When was the
Old Testament written?

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Who wrote the Old Testament? When did they write their book(s)? What is the oldest manscript inspired and recorded in the Bible?

The Old Testament, as originally inspired, was divided into three major divisions. The first division was the Law, the second was the Prophets, and the third was the Writings (which included the Psalms and Proverbs). It was written from approximately the 1660s B.C. to the 400s B.C. The original canonized version of the Old Testament contained twenty-two books, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

When the first five books of the Old Testament are carefully examined, they demonstrate that what was written by Moses were the actual words of the LORD God. Moses wrote nothing on his own initiative. Prior to his death Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy. This finalized the Pentateuch or first five books of the Old Testament listed in most Bibles. Moses then gave the original scrolls of the Law, also called autographs, to the priests to be placed in special sleeves attached to the side of the Ark of the Covenant.

Later, God used priests such as Samuel, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, descendants of Aaron, to pen other books of the Old Testament. What they had created was 'laid up before the Lord.' When Samuel proclaimed the amended covenant for the children of Israel, after God granted their request for a king, he 'wrote it in a book (scroll) and laid it up before the Lord.' (1Samuel 10:25).

Map of where books of Bible written

Who are the major prophets?

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The writings of other men who were not priests, such as King David and Solomon, and many of the prophets, were also submitted to the priesthood to be 'laid up before the Lord.'

For example, after David authored his first psalm, he gave it to Asaph the priest who was in charge of the Ark of the Covenant. Ultimately, all the writings collected over the years were officially made a permanent part of the Word of God by Ezra the priest. Ezra, assisted by the priests and Levites of the Great Assembly, completed the final editing and canonization of the Old Testament Scriptures in the late fifth century B.C.

 
Old Testament Books
 

Date (B.C.)

Book

Author

1660s
JobJob

1445 to 1405

Genesis, Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers,
Deuteronomy

Moses

1067 to 1050
Joshua, JudgesSamuel

1060s

Ruth

Ruth

1010 to 970
Psalms 1 to 71,
107 to 119,
135 to 150
David

1010 to 970

Psalms 73 to 88,
90 to 106

Davidic priests

970 to 930
Psalm 72
Proverbs 1 to 24
Ecclesiastes
Song of Solomon
Solomon
   
unknown
Proverbs 30For Agur

unknown

Proverbs 31

For King Lemuel

798
JonahJonah

796

Amos

Amos

796 to 719
HoseaHosea

740 to 686

1Samuel, 2Samuel,
1Kings, Isaiah
2Kings (first part only),

Isaiah

740 to 711
MicahMicah

715 to 686

Psalms 120
to 134

Hezekiah

715 to 686
Proverbs 25
to 29
For Hezekiah

711

Nahum

Nahum



Date (B.C.)

Book

Author

627 to 585
Jeremiah, Psalm 89
2Kings
(last part only)
Jeremiah

626

Habakkuk

Habakkuk

626
ZephaniahZephaniah

608 to 586

Lamentations

Jeremiah

605 to 530
DanielDaniel

597 to 570

Ezekiel

Ezekiel

595 to 585
JoelJoel

590

Obadiah

Obadiah

520
HaggaiHaggai

520 to 518

Zechariah

Zechariah

c. 480
EstherEsther, Mordecai

c. 455

1Chronicles
2Chronicles, Ezra

Ezra

c. 430
NehemiahNehemiah

c. 400

Malachi

Malachi


Additional Study Materials
Timeline of the Old Testament
Who are the minor prophets?
When was the entire Bible canonized?

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