B. The Writings: Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, Ruth & Esther (4 books).
Greek canon = 12 books (Joshua through Esther).
A. For Joshua through II Kings:
- “Book of Jashar” (Joshua 10:13; II Sam. 1:18).
- “Book of the acts of Solomon” (I Kings 11:41).
- “Book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah/Israel” (l Kings 15:23, 31, etc.)
B. For I Chronicles through Nehemiah:
- “Chronicles of King David” (I Chron. 27:24).
- “Book of Samuel the seer” (I Chron. 29:29).
- “Book of Nathan the prophet & Gad the seer” (I Chron. 29:29).
- “Visions of lddo the seer” (II Chron.9:29; 12:15).
- “Writing of Isaiah the prophet” (II Chron .26:22).
3. DATE OF WRITING
A. Joshua through 11 Kings (around 561 B.C.).
B. Chronicles (around 450 B.C.).
4. HISTORICAL- SPAN
A. Joshua through II Kings: from entrance into Canaan to release of King Jehoiachin from Babylonian prison cell (1400/1200-561 B.C.)
Total: 650-850 years.
B. Chronicles: from death of King Saul to Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s ministry (1011-450 B.C.).
Total: 550 years.
A. Prophetic history.
C. Priestly history: temple and worship.
D. Human element
6. AUTHORSHIP: TRADITIONAL
A. Joshua, Samuel. Jeremiah, Ezra & Nehemiah.
- Authorship -Anonymous, attributed to Joshua and/or Samuel.
- Date – Around either 1440 or 1250 B.C.
- Sources – Book of Jashar (10:13).
- Occasion – Need of Israelites living in the period of the judges (when every man did what was right in his own eyes) to understand and be reminded of the conquest and division of the Promised Land with the “stone of witness” calling for obedience to God’s law (4:19-24; 24:26, 27).
- Title – “Joshua “.
- Hebrew : Yehoshua (“Jehovah is salvation”).
- Greek: Yesus (“salvation /deliverer”).
- Theme – The irresistible power of God’s people in possessing their inheritance as they walk in full obedience to the Lord.
- Purpose – To narrate the conquest of the Promised Land by God’s people under Joshua and the subsequent dividing of the land as an inheritance for each tribe in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.
- Key verse: (Joshua 21:43, 45) “Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land which he swore to Israel to their fathers; and having taking possession of it, they settled there...Not one of all the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. “
- Authorship: Anonymous, attributed to Samuel.
- Date – Around 1000 B.C. (final form of book as we have it finalized as late as 721 B.C.,cf. Judges 18:30).
- Sources – Heroic stories/songs.
- Occasion – Anarchism between Joshua and Samuel reflected the need for a monarchy to give cohesiveness to the nation of Israel.
- Title – “Judges”.
- Hebrew: shopetim (“judges/executive leaders”).
- Greek: kritai (“judges”).
- Theme – Israel’s failure to keep God’s covenant results in cycle of oppression and deliverance.
- Purpose – To show that a centralized hereditary kingship was needed for the well-being of the covenant rulership of the God of Israel in order to maintain its unity and purity.
- Key verse: (Judges 2:16, 17) “Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the power of those who plundered them. And yet they did not listen to their judges; for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed down” to them...”
- Authorship – Anonymous, attributed to Samuel.
- Date – Perhaps around 1000 B.C. (Ruth 4:7).
- Sources – Unknown.
- Occasion – Need for tracing King David’s ancestry showing that God’s love transcends Jewish boundaries.
- Title – “Ruth”
- Hebrew : rut (“Ruth, female companion”).
- Greek : rout (“Ruth”).
- Theme – Redemption for a Gentile.
- Purpose – To supply a family tree for King David while making a plea for racial tolerance and kindness toward a widowed Gentile.
- Key verse: (Ruth 1:16) “Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”
I & II SAMUEL: SUMMARY
- Authorship – Anonymous, attributed to Samuel (1 and II Samuel are one book in Hebrew O.T.).
- Date – Between 930 and 722 B.C.
- Sources – Chronicles of Samuel. Nathan and Gad (I Chr.29:29).
- Period covered – Around 1100-1000 B C (end of the judges to height of David’s reign).
- Occasion – Need to account for the transition from a weak rulership of judges to a strong monarchy during the time of Samuel, Saul and David.
- Theme –
- I Samuel: Prophet Samuel and the rise and fall of King Saul.
- II Samuel: The significant reign of King David, God’s chosen ruler. ‘
- Title – “Samuel”.
- Hebrew: shemu’el (“asked /heard of God”).
- Greek: basileron A & B (“kingdom I & II”).
- Purpose –
- I Samuel: To show the transition from a theocracy (God ruling through judges) to a monarchy (man ruling) in Israel under Saul, the king God rejected.
- II Samuel: To show the establishment of the monarchy under David, God’s chosen ruler.
- Key verse: (I Samuel 8:7; 12:14) “…they have not rejected you, Samuel, but they have rejected Me from being king over them... If both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well.”
(II Samuel 7:8, 16) “…I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you” should be prince over My people Israel ...And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before Me; your throne shall be established forever.”
I & II KINGS: SUMMARY
- Authorship – Anonymous, attributed to Jeremiah (I and II Kings are one book in Hebrew O.T.).
- Date – Possibly between 560 and 538 B.C.
- Sources –
- Book of the Acts of Solomon (I Kg. 11:41).
- Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel (I Kg. 14:19; 15:31; 16:5, 14, 27; 22:39; II Kg. 1:18).
- Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah (l Kg. 14:29; 15:7, 23; 22:45; II Kg.6:23; 12:19}.
- Period covered – Around 975-560 B.C.(reign of Solomon to Babylonian exile of the Jews).
- Occasion – The need to explain the captivities of both the northern and southern kingdoms.
- Title – “Kings”.
- Hebrew: melchim A & B (“kings/ kingdoms l& II”).
- Greek: basileion C &. D (“kingdom III &. IV”).
- Theme – The rise, schism, decline and defeat of Israel and Judah.
- Purpose – To show how both Israel and Judah persistently violated their covenant with God, resulting in punishment through captivity at the hands of foreign heathen nations.
- Key verse: (I Kings 9:4-7) “…if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and ordinances, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father… but if you turn aside from following me… then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them.” (II Kings 17:19,20) “Judah also did not keep the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the customs which Israel had introduced. And the Lord rejected the descendants of Israel, and afflicted them, and gave them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.”
I & II CHRONICLES: SUMMARY
- Authorship – Anonymous, attributed to Ezra (I and II Chronicles are one book in Hebrew 0.T.).
- Date – Around 450.400 B.C.
- Sources – Samuel, Nathan, and Gad (I Chr.29:29). Nathan, Ahijah, lddo (II Chr. 9:29).
- Period covered – Around 1025-560 B.C.
- Occasion – The return of the Jew from Babylon created the need for a history of Israel, especially Judah, in order to ensure obedience to God’s covenant lest the tragedy of the past repeated.
- Title – “Chronicles”.
- Hebrew: dibre hayyamin I& II (“affairs/words of the day I& II”).
- Greek: paralipomenon I & II (“things omitted I& II”).
- Theme – The spiritual heritage of the Hebrew nation
- Purpose – To teach those Jews coming back from exile about their spiritual heritage, so that they might faithfully obey the Mosaic covenant and rituals lest they repeat the errors of their forebears.
- Key verse: (l Chron. 9:1,2; 10:13) “So all Israel was enrolled by genealogies . . .And Judah was taken into exile in Babylon because of their unfaithfulness. Now the first to dwell again in their possessions in their cities were Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the temple servants. Saul died for his unfaithfulness…So David reigned over all Israel; and he administered justice and equity to all his people.”
(II Chronicles 36:15,16) “The Lord, the God of their fathers, persistently sent warnings to them by his messengers because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place; but they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words, and scoffing at his prophets, tilt the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, till there was no remedy .”
EZRA – NEHEMIAH: SUMMARY
- Sources – Memoirs of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ex. 7:27ff. 8:Hf.; Neh. 1-7; 11:1, 2).
- census and other lists (Ez. 2:1ff .; Neh. 7:6ff.).
- edict of Cyrus (Ez. 1:1ff).
- Date – Around 440 B.C.
- Authorship – Anonymous, attributed to Ezra (Ezra and Nehemiah are one book in Hebrew O.T.).
- Period covered – 538 to 445 B C.
- Occasion – Need for returned Jews to record the rebuilding of the temple and the walls and the reforms under Ezra and Nehemiah, so that they might remain faithful to the Lord.
- Purpose ·
- Ezra: To show how the edict of Cyrus occasioned the return of the Jews, the rebuilding of the temple, the instituting of religious reforms fulfilling promises made to the repentant minority by the prophets.
- Nehemiah :To record how the returns of Jews under Nehemiah occasioned the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and the eventual recommitment to the Mosaic covenant
- Theme – The return of the Jewish exiles, and the reestablishment of the religious life by means of rebuilding the temple and re-instituting the law.
- Title – “Ezra”.
- Hebrew: Esdra (“Ezra, Yahweh helps”).
- Greek: Exdras (“Ezra”).
- Title – “Nehemiah”.
- Hebrew : Nehemiah (“Nehemiah, comfort of Yahweh”)
- Greek: Nemias (“Nehemiah”).
- Key verses 🙁 Ezra 6·14, 7:10) “And the elders of the Jews built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of lddo. They finished their building by command of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus and Darius 1md Artaxerxes king of Persia … Ezra set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach his statutes and ordinances in Israel.”
(Nehemiah 2:17;9:2) “Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem that we may no longer suffer disgrace... and the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.”
- Authorship – Anonymous and unknown (Mordecai?)
- Date – 450-400 B C.
- Sources – Unknown.
- Period covered – Reign of Xerxes I (Ahasuerus), 486-465 B.C.
- Occasion – To record how the Feast of Purim began, since it is not prescribed in the Torah.
- Title – “father”.
- Hebrew: Hadassah (“myrtle”).
- Greek: Esther (from Persian “stara” (“star”?)
- Theme – Victory of the Jews over enemies due to divine providence.
- Purpose – To give an historical account of how a feast not prescribed in the Torah had emerged from the plot and overthrow of Haman the Persian, and that God will set people in significant positions of influence in order to accomplish His will.
- Key verse : (Esther 4:14) ”For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter.. .and who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom/or such a time as this?”
INTRODUCTION TO POETIC AND WISDOM LITERATURE
JOB THROUGH SONG OF SOLOMON, LAMENTATIONS
- THE BOOKS
- Books: Job, Palms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Lamentations
- Sections of other books:
- Lament of Lamech (Gen. 4:23,24).
- Blessings of Isaac (Gen. 27:27-29) and Jacob (Gen. 49:2-27}.
- Song of Moses & Miriam (Ex. 15:1-18,21)
- Prophetical literature.
- Books: Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon and some Psalms (1,10,14,19,37,49,73,90,112).
2. NATURE OF HEBREW POETRY