Old Testament Bible Dictionary Project

Another school writing assignment, this time from my Bible Survey class (read my last essay from my Education class here). For this project, we were to write three mock Bible Dictionary entries, one about a book of the Bible, one about a Bible character, and one about a place mentioned in the Bible. Each “entry” was supposed to be about 200-250 words, which, let me tell you, was quite a challenge–not to meet the minimum, but to be within the maximum! For me, it’s much harder to bring down my word count than it is to bring it up! 🙂 However, it’s very good for me, as it increases my clarity and conciseness. I received a grade of 96% for this assignment, the docked points mostly for some grammatical errors, but also for the fact that I unnecessarily cited some common knowledge.

Biblical Book: Jeremiah

The book of Jeremiah falls within the prophetical genre. It was written by Jeremiah (1:1) and Baruch, his scribe (Hindson & Towns, 2013) sometime after God’s first message came to Jeremiah in the thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign (1:2), around 627 B.C. (Hindson & Towns, 2013). The latest date mentioned is the first year of Evil-Merodach’s reign in Babylon (52:31), or 562 B.C. (Horn, 1960). The book’s key themes include Israel and Judah’s stubborn sinfulness and God’s warning of coming punishment, Jeremiah’s “laments, complaints, and confessions” (Hindson & Towns, 2013, p. 237), and the priests’ and false prophets’ promise of coming peace and safety. The latter part of the book describes the coming judgment on the inhabitants of Egypt, Babylon, and other idolatrous nations. The purpose of Jeremiah is to show God’s justice toward His covenant people. Even though He punished them for their sins, He promised to one day deliver and restore them (16:14-15). Major events portrayed in this book include Jeremiah’s confrontations with the false prophet Hananiah, his revision of another prophetic scroll after King Jehoiakim burned the first, his deliverance from death in a cistern, his release, and finally his forced flight to Egypt. Also described is Jerusalem’s destruction and the three deportations to Babylon, Gedaliah’s murder and Ishmael’s rampage, and the remaining Israelites’ disobedient flight to Egypt and their idolatry there. The narrative revolves around the personalities of Jeremiah, Baruch, and Kings Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah, among others.

Biblical Character: Rahab

Rahab’s story is found in Joshua, chapters two and six. Though it is impossible to know the exact dates of her lifespan, she was obviously alive at the fall of Jericho, which could have occurred anywhere between 1405 and 1399 B.C. (Hindson & Towns, 2013). Also, Joshua 6:25 indicates that Rahab was still alive when the book was authored (between 1380 and 1370 B.C. [Hindson & Towns, 2013]). Though not specifically stated in the Bible, Rahab’s birthplace was probably Jericho, since all her father’s household dwelt there (Josh. 2:13). Rahab was a harlot when living in Jericho (Josh. 2:1). When the Israelites came in to possess the land under Joshua’s leadership, Rahab successfully hid two Israelite spies and helped them escape from the king of Jericho’s men. In return for her kindness to them, she secured their promise that she and her family would be dealt with kindly. When the Lord brought down the walls of Jericho, Rahab and all her father’s household were spared and brought to the camp of Israel (Josh. 6:23). Rahab’s contemporaries included Joshua, Salmon, and Boaz. Her marriage to Salmon (Matt. 1:5) and the birth of her son Boaz made her an “ancestress of King David and of Jesus Christ” (Horn, 1960, p. 901). Rahab leaves a legacy of action-filled faith and belief (Josh. 2:11; Heb. 11:31; James 2:25). Her story shows God’s love toward and willingness to redeem those not of His “chosen people,” even to include them in the Messianic lineage.

Biblical Place: Nineveh

The city of Nineveh is central to the Biblical books of Jonah and Nahum. It was built after the flood by either Shem’s son Asshur or by Nimrod (Smith, 2002). The Babylonians eventually conquered and destroyed the city in 612 B.C. (Hindson & Towns, 2013; Horn, 1960). Nineveh is located on the Tigris River in modern-day Iraq just above the branch of the Great or Upper Zab River, not far from Mosul. From a Biblical perspective, Nineveh was home to the Assyrians that the Israelites so often contended with, including king Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:36). Nineveh’s centralized, river-side location provided excellent opportunities for trade (Hindson & Towns, 2013). The Assyrians of Nineveh were a blatantly idolatrous and pagan nation. Second Kings 19:37 makes mention of King Sennacherib worshiping a god named Nisroch, the “eagle-headed human” (Smith, 2002, p. 452). Ninevites were also prolific worshipers of Ishtar (Horn, 1960). Moreover, the Assyrians often boasted of their extremely violent and brutal acts (Hindson & Towns, 2013). The whole city repented of their sins with sackcloth and ashes after the warning of Jonah (most likely between 793 and 753 B.C. [Hindson & Towns, 2013]), but the revival must not have lasted; later Nahum described the city as the “mistress of sorceries” (Nahum 3:4), and both Nahum and Zephaniah prophesied the city’s final destruction. Still, in New Testament times, Jesus stated that the Israelites who did not believe in Him would be condemned by the Ninevites who had heeded Jonah’s warning (Matt. 12:41).


Hindson, E., & Towns, E. (2013). Illustrated Bible survey: An introduction. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group.

