Sweetheart Seer Books

PREDICTING YOUR NEXT GREAT READ

The Old Testament

At the beginning of the year, I decided to read through the entire Old Testament of the bible. I wanted to take on a “big reading challenge” for myself. I recently finished. As I was going through, I made notes and impressions as I read so I could review each book. There are 66 books in the bible and 39 of them are from the Old Testament. The version that you read can vary with that number, but I did a sort of mix of the KJV and the NIV.

I listened to the majority of these books on Youtube as full-cast audio. There were different narrators, music, sound effects. It was HIGHLY engaging and felt much easier to digest that way.

What was especially fascinating for me was that while reading I became a Christian…again.

I had been Buddhist for the past 8 years as I was offput by my small town church and what the Christians around me tended to represent and support. Gossip etc. You know, what isn’t actual Christianity. Christianity as a religion, according to the Bible, shows a very different representation than what I had been shown. It is a religion that boils down to one word: LOVE.

As I read and started to see that actually the Christianity I was reading about aligned more with my own beliefs than Buddhism, I began to pray. I asked for forgiveness. I re-found salvation. I have journeyed a different road to get back here, but I think that had I been seeking this at any other time in my life I wouldn’t have been as receptive to it.

To Him.

God is a God of timing after-all.

A lot of my own personal trials and tribulations this year can be summed up in one word: brutal. I think that God found me right before He knew I would most need Him if that makes sense.

I almost died this year.

I feel as if I truly was reborn into the person I had always wanted to, and been meant to, become. Am I perfect? No, absolutely not! No one is. Am I happy with who I am? Positutely!

Anyways, what follows are my sometimes long, sometimes short, snippets of thought as I read. Sometimes even written after as a sort of reflection. As a whole, I tried to tackle the books of The Old Testament for the most part as if I were doing individual book reviews for each one.

If you would like to know more about each book I would advise either reading (or listening to!) the text for yourself, researching online, or checking out the Goodreads descriptions. I usually do include the Goodreads descriptions on my reviews, but I realized with 39 books that would make this post so much longer. (It is already a long one!) Feel free to jump to the section you would like to read more about or read all of them in order if you like.

There were 7 books that I didn’t wind up taking any notes on or leaving any commentary. (The last 5 books of The Old Testament as well as two others which you’ll see were also toward the end.) I just didn’t have anything really to add or comment on and so I simply didn’t. The last ones I felt went by too fast and so I didn’t feel it necessary to note anything. They weren’t long enough books to review in my opinion.

Happy reading!

Genesis (50 Chapters)

Very first book of the bible. Didn’t realize it included so much beyond creation story. We had Jacob and his brother, Jacob and his wives-Rachael and Leah, and Noah and the ark.

There was a lot of lineage included which was hard to get through, but overall pretty solid.

My question is how did people have 700, 800, 900 year lifespans? When did that change to 30 until recent history and modern medicine? I had thought maybe after the ark, but people still led long lives…introduction of illnesses? I figure this will be explained elsewhere in the bible.

Exodus (40 Chapters)

I enjoyed Genesis despite all of the begots… but Exodus had a lot of descriptions of how God wanted things to be set up to commune with him.

I felt a bit confused as to why this was all included and then it was revealed to me why. It is to show how much things changed once Jesus came and forgave our sins. We don’t have to go through all this ritual and special alter setups anymore. We can pray to God directly. That’s why all of the old ways were included. To show what all changed. That way we can be even more thankful now to see the history of the then.

Regardless, this was still a difficult to get through book. I rate it a middle 3 star because it was still well written, just not as engrossing. Even with the familiar stories early on of the Pharoah and Moses and Passover etc.

Leviticus (27 Chapters)

Okay, so I must have a very bad memory…this was probably not my favorite in the Old Testament like I had originally thought because this was mostly all about the rituals of animal sacrifice, how the priests would realize if someone really did have leprosy, and who not to sleep with (basically if you didn’t bring ’em into the family, you no sleeps with em!)

