Monday, September 1, 2014

The People of Ancient Israel (Angelico Press)

The People of Ancient Israel is the shortest book in Dorothy Mills' six volume history set, spanning only 210 pages. The book begins by describing the land of Palestine, including its size, terrain, vegetation, and climate. Ms. Mills then briefly details both the Hebrew Scriptures and "tales" such as Creation, the Flood, and the Tower of Babel. She points out that the world owes a great deal to the Hebrews, because they taught the world about God in their writings.

After these few brief chapters, we reach the main focus of this book - the people. Of course we start with the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Included in this section is a lot of what you would find in Scripture. However, there is also some personal commentary on certain topics, like why Abraham would listen to God and agree to sacrifice his son Isaac. Her reasoning and viewpoint seems centered on cultural reasons for this near-sacrifice and that Abraham obtained the idea from culture and not from God. She also doesn't say that God sent an angel to stop the sacrifice, but that Abraham reached a level of understanding that this sacrifice would not be pleasing to God. That is definitely one way of looking at it, but not how I would teach it.

After the Patriarchs is mention of Joseph and Moses. Following Moses, we begin to see the nation of Israel take shape with their wandering in the desert. The reason for this is because they were issued the Law (or the Ten Commandments). The nation finally gets roots with their conquest of Canaan, and leaders (also known as Judges) ruled over the people. Ms. Mills talks about several of the more famous judges, primarily Samson and Ruth. The nation then becomes a kingdom under Saul, who was followed by David and then Solomon. The most interesting sections to me dealt with the Divided Kingdom, Israel's fall, and their time in captivity.

The book then ends with "In the fulness if time, the Teacher came. At Bethlehem, in the days of Herod the King, seventy years before the destruction of Jerusalem, Christ was born, who by his life and teaching made possible the fulfilment of the ancient visions." I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, Dorothy Mills does a nice job making history interesting and come alive. On the other hand, there are a few troubling statements in the book. Overall, I would give this book 4 stars.

This book was provided to me for free by Angelico Press in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!