The MacArthur Study Bible, NASB

The MacArthur Study Bible, NASB

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by John MacArthur

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The MacArthur Study Bible is perfect for serious study. No other study Bible does such a thorough job of explaining the historical context, unfolding the meaning of the text, and making it practical for your life.See more details below


The MacArthur Study Bible is perfect for serious study. No other study Bible does such a thorough job of explaining the historical context, unfolding the meaning of the text, and making it practical for your life.

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The MacArthur Study Bible

By John MacArthur

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2006 Thomas Nelson, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4185-9010-9

Chapter One


The first 5 books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) form a complete literary unit called the Pentateuch, meaning "five scrolls." The five independent books of the Pentateuch were written as an unbroken unity in content and historical sequence, with each succeeding book beginning where the former left off.

Genesis' first words, "In the beginning God created ..." (Ge 1:1) imply the reality of God's eternal or "before time" existence and announce the spectacular transition to time and space. While the exact date of creation cannot be determined, it certainly would be estimated to be thousands of years ago, not millions. Starting with Abraham (ca. 2165–1990 B.C.) in Ge 11, this book of beginnings spans over 300 years to the death of Joseph in Egypt (ca. 1804 B.C.). There is then another gap of almost 300 years until the birth of Moses in Egypt (ca. 1525 B.C.; Ex 2).

Exodus begins with the words "Now these are the names" (Ex 1:1), listing those of the family of Jacob who went down to Egypt to be with Joseph toward the end of Genesis (Ge 46ff.). The second book of the Pentateuch, which records the escape of the Israelites from Egypt, concludes when the cloud which led the people through the wilderness descends upon the newly constructed tabernacle.

The first Hebrew words of Leviticus may be translated, "Then the LORD called to Moses" (Lv 1:1). From the cloud of God's Presence in the tabernacle of meeting (Lv 1:1), God summons Moses in order to prescribe to him the ceremonial law which told Israel how they must approach their Holy Lord. Leviticus concludes with, "These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the sons of Israel at Mount Sinai" (Lv 27:34).

Numbers, much like Leviticus, commences with God commissioning Moses at the tabernacle of meeting, this time to take a census in preparation for war against Israel's enemies. The book's title in the Hebrew Bible accurately represents the content—"Wilderness." Due to lack of trust in God, Israel did not want to engage its enemies militarily in order to claim the Promised Land. After forty additional years in the wilderness for their rebellion, Israel arrived on the plains of Moab.

Despite the fact that "It is eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea" (Dt 1:2), the journey took Israel forty years due to their rebellion against God. Moses preached the book of Deuteronomy as a sermon on the Plains of Moab in preparation for God's people to enter the land of covenant promise (Ge 12:1-3). The title Deuteronomy is from the Gr. phrase deuteros nomos, meaning "second law." The book focuses on the restatement and, to some extent, the reapplication of the law to Israel's new circumstances.

Moses was the human author of the Pentateuch (Ex 17:14; 24:4; Nu 33:1,2; Dt 31:9; Jos 1:8; 2Ki 21:8); thus, another title for the collection is "The Books of Moses." Through Moses, God revealed Himself, His former works, Israel's family history, and its role in His plan of redemption for mankind. The Pentateuch is foundational to all the rest of Scripture.

Quoted or alluded to thousands of times in the OT and in the NT, the Pentateuch was Israel's first inspired body of Scripture. For many years, this alone was Israel's Bible. Another common title for this section of Scripture is Torah or Law, nomenclature which looks at the didactic nature of these books. The Israelites were to meditate upon it (Jos 1:8), teach it to their children (Dt 6:4-8), and read it publicly (Ne 8:1ff.). Just before his death and Israel's move into the Promised Land, Moses set forth the process by which public reading would make its way into human hearts and change their relationship with God, and ultimately their conduct:

Assemble the people, the men and the women and the children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the LORD your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 31:12

The relationships between the commands is important. The people must: 1) gather to hear the law in order to learn what is required of them and what it has to say about God; 2) learn about the Lord in order to fear Him based on a correct understanding of who He is; and 3) fear God in order to be correctly motivated to obedience and good works. Good works performed for any other reason will be improperly motivated. The priests taught the law to the families (Mal 2:4-7) and the parents instructed the children within the home (Dt 6:4ff.). Instruction in the law, in short, would provide the right foundation for the OT believer's relationship with God.

