Some fun Bible facts from the Old Testament you might not know

Several years ago, it occurred to me that kids were hearing Bible stories like David and Goliath and Jonah and the Whale right alongside Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Sleeping Beauty. Now the story of a young boy who defeats a giant with just a slingshot and a guy spending three days inside a great fish are pretty fantastic stories so I wanted to let young people know that these weren’t just fables or legends but they were real accounts that happened to real people. So, Betty Fletcher and I created The Awesome Book of Old Testament Bible Facts with Harvest House Publishers.

Our goal was to keep the book fun and kid like and explain things that today’s children could understand. For example, we compared Goliath’s height with a basketball hoop (around ten feet) and Noah’s Ark with an aircraft carrier. We talked about how people fished back in Jesus’s day, the kinds of foods they ate, how they celebrated special days and even why you might give someone your sandal in order to validate a contract. Hopefully as kids (and adults!) read the book they’ll see that the stories in the Bible aren’t fairy tales, they were real, and they actually happened!

  • Although nobody knows for sure where exactly the Garden of Eden was located, the Bible mentions that it was where four rivers came together. Two of those rivers still exist today- The Tigris and the Euphrates. So, the garden was probably located somewhere in modern day southern Iraq.
  • Did you know that Noah was 600 years old when God asked him to build the ark? And that it had never rained on the earth before Noah’s time? So, when he told his neighbors God was going to send a flood on the earth, they thought he was crazy!
  • Noah’s ark was about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. A modern-day aircraft carrier is about 1000 feet long. And according to researchers, the ark held as much cargo as 330 railroad cars!
  • Most people assume that Noah, his family and all the animals were on the ark for 40 days and 40 nights but actually that’s not true. It rained for 40 days and nights, but Noah and Company were actually on the ark for a year and ten days!
  • In the story of Joseph, we read about how he was the favorite son of his father Jacob. In fact, Jacob gave Joseph a “Coat of Many Colors”. This was the kind of coat worn by royalty, but the word also can mean a long-sleeved coat. People who worked hard in the fields always wore short sleeve coats for convenience. So, when Joseph strolled around in his long sleeve colorful coat it probably made his other eleven brothers furious.
  • By the time Joseph got to Egypt the pyramids had been there 1000 years already!
  • Did you know that the Hebrew word to describe the little basket that Moses was put into to save his life is the same word that’s used for the boat Noah built? The word means ark. It describes a boat that in both cases, was used to deliver someone.
  • When God sent plagues to Egypt almost every one of them confronted an Egyptian god. For example, when God sent darkness over all the land, this was an affront to Ra, the sun god in Egypt. And when God sent hail, He showed the people that Isis their goddess of life, had no power. Not only were the plagues terrifying but they proved that there was only one God, the Living God.
  • The journey from Egypt to the Promised Land would normally take about two weeks at that time (think about Joseph, he was taken from his family and ended up in Egypt a few weeks later), but because God took the children of Israel on a different route and they were disobedient to Him, they ended up spending 40 years in the desert!
  • When Gideon had his 300 men sneak up on the Midianites in the dark, he gave each one a trumpet (probably a ram’s horn). Since most armies had only one trumpet per company of soldiers, when the 300 blew their horns the Midianites must have thought they were being attacked by 300 companies! No wonder they panicked.
  • Did you know that God is never specifically mentioned in the entire book of Esther? But He obviously was behind all the activities in the amazing story.
  • When Jonah ran away from God (like that’s possible!) he ended up on a ship in the middle of the Mediterranean. A huge storm hit and the sailors “cast lots” to find out whose fault it was. Casting lots was simple. There were three flat stones painted black on one side and white on the other. When “cast” or tossed, if they came up all white the answer would be yes. If they were both black the answer would be no. If it was one white and one black it meant wait. Somehow on the ship the lots indicated that Jonah was the source of their problems. Nowadays believers in Jesus have His Holy Spirt to give us direction so we don’t need to cast lots anymore.
  • The ancient City of David from which David ruled Israel was actually smaller in size then the Louisiana Superdome! It’s now a section of modern day Jerusalem.
  • Here’s an interesting tidbit: The phrases Apple of my Eye, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, The Skin of Your Teeth, and A Drop in the Bucket all originated in the Bible.
  • The longest book in the Bible is the book of Psalms with 150 chapters. The shortest book is Obadiah with just 21 verses.

Stay tuned and we’ll have some interesting facts from the New Testament coming soon!

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