psalms on the crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and the extension of Christ's kingdom. (Authors . . . David wrote 73; Sons of Korah, 11; Asaph, 12; Hezekiah, 10; Moses, one; Heman, one; Ethan, one; and the rest anonymous.)

PROVERBS . . . Benefits of wisdom -- Exhortation to obedience -- Blessings of faith, contentment and chastity -- Custom and error of folly -- Moral virtues and their contrary vices -- Various maxims and wise observations of Solomon. (Authors . . . Some written by Solomon, others selected by him. Later additions long afterward by men of Hezekiah.)

ECCLESIASTES . . . Preacher shows all is vanity -- Nothing is better than joy in our labor -- A season for everything -- Vanity increased by vices -- Riches are worthless without use -- Remedies against vanity -- A good name, mortification, patience, wisdom -- Similar things happen to all -- Observations on wisdom and folly -- God's providence rules over all -- Poetic picture of old age -- Conclusion, God alone satisfies. (Author . . . Solomon.)

SONG OF SOLOMON . . . The fair bride and the adorable bridegroom - The church's great delight in her Lord -- Mutual love of Christ and his church -- Christ shows the graces of the church and his love toward her -- Additional similes to show the mutual love between the bridegroom and bride -- This book a mysterious allegory. (Author . . . Solomon.)

ISAIAH . . . Five prophetic discourses directed to the Jews and Ephraimites -- Rebellion of Judah -- Coming of Christ's kingdom -- Prophetic discourses on the fate of many nations -- Isaiah's vision -- Judgments on Judah -- Afflictions to idolaters -- The fall of Assyria -- Triumph of Israel over Babylon -- The judgment of Moab -- Overthrow of Tyre -- Discourses denouncing judgments on disobedience of Jews and consoling true followers of God -- God's care over his vineyard -- The promise of Christ's coming -- Blessings of Christ's kingdom -- Prayer and song of thanksgiving of Hezekiah -- Discourses referring to the Messiah and the deliverance of the Jews from Babylon -- Christ sent to the Gentiles -- The passion, crucifixion and glory of the Messiah. (Author . . . Isaiah.)

JEREMIAH . . . God expostulates with the Jews -- Promises to the penitent Judgments on the Jews -- Jeremiah laments the sins of the people -- The prophet's supplication -- God's covenant -- Exhortation to repentance -- Ruin of the Jews predicted -- Blessings of trust in God -- False prophets denounced -- Good and bad figs -- Conquests of Nebuchadnezzar -- Letters to the captives in Babylon -- Gracious restoration of Israel -- Jeremiah in prison -- The branch of righteousness -- Destruction of Jerusalem foretold -- Jerusalem captured-- Zedekiah blinded and sent to Babylon -- Conspiracy of Ismael -- Conquest of Egypt foretold -- Judgments on Moab, Edom, Damascus and Babylon -- Jerusalem besieged and captured. (Author . . . Jeremiah.)

LAMENTATIONS . . . A book of pathetic compositions deploring the fulfillment of the prophecies already uttered by Jeremiah -- The miserable estate of Jerusalem -- The faithful bewail their calamities -- Pitiful complaint of Zion in prayer to God. (Author . . . Jeremiah.)

EZEKIEL . . . Denunciations against the Jewish people mixed with promises of restoration -- Vision of four cherubims and the glory of God -- Type of the prophet's hair -- Type of a chain -- Sun worshippers -- Vision of the coals of fire -- Vision of the wheels -- Captivity of Zedekiah -- Reproof of lying prophets and idolaters -- God's love toward Jerusalem -- Parable of two eagles and a vine -- Unjust parable of sour grapes -- Parable of lion's whelps -- The sharp and bright sword -- Listing of sins in Jerusalem -- The boiling pot -- Prophecies against the Tyrians and Sidonians -- Promise of deliverance to the Jews and their restoration to their own land -- Conquest of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar predicted -- Israel's victory over Gog and Magog -- Vision of new temple, new city and new government typical of a universal church filled with the glory of God. (Author . . . Ezekiel.)

DANIEL . . . The dream of Nebuchadnezzar and its interpretation -- Daniel's advancement -- Miraculous preservation and promotion of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego -- A second dream of Nebuchadnezzar interpreted and fulfilled -- Belshazzar's feast -- Handwriting on the wall and its meaning -- The kingdom taken by the Medes and Persians -- Delivery of Daniel from the lion's den -- Vision of the four beasts -- Vision of the ram and he-goat -- The seventy weeks foretold -- The invasion and tyranny of the Romans. (Author . . . Daniel.)

