Old Testament

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Old Testament
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The Old Testament (Tanakh (תנ״ך) in Hebrew) is a collection of different biblical books comprising the Jewish religious scriptures. It can be divided into three general categories: Historical, Poetic, and Prophetic.[1] The Old Testament was inspired by God, giving His teachings to human beings in document form: using direct communication with Moses, communicating through the Prophets, and through works inspired by the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh), in the Sacred Writings. The human authors of some books are known, while for others the authorship remains a matter of controversy. The Hebrew names of these three sections give rise to the acronym "Tanakh": Torah (Instruction), Nevi'im (Prophets), and K'tuvim (Sacred Writings).

In March 2022, a 3,200 years old ancient Hebrew inscription, Deuteronmy 27:15-6 based text was discovered at Mount Ebal (Hebrew: הר עיבל Har ‘Eival) in Israel on lead, referring to God Yahweh. Israeli expert Prof. asserts it's "a death blow to all Hebrew biblical deniers."[2] [Lead was already used in Biblical times, such as Numbers 31.22, when Moses spoke to the Jews regarding utensils made out of lead].

Christians embrace the Old Testament as part of their holy scriptures, which, together with the New Testament make up the Bible. In contrast to Jews, they see the Old Testament giving prophetic references to the coming of Jesus Christ. Versions from ancient times exist in both Hebrew and Greek including the Dead Sea Scrolls giving a very ancient snapshot dating back to the time of Jesus.


The Old Testament documents the creation of the world by God, and the tribulations and errors of human beings, in particular His chosen people the Israelites. Following the history of the Jews from their earliest patriarchs to their enslavement, freedom, becoming a nation, period of the judges, ruled by kings, splitting into two nations, and eventual conquest. It continues until about 400 B.C. when God's chosen people have once again been allowed to return to the Holy Land and have come back to the worship of the Lord God. From the writing of the earliest five books, which is traditionally ascribed to Moses, to the last, is believed to be a period of about 1,000 years or a period of about 1,350 years. The New Testament of the Protestant Bible doesn't pick up the history of the people of God until 400 years after the time of Ezra with the story of Jesus. The New Testament of the Orthodox and Catholic Bible doesn't pick up the history of the people of God until about 50 years after the time of the Maccabees and the high priesthood of John Hyrcanus (104 B.C.) and the Book of Wisdom (circa 50 B.C.) with the birth of Jesus in the Gospels.

The laws set forth in the Old Testament include the Noahide laws and the Mosaic Law. The latter further includes the Ten Commandments.


Old Testament.jpg

The Palestinian Jewish Canon of the Old Testament Tanakh in Hebrew is believed by many to have been fixed by the Jewish Anshei K'nesset HaGedolah (Men of the Great Assembly), also known as the Council of Jamnia, established in Galilee in the 1st century A.D. (circa A.D. 90) after the destruction of the great Temple of Jerusalem A.D. 70. Though some books have been given different names, the Palestinian Jewish Canon is the same Old Testament canon embraced and contained in the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament found in Protestant Bibles (except for ordering and naming conventions based on usage in the Catholic Bible). The larger and more ancient Biblical Canon of Catholic and Orthodox Old Testaments originally in Greek predating the time of the Council of Jamnia contain different sets of books (retained and included by Jerome in the Latin Vulgate translation) but removed from the Christian Bible by Protestants during the 16th century Protestant Reformation as "additional" groups of writings referred to as the Apocrypha. Most Old Testaments including the Catholic go back to the earliest Hebrew translations[3], but the Greek Orthodox church uses the earliest Greek versions commonly called the Septuagint, traditionally ascribed to rabbinical authority as the authentic Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures as early as the 3rd century B.C.. The Jewish communities already established in Africa long before the time of Christ rejected the newer Palestinian canon attributed to the rabbis at Jamnia and retained almost all of the books included in the Septuagint, the one sole exception being the Book of Sirach called Ecclesiasticus.

The twenty-four books, in the Hebrew listing, are:

I Torah

II Nevi'im/נביאים

  • 6-9: Nevi'im Rishonim/נביאים ראשונים (Early Prophets):
    • Y'hoshua/יהושע (Joshua)
    • Shoftim/שופטים (Judges)
    • Sh'mu'el I and II/שמואל (Samuel 1 and 2)
    • M'lakhim/מלכים (Kings 1 and 2)
  • 10-13: Nevi'im Acharonim/נביאים אחרונים (Later Prophets):

III K'tuvim/כתובים

  • 14-16: Sifrei Emet (Books of Truth):
  • 22-24: Other Writings:

The forty-nine Old Testament books (fifty with Fourth Maccabees included in an appendix) in the Greek listing are:

