Did you know that the Old Testament is the first, longer option of the Bible? It’s the term utilized by Christians to refer to the Hebrew Bible or the Jewish scriptures. The Old Testament is not a single book written by one author. Instead, it is a collection of old texts written and re-written by different authors and editors for many hundreds of years.
The Old Testament tells the story of the ancient Hebrew people or Israelites and has the rituals and laws that comprise their religion. For many Jewish people, the collection is composed of the Jewish Torah (which is the law for worship and daily living) as well as the history of God’s promise to them.
For many Christians, the Old Testament is sacred at the same time. However, they perceive its religious meaning as incomplete without the teachings and life of Jesus Christ as associated in the New Testament. Muslims also trace their religious roots to some of the people in the Old Testament, even though they deny the religious relevance of the work in general. Basically, the Old Testament is important to the way Western civilization has long talked and thought about God, as well as the nature, justice, and ethics of the world.
When Was the Old Testament Written?
The Old Testament was written between 1500 BC and 400 BC, though many scholars differ on the dates. It was mainly written in Hebrew. In the era of the Old Testament, the writings were categorized into three parts: the law, the prophets, and the writings.
A few of the books, like all of the short and minor prophets, were often lumped together as one. Sayings and speeches people were written and shared down among the community before they were gathered into books and then groupings.
By the period of Jesus, the Old Testament canon of 39 books was established. Across the Bible’s New Testament, the writers quote the Old Testament and state that it’s scripture. Jesus alone quoted from 24 separated books from the Old Testament, the most common being the Psalms. Jesus even mentions that all the Old Testament pointed to him.
The Hebrew Bible, also called Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament is a collection of writings that was first compiled and preserved as the sacred books of the Jewish people. It also constitutes a large portion of the Christian Bible, known as the Old Testament.
When Was the Old Testament Completed?
In its current form, the collection of the Old Testament was completed by the first century BC. However, the individual book themselves are much older—others date to the 10th and 11th centuries BC or earlier.
These works purport to tell the great history of human origins, but most of the events take place between the ancient world and the nation of Israel. Nonetheless, nothing could be confirmed, and historians utilize those dates to estimate the different biblical events. It is estimated that the narrative of the Old Testament covers over 1,500 years, from at least 2000 BC to 400 BC.
How About the Setting?
The setting of the Old Testament is the ancient Near East (today known as the Middle East), covering from Mesopotamia in the northeast (modern Iraq) down to the Nile River located in the southwest of Egypt. Most of the events happened in the old land of Canaan—the eastern Mediterranean area extending 75 miles west from the sea and marked by the Jordan River Alley, running down the core of the hilly and rocky land.
Located between the expansive Egyptian Empire to the south and the Babylonian and Hittite Empires to the east and north, the region was a vital trade route in the second millennium BC. A selection of people, mainly nomadic herding folks, dispersed the plains. They created small, fortified cities, worshipped different deities, and farmed them.
Canaan is the land where the tribes of Israel conquered after an Exodus from Egypt and the Canaanites are the people they disposed from this land. The Old Testament of the Bible is principally concerned with the religious history of Israel in Canaan.
How About the Setting?
Editors organized the Old Testament into groupings. The first five books of Moses are about the creation, the founding of God’s promise along with his selected people, the creation of the Hebrew nation, the departure from Egypt, the wanderings in the desert, and the establishment of God’s law. There are also other historical books from Esther to Joshua, tracing the history of Israel from its foundation to its defeat and exile.
After that, you have the five books of praise and wisdom. The Old Testament then concludes with all of the seventeen prophetic books: the major and minor prophets. After Malachi, there is a 400-year gap of waiting for the Messiah to arrive during which no visionary word is given to the people, and Israel is defeated and reconquered by the Greeks and Romans, who are known to be the murderers of Jesus.