Because the Israelites' knowledge of the world in which they lived came through the Egyptians, as well as their ancestors the Mesopotamians, there was much confusion about the creation of the world, how it got to its present state, and how Israel had come into existence. Ge 1–11 helped Israel understand the origin and nature of creation, human labor, sin, marriage, murder, death, bigamy, judgment, the multiplicity of languages, cultures, etc. These chapters established the worldview which explained the remainder of Israel's first Bible, the Pentateuch.

The later portion of Genesis explained to Israel who they were, including the purpose God had for them as a people. In Ge 12:1-3, God had appeared to Abraham and made a three-fold promise to give them a land, descendants, and blessing. Years later, in a ceremony typical to Abraham's culture, God recast the three-fold promise into a covenant (Ge 15:7ff.). The remainder of Genesis treats the fulfillment of all three promises, but focuses especially on the seed or descendants. The barrenness of each of the patriarchs' chosen wives taught Israel the importance of trust and patience in waiting for children from God.

The rest of the Pentateuch looks at the way in which the promises of Ge 12:1-3 expand in the Abrahamic Covenant and achieve their initial stages of fulfillment. Exodus and Leviticus focus more on the blessing of relationship with God. In Exodus, Israel meets the God of their fathers and is led forth by Him from Egypt to the Promised Land. Leviticus underscores the meticulous care with which the people and priests were to approach God in worship and every dimension of their lives. Holiness and cleanness come together in simple and practical ways. Numbers and Deuteronomy focus on the journey to and preparation for the Land. The Pentateuch treats many issues related to Israel's relationship with their God. But the underlying theme of the Pentateuch is the initial, unfolding fulfillments of God's promises made to Abraham.


I. THE KINGSHIP OF GOD (1SA 1:1–7:17; 1CH 1:1–9:44) A. Genealogical Tables (1Ch 1:1–9:44) 1. Genealogies of the Patriarchs (1Ch 1:1–2:2) 2. Genealogies of the Tribes of Israel (1Ch 2:3–9:44) B. The Close of the Theocracy (1Sa 1:1–7:17) 1. The Early Life of Samuel (1Sa 1:1–4:1a) a. Samuel's birth and infancy (1Sa 1:1–2:11) b. Samuel at Shiloh (1Sa 2:12–4:1a) 2. The Period of National Disaster (1Sa 4:1b–7:2) a. Israel's defeat and loss of the ark (1Sa 4:1b-11a) b. Fall of the house of Eli (1Sa 4:11b-22) c. The ark of God (1Sa 5:1–7:2) 3. Samuel, the Last of the Judges (1Sa 7:3-17)