Η ΠΑΛΑΙΑ ΔΙΑΘΗΚΗ (The Old Testament)

1 Γένεσις (Genesis)
2 Έξοδος (Exodus)
3 Λευίτικόν (Leviticus)
4 Άριθμοί (Numbers)
5 Δευτερονόμιον (Deuteronomy)
6 Ίησούς Ναυή (Joshua)
7 Κριταί (Judges)
8 Ρούθ (Ruth)
9 Βασιλιών Α (1 Kingdoms / 1 Samuel)
10 Βασιλιών Β (2 Kingdoms / 2 Samuel)
11 Βασιλιών Γ (3 Kingdoms / 1 Kings)
12 Βασιλιών Δ (4 Kingdoms / 2 Kings)
13 Παραλειπομένον Α (1 Paralipomenon / 1 Chronicles)
14 Παραλειπομένον Β (2 Paralipomenon / 2 Chronicles)
15 Έσδρας Α (1 Esdras)
16 Έσδρας Β (2 Esdras / 1 Esdras or Ezra)
17 Νεεμίας (2 Esdras or Nehemiah)
18 Τωβίτ (Tobit)
19 Ίουδίθ (Judith)
20 Έσθήρ (Esther with the Rest of Esther included within the 10 chapters of Esther)
21 Μακκαβαίων Α (1 Maccabees)
22 Μακκαβαίων Β (2 Maccabees)
23 Μακκαβαίων Γ (3 Maccabees)
24 ψαλμοί (Psalms including a supernumerary psalm (outside the number) at the end of Psalm 150 sometimes called Psalm 151 A Psalm of David[4])
25 Ίώβ (Job)
26 Παροιμία (Psalms)
27 Έκκλησιαστής (Ecclesiastes)
28 Άσμα Άσμάτων (Song of Solomon or Canticles or Canticle of Canticles)
29 Σοφία Σολομώντος (Wisdom of Solomon)
30 Σοφία Ίησού Σεράχ (Wisdom of [Jesus] Sirach or Ecclesiasticus)
31 Ώσηέ (Osee or Hosea)
32 Άμώς (Amos)
33 Μιχαίας (Micheas or Micah)
34 Ίωήλ (Joel)
35 Όβδιού (Obdias / Abdias or Obadiah)
36 Ίωνάς (Jonas or Jonah)
37 Ναούμ (Nahum)
38 Άμβακούμ (Habacuc or Habbakuk)
39 Σοφνίας (Sophonias or Zephaniah)
40 Άγγαίος (Aggeus or Haggai)
41 Ζαχαρίας (Zacharias or Zachariah)
42 Μαλαχίας (Malachias or Malachi)
43 Ήσαίας (Isaias or Isaiah)
44 Ίερεμίας (Jeremias or Jeremiah)
45 Βαρούχ (Baruch)
46 Θρήνοι Ίερεμίου (Lamentations of Jeremiah or Lamentations)
47 Έπιστολή Ίερεμίου (Letter of Jeremiah[5])
48 Ίεζεκιήλ (Ezekiel)
49 Δανιήλ (Daniel with chapters 13 and 14)
Μακκαβαίων Δ [Παράρτημα] (4 Maccabees [Appendix])

The Greek Orthodox Church firmly maintains that the Septuagint was the Bible of Jesus and the Apostles and the Bible of the early first century Christian church through A.D. 50. It is said that 300 of 350 quotations in the New Testament are from the Greek Old Testament.[6] The writings of the New Testament were originally in Greek, and they were copied and collected and finally completed as the body of Christian scriptures, and then joined to the Greek Old Testament as the Greek Bible—


Bible scholars have pointed out that Jesus and the apostles never quoted from the Old Testament books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. Others add to the list Judges, Ruth, Lamentations, Obadiah, Jonah, and Zephaniah. This does not mean these books are not inspired. Jonah is certainly mentioned but the book bearing his name is not directly quoted. Jesus himself quoted 24 different Old Testament books.[7]

The books included by Jerome in the Vulgate also include:
First Esdras (which is not the Book of Ezra),
Second Esdras (an apocalypse written after the destruction of the temple A.D. 70 with the addition of an ancient Christian preface, chapters 1 and 2, sometimes called 5 Ezra, and ancient Christian epilogue, chapters 15 and 16, sometimes called 6 Ezra),
and the Prayer of Manasses or Manasseh.

The Catholic canon from the Council of Trent's dogmatically defined list of forty-seven Old Testament books of the Bible, "as traditionally read in the Church", implicitly omits without mention or comment First Esdras (which is not the Book of Ezra), Third Maccabees, and Psalm 151, and the appended Fourth Maccabees, included in the Greek Orthodox Bible.[8]

The Clementine Edition of the Latin Vulgate as approved by the Catholic Church, after the Council of Trent, retained in an appendix to the Old Testament the books of First Esdras, all of Second Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh, "lest they be lost altogether".

