Old Testament

The Old Testament (abbreviated OT) is the first part of Christian Bibles based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible (or Tanakh), a collection of ancient religious writings by the Israelites believed by many Christians and religious Jews to be the sacred Word of GOD. Its counterpart is the New Testament, the second part of the Christian Bible. The books that comprise the Old Testament canon differ between Christian Churches as well as their order and names. The most common Protestant canon comprises 39 books, the Catholic canon comprises 46 books, and the canons of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches comprise up to 51 books. The 39 books in common to all the Christian canons corresponds to 24 books of the Tanakh, with some differences of order, and there are some differences in text. The additional number reflects the split of texts in the Christian Bibles into separate books, for example, Kings, Samuel and Chronicles, Ezra–Nehemiah and the minor prophets into separate books. The books which are part of a Christian Old Testament but which are not part of the Hebrew canon are sometimes described as deuterocanonical. In general, Protestant bibles do not include deuterocanonical books in their canon, but some versions of Anglican and Lutheran bibles place such books in a separate section called Apocrypha.

The Old Testament consists of many distinct books by various authors produced over a period of centuries. In the most accepted hypothesis, the canon formed in stages, first the Pentateuch by around 400 BC, then the Prophets during the Hasmonean dynasty (140-116 BC), and finally the remaining books.

Christians traditionally divide the Old Testament into four sections: (1) the first five books or Pentateuch (Torah); (2) the history books telling the history of the Israelites, from their conquest of Canaan to their defeat and exile in Babylon; (3) the poetic and “Wisdom books” dealing, in various forms, with questions of good and evil in the world; and (4) the books of the biblical prophets, warning of the consequences of turning away from GOD.

 

Bible

Pentateuch (Torah) Interlinear Hebrew-English

1-Genesis_1-50.PDF

2-Exodus_1-40.PDF

3-Leviticus_1-27.PDF

4-Numbers_1-36.PDF

 5-Deuteronomy_1-34.PDF

 

 

Bible

Historical Books Interlinear Hebrew-English

Joshua_1-24.PDF

Judges_1-21.PDF

Ruth_1-4.PDF

1Samuel_1-31.PDF

2Samuel_1-24.PDF

1Kings_1-22.PDF

2Kings_1-25.PDF

2Chronicles_1-36.PDF

Ezra_1-10.PDF

Nehemiah_1-13.PDF

Esther_1-10.PDF

 

Bible

Poetic and Wisdom Writings Interlinear Hebrew-English

Job_1-42.PDF

Psalms_1-150.PDF

Proverbs_1-31.PDF

Ecclesiastes:Quelet_1-12

Song_of_Songs_1-8.PDF

 

Bible

Major Prophets Interlinear Hebrew-English

 Isaiah_1-66

Jeremiah_1-52

Lamentations_1-5

Ezekiel_1-48

Daniel_1-12

 

Bible

Minor Prophets Interlinear Hebrew-English

Hosea_1-14

Joel_1-3

Amos_1-9

Obadiah_1

Jonah_1-4

Micah_1-7

Nahum_1-3

Habakkuk_1-3

23-Zephaniah_1-3

Haggai_1-2

Zechariah_1-14

Malachi_1-4

Content

The Old Testament contains 39 (Protestant) or 46 (Catholic) or more (Orthodox and other) books, divided, very broadly, into the Pentateuch (Torah), the historical books, the “wisdom” Books and the Prophets.

Table

The table uses the spellings and names present in modern editions of the Christian Bible, such as the Catholic New American Bible Revised Edition and the Protestant Revised Standard Version and English Standard Version. The spelling and names in both the 1609–10 Douay Old Testament (and in the 1582 Rheims New Testament) and the 1749 revision by Bishop Challoner (the edition currently in print used by many Catholics, and the source of traditional Catholic spellings in English) and in the Septuagint differ from those spellings and names used in modern editions which are derived from the Hebrew Masoretic text.

For the Orthodox canon, Septuagint titles are provided in parentheses when these differ from those editions. For the Catholic canon, the Douaic titles are provided in parentheses when these differ from those editions. Likewise, the King James Version references some of these books by the traditional spelling when referring to them in the New Testament, such as “Esaias” (for Isaiah).

In the spirit of ecumenism more recent Catholic translations (e.g. the New American Bible, Jerusalem Bible, and ecumenical translations used by Catholics, such as the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition) use the same “standardized” (King James Version) spellings and names as Protestant Bibles (e.g. 1 Chronicles as opposed to the Douaic 1 Paralipomenon, 1–2 Samuel and 1–2 Kings instead of 1–4 Kings) in those books which are universally considered canonical, the protocanonicals.

The Talmud (the Jewish commentary on the scriptures) in Bava Batra 14b gives a different order for the books in Nevi’im and Ketuvim. This order is also cited in Mishneh Torah Hilchot Sefer Torah 7:15. The order of the books of the Torah is universal through all denominations of Judaism and Christianity.

The disputed books, included in one canon but not in others, are often called the Biblical apocrypha, a term that is sometimes used specifically to describe the books in the Catholic and Orthodox canons that are absent from the Jewish Masoretic Text and most modern Protestant Bibles. Catholics, following the Canon of Trent (1546), describe these books as deuterocanonical, while Greek Orthodox Christians, following the Synod of Jerusalem (1672), use the traditional name of anagignoskomena, meaning “that which is to be read.” They are present in a few historic Protestant versions; the German Luther Bible included such books, as did the English 1611 King James Version.

Empty table cells indicate that a book is absent from that canon.

