The Battle at Mount Gilboa

1 Samuel 28-31; 1 Chronicles 10

After the Philistines mustered their forces at Aphek and advanced to Shunem in the Jezreel Valley, the Israelites assembled their forces nearby at Jezreel. During the battle, the Israelites began to retreat up the slopes of Mount Gilboa. There Saul and his sons were killed, and the Philistines took their bodies to Beth-shan and hung them on the wall of the city. When the people of Jabesh-gilead heard about this, they marched through the night to recover the bodies and Saul and his sons, perhaps as repayment for Saul’s rescue of the town from the Ammonites many years earlier (1 Samuel 11).

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Absalom Rebels against David

2 Samuel 13-18

Two years after Absalom’s half-brother Amnon assaulted his sister, Absalom took revenge. He invited Amnon to attend the shearing of his sheep, and there he directed all his men to kill Amnon. Absalom fled to Geshur, where his mother’s father was king (2 Samuel 3:3). After three years David’s commander Joab arranged for a woman from Tekoa to persuade David to allow Absalom to return to Jerusalem with the assurance that he would not be harmed for killing Amnon. David agreed, but after Absalom returned he began a conspiracy against David in which he ingratiated himself to the people and orchestrated a coup. He arranged to travel to Hebron, where his followers declared him king, and he headed for Jerusalem to overthrow David. When David was informed of Absalom’s actions in Hebron, David and those loyal to him fled across the Jordan River to Mahanaim. Absalom mustered an army and traveled to Mahanaim to attack David, and they engaged David’s forces in the forest of Ephraim. David’s men thoroughly defeated Absalom’s army, and Absalom himself was killed after his mule rode under and oak tree and left him dangling in mid-air by his long hair.

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Josiah Battles Neco

2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34-35

As the Assyrian Empire was collapsing and losing territory to the advancing Medes and Babylonians, King Josiah of Judah seized the opportunity to expand his domain to include much of Israel’s former territory. Then in 609 B.C., Pharaoh Neco of Egypt advanced to Carchemish to assist the Assyrians, and Josiah tried to stop him at Megiddo. Neco killed Josiah and continued on to Carchemish, but apparently the delay caused by Josiah’s forces prevented Neco from arriving in time to save Carchemish (Jeremiah 46:2). Not long after this the rest of Assyria fell to the Medes and the Babylonians.

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The Ministries of Philip and Peter

When a dispute arose in the early church regarding the daily distribution of food, the Twelve apostles appointed seven men to ensure that this ministry was being done effectively and fairly. Philip, traditionally called “the Evangelist,” was one of the seven men chosen for this role (Acts 6:1-7). When persecution of believers first broke out in Jerusalem, Philip traveled to Samaria and conducted a powerful ministry there, and many Samaritans became believers (Acts 8:1-9). Later the angel of the Lord told Philip to take the road to Gaza, and along the way Philip met an Ethiopian royal official who was returning home after worshiping at the Temple. Philip helped him understand a passage in Isaiah 53 regarding the Messiah (Acts 8:26-38), and the official became a believer. Immediately after the Ethiopian official was baptized, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip to Azotus, and then Philip preached in various towns as he traveled to Caesarea (Acts 8:39-40). The apostle Peter traveled to Lydda and healed a believer named Aeneas, and then he traveled to Joppa and raised a believer named Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:32-43). After this Peter traveled to Caesarea to meet with a Gentile named Cornelius, who also became a believer (Acts 10).

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The Conquest of Canaan: The Southern Campaign

Joshua 9-10

As news spread that mighty Jericho had fallen to the Israelites and that their intention was to conquer all of Canaan, fear grew among the Canaanites. To avoid being wiped out by the Israelites, the people of Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim deceived the Israelites into thinking they lived far away, and they made a peace treaty with them (Joshua 9). Soon after this, several Amorite cities in southern Canaan joined together to attack the Gibeonites, so the Gibeonites appealed to the Israelites for help. Joshua led the Israelites on an all night march from Gilgal to Gibeon and defeated the Amorites. The Israelites continued to pursue the Amorites and eventually captured the cities of Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, and Debir (Joshua 10), and likely Jarmuth and Hebron as well (see Joshua 10:23).

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