I felt bad for the poor beasts. If someone had sex with a beast, the person and the beast both had to be put to death! I highly doubt the beast was trying to be enticing. 🙁

Other than that, again, made me realize that I’m glad Jesus came along cause bringing two turtle doves every month after your period to be considered clean is a bit extreme…just saying.

Numbers (36 Chapters)

The first part was hard to make way through cause literally numbering and all the genealogy. I think that is what I struggle with most: the lists.

It was during my time of reading this though that I began praying daily throughout my day. ♡

Deuteronomy (34 Chapters)

This one was easier for me to get through and understand. It was an easier to follow timeline as the foundation was already laid in Numbers. This rehash told in a different way allowed the ideas and concepts to sink in more for me.

Joshua (24 Chapters)

There was a lot of land distinctions and thus one was a bit slow of a read for me. It came together more, but compared to others in the old testament, for whatever reason was dry reading. We got to see the children of Isreal enter the promised land and that promise fulfilled at least.

Judges (21 Chapters)

Judges certainly had a LOT going on.

From a dude that asked to be killed by another dude so he wouldn’t have been killed by a woman…to some honey being taken and shared after being found being made by some bees in a lion carcass…then we have some more and more and more worshiping false gods…and then toss in some What’s your weakness? *Tries that thing* You lied!” Badgering until true weakness is revealed. Which honestly, if you didn’t wise up after the first time waking up, it isn’t that surprising now is it?

Ending on a huge battle and more bloodshed, this was definitely the most brutal book of the Bible thus far.

I did wind up finding out the difference between Concubine, Wife, and Whore. For the curious: Concubine lives with a man, has sex and children with him, takes care of the children. Low social standing. Wife: Family paid a dowry, if divorced gets dowry back, sex with husband and has children with him, higher social status. Whore: Has sex with multiple partners, usually for money, lowest of the social statuses. That’s it in a nutshell.

Ruth (4 Chapters)

Biblical times were certainly different.

Here we have Ruth and Orpah, (Which, fun fact, was supposed to have been Oprahs name, but was misspelled on her birth certificate and they just rolled with it) who were the daughter in laws of Naomi.

The sons died and the ladies decided to stick together. Naomi then told them basically she wasn’t gonna have any more sons and released them.

Orpah went back to her original family, but Ruth stayed with Naomi to go back to Naomi’s home place. A place Ruth had never been before.

Ruth worked in the fields and this guy Boaz essentially told the guys to make the work easier for her and not hurt her. Which, yay, but like it’s crazy to me to think that women have never really had to not worry about rape. Like, that’s just something we have to deal with. Step outside, could get raped. Stay inside, could also get raped. I feel like men rarely even have that thought cross their mind. I digress…

So Ruth works hard. Hard work pays off and custom is apparently to lay down at a guys feet to show you are willing to be his wife. (That’s what I got out of it.) Cause Boaz wakes up, sees her at his feet, and soon they get married.

Ruth has a son, but here is where times are super different-The people call the son Naomi’s son and Naomi breastfeeds the baby…yeah. Um….I get it…but also….mmmm….that’s…..mmmmmm….different.

Cool though how Ruth is David’s like great something or other Grandma.

1 Samuel (31 Chapters)

Lots of battles and more of a story is happening here.

I kept losing focus as I listened, but I think I got the gist in that Saul had a son Jonathan that was friends with David. David had two wives and a handmaid at least and Saul didn’t like David.

Saul’s wickedness made him want to kill David cause he was jealous(?) of his favor with God.

I think that David not killing Saul when he had the chance was good.

Later when Sauls’ sons died and he was in battle, he asked his armorbearer to kill him so the enemy couldn’t. Armorbearer said no. So then Saul killed himself instead by falling on his sword…so suicide…but then the armorbearer committed suicide too. Maybe he was scared, but then after he saw Saul kill himself he was like “Well, crap, now what?” so then he did too?

