Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

February 18, 2010

Old Testament Battles and Warriors Project

It is always a challenge to teach in ways that will grab the students’ attention. One way to do this in a course on the Scriptures is to highlight the warrior-heroes and battles of the Old Testament. This activity is especially useful if you teach at an all boy’s school.
Assign students the following names of warriors of the Old Testament and have them create a report on them to present to the class.

1. Joshua (Joshua 1:1-11; 5:13-6:27; 10:7-15)
2. Caleb (Joshua 15:13-19
3. Ehud (Jgs 3:12-30)
4. Deborah (Jgs 4-5)
5. Gideon (Jgs 6-8)
6. Jephthah (Jgs 11)
7. Samson (Jgs 13-16)
8. Jonathan (1 Sm 14)
9. Saul (1 Sm 10-12
10. David (1 Sm 17)
11. David’s Warriors (2 Sm 23:8-39)
12. Joram (2 Kings 3)
13. Naaman (2 Kings 5)
14. Jehu (2 Kings 9)
15. Hezekiah (2 Kgs 18-20)
16. Judith (Judith 8, 13)
17. Mattathias (1 Mc 2)
18. Judas Maccabeus (1 Mc 3-5, 9)
19. Jonathan (1 Mc 9-13)
20. Simon (1 Mc 13)

Give the students the following guidelines for the report:
1. Read the passage from Scripture about the warrior (including the footnotes).
2. Write summary of everything you can deduce from the Old Testament passage: unique qualities, reason for fighting, the enemies, their success of failure.
3. Describe whether they consider the warrior to have participated in “Miracle Warfare” (see below).

In the Torah, “Divine Warfare” or “Miracle Warfare” was commonplace. Miracle Warfare is the idea, unique to the Israelites, that God will fight, not just with them, but for them against their enemies. Ask the students to decide whether or not they see this theology in action as they are doing their research. Does God literally fight on their behalf? If so, explain.

*Note that studying these figures does not condone the evil of violence and war. You may also consider following up with a lesson on the Just-War Doctrine of the Catholic Church.


1 Anonymous

April 7, 2010
Jared,<br />I know that I am being lazy... I love your idea, but do you have any work that would help me so I don&#39;t have to review each passage to find all of the answers. In other words have you done this already and would you be willing to share it with me?? <br />Signed<br />Lazy in Pgh.

2 Christian Warrior

Sept. 29, 2011
What a fantastic list of heroes. Since you include the Deborah the propetess, I would suggest you also include Jael. See Jgs 4:17-22.

3 Larry Singleton

July 1, 2014
David had three powerful warriors for battle one of there names was eleazar and another was shammah. I would like to no all I can about these two men

4 lisa

Jan. 28, 2016
The idea of hearing God's call and defending your faith is great. Who doesn't love stories of hers!! However, at which age would you feel this is devolpemental appropriate for children? I have four children and I would fear they would have nightmare's while we researched the background of these characters.

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