When was the
Old Testament written?
Submit Bible questions, through our easy to use form, Who wrote the Old Testament its books and when did they do so? As ORIGINALLY inspired it was divided into three major divisions: 1) The Law, 2) The Prophets, and 3) The Writings. It was written from approximately the 1660s B.C. to the 400s B.C. The original Old Testament canonized by Ezra the prophet contained twenty-two books, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
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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, but only conveyed the words God commanded him to write. Prior to his death Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy. This finalized the Pentateuch or first five books of the Law. He 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 write other books of the Old Testament. What they had written were '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).
The writings of other men who were not priests or Levites - such as King David and Solomon, of the tribe of Judah, and many of the prophets - were also submitted to the priesthood to be 'laid up before the Lord' and eventually included in the Old Testament. After David had written his first psalm he gave it to Asaph the priest, who was in charge of the Ark of the Covenant when David brought it to Jerusalem..
Thus, important written accounts became part of the prophets, Psalms and historical writings. Ultimately, such writings were officially made a permanent part of the Word of God when Ezra the priest - assisted by the priests and Levites of the Great Assembly or Synagogue - completed the final editing and canonization of the Old Testament Scriptures in the late fifth century B.C.