I just felt bad for that guy.

2 Samuel (24 Chapters)

Whoo Hoo! Finally a book of the bible that shows there are consequences for rape! A book that illustrates that it’s not okay to rape any woman (let alone your sister).

Let’s back up a little: Bathsheba and David. So, David becomes king and he sees Bathsheba bathing(?) and wants to know who she is. He is told whose daughter and whose wife she is. David still calls for her to be brought to him. He sleeps with her. She gets pregnant. He is like “Okay, I will chill with your hubby a bit.” Then when the hubby (Uriah) wants to leave, David gets him drunk then sends him out to a battlefield where he is pretty much assured to die. David then marries her. (I think now he has three wives). God is not happy about this. God says he will take away the son that will be born.

She has the son, but he is ill. David goes and fasts and prays. It doesn’t help. Baby dies anyway. I cried cause it wasn’t the fault of the baby or really Bathsheba. She didn’t ask David to want her, take her, kill her husband, marry her, etc. Anyways, so David does ask for God to forgive him. Which shows that even though he messed up and he knows it, he still didn’t go the route Saul did and try to lie about it or hide the fact. Well, the servants of David are afraid to tell him the baby died, but David realizes cause of the whispering that the baby must have died. He gets up and goes about his life cause he thought maybe there had been a chance, but no, so no reason to mourn or fast now. David knew he had asked for forgiveness and did all he could and this was his punishment.

God forgives and grants another son to be born. Solomon. God really likes Solomon.

Now onto the section about the three siblings. I take it to understand that David is the father of the three involved, but some are half siblings. Well, one of the brothers, Amnon, really likes his sister, Tamar. He decides through advice of an outside party that he will take her. He pretends to be sick and asks for her to come and make him cakes and take care of him. She does. He sends the other men out and rapes her. She very clearly said no. He didn’t care. After defiling her, he doesn’t want her any more and basically kicks her out. She is a mess. She can’t wear the purity colors anymore. She tells the truth of what happened when asked.

Her other brother, Absolom, is outraged and waits until the right time and, along with his battle buds, they smite Amnon the rapist. When Absolom is asked why by David, he realizes it was done as retribution. Good!

Finally a woman that is defended. Granted years after the fact, but still. This is the first time in the bible that there are consequences for such horrid behavior!

Then later, I got very confused and had to seek outside clarification to understand. At first I thought God told Absolom to go rape his Dad David’s 10 concubines that David got from Saul. No though. They were not raped, but Absolom did have sex with them in public as a way to try to show that the power had changed. David was away, so people might have presumed him dead from what I gather, and when David came back? Absolom put the 10 concubines into like a widow harem and stopping having sex with them. So…yeah. Not raped, but passed around as property? To be used by whoever was in power? That still seems shady to me, but times were different and I wasn’t there…

So Absalom wanted to take over as King still but Joab killed him. Then Joab was upset that David was upset which seemed ridiculous cause Absalom was still David’s son. But David went and showed he was still King and the story of David and Goliath happened, but it happened so fast it was a blur!

By the end David bought land and built an alter and made sacrificial offerings to apologize for the wicked ways of Israel and it was all good again. Israel just keeps hurting God over and over and over…but I suppose so do people now too. 🙁

1 Kings (22 Chapters)

So much happening here!

We have the end of the reign of King David. Beside that bit about killing Bathsheba’s husband Uriah, David lived a pretty clean life. Not until Jesus did anyone else live a life so pure. Well. Bathsheba brings up that their son Solomon was supposed to be King.

Then Solomon does end up King. God tells him to ask for whatever he should like. Wisely, he asks for right judgement. Basically for wisdom to be able to lead the people properly. God is pleased with this request and also adds in some additional blessings for such a selfless request.

We also have the story of a woman whose baby dies in the night who steals away another woman’s baby and replaces it with her deceased one. The other woman knows that’s not her baby and goes to the King on the matter.

