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John Kitto


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John Kitto was an English Biblical scholar of Cornish descent. He was born in Plymouth to a Cornish stonemason. The drunkenness of his father and the poverty of his family meant that much of his childhood was spent in the workhouse. He had no more than three years of erratic and interrupted education, for at the age of twelve he fell on his head from a rooftop and became totally and permanently deaf with an impaired sense of balance. John was only 4 feet 8 inches tall, and he suffered from further tragedies, disappointments, and much loneliness. But he found consolation in browsing at bookstalls and reading any books that came his way.

Friends became aware of his mental abilities, and they encouraged him to write topical articles for local newspapers, eventually arranging for him to work as an assistant in a local library. Here he continued to educate himself.

One of John's benefactors was Anthony Norris Groves, a dentist in Exeter. In 1824 he offered John employment as a dental assistant. Living with the Groves family, John was profoundly influenced by the practical Christian faith of his employer. In 1829 he accompanied Groves on his pioneering mission to Baghdad and served as tutor to Groves' two sons. In 1833 John returned to England and shortly afterward married and had several children.

A London publisher asked Kitto to write up his travel journals for a series of articles in the Penny Magazine, a publication read at that time by a million people in Britain, and reprinted in America as well as being translated into French, German, and Dutch. Other writing projects followed as readers enquired about his experiences in the East among people living in circumstances closely resembling those of Bible times.

(This background material was furnished by

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Most entries have been condensed. We have also taken the liberty for paraphrasing where necessary to aid in clarity. The Bible text in each entry has been taken from the NKJV.

The Pentateuch

Judges through Second Samuel

Period of the Divided Kingdom*

Ezra through Malachi

The New Testament

Adam in Eden

The Accursed Thing

The Schism



The Altar of the Reubenites

The Cushite Invasion

Zacharias' Vision


Ehud and Eglon


Mary's Visit to Elizabeth

Abraham's Intercession for Lot


Elijah and the Ravens

Jesus Amazes the Scholars

Hagar and Ishmael Depart

A Cake of Barley Bread

The Chariot of Fire

The Ministry of John the Baptist

Abraham and Isaac

Samson Dies with the Philistines

The Mockers

Herod and Herodias

Jacob and the Birthright

Naomi Returns Home

Naaman the Syrian

The Samaritans

Isaac Blesses Jacob

Samuel Lent to the Lord

Hazael and Ben-Hadad

The Woman of Samaria

Joseph in Egypt

Tabernacle Abominations

The Leper

Joseph Buys the Land for Pharaoh


The Death of John the Baptist

Hard Bondage

The Philistines Return the Ark

The Sons of Zebedee

Early Deeds of Moses

The Holiness of God

The Red Sea

A Change Demanded

The Uplifted Hands

David and Jonathan Part

Water From the Rock

Saul and the Medium at En-Dor

Mount Sinai

The First Blow

God Provides Quail

Blood Revenge

Aaron and Miriam



Two Hangings

The Restoration

*Kitto's lenthy but fascinating review of Solomon's reign can be read by clicking here. And for a heart-warming music video, click here for Handel's lesser-known piece, "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba."

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