How Often Would I Have Gathered You is no ordinary book of Bible stories. It contains 229 readable and engaging Old Testament stories, written especially for adults and young adults. These great stories are told in chronological sequence—to the extent possible—and take the reader on a meaningful and exciting journey through the Old Testament—beginning with the Grand Council (as told in the writing of Moses and Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price) and concluding after the return of the Jews to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple following their captivity in Babylon .
As you read these inspiring stories, you will be exploring the lives of the kings, the prophets, and the ordinary people of the Old Testament. You will rediscover the favorite Bible stories from your childhood and also delight in other, less familiar, stories of faith and devotion. The stories are in modern English and a comfortable, reverent writing style. They are true to the scriptural account without embellishment, and they are simple without being simplistic.
A word of advice, however: As good as you may find these stories to be, reading them is no substitute for reading the Old Testament itself. You will benefit most by using How Often Would I Have Gathered You and the scriptures together. This will help bring the Bible to life and enhance your understanding. Not only will you understand the Old Testament better than ever before, you will also gain a greater appreciation for that great book of ancient scripture as the word of God and of its important place in our religious tradition. In short, I believe you will come to understand it better than ever before and will learn to love it.
How is this book different from other books of Old Testament stories?
- The stories are written for adults and young adults rather than children. (Note: Though the stories are written primarily for adults, they are also a valuable aid for parents who want to teach their children about the stories of the Old Testament.)
- The book is more comprehensive than any other book of Old Testament/Bible stories that we know of. It includes many wonderful, rarely-told, and little-known stories.
- The scriptural citations relating to each story are listed at the beginning of the story.
- The stories also contain information and perspectives from non-Old Testament sources, especially the Pearl of Great Price; the Book of Mormon; and the works of Flavius Josephus the Jewish historian. The Joseph Smith Translation (JST), the Doctrine and Covenants, and other LDS scripture-study aids have also been used.
- The stories are written in modern English. However, the old-style pronouns (Thee, Thou, Thy, and Thine and their related verbs) have been retained when speaking about Deity.
- Unlike an Old Testament translation, these stories do not go through every word and every verse—or even every thought. They include only what is relevant to the stories—leaving out those parts that are irrelevant or where many readers get bogged down. Some stories cover only a few verses; others cover entire books with unessential details being omitted.
- Insofar as we can tell, no other collection of Old Testament stories provides more than just glimpses into the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah during the period of the divided monarchy, after King Solomon. Those stories—in parts 9, 10, and 11 of the book—provide the help you need to better understand those kings, their reigns, their interface with God’s prophets, and this significant period of Old Testament history.
- The translators of the King James version of the Bible replaced the name Jehovah in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament with the term “the LORD,” putting ORD in small capital letters. How Often Would I Have Gathered You takes “the LORD” out of the account and puts Jehovah back in—with significant effect. (Note: It is also helpful to understand that the ancient Jews neither spoke nor wrote the name YHWH [which we now pronounce as Jehovah] because it was too sacred. The writers of the Masoretic text [the authoritative Hebrew text] instead used dots [. . . .] in place of the name or wrote “Adonai” [which means “lord”] in its place).
Other significant features of the book:
- Extensive footnotes (not end notes) give helpful insights and background to the stories. These also include cross references between related stories in the book.
- Original illustrations by Owen Richardson.
- A chart of the kings of Judah and Israel during the divided monarchy—showing how they related to each other time-wise, when each king reigned, where accounts relating to each of them are found in the scriptures, and which stories in the book relate to each of them.
- Maps to provide geographical perspective.
- An extensive pronunciation guide (which does not claim to be infallible but provides uniformity and is based on good authority).
- A bibliography.
- A name index.
- A subject index.
Why did I publish a Second Edition?
- Some stories have been enhanced by new insights.
- The scope of some stories has also been expanded to include other important details.
- Inadvertent errors (typos, etc.) in a few stories have been corrected.
- Factual errors in a few stories have been corrected as additional information has come to light.
- The language in many of the stories has been tightened up and clarified. Many verbal redundancies have been eliminated.
- This book is printed in a larger typeface that is easier to read than the first edition.
- Many more new footnotes were added to provide greater insight and background information.
- Several existing footnotes have been expanded to provide more information.
The Old Testament: understand it, love it!
Click on the book cover below to look inside and read some sample stories.
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