When was the
Old Testament written?

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Who wrote the books of the Old Testament and when did they do it? As ORIGINALLY inspired it was divided into three major divisions. The first division was the Law, the second was the Prophets, and the third was the Writings. It was written from approximately the 1660s B.C. to the 400s B.C. The original canonized version 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, 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 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).

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 authored 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.

Map of where books of the Bible penned

Important people in Old Testament

Map of Important Cities in Ancient Israel

List of world empires from Babylon to Beast!

Easily learn story flow of the Bible!

Dates of Old Testament Books

Date Written
(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

809 to 757

2Kings
(first part only)

Isaiah

unknown
Proverbs 30For Agur

unknown

Proverbs 31

For King Lemuel

798
JonahJonah

796

Amos

Amos

796 to 719
HoseaHosea

757 to 696

1Samuel, 2Samuel
1Kings, Isaiah

Isaiah

740 to 711
MicahMicah

715 to 686

Psalms 120 to 134

Hezekiah

715 to 686
Proverbs 25 to 29For Hezekiah

711

Nahum

Nahum

626 to 585
Jeremiah,
2Kings (last part only),
Psalm 89
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
Location of Events in the Old Testament
Timeline of the Old Testament
When was the New Testament written?
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