II. THE KINGSHIP OF SAUL (1SA 8:1–31:13; 1CH 10:1-14) A. Establishment of Saul as First King of Israel (1Sa 8:1–10:27) B. Saul's Reign until His Rejection (1Sa 11:1–15:35) C. The Decline of Saul and the Rise of David (1Sa 16:1–31:13) 1. David's Early History (1Sa 16:1-23) 2. David's Advancement and Saul's Growing Jealousy (1Sa 17:1–20:42) a. David and Goliath (1Sa 17:1-51) b. David at the court of Saul (1Sa 18:1–20:42) 3. David's Life of Exile (1Sa 21:1–28:2) a. David's flight (1Sa 21:1–22:5) b. Saul's vengeance on the priests of Nob (1Sa 22:6-23) c. David's rescue of Keilah (1Sa 23:1-13) d. David's last meeting with Jonathan (1Sa 23:14-18) e. David's betrayal by the Ziphites (1Sa 23:19-24a) f. David's escape from Saul in the Wilderness of Maon (1Sa 23:24b-28) g. David's flight from Saul; David's mercy on Saul's life in the cave (1Sa 23:29–24:22) h. Samuel's death (1Sa 25:1) i. David's wedding to Abigail (1Sa 25:2-44) j. David's mercy on Saul's life again (1Sa 26:1-25) k. David's joining with the Philistines (1Sa 27:1–28:2) 4. Saul's Downfall in War with the Philistines (1Sa 28:3–31:13; 1Ch 10:1-14) a. Saul's fear of the Philistines (1Sa 28:3-6) b. Saul's visit to the witch of En-dor (1Sa 28:7-25) c. David leaves the Philistines; defeats the Amalekites (1Sa 29:1–30:31) d. Saul and his sons slain (1Sa 31:1-13; 1Ch 10:1-14)

III. THE KINGSHIP OF DAVID (2SA 1:1–24:25; 1KI 1:1–2:11; 1CH 10:14–29:30) A. David's Victories (2Sa 1:1–10:19; 1Ch 10:14–20:8) 1. The Political Triumphs of David (2Sa 1:1–5:25; 1Ch 10:14–12:40) a. David is king of Judah (2Sa 1:1–4:12; 1Ch 10:14–12:40) b. David is king over all Israel (2Sa 5:1–5:25) 2. The Spiritual Triumphs of David (2Sa 6:1–7:29; 1Ch 13:1–17:27) a. The ark of the covenant (2Sa 6:1-23; 1Ch 13:1–16:43) b. The temple and the Davidic Covenant (2Sa 7:1-29; 1Ch 17:1-27) 3. The Military Triumphs of David (2Sa 8:1–10:19; 1Ch 18:1–20:8) B. David's Sins (2Sa 11:1-27) 1. David's Adultery with Bathsheba (2Sa 11:1-5) 2. David's Murder of Uriah the Hitite (2Sa 11:6-27) C. David's Problems (2Sa 12:1–24:25; 1Ch 21:1–27:34) 1. David's House Suffers (2Sa 12:1–13:36) a. Nathan's prophecy against David (2Sa 12:1-14) b. David's son dies (2Sa 12:15-25) c. Joab's loyalty to David (2Sa 12:26-31) d. Amnon's incest (2Sa 13:1-20) e. Amnon's murder (2Sa 13:21-36) 2. David's Kingdom Suffers (2Sa 13:37–24:25; 1Ch 21:1–27:34) a. Absalom's rebellion (2Sa 13:37–17:29) b. Absalom's murder (2Sa 18:1-33) c. David's restoration as king (2Sa 19:1–20:26) d. David's kingship evaluated (2Sa 21:1–23:39) e. David's numbering of the people (2Sa 24:1–24:25; 1Ch 21:1-30) D. David's Preparation and Organization for the Temple (1Ch 22:1–27:34) E. David's Last Days (1Ki 1:1–2:11; 1Ch 28:1–29:30) 1. David's Failing Health: Abishag the Shunammite (1Ki 1:1-4) 2. Adonijah's Attempt to Seize the Kingdom (1Ki 1:5-9) 3. Solomon's Anointing as King (1Ki 1:10-40; 1Ch 29:20-25) 4. Adonijah's Submission (1Ki 1:41-53) 5. David's Last Words (1Ki 2:1-9; 1Ch 28:1–29:25) a. David's words for Israel (1Ch 28:1-8) b. David's words for Solomon (1Ki 2:1-9; 1Ch 28:9–29:19) c. David's dedication to the temple (1Ch 29:1-20) 6. David's Death (1Ki 2:10,11; 1Ch 29:26-30)