HOSEA . . . The idolatry of the people -- Desolation of Israel -- God's judgment against the people and priests -- Exhortation to repentance -- Reproof of manifold sins -- Israel's distress and captivity -- Threats against impiety and idolatry -- Prophetic declaration of the restoration of all the tribes -- Separation of the tribes from idols and the glory of the latter days. (Author . . . Hosea.)

JOEL . . . Joel exhorts the people to mourn for their sins -- God's terrible judgments -- Zion comforted -- The Spirit to be poured out on all flesh -- The judgments of God against the enemies of the church. (Author . . . Joel.)

AMOS . . . The necessity of God's judgments Complaints against unthankfulness -- Reproof of idolatry and oppression -- The hardness of heart of Israel -- Lamentation for Israel -- Judgments averted by prayer of Amos -- A basket of summer fruit -- The restoration of the tabernacle of David. (Author . . . Amos.)

OBADIAH . . . Judgments denounced on the Edomites -- The pride and injustice of Edom -- The restoration and future prosperity of the Jews. (Author . . . Obadiah.)

JONAH . . . First visit to Nineveh by Jonah -- Jonah betrayed by a tempest and cast into the sea -- Jonah's prayer -- Jonah delivered from the great fish -- Second visit to Nineveh by Jonah -- Jonah preaches to the Ninevites -- Jonab rebuked by a gourd for his repinings. (Author . . . Jonah.)

MICAH . . . Jacob exhorted to mourn for idolatry -- Reproof of injustice and oppression -- The glory of the church -- Christ's birth and kingdom -- The triumph of the church over her enemies. (Author . . . Micah.)

NAHUM . . . The goodness of God to his people -- Victorious armies against Nineveh -- Miserable ruin of the bloody city. (Author . . . Nahum.)

HABAKKUK . . . Appeal to God on account of impiety and vice -- The approaching captivity as a punishment for wickedness -- Future deliverance through the promised Messiah -- The just live by faith -- Babylonian empire's destruction foretold -- Prayer for prompt help for Israel. (Author . . . Habakkuk.)

ZEPHANIAH . . . The sins of Judah bring severe judgments -- Jerusalem reproved sharply -- Waiting for the restoration of Israel. (Author :.. Zephaniah.)

HAGGAI . . . Building of the temple urged -- Reward of abundant harvest -- Mighty revolution by Christ's kingdom prophesied -- The glory of the later house to surpass that of the former. (Author . . . Haggai.)

ZECHARIAH . . . Vision of horses -- Redemption of Zion -- Christ's coming promised -- The golden candlestick -- The flying roll -- The four chariots -- Temple and kingdom of Christ, the Branch -- Cause of the captivity -- Good works required of the Jews -- God defends his church -- Christ's care of his flock -- The coming of the Messiah. (Author . . . Zechariah.)

MALACHI . . . The divine displeasure against sin -- Coming of Christ and ministry of his forerunner, John the Baptist -- Judgments to accompany the coming of the Messiah -- Separation of the righteous from the wicked -- Appearance of the Sun of Righteousness. (Author . . . Malachi.)

New Testament

ST. MATTHEW . . . Genealogy of Christ -- Visit of the wise men to Bethlehem -- Children slain by Herod's order -- Flight into Egypt -- Jesus at Nazareth -- Preaching of John the Baptist -- Temptation of Christ -- Christ heals the diseased -- Sermon on the mount -- Faith of the centurion -- Various miracles -- The twelve Apostles sent out -- Christ bears witness to John -- Pharisees reproved -- Parables concerning the kingdom of God -- John the Baptist beheaded -- Feeding the multitude -- Transfiguration of Christ -- Teachings of Jesus -- Christ in Jerusalem -- Various parables -- Rulers conspire against Christ -- Christ's agony in the garden -- Christ delivered to Pilate -- Christ condemned, crucified and buried -- The resurrection of Christ -- Appearances to disciples. (Author . . . Matthew.)

ST. MARK . . . Baptism and temptation of Christ -- Healing of many who were diseased -- The twelve Apostles chosen -- Sin against the Holy Spirit -- Parable of the sower -- Christ stills the tempest -- Legion of devils cast out -- Other miracles -- Christ walks on the sea -- Sight restored to the blind -- Christ foretells his death -- Christ blesses children -- Various warnings and exhortations -- The arguments of the Sadducees proven wrong by Christ -- Lord's Supper instituted -- Christ's crucifixion -- Appearances to disciples after resurrection. (Author . . . Mark.)