Old Testament Books and parts of books excluded from the Protestant canon as apocryphal include (titles as listed in Bibles printed in 1881):

See also


  1. The Old Testament is divided into what sections? (answers.com)
  2. Yitzhak Tessler, Elisha Ben Kimon, " This is an earthquake in biblical study": 3,200-year-old "curse" from "Curse Mountain [Ebal" was revealed], '"Ynet, 24 March 2022.

    An inscription in ancient Hebrew, with the explicit name, was discovered on Mount Ebal in Samaria, and dates to the 13th century BC. Prof. Gershon Galil from the University of Haifa says that this is the oldest Hebrew inscription found so far - evidence of the use of the Hebrew language in biblical times.

    A rare archeological find from Mount Ebal: A small, folded 3,200-year-old lead plate sheds new light on biblical study - and was unveiled today (Thursday). Inside it - an ancient curse in ancient Hebrew script ("Proto-Canaanite"), with the God's explicit name [of the Divine]. Prof. Gershon Galil, from the University of Haifa, calls the discovery an "earthquake in biblical studies." He said, "The new find unearthed today is the earliest Hebrew inscription found so far."

    An inscription was found in Hebrew from the 13th century BC Prof. Galil: "The new finding is a death blow to all biblical deniers"

    An inscription in ancient Hebrew, with the explicit name, was discovered on Mount Ebal in Samaria, and dates to the 13th century BC. Prof. Gershon Galil from the University of Haifa, says that this is the oldest Hebrew inscription found so far - evidence of the use of the Hebrew language in biblical times.

    A rare archeological find from Mount Ebal: A small, folded 3,200-year-old lead plate sheds new light on biblical study - and was unveiled today (Thursday). Inside it - an ancient curse in ancient Hebrew script ("Proto-Canaanite"), with the name of the explicit name. Prof. Gershon Galil of the University of Haifa calls the discovery an "earthquake in biblical studies." He said, "The new find unearthed today is the earliest Hebrew inscription found so far."

    Prof. Galil says that to this day, with the discovery of the inscription from the 13th century BC, the oldest inscription in Hebrew has been dated to the tenth century BC. "It was an inscription found in the ruins of Kaifa, near the Ella Valley, by Prof. Yossi Garfinkel from the Hebrew University, and I was the one who deciphered it," he says.

    "The new finding is a death blow to all biblical deniers," Prof. Galil emphasizes. "Many biblical critics have argued that in the 13th century BCE, the people of Israel could not read and write, and therefore could not write the Bible. Therefore, biblical deniers have claimed that the Bible was written very late, in the Persian or Hellenistic period.

    The small lead tablet, from the 13th century BC, was discovered on Mount Ebal in Samaria, known as the biblical "Curse Mountain" - and inside it was cursed:

    Cursed, damn, [Arur ארור], Cursed before the Lord God... Cursed before Yahweh...

    It is not clear who wrote the ancient curse, but according to Prof. Galil, it is a high-level work: "Anyone who knows how to write a text with a chiastic reception can write everything," he says. "At this stage, unfortunately, it is not yet possible to reveal all the information that has been revealed, as it is awaiting peer review and academic publication.
  3. 20th and 21st century Biblical archaeology has established beyond reasonable doubt that with the sole exception of the Book of Wisdom originally written in Greek all of the books rejected as Apocrypha were extant as Hebrew texts which predate the 1st century A.D.. The Vulgate of Jerome was primarily based on the Hebrew, and modern Catholic translations of the Old Testament are based for the most part on the most ancient Hebrew texts together with the earliest extant texts of the canonically received portions of the Greek text of the Septuagint.
  4. See Text of Psalm 151 NRSV
  5. The Letter of Jeremiah is included by Jerome in the Book of Baruch at the end of the book as Baruch chapter 6
  6. Table of Old Testament quotes in the New Testament, in English translation, Joel Kalvesmaki 2013 (kalvesmaki.com)
    List of 300 Septuagint Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, by Steve Rudd 2017 (bible.ca)
    Table of LXX quotes and allusions in the New Testament
  7. 10 Old Testament Books Never Quoted in the New Testament, by Peter Krol (knowableword.com)
    Canon of the Bible. A list of Old Testament quotes in the New Testament. Books quoted by Jesus and other New Testament writers. A Conservative Biblical Perspective, By Steve Rudd, (bible.ca)
  8. Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent. The Fourth Session. 8 April 1546