In his wisdom, he says to get a sword and cut the baby in half! First lady is like “Okay that’s fair.” Other lady is like “NO! Give the baby to her so that he may live!” Solomon knows then that the other woman is the mother because no mom would want her child dead like that.

There is a story about a prophet who is not upposed to eat or drink a thing from a certain land he gets tricked into eating and drinking through lies.

Also a story of an unending cask of oil and mill (for cakes and bread) which was an interesting story too.

Solomon wasn’t perfect. He had lots of wives and concubines and did some displeasing things.

Then we move on to more of not believing in God and worshipping of other gods and proof burnt offerings.

2 Kings (25 Chapters)

This one was a mostly sad account of the many rulers and generations that STILL were worshipping other gods and making other alters to worship them.

Lots and lots of worshipping the wrong god and God being upset as well He should be!

1 Chronicles (29 Chapters)

Humans enjoy story telling,

This book was what its title said…Chronicles.

We have lots of lists of names and this person begat this person(s).

Which I’m positive was a super exhausting endeavor to compile!

And I get why it is included.

It just wasn’t really an insightful or compelling read.

We got to hear from God a little, and from King David and some stuff about his son Solomon, but mostly just lists.

2 Chronicles (36 Chapters)

This Chronicle had more story to it and less lists.

Although it was mostly chronicling the same timeline of rulers and saying who ruled, how old they were when they began ruling, how many years they were in power, and a lot of being displeasing to the lord. Which is sad.

I like how it is worded that when people pass in the bible, they are said to sleep with their fathers. Like, that’s a comforting way to put it in terms of they are just asleep. They are resting. It’s very mild and gentle.

I can’t believe how far I am in the Old Testament already! It makes me happy to be this far when it is only mid-February.

Ezra (10 Chapters)

This one included a lot of family lists again along with story. Ezra deals with the concept of not marrying a non-believer. Which makes sense in that yeah it can pull you from God, but God can also use the Holy Spirit through you to influence the non-believer too.

I find that intriguing because I recently came back to the Christian faith, from being Buddhist for 8 years, and through telling my husband (who has never affiliated with a religion) about things I have been learning from listening to and studying the bible, he is starting to ask more about Christianity and becoming more curious about God. Which is incredible to me because I feel I am still so new to understanding deeply what stuff means! The fact that his curiosity is sparked is such a huge blessing and helping me out too. Being able to explain what I know and research what I don’t, is helping to solidify my own knowledge of the Christian faith. God is so good and things move in His own time. I truly feel that.

Nehemiah (13 Chapters)

I couldn’t really get into this one. :/

Lots of lists and stuff again.

Some stuff about a wall in Jerusalem…

Just not a favorite of mine.

Esther (10 Chapters)

So far this is my favorite book of the Old Testament.

Esther started off as a woman with no ranking. Badda bing, badda boom, bam, she Queen!

Right hand of the King plotting against Esther’s people, against her cousin Mordecai, and thinking he was the apple of the Kings eye.

Boy was he in for a rude awakening!

Esther was blessed by God and through faith she came into and used her power for the good of Gods’ people.

Short book overall, but man oh man does it pack a whallop!

Job (42 Chapters)

This is a hard book of the bible to read.

It brings up a lot of questions. Like why would God have let Satan hurt his child like that? To prove a point? To test him like that until Job broke down?

It is a difficult road of thoughts to go down. Yet, it shows that sin doesn’t correlate to pain. God does answer pray even if He seems silent during the worst of it, He is still with us.

It is ultimately a book of hope.

We see Job stand up for God, cry out to God, worship, despair, wish he had never been born, feel anguish, be discouraged, rise up in hope, and hear from God Himself.

God responds with questions to Job.

Basically a who do you think you are to question me? Did you create the world? Kind of thing. Which at first seems very harsh. Then though? Then you start to realize that God loves. God gives and God takes away, and God is the Almighty!