ST. LUKE . . . Prophecy of Elizabeth and Mary concerning Christ -- Birth of John the Baptist -- Christ's birth foretold -- Prophecy of Zacharias -- Nativity of Jesus -- Simeon and Anna prophesy -- Christ questions the doctors in the temple -- The miraculous draught of fishes -- Matthew the publican called -- Love to enemies advocated -- Christ's testimony to John -- Women minister to Christ -- Many miracles performed by Christ -- The good Samaritan -- Discourses to disciples by Christ -- Parable of the prodigal son -- Parable of the rich man and Lazarus -- The widow's mite -- Christ denied by Peter -- Christ betrayed by Judas -- The crucifixion, death and burial of Christ -- Christ's resurrection and ascension. (Author . . . Luke.)

ST. JOHN ...The divinity and humanity of Christ -- The marriage in Cana -- Christ purges the temple -- Discourse to Nicodemus -- Discourse to the woman of Samaria -- Jesus performs miracles -- Christ declares who he is -- Raising Lazarus from the dead -- Christ in Jerusalem -- Jesus washes his disciple's feet -- Christ's last discourses to his disciples -- Death of Christ by crucifixion, his burial and resurrection -- Christ's charge to Peter. (Author . . . John.)

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES . . . First Pentecost after Christ's resurrection and events preceding it -- Acts at Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria among the Christians -- Acts in Caesarea and the receiving of Gentiles -- First journey of Paul and Barnabas among the Gentiles -- Second journey' of Paul and Barnabas -- First journey to Rome by Paul -- Paul's shipwreck -- Paul preaching in Rome. (Author . . . Luke.)

ROMANS ...Jews and Gentiles alike under condemnation -- Justification by faith -- Peace with God through faith -- Dominion of the law -- Calling of the gentiles -- God has not cast off Israel -- Various exhortations -- Brotherly charity -- Paul's success in his labors -- Paul's salutations to his fellow helpers. (Author . . . Paul.)

I CORINTHIANS . . . The foolishness of preaching -- Christ the only foundation -- Answers to questions concerning civil law, marriage, meats offered to idols and Christian liberty -- Warning against idolatry -- The place of women in the church -- The Lord's Supper -- Spiritual gifts -- Praises of charity -- The resurrection -- Friendly admonitions and greetings. (Author . . . Paul.)

II CORINTHIANS ...Christians encouraged -- The law and the gospels -- The apostle declares his ministry -- Effect of godly sorrow -- Liberality and thanksgiving -- The apostle excuses his self-boasting -- The apostle glories in his infirmities -- Obstinate sinners threatened. (Author . . . Paul.)

GALATIANS . . . The gospel is not of men but of God -- Justification by faith, not works -- All believers justified -- Freed by Christ from the law, we are no longer servants of it -- Allegory of Agar and Sara -- Liberty of the gospel -- Fruit of the Spirit -- Exhortation to well doing. (Author . . . Paul.)

EPHESIANS . . . Greeting and thanksgiving -- Election and adoption -- Salvation of the Gentiles -- The great love of Christ -- Considerations which should impel all believers to Christian unity -- Various ministries in the church -- Mutual duties of husbands and wives -- Duties of children toward parents -- Duties of servants toward their masters -- The Christian's armor. (Author . . . Paul.)

PHILIPPIANS . . . The apostle expresses his thankfulness for the fruits of faith among the Philippians -- Ready to glorify Christ by life or death -- Indifference to imprisonment and suffering -- Unity and humbleness of mind commended -- Warning against false teachers and carnal Christians -- The apostle's efforts to gain holiness -- General exhortations. (Author . . . Paul.)

COLOSSIANS . . . The true Christ -- Men urged to receive Christ -- Constancy in Christ required -- Charity, humility and other duties -- For a blame-less and holy life, fervent prayer necessary. (Author . . . Paul.)

I THESSALONIANS . . . Thanksgiving for the grace received by the Thessalonians -- Sincerity and love of the apostle and his fellow-workers -- Effect produced by their preaching -- Desire, care and joy on account of the converts -- Exhortations to grow in holiness and brotherly love -- Concerning those who shall meet Christ at his coming -- Concerning the times. (Author . . . Paul.)

II THESSALONIANS . . . Thanksgiving and prayer, for the Thessalonians -- Doctrine concerning the man of sin -- Thessalonians comforted against this trial -- Directions to correct the disorderly -- Various precepts. (Author . . . Paul.)