IV. THE KINGSHIP OF SOLOMON (1KI 2:12–11:43; 1CH 29:21–2CH 9:31) A. Solomon's Kingship Begins (1Ki 2:12–4:34; 1Ch 29:21–2Ch 1:17) 1. Solomon's Kingship Established (1Ki 2:12; 1Ch 29:21–2Ch 1:1) 2. Solomon's Adversaries Removed (1Ki 2:13-46) 3. Solomon's Wedding to Pharaoh's Daughter (1Ki 3:1) 4. Solomon's Spiritual Condition (1Ki 3:2,3) 5. Solomon's Sacrifice at Gibeon (1Ki 3:4; 2Ch 1:2-6) 6. Solomon's Dream and Prayer for Wisdom (1Ki 3:5-15; 2Ch 1:7-12) 7. Solomon's Judging of the Harlots with God's Wisdom (1Ki 3:16-28) 8. Solomon's Officers, His Power,Wealth, and Wisdom (1Ki 4:1-34; 2Ch 1:13-17) B. Solomon's Splendor (1Ki 5:1–8:66; 2Ch 2:1–7:22) 1. Preparations for the Building of the Temple (1Ki 5:1-18; 2Ch 2:1-18) 2. The Building of the Temple (1Ki 6:1-38; 2Ch 3:1-14) 3. The Building of the Royal Palace (1Ki 7:1-12) 4. The Making of the Vessels for the Temple (1Ki 7:13-51; 2Ch 3:15–5:1) 5. The Dedication and Completion of the Temple (1Ki 8:1-66; 2Ch 5:2–7:22) C. Solomon's Demise (1Ki 9:1–11:43; 2Ch 8:1–9:31) 1. Davidic Covenant Repeated (1Ki 9:1-9) 2. Solomon's Disobedience to the Covenant (1Ki 9:10–11:8; 2Ch 8:1–9:28) 3. Solomon's Chastening for Breaking the Covenant (1Ki 11:9-40) 4. Solomon's Death (1Ki 11:41-43; 2Ch 9:29-31)

V. THE KINGDOM DIVIDED (1KI 12:1–22:53; 2KI 1:1–17:41; 2CH 10:1–28:27) A. The Kingdom Divides (1Ki 12:1–14:31) 1. The Division's Cause (1Ki 12:1-24) 2. Jeroboam, King of Israel (1Ki 12:25–14:20) 3. Rehoboam, King of Judah (1Ki 14:21-31; 2Ch 10:1–12:16) B. Judah's Two Kings (1Ki 15:1-24; 2Ch 13:1–16:14) 1. Abijam, a.k.a. Joram, King of Judah (1Ki 15:1-8; 2Ch 13:1-22) 2. Asa, King of Judah (1Ki 15:9-24; 2Ch 14:1–16:14) C. Israel's Five Kings (1Ki 15:25–16:28) 1. Nadab, King of Israel (1Ki 15:25-31) 2. Baasha, King of Israel (1Ki 15:32–16:7) 3. Elah, King of Israel (1Ki 16:8-14) 4. Zimri, King of Israel (1Ki 16:15-20) 5. Omri, King of Israel (1Ki 16:21-28) D. Ahab, King of Israel (1Ki 16:29–22:40) 1. Ahab's Sin (1Ki 16:29-34) 2. Elijah the Prophet (1Ki 17:1–19:21) 3. Wars with Syria (1Ki 20:1-43) 4. Naboth Swindled and Killed (1Ki 21:1-16) 5. Ahab's Death (1Ki 21:17–22:40) E. Jehoshaphat, King of Judah (1Ki 22:41-50; 2Ch 17:1–21:3) F. Ahaziah, King of Israel (1Ki 22:51-53; 2Ki 1:1-18) G. Jehoram, a.k.a. Joram, King of Israel (2Ki 3:1–8:15) H. Jehoram, King of Judah (2Ki 8:16-24; 2Ch 21:4-20) I. Ahaziah, King of Judah (2Ki 8:25–9:29; 2Ch 22:1-9) J. Jehu, King of Israel (2Ki 9:30–10:36) K. Athaliah, Queen of Judah (2Ki 11:1-16; 2Ch 22:10–23:21) L. Joash, King of Judah (2Ki 11:17–12:21; 2Ch 24:1-27) M. Jehoahaz, King of Israel (2Ki 13:1-9) N. Jehoash, a.k.a. Joash, King of Israel (2Ki 13:10-25) O. Amaziah, King of Judah (2Ki 14:1-22; 2Ch 25:1-28) P. Jeroboam II, King of Israel (2Ki 14:23-29) Q. Uzziah, a.k.a., Azariah, King of Judah (2Ki 15:1-7; 2Ch 26:1-23) R. Zechariah, King of Israel (2Ki 15:8-12) S. Shallum, King of Israel (2Ki 15:13-15) T. Menahem, King of Israel (2Ki 15:16-22) U. Pekahiah, King of Israel (2Ki 15:23-26) V. Pekah, King of Israel (2Ki 15:27-31) W. Jotham, King of Judah (2Ki 15:32-38; 2Ch 27:1-9) X. Ahaz, King of Judah (2Ki 16:1-20; 2Ch 28:1-27) Y. Hoshea, King of Israel (2Ki 17:1-41)