The book of Job has a happy ending.

Job lives a nice long life, he gets to see four generations of children, he gets to have comfort back again.

We see through Job that we CAN draw closer to God through our pain and suffering by running to Him. Never forsaking Him. Finding our strength in and through Him. We can find comfort that even though we may not understand the pain now? Maybe God is working to bless us and enrich us so much more if we just keep holding on. Pruning us for our harvest. Pushing us so we can see His strength in us.

This is a powerful book.

My personal favorite of the entire Old Testament.

Psalms (150 Chapters)

I don’t know if it was because this was just longer or if it was because it didn’t have like a “storyline” to really follow since they were all praises and laments…but it took so long for me to get through this one!

I distinctly recall liking Psalms when I read the bible in my late teens. It could be because I am journeying through the audio this time, but I just didn’t care for it as much as other Old Testament works.

Maybe if I had tried to go through reading the text itself in physical form I would have enjoyed it more.

Obviously Psalms is a necessary book of the bible as it illustrated both praise and crying out to God for help. I personally just had a very rough go with this one at this point in my bible journey.

I am glad to have finished it, however I am awe struck by how long it took me to get through. I wasn’t as excited to jump in each day as with the other books and I felt disconnected to it more than the other books so far as well.

Of all 19 books I’ve gotten through, this one took the longest but will probably be one of the least remembered, as I couldn’t connect for whatever reason.

I think that will happen with some of the books more than others. Some you personally resonate with at certain life moments versus others. Perhaps I will find it an easier time next go round with it I have, but for now with this reading experience? Super happy to be moving onto Proverbs.

Proverbs (31 Chapters)

It amazes me how differently I am taking in books of the bible now versus when I was a teen.

When I was a teen Psalms and Proverbs were both among my favorite books of the bible, but this time around not as much. I’m not quite sure as to why besides that now maybe I like cohesive “story” books more than I did then. I have changed, the bible hasn’t.

I did find it much easier to get into and through Proverbs than I did Psalms thankfully. I feel like I was able to take in more of the message at least.

The insights were interesting and short so they were easy to take in and reflect on.

Regardless, onto Ecclesiastes!

Ecclesiastes (12 Chapters)

Out of all books of the Old Testament bible, this one confused me the most.

I did some research after and read a few reviews left by others to try to understand more.

Like why exactly does this seem to counteract most of what the bible has told us so far? The answer I found was it was representative of humanity. Humans that don’t understand. If that is the case then why does it say that heaven doesn’t exist?

Maybe I am still not understanding properly and chances are that’s the case because I feel quite bewildered after having read this.

I can see how some can compare this work to nialism but then other points were made to contradict that… I don’t know.

I rated it higher because it is making me think and seek answers to some things for clarity and who doesn’t love to learn stuff? Then again, based on this work, what’s the point ultimately anyways? Sigh. Smh. Hmmm…

The Song of Solomon (8 Chapters)

I won’t claim to have fully understood every part of this, but the general meaning was beautiful.

I was a bit confused as to who was saying what as it jumped between the speakers with no notice.

I found many things intriguing in that this book has multiple points of view with each speaking of awaiting their beloved and describing them while basically day dreaming about uniting together.

There was one line that was particularly questionable: 5:4 “My beloved put it in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.”

UPDATE: I have since also listened to the audio narration of this for clarification and it helped IMMENSELY! The speakers were male and female for their parts with separate microphones on each side. So with headphones on while listening, the female spoke into the right “ear” and then the male into the “left” ear and it was SO much easier to understand who was saying what. I *highly* recommend the audio for this book especially.

Isaiah (66 Chapters)

This book is a book filled with many things.

Prophecy that comes to pass in the New Testament being the biggest thing I noticed.

I enjoyed it and got through it quickly. My husband and I listened to the last half hour on audio together and the experience of sharing in listening to Gods’ word made it feel even better than listening on my own.

