who wrote the Old Testament?

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who wrote the Old Testament?

Post by email » Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:44 am

Thank you for providing me a lot of information through your articles and giving me this opportunity to ask a question.

My question is, "Who wrote Old testament?".

I hope your answer will be a comprehensive one than a simple answer.

Thank you!
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Re: who wrote the Old Testament?

Post by larry » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:03 pm

You requested it not be a simple answer so I will try to provide some details. Of course, all scripture is given by the inspiration of God (II Tim. 3:16), but he used a lot of different men to write the various books.
  1. The first five books of the O.T., Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, were written by Moses and are referred to as the Five Books of Moses, or the Pentateuch.
  2. Since the book of Joshua is about the person Joshua, one would infer that he was the writer, but that isn't always the case. However, Jewish tradition does indeed ascribe the authorship to him.
  3. The author of Judges is not known for sure, but Jewish tradition attributes it to Samuel. That would be probable since Samuel links the two periods of the Judges and the Kings and should have had a large hand in the work as it has come down to us.
  4. The opening verse of Ruth says: "Now it came to pass in the days when the Judges ruled..." This indicates that the book was written after the days of the Judges for the writer is plainly looking back on a time that had gone. In chapter iv..7, the writer speaks of a custom which prevailed in Israel "in former time"; so that the book, besides having been written after the time of the Judges, must have been written long enough after the time it writes of to allow this little custom to drop into disuse. We conclude that this book was written in David's time with no specific author mentioned.
  5. The first 24 chapters of I Samuel were written by Samuel and the remaining chapters to the end of II Samuel are the work of the two prophets, Nathan and Gad (I Chronicles 29:29-30).
  6. The author of I & II Kings is unknown. There is little doubt that they are a compilation out of public and private records. Some have attributed these books to Isaiah and to Jeremiah because there are several chapters in both these prophets which are similar to some found in the first and second books of Kings. But the most common opinion is that Ezra was the author, or rather the compiler of the history found in these books.
  7. Regarding I & II Chronicles, Hebrew scholars are agreed that the language of the Chronicles fits the post-Exilic period. The Talmud says Ezra is the author and all evidence points to that being the case.
  8. Ezra wrote the book of Ezra.
  9. There can be no doubt that Nehemiah wrote the parts which are in the first person of the book which bears his name. Nehemiah is certainly the actual composer of much of the book and probably the compiler of the whole with supplementary touches as in xii. 11,12,23.
  10. Some assign the Book of Esther to Mordecai and others to Ezra. In the Talmud it is said that the work was composed by "the men of the great synagogue." The result of this would seem to be that the author is really unknown. He must have been a Jew; he must have been a long resident of Persia; and he must have had some special facilities (besides access to the Persian archives) for obtaining exact information. Of course, that exact information would have come from God.
  11. The language in the Book of Job is archaic indicating it is of high antiquity. There is no mention of any of the great events of Israelite history. It is a legitimate conclusion that the book is probably more ancient than any other composition in the Bible, excepting perhaps the Pentateuch, or portions of it. The only tradition which has come down to us with respect to the authorship of the Book of Job ascribes it to Moses.
  12. The Book of Psalms is obviously a collection. The Hebrew text ascribe 73 of them to David; 12 to Asaph; 12 to the sons of Korah; one to Heman; one to Ethan; and one to Moses. That makes a total of 100. The other 50 are left anonymous.
  13. Solomon wrote Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.
  14. The remainder of the books in the Old Testament were written by the prophets which bear their names with the exception of Lamentations which was written by Jeremiah.
I hope this satisfies your request, If I can be of further help, please let me know.


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