Tanakh
(Hebrew Bible)
(24 books)
Books in bold are part of the Ketuvim
Protestant
Old Testament
(39 books)
Catholic
Old Testament
(46 books)
Eastern Orthodox
Old Testament
(50 books)
Original language
Torah
Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses
Bereishit Genesis Genesis Genesis Hebrew
Shemot Exodus Exodus Exodus Hebrew
Vayikra Leviticus Leviticus Leviticus Hebrew
Bamidbar Numbers Numbers Numbers Hebrew
Devarim Deuteronomy Deuteronomy Deuteronomy Hebrew
Nevi’im (Prophets)
Yehoshua Joshua Joshua (Josue) Joshua (Iesous) Hebrew
Shofetim Judges Judges Judges Hebrew
Rut (Ruth) Ruth Ruth Ruth Hebrew
Shemuel 1 Samuel 1 Samuel (1 Kings) 1 Samuel (1 Kingdoms) Hebrew
2 Samuel 2 Samuel (2 Kings) 2 Samuel (2 Kingdoms) Hebrew
Melakhim 1 Kings 1 Kings (3 Kings) 1 Kings (3 Kingdoms) Hebrew
2 Kings 2 Kings (4 Kings) 2 Kings (4 Kingdoms) Hebrew
Divrei Hayamim (Chronicles) 1 Chronicles 1 Chronicles (1 Paralipomenon) 1 Chronicles (1 Paralipomenon) Hebrew
2 Chronicles 2 Chronicles (2 Paralipomenon) 2 Chronicles (2 Paralipomenon) Hebrew
1 Esdras Hebrew
Ezra–Nehemiah Ezra Ezra (1 Esdras) Ezra (2 Esdras) Hebrew and Aramaic
Nehemiah Nehemiah (2 Esdras) Nehemiah (2 Esdras) Hebrew
Tobit (Tobias) Tobit (Tobias) Aramaic (and Hebrew?)
Judith Judith Hebrew
Esther Esther Esther Esther Hebrew
1 Maccabees (1 Machabees) 1 Maccabees Hebrew
2 Maccabees (2 Machabees) 2 Maccabees Greek
3 Maccabees Greek
3 Esdras Greek?
4 Maccabees Greek
Ketuvim (Writings) Wisdom books
Iyov (Job) Job Job Job Hebrew
Tehillim (Psalms) Psalms Psalms Psalms Hebrew
Prayer of Manasseh Greek
Mishlei (Proverbs) Proverbs Proverbs Proverbs Hebrew
Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes) Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes Hebrew
Shir Hashirim (Song of Songs) Song of Solomon Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles) Song of Songs (Aisma Aismaton) Hebrew
Wisdom Wisdom Greek
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) Sirach Hebrew
Nevi’im (Latter Prophets) Major prophets
Yeshayahu Isaiah Isaiah (Isaias) Isaiah Hebrew
Yirmeyahu Jeremiah Jeremiah (Jeremias) Jeremiah Hebrew
Eikhah (Lamentations) Lamentations Lamentations Lamentations Hebrew
Baruch Baruch Hebrew
Letter of Jeremiah Greek (majority view)
Yekhezqel Ezekiel Ezekiel (Ezechiel) Ezekiel Hebrew
Daniel Daniel Daniel Daniel Hebrew and Aramaic
Twelve Minor Prophets
The Twelve
or
Trei Asar
Hosea Hosea (Osee) Hosea Hebrew
Joel Joel Joel Hebrew
Amos Amos Amos Hebrew
Obadiah Obadiah (Abdias) Obadiah Hebrew
Jonah Jonah (Jonas) Jonah Hebrew
Micah Micah (Micheas) Micah Hebrew
Nahum Nahum Nahum Hebrew
Habakkuk Habakkuk (Habacuc) Habakkuk Hebrew
Zephaniah Zephaniah (Sophonias) Zephaniah Hebrew
Haggai Haggai (Aggeus) Haggai Hebrew
Zechariah Zechariah (Zacharias) Zechariah Hebrew
Malachi Malachi (Malachias) Malachi Hebrew

Several of the books in the Eastern Orthodox canon are also found in the appendix to the Latin Vulgate, formerly the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church.

Books in the Appendix to the Vulgate Bible
Name in Vulgate Name in Eastern Orthodox use
3 Esdras 1 Esdras
4 Esdras
Prayer of Manasseh Prayer of Manasseh
Psalm of David when he slew Goliath (Psalm 151) Psalm 151

Composition

The first five books – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, book of Numbers and Deuteronomy – reached their present form in the Persian period (538–332 BC), and their authors were the elite of exilic returnees who controlled the Temple at that time. The books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings follow, forming a history of Israel from the Conquest of Canaan to the Siege of Jerusalem c. 587 BC. There is a broad consensus among scholars that these originated as a single work (the so-called “Deuteronomistic history”) during the Babylonian exile of the 6th century BC. The two Books of Chronicles cover much the same material as the Pentateuch and Deuteronomistic history and probably date from the 4th century BC. Chronicles, and Ezra–Nehemiah, were probably finished during the 3rd century BC. Catholic and Orthodox Old Testaments contain two (Catholic Old Testament) to four (Orthodox) Books of Maccabees, written in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC.

These history books make up around half the total content of the Old Testament. Of the remainder, the books of the various prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and the twelve “minor prophets” – were written between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, with the exceptions of Jonah and Daniel, which were written much later. The “wisdom” books – Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Psalms, Song of Solomon – have various dates: Proverbs possibly was completed by the Hellenistic time (332-198 BC), though containing much older material as well; Job completed by the 6th Century BC; Ecclesiastes by the 3rd Century BC.