VI. THE SURVIVING KINGDOM OF JUDAH (2KI 18:1–25:30; 2CH 29:1–36:23) A. Hezekiah, King of Judah (2Ki 18:1–20:21; 2Ch 29:1–32:33) B. Manasseh, King of Judah (2Ki 21:1-18; 2Ch 33:1-20) C. Amon, King of Judah (2Ki 21:19-26; 2Ch 33:21-25) D. Josiah, King of Judah (2Ki 22:1–23:30; 2Ch 34:1–35:27) E. Jehoahaz, King of Judah (2Ki 23:31-34; 2Ch 36:1-3) F. Jehoiakim, King of Judah (2Ki 23:35–24:7; 2Ch 36:4-8) G. Jehoiachin, King of Judah (2Ki 24:8-16; 2Ch 36:9,10) H. Zedekiah, King of Judah (2Ki 24:17–25:21; 2Ch 36:11-21) I. Gedaliah, Governor of Judah (2Ki 25:22-26) J. Jehoiachin Released in Babylon (2Ki 25:27-30) K. Cyrus Decrees Rebuilding in Jerusalem (2Ch 36:22,23)


The writing prophets of the OT fall into two groups: the 4 major prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel—and the 12 minor prophets—Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Lamentations falls into the major-prophet grouping because of its connection with Jeremiah

Besides these, the OT regarded others as prophets. Such prophets as Gad, Nathan, Elijah, and Elisha were typical of the nonwriting prophets. In a sense, John the Baptist as a forerunner of Jesus was a prophet who belonged to the OT era.

The following table gives the sequence and approximate dates and direction of ministry for the writing prophets, with "Israel" designating the northern kingdom and "Judah" the southern:


Prophet Ministered To In the Years Prophet Ministered To In the Years Obadiah Edom 850–840 B.C. Zephaniah Judah 635–625 B.C. Joel Judah 835–796 B.C. Jeremiah Judah 627–570 B.C. Jonah Nineveh 784–760 B.C. Habakkuk Judah 620–605 B.C. Amos Israel 763–755 B.C. Daniel Babylon 605–536 B.C. Hosea Israel 755–710 B.C. Ezekiel Babylon 593–570 B.C. Isaiah Judah 739–680 B.C. Haggai Judah 520–505 B.C. Micah Judah 735–710 B.C. Zechariah Judah 520–470 B.C. Nahum Nineveh 650–630 B.C. Malachi Judah 437–417 B.C.


Excerpted from The MacArthur Study Bible by John MacArthur Copyright © 2006 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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