If you’ve been following along in the Daily Office, our first readings at Morning Prayer have been coming from the historical books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Now—if your Ancient Near Eastern history is a little sketchy (and there’s no shame in admitting that), I ran across a great refresher over the weekend.
One of my favorite podcasts (along with The Collect Call, of course!) is Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. His latest episode is the beginning of a series that tackles the Persian Wars and, in particular, the famous Battle of Thermopylae. However, Dan always provides an abundant amount of context to help you understand what was really at stake and how the various players got to where they were. The first episode in the King of Kings series is a great refresher (or first time around) on the major ANE players, and gives an entertaining (and quite accurate as far as I can tell) account of how the Babylonians, Assyrians, Elamites, and Persians fit together, including some helpful references to how and where these peoples show up in the Old Testament.
If you’re looking for a big-picture sweep of what was going on in the time of the Major Prophets through Ezra-Nehemiah, I heartily recommend it!