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.

Map of where books of Bible written
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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.


The prophet Joel
The prophet Joel
Michelangelo, 1509

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, 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.

The below list is in chronological order. It lists the date or date range (B.C.) when a particular section of the Bible was written, the book(s) that were authored and who penned them.

Old Testament Books

1660s B.C.
Book of Job
Job

1445 to 1405
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers, Deuteronomy
Moses

1067 to 1050
Joshua, Judges
Samuel

1060s
Book of Ruth
Ruth

1010 to 970
Psalms 1 to 71,
107 to 119, 135 to 150
King 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
King Solomon

unknown
Proverbs 30
For Agur

unknown
Proverbs 31
For King Lemuel

798
Book of Jonah
Jonah

796
Book of Amos
Amos

796 to 719
Book of Hosea
Hosea

740 to 686
1Samuel, 2Samuel,
1Kings, Isaiah,
2Kings (first part only)
Isaiah

740 to 711
Book of Micah
Micah

715 to 686
Psalms 120 to 134
Hezekiah

715 to 686
Proverbs 25 to 29
For Hezekiah

711
Book of Nahum
Nahum

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

626
Book of Habakkuk
Habakkuk

626
Book of Zephaniah
Zephaniah

608 to 586
Lamentations
Jeremiah

605 to 530
Book of Daniel
Daniel

597 to 570
Book of Ezekiel
Ezekiel

595 to 585
Book of Joel
Joel

590
Book of Obadiah
Obadiah

520
Book of Haggai
Haggai

520 to 518
Book of Zechariah
Zechariah

c. 480
Book of Esther
Esther, Mordecai

c. 455
1Chronicles
2Chronicles, Ezra
Ezra

c. 430
Book of Nehemiah
Nehemiah

c. 400
Book of Malachi
Malachi

Additional Study Materials
Timeline of the Old Testament
Who are the Minor Prophets?
Timeline of Man's Last Days!
When was the Bible canonized?

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