I TIMOTHY ...Instructions to Timothy -- Legalizing teachers -- Confirmation of the gospel exemplified in the apostle -- Directions relative to prayer and good works -- Qualifications of a bishop -- Duties of deacons-Timothy's personal conduct and pastoral duties -- Concerning servants, false teachers and riches. (Author . . . Paul.)

II TIMOTHY . . . Commendation of Timothy's faith -- Exhortation to Christian fortitude -- Fidelity and generosity of Onesiphorus to Paul -- Directions for avoiding things leading to apostasy -- Declentions will come -- Paul's rejoicing in view of immediate death. (Author . . . Paul.)

TITUS . . . Instructions for Titus to ordain good presbyters -- To reprove and admonish the Cretans, taking care to set himself as an example of good works -- To avoid foolish questions and shun heretics. (Author . . . Paul.)

PHILEMON . . . The apostle rejoices at the faith and love of Philemon -- Appeals for Onesimus, who had been converted and sent back by Paul, to be forgiven and received kindly. (Author . . . Paul.)

HEBREWS . . . A demonstration of the superiority of the gospel dispensation -- Christ more worthy than Moses -- Christ's priesthood -- Priesthoods of Christ and Aaron compared -- Perfection of the blood and sacrifice of Christ -- The weakness of the law sacrifices -- Worthy fruits of faith -- Various admonitions for holy living. (Author . . . Unknown: Attributed to Paul or Barnabas.)

JAMES . . . Patience in enduring outward and conquering inward temptations -- Hearing the word to be joined with practice -- Respect of persons -- Exhortation to universal benevolence -- Inefficiency of faith without works -- Sins to be avoided -- Patience in afflictions -- Doom of wicked rich men. (Author . . . James, the Just.)

I PETER . . . Exhortation to holiness -- Christ the sure foundation -- Exhortations to obedience, unity and love -- Duty of wives and husbands -- Christian virtues commended. (Author . . . Peter.)

II PETER . . . Great promises for believers -- Constancy in the faith -- False teachers described and denounced -- Certainty of Christ's coming to judgment. (Author . . . Peter.)

I JOHN . . . Christ our propitiation -- Sins of infirmity -- False teachers -- Great love of God -- Eternal life. (Author . . . John.)

II JOHN . . . Love manifesting itself in a life of obedience -- False teachers to be shunned. (Author . . . John.)

III JOHN . . . Commendation of piety and hospitality -- Exhortation to follow only the good. (Author . . . John.)

JUDE . . . Christians exhorted to hold fast the profession of their faith. (Author . . . Jude.)

REVELATION . . . Introduction describing the circumstances of writing the message -- Messages to the seven churches of Asia -- Vision of the living creatures and the elders -- Judgments confronting evil -- The seals, trumpets and vials -- Two martyred witnesses -- Woman crowned with the sun; her child the victim of the dragon and two wild beasts -- Enemies of the child meet their doom -- The new heaven and the new earth -- Coming of Christ -- Pure river of the water of life. (Author . . . John)

The Apocrypha

The original Septuagint version of the Bible, named from the seventy scholars who worked on the translation into Greek, included books not found in modern standard Bibles. These books, collectively called the Apocrypha, are termed Deutercanonical (secondary) and theological authorities regard them as semi-canonical; good and useful books but below the standard of other books of the Bible. The books of the Apocrypha originated in the first to third centuries, B.C., but were never included in the Hebrew Old Testament. The Eastern Orthodox .Church recognizes these books.

Synopsis Of The Books Of The Apocrypha

II EZRA (Often called Ezdras, the Greek form of Ezra) . . . This book is a continuation of the book of Ezra. It includes compilations from Ezra, II Chronicles and Nehemiah. Contains stories about Zerubbabel, governor of Judaea during the rebuilding of the temple. He had great influence in bringing the second temple into being. Sacred vessels taken from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar at the time of the captivity are restored. The book also includes the story of the three youths. Object of this book is to picture the tolerance of Darius and Cyrus towards the Jews.

III EZRA (Ezdras) . . . Contains visions given to Ezra regarding God's government of the universe. The tragic fate of the Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem is lamented along with God's failure to reward the righteous. Assurance is given through visions of a mourning mother, the eagle and the Son of Man that God would manifest his justice through a four-hundred-year rule of the Messiah, the resurrection and judgment. The conversion of heathen nations under one shepherd is predicted. Ezra restores the sacred books, including certain lost scriptures, and places the Old Testament books in their proper order.