Horn, S. H. (1960). Seventh-day Adventist Bible dictionary. Washington, D.C.: Review & Herald Publishing Association.

Smith, W. (2002). Smith’s Bible Dictionary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.


11 Replies to “Old Testament Bible Dictionary Project”

  1. Sarah, Thank you for sharing this. I am taking BIBL104 and THEO104 at the same time and it’s been very reading intensive until now. This week I have 2 assignments due that require a lot of critical thinking and I had no idea where to start. Your post helped give me the idea I needed to get writing. I have the same Bible Survey book you referenced above and found Smith’s Bible Dictionary through another website that I use often. I will have to check out the other Bible dictionary that you mentioned. I am finding that I cannot have enough of these! May God continue to give you grace and blessings on your educational journey.

    1. Hi Jenna! I’m so glad that I was able to inspire you for your assignments! Are you also going to Liberty University? I hope all went well with the papers you had to write. Reference books are great, but just remember that they were not inspired like the Bible and should not be taken as absolute authorities. The Bible CAN speak for itself. God bless you too!

      1. Hi Sarah. Definitely not stealing your work. 🙂 Your writing just gave me the starting point on where to look. It gave me a better idea of what was expected of the assignment. I was completely stuck! I ended up with a 92%.

        I too am at Liberty and I love it! I am working on the NT dictionary project now and it reminded me of your OT project and the comments I left. I was looking at Patmos or the Persian empire for my location. Patmos does not have a lot of Biblical reference so I rolled on over to Persia and now I am just trying to figure out how to condense all of this into 250 words LOL. I am most definitely using the Bible as my main source but there are a few things that I do have to seek outside sources for.

        I chose the book of Jude, which was easy to write about and am planning to write about Joseph or Mary Magadelene….I have not decided yet.

        Let me tell you, taking BIBL 104 and THEO 104 together is rough. Tons of reading and limited time to do it all. Not to mention week 8 is short and both go over the book of Revelation for the final quizzes, which is a hard book all on its own to understand, and both have papers due that require a fair amount of research and thinking. I am grateful for the extra day we got this week because of the technical issues! Hope all is well with you.


  2. Hi Sarah! This is my first year at Liberty. I’m into my second semester. Luckily my course load is a little lighter this term. I have CLST 103 as well as the BIBL 104. I have the same assignment. It’s due this Monday, so I’m trying to find some examples of how to set it all up. I chose King David, the book of Job (because my pastor and I had done a bible study on it) and the place is Jerusalem. Like you, I’m having great difficulty keeping it to a 250 maximum. I just have to finish my “place” part and then I can submit it. Thanks for sharing your essay. I have a better understanding of what they’re looking for.

    1. Hi Linda! So nice to meet another Liberty student! I am so glad that I am able to help other students by sharing my papers! Originally I was just doing it because I wanted a record of what I did for assignments, but I have been pleasantly surprised by how many students from Liberty have replied saying that my essays have been helpful to them! Wishing you the best with your Old Testament Dictionary Project!

      1. Sarah,

        Thank you for posting this. This gives me an idea of what to do for this upcoming paper I have to write. I was way over analyzing the whole thing.

        Desiree P.

  3. Sara, THANK YOU soooo Much for your having posted this. I just started in Sept and I’ve been drowning in my studies at LU. Ive been out of school 27 years and been a home maker for 25 of them. Attempting to go to school again when you have learning disabilities is more than a daunting task especially when I need to figure out how to cover the cost for formal LD testing as an adult so that I can have extra help under the 504 umbrella plan from the office of disabilities. My learning style also requires that I have Visual, Aural, and Kinesthetic input so I can best understand what is expected of me to complete an assignment. I’ve written to my BIBL teacher asking for some examples of how to do previous assignments but he said he’s never had anyone need an example and that were in college now and professors don’t give examples. Needless to say i’ve been fighting the urge to quit because I am late on all my assignments due to the struggle of many extra hours trying to find examples and to figure out what I’m supposed to do. I think you can feel totally left out to dry, isolated or abandoned when you are an online student when it comes to questions, getting stuck or not quite sure if your on the right track or not. My Aunt called me today and I told her of my struggle and she suggested I google the OTBDP which I did and you came up. And I wanted to tell you that you are my angel today. Being able to SEE what the project and citing is supposed to LOOK like has helped me more than you can possibly imagine. I’ve been continuing to look at your format while I follow your foundation with all my own research. I don’t really have info that I was able to find in other places mostly between a few bible translations I hope that’s okay. we’ll see when I turn it in. BUT at least now I will have something I can turn in a day late but better late than not at all. Thank you for blessing me today with your work so I had the perfect personal/visual example of how to actually do this assignment.
    Take care and God Bless.

    1. I’m so glad I could be a help to you, Laurie! I don’t have the same circumstances you do, but I do know what it’s like to be swamped with school! I hope everything works out for you! By God’s grace, you can do this, Laurie! You’ll make it through–I know! If you’re an education major, feel free to refer to my blog at any time throughout your courses–I post all my major assignments on this blog after I’ve completed them. Just scroll down to the categories section along the side of the blog, and click on School Assignments, and you’ll see all the papers and assignments I’ve completed for my major and tagged as School Assignments. Wishing you the best in all your endeavors!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: