An Overview of Bible – Divisions of Old Testament
This collection comprises of 38 books:
The Book of Genesis describes the creation of the earth skies and gives an historical account of the Prophets Adam Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Joseph. The book ends with the death of the Prophet Joseph. This is also called the book of Creation
Exodus is mainly a description of the life of the prophet Moses.
It includes the teachings of Moses, his altercations with Pharaoh, Pharaoh`s drowning in the sea and the oral communication of God
with Moses. It ends with the Israelites`camping in the desert of Sinai. It is called Exodus because it describes the event of the Israelites` exodus from Egypt
Leviticus is a collection of the injunctions and laws given to the Israelites during their wanderings in the desert of Sinai. It has 27 chapters.
The Book of Number includes events of the census of the Israelites , their history before their departure to the Canaan and the injunctions of the Prophet Moses revealed to him by the bank of the river Jordan. It contains 36 chapters.
The book of Deuteronomy is a collection of those events and injuctions which took place from after the period of the Book of Numbers to the death of Moses. It contains 34 chapters.
The collection of these five books together is called the pentateuh or Torah. This is a Heberw word meaning ”the law” .The word is also occasionally used to mean the Old Testament in general.
6 THE BOOK OF JOSHUA
The book of Joshua is ascribed to the Prophet Joshua son of Nuh who was the reliable servant and minister of Moses. He was made the Prophet of Israelites after the death of Moses.He made war on the Amalekites and was victorious over them. This book describes his life up to the time of his death .It contains 24 chapters.
7 THE BOOK OF JUDGES
The Book of Judges covers the period after the death of Joshua. This period is called the period of the Judges, because, due to their transgression and wickedness God set cruel, foreign kings over them to punish them until they returned to God and repented their sins. Then some leaders were raised up among them and came to their rescue. These Israelite leaders were known as the Judges. It has 21 chapters.
8 THE BOOK OF RUTH
The Book of Ruth describes events in the life of a woman of Moab called Ruth. She was the mother of Obed the grandfather of the Prophet David. She migrated to Bethlehem and married Boaz. They bore a child Obed. His son was Jesse who was the father of the Prophet David. It has only 4 chapters.
9 THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL
The First book of Samuel concerns the Prophet Samuel who was the last of the Judges of Israelites. Samuel was made king of the Israelites in his period. It also includes the killing of Goliath by David and other incidents up until the death of Samuel. It has 31 chapters.
10 THE SECOND BOOK OF SAMUEL
The Second Book of Samuel describes the events after the death of Saul. It includes the kingship of David and his war against the sons of Saul. It has 24 chapters.
11 THE FIRST BOOK OF KINGS
The first Book of kings begins with the old age of David and includes the events of his death, the reign of the prophet Solomon, his death and the lives of his sons up until the death of Ahab. The Prophet Elijah`s descriptions is also included. It has 22 chapters.
12 THE SECOND BOOK OF KINGS
The second Book of Kings includes the events from the death of Ahab to the reign of Zedikiah. The Prophets Elijah and Josiah are also mentioned. It has 25 chapters.
13 CHRONICLES I
Chronicles 1 comprises genealogies from Adam to Solomon. It also includes short historical accounts leading up until the time of David and gives details of David`s reign over the Israelites. It contains 36 chapters.
14 CHRONILCES II
Chronicles 11 describes Solomon`s rule in detail and also gives a short account of various Kings after Solomon up until the reign of Zedikiah. The invasion of Nebuchadnezzar is also covered at the end.
15 THE FIRST BOOK OF EZRA
Ezra I describes the reconstruction of Jerusalem by Cyrus the King of Persia after the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar. It also mentions the exile of Ezra and return of the Israelites from Babylon to their homeland. It contains 10 chapters.
16 THE SECOND BOOK OF EZRA
Ezra II is also called the Book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was a cupbearer of Artaxerxes the King of Persia. When he learnt about the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, he sought the King`s permission and came to Jerusalem. He reconstructed it with the help of Ezra. This Book describes all these events and the names of those who helped in rebuilding Jerusalem. These events took place in 445 BC. It contains 13 chapters.
17 THE BOOK OF JOB
The Book of job is said to be by the Prophet Job whose patience and forbearance are also acknowledged and praised by the Holy Qur`an. He was born in Uz, a city to the east of the Dead Sea. The Book mainly consists of conversations between Job and his three friends Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shubite, Zopher the Na`amathite who insist that the calamities of Job are the result of his sins while Job refutes this. This book is held to be of great literary merit. It contains 42 chapters.
18 THE BOOK OF PSALMS
The Book of Psalms is the corrupt form of the book of which the Holy Qur`an says, “We have given the Zaboor to Dawood.” The book is a collection of 150 Psalms, or songs of praise, to God.
19 THE BOOK OF PROVERBS
The Book of proverbs is a collection of the exhortations and proverbs of the prophet Solomon. The Christians claim that this book was compiled by Solomon himself. Kings I says: “And he spoke three thousands proverbs”. (4:23). It contains 31chapters.
20 THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES
The book of Ecclesiastes is also called the “Book of the Preacher”. It said the name of one of the sons of David was “the preacher”. It begins with these words: “The words of the preacher, the son of David.” (1:1). The book is a collection of exhortations and advices.
21 THE BOOK OF THE SONG OF SOLOMON
The Book of the Song of Solomon is said to be a collection of songs which were composed by Solomon of which the book of Kings says: “He spoke three thousand Proverbs and his songs were a thousand and five.”It has eight chapters.