TOBIT . . . Tobit, a pious man of the tribe of Naphtali, is exiled to Nineveh. He observed the law but was blinded after burying a dead Jew. Tobias, the son of Tobit, brought back to Nineveh ten talents of silver lent to Gabael by Tobit and restored his father's sight with the gill of a fish caught in the Tigris river. Tobias, guided by the angel Raphael, had previously driven away the demon Asmodeus and married Sara. The message of the book: God never forsakes those who trust in him and keep his commandments. Tobit praises the Lord for many kindnesses.

JUDITH . . . A historical romance relating the heroic deed of Judith, a rich, beautiful and devout Jewish widow living in the days of the Babylonian invasion of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar sent Holophernes to punish the Jews for failing to provide troops in his successful campaign against the king of Media. Judith assured the Jews the Lord would deliver them. She enticed Holophernes, after going to his tent, and then cut off his head to save the city. She praised the Lord and lived happily afterwards.

WISDOM OF SOLOMON . . . Similar in parts to the book of Job and to Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Includes the rewards of wisdom. The ungodly Jews enjoy the pleasures of the world while persecuting the pious and needy. After death, the ungodly will repent in vain while the righteous enjoy eternal bliss. This book expounds on the nature of wisdom and how to attain it. It contrasts the heroes of wisdom, from Adam to Moses, with the wicked and also cites the contrast between Israelites and Egyptians. The Lord loves those living in wisdom. Pagan worship is foolish. Solomon obtained wisdom from God, a reflection of God's glory.

WISDOM OF THE SON OF SIRACH (also called ECCLESIASTICUS) . . . This book is similar to the book of Proverbs. Wisdom is obtained from observing God's laws. A great many subjects are treated, including the honoring of parents, humility, kindness, tests and rewards of wisdom, wrong conduct, the search for wisdom, the blessings of wisdom, good and bad wives, troubles and sins of rich men, the education of children, table manners, the father as ruler of the household, dreams, travel, true piety, mourning, and the value of higher education. This book praises a long list of Old Testament notables and gives the prayer of the Son of Sirach. Main message of the book: rules of conduct for social, religious and domestic living.

BARUCH . . . The Jews are admonished to repent after the destruction of Jerusalem. Baruch informs the suffering Jews that all their misfortunes were sent by Cod because they were sinful. This book includes a poem in praise of wisdom and a prayer to God for mercy. Addressed mainly to exiles, it tells the Jews to be comforted in the expected early return of exiles and the destruction of Babylon. Baruch, a scribe of Jeremiah, paraphrases Jeremiah, Daniel and other prophets.

JEREMIAH . . . This book is a message sent to captives in Babylon -- a warning against Babylon idolatry. It states that God's angel is with them and is protecting their souls. The Jews are told that God punished them for their sins with seventy years of captivity in Babylon. Somewhat sarcastic in vein, this book denounces the folly of idolatry.

I MACCABEES . . . A historical work covering events during the historic struggle of the Jews for freedom. It is one of the best sources of Jewish history for the period of 175-135 B.C. The Maccabees were leaders of the Jewish people, five sons of the priest Mattatias (Judas, Simon, Jonathan, Eleazar and John). The book begins with a background and beginnings of the rebel-lion and continues with a poem praising Judas Maccabees. It relates the wars of Judas for religious liberty and his defeating Nicanor. Jonathan is forced to sign a treaty with Bacchides, at first allying himself with Demetrius but later turning against both of them. Simon supported Demetrius and made Judaea independent and consolidated the power. He defied an ultimatum from Antiochus III but was later assassinated.

II MACCABEES . . . Letters from Palestine to Egyptian Jews telling of the rededication of the temple in 164 B.C. This book tells of the Maccabean struggles, mainly in the period of 175-161 B.C. and is purported to be a summary of five books of Jason of Cyrene. Also covered are the initial victories of Judas Maccabees, plundering of the temple, and the heroic sufferings of the Jews as they defended their religious heritage and their customs. Maccabees II is inferior to Maccabees I.

Taken from: "Faith of our Fathers -- The Eastern Orthodox Religion" by Stan W. Carlson and The Very Rev. Leonid Soroka, Dean UMW Published by The Olympic Press, Minneapolis, MN -- Copyright 1954, revised in 1958. Officially approved for publication by Metropolitan Leonty, Archbishop of NY, Primate, ROGCChurch of NA, and The Rev. Joseph Stephanko, Censor, St. Andrew of Crete Day, NY City, NY.