There are a lot of great nuggets here, just not one of my personal favorites from the Old Testmament. It was okay.

Jeremiah (52 Chapters)

Jeremiah took me SO long to get through.

(I had the same issue earlier this year already with Psalms)

I simply think this book wasn’t engaging enough for me and didn’t hold my interest unlike many other books of the bible.

I am not saying this book isn’t well written or important; I am saying I struggled with it and wasn’t engaged. (I rate based on my own connection and thoughts and so I can’t rate this at more than two stars.)

I get that this had a lot of prophecy and found it sad how much the people didn’t listen to God…but it felt too sloggy for me.

Lamentations (5 Chapters)

Quick read after I struggled to finish Jeremiah.

This was illustrating yet again with the wrath that God bestows upon those who disobey. It was poetic and sad even though there were some hopeful aspects. Ultimately however, it was a poem of despair…a lament.

Ezekiel (48 Chapters)

Middle of the road because this took *forever* to finish. It was very dense and had a lot about the specific construction of house (Place of worship, church building, specific measurements for etc.), along with the different types of burnt offerings.

The prophecies were difficult for me to understand and I was confused more than once.

This one felt as heavy to me as the earlier books of the bible such as Leviticus for instance.

We hear more about the people and their relationship with God and their sinning. God was so frustrated with the constant sin that kept happening. I would be too! Yet, He in his patience and love forgives when asked and offered the best. Later of course we get His son who is the ultimate sacrificial lamb so we humans don’t have to keep doing this to ask for salvation.

God truly loved humanity, otherwise He wouldn’t have sent his son to suffer and die for us. I feel this book is needed to show again what all people had to go through prior to this sacrifice of Jesus. A lot!! A lot of ritual! A lot of precise offerings and people to go through to get that forgiveness.

I enjoy being able to pray right to the Source!!!

Overall, just a very dense read, but a necessary one.

Daniel (12 Chapters)

** spoiler alert ** I liked this one quite a bit since it had a lot of story to it.

Daniel was able to interpret a lot and there was a lot of prophecy which can be off-putting for many…but I enjoyed it!

The part about God cooking the fiery furnace for Reshac, Meshach, and Abadnego clicked for me since I had sang it in choir class years ago and had zero frame of reference on it before!

God also delivered Daniel from the lions den and that was neat.

Hosea (14 Chapters)

(I didn’t take any notes or anything on this one!)

Joel (3 Chapters)

Very quick and beautiful book. Filled with promise and hope that God is good and kind and loving.

Amos (9 Chapters)

This one went by so fast!

Obadiah (1 Chapter)

Such a quick and insightful read.

Jonah (4 Chapters)

Jonah is a story of the sea and how he wasn’t being good…so he got tossed into the sea and was swallowed by a whale. There says later, once he agrees to listen to God, God rescues him!!! Amazing!!!

Micah (7 Chapters)

Not bad but not one of the more memorable ones for me.

Nahum (3 Chapters)

Don’t make God mad. It isn’t that hard of a concept….but man do people just keep doing it. :/ I can see why God sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for us. He loves us. Truly. He wanted us to be able to be filled with the Holy Spirit and ask for forgiveness for our transgressions. God loves us!

Habakkuk (3 Chapters)

(I didn’t take any notes or anything on these last five books of The Old Testament)

Zephaniah (3 Chapters)

(I didn’t take any notes or anything on these last five books of The Old Testament)

Haggai (2 Chapters)

(I didn’t take any notes or anything on these last five books of The Old Testament)

Zechariah (14 Chapters)

(I didn’t take any notes or anything on these last five books of The Old Testament)

Malachi (4 Chapters)

(I didn’t take any notes or anything on these last five books of The Old Testament)

If you have stuck with it and read down to this far; bonus for you:

I will see you all next year with my next big reading project, which you may have already guessed you savvy reader you, tackling The New Testament.

Categories: Published, Reviews