22 THE BOOK OF ISAIAH
The Book of Isaiah is ascribed to the Prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, who was adviser to Hezekia, the king of Judah, in the 8th century BC. When Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, invaded Jerusalem, Isaiah was of great help to Hezekiah, the king of Judah. This book is a collection of his visions and predictions of future events. These predictions according to the Christinas were made by Isaiah in the reigns of the kings Azariah, Jotham and Hezekiah. It has 66 chapters. This book contains many passages of great literary merit.
23 THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
Jeremiah was an apostle and pupil of the Prophet Isaiah. God made him a prophet in the days of Joshua or Zedikiah. He was sent to the Israelites to prevent them from their perversion. He preached to the Israelites but they did not listen to him. God revealed to him that Israelites would soon be subjected to a punishment from God in the form of an invasion by Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah warned them of this and advised them to surrender but they mocked him. In the end Jerusalem was totally destroyed by Nebuchadenzzar. The Prophet Jeremiah migrated to Egypt. According to some scholars the Holly Qur`an refers to this incident in Surah 2:259. It has 56 chapters.
24 THE BOOK OF LAMENTIONS
The book of lamentations is a collection of songs of mourning which are said to have been compiled by the Prophet Jeremiah after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. It has only 5 chapters.
25 THE BOOK OF EZEKIEL
The Book of Ezekiel is claimed to be by the prophet Ezekiel, the son of Buzi. He was a descendant of Levi, the son of Jacob. He fought bravely against Nebuchadnezzar. This book is said to be a collection of his revelations, which consists of predictions, exhortations and warnings to the people about God`s Judgement on them and about the coming fall and destruction of Jerusalem.
26 THE BOOK OF DANIEL
The Prophet Daniel was among the wise people who were exiled form Judah and were taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar. The interpretation of some dreams of the king were made clear by him through revelations, and the king made him the governor of Babylon. It also includes the dreams of the Prophet Daniel regarding the future of the Israelites. These dreams also contain a prophecy about the advent of Jesus, the Messiah. It has twelve chapters.
27 THE BOOK OF HOSEA
Hosea was one of the prophets of the Israelites. He is said to have lived in the period of Jotham, Azariah and Hezekiah, the kings of Judah. This book is said to have been revealed to him during the period of their reigns. The book mostly consists of his admonitions to the Israelites against their perversion. His revelations are mostly in the form of proverbs or in symbolic language. It consists of 14 chapters.
28 THE BOOK OF JOEL
The Torah (Pentateuch) claims that Joel was a prophet of God. This book which has only three chapters consists of his revelations and includes injunctions about fasting and warnings against the evil deeds of the Israelites
29 THE BOOK OF AMOS
Amos is also said to be a prophet. In the beginning he was a shepherd in the city of Tekoa. He was made prophet by God in c.783 BC. The nine chapters of this book are said to have been revealed to him in the reign of King Azariah. This book comprises his admonitions to the Israelites on account of their evil deeds. The book also predicts the invasion of Jerusalem by the king of Assyria as a punishment from God, which is mentioned in Genesis (29:15)
30 THE BOOK OF OBADIAH
This small scripture consists of only 21verses and includes a dream of Obadiah the Prophet. There are some predictions regarding the defeat of Adom, the enemy of Judah.
31 THE BOOK OF JONAH
This book is said to have been revealed to the prophet Jonah. He was sent to the people of Nineveh. The story given by Torah is a little different from the one known by the Muslims.
32 THE BOOK OF MICAH
This book is said to be from the Prophet Micah, the Morashite, who was a prophet in the period of the king Hezekiah c. 900 BC. He warned the Israelites of God`s wrath on account of their perversion. The king, Hezekiah, acknowledged his prophethood and abstained from evil deeds. (Kgs. 32 : 26)
33 THE BOOK OF NAHUM
Nahum is also regarded as a prophet by the Torah. Very little is known about his life. This book of 3 chapters describes a dream of Nahum which includes predictions of the down fall of the city of Ninveh.
34 THE BOOK OF HABAKKUK
Habakkuk is also claimed to be a Prophet by the Torah. We are not definite about his period. The Torah seems to put him in the period before Nebuchadnezzar`s invasion of Jerusalem. This book mentions of of his dreams which admonishes the Israelites on their evil deeds and predicts the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchdnezzar. It has 3 chapters.
35 THE BOOK OF ZEPHANIAH
Zephaniah is also supposed to be a prophet who was ordained by God to prophethood in the period of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah. This script of 3 chapters warns the people of Israel against the invasion of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.
36 THE BOOK OF HAGGAI
The script of 2 chapters is attributed to Prophet Haggai who lived in the time of Darius, the king of Persia, in 500 BC, after the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar. He urged the Israelites to rebuild Jerusalem and warned those who obstructed them.
37 THE BOOK OF ZECHARIAH
Zechariah was also a prophet. It should be noted here that this Zechariah is not the one who was been mentioned in the Holy Qur`an . He is said to be a companion of the prophet Haggai at the time of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. This book consists mostly of dreams which include prophecies regarding the future of the Israelites and the coming of the prophet Jesus. It has fourteen chapters.
38 THE BOOK OF MALACHI
The Book of Malachi is ascribed to the Prophent Malachi. He is the last Prophet of the Old Testament. The book has 4 chapters and describes the thanklessness of the Israelites. The Prophet Malachi lived about 420 years before the Prophet Jesus, the Messiah.
These thirty eight books are believed to be genuine and authentic by almost all the Christian. The Samaritans, however, a sect of the Jews, believed in only seven of them, I.e. the five books of Moses and the book of Joshua son of Nun and the Book of Judges. Their name refers to the city of Samaria in Palestine. They differ from the Jews in two points, the acknowledged number of the Books and what constitutes a place of worship.
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