I have spent many years in yeshivas, but unfortunately I have very little knowledge of Tanach.

Is there any recommended book that would help me summarize the main events of the entire Tanach?


4 Answers 4

  • Wikipedia and Jewish Encylopedia (and any good encyclopedia, really) has articles with summaries about every book.
  • The Daat Mikra series includes an overview of each book (printed as an introduction in each volume).
  • This website has one-sentence summaries of each chapter (currently incomplete; also covers parts of the New Testament.) This website also has one-sentence summaries.
  • The OU published two Nach Yomi books. There's also one on Chumash, and there's more on their website.
  • Sparknotes has an edition on the Bible. The summaries seem fine, but beware that the analysis is from an academic perspective.
  • This website has summaries of all the books. The website is Christian, but the summaries are OK.
  • Chabad has articles (from the book "Our People: A History of the Jews") that run through all of Jewish history as described in Tanach.
  • Rabbi Ze'ev Yavetz's Toldot Yisrael (series of books on Jewish history), vol. 1-3 cover the entire Tanach. The books are in Hebrew. The series is well-researched and Rabbi Yavetz also offers explanations for particular hard sections of Tanach. At the end of some of the volumes he delves deeper into certain subjects in short essays called "Motza Davar". At the end of vol. 1 he has a genealogy for a large portion of the people of Am Yisrael mentioned in Tanach, among other appendices. Vol. 1, 2, 3.
  • 1
    This is a wiki. Please add.
    – Shmuel
    Jun 6, 2014 at 5:08

I happened to stumble across this book today and instantly thought of this question. I've never read it so I have no idea what the contents are, but from the title it appears to be what you're looking for. The Eternal Books Retold: A Rabbi Summarizes the 39 Books of the Bible

  • Even more impressive considering there are only 24
    – wfb
    Oct 8, 2021 at 15:55

One book I would really recommend is the two-volume series entitled Journey through Nach by Rabbi Daniel Fine and Chaim Golker. It has a very comprehensive summary of each perek in Nach and provides a full overview of everything.

The blurb writes as follows:

This thoroughly researched work allows the reader to familiarize himself with major events, characters and themes of Nach. Spanning from the entry into Eretz Yisrael with Yehoshua, all the way to prophetic visions of the Messianic era and the Third Temple, and filled with background information and flowing summaries of every perek of the Nevi'im and Kesuvim, this work can help any reader master Nach through the eyes of our Sages.

Journey Through Nach features the following:

  • Chapter summaries on every chapter in Nach, with insights of commentaries interwoven throughout.

  • Over 100 divrei Torah on themes and concepts of Nach

  • Charts, Maps, Timelines, and a reference to every Haftarah

  • A selection of comprehensive essays explaining some of the more misunderstood areas in Nach including: Witchcraft, King Shaul's suicide, hereditary punishment, predicting Moshiach's arrival, free will, and King David's marriage with Batsheva.

Includes endorsements by leading rabbinic authorities and a forward by Rabbi Zev Leff.

You can view excerpts courtesy of the OU Website.

As an aside, for a good Encyclopaedia of Tanach personalities that will help you reference key players as you work your way throughout Tanach, I really encourage you to take a look at Ishay HaTanach by Rabbi Yishai Chasidah it has a very wide-reaching coverage (over 500 pages!) on personalities who feature throughout Tanach along with all their chazalic and midrashic references. The blurb writes:

In this magnificent volume, Rabbi Yishai Chasidah brings together biographical snippets from the length and breadth of Rabbinic literature, and organizes them by subject and chronology. The result is the closest thing we have to biographical analyses of the personalities of Scripture. The Rabbinic tradition, scattered through thousands of pages in scores of volumes, is essential for an understanding of the personalities of the Biblical narratives. Yishai Chasidah had the genius and scholarship to find the Rabbis' teachings, gather them, and fashion all their individual hues of biography and personality into a coherent picture.


I think the best one that I found so far is called: little Midrash Says it has a Summary on each parsha and a little test at the end. It has about 20 pages on each parsha (clear and big text) here is the link to on of the store's that sell it (seach Little Midrash Says on google and you can find much more stores that sell it) http://seforimsets.com/index.php route=product/product&product_id=363&filter_name=Little%20Midrash%20Says http://seforimsets.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=605

  • This skips most of Tanakh. It also includes plenty of material which isn't in Tanakh.
    – Double AA
    Jul 2, 2014 at 20:27

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