The OT is divided as follows:
Tawrat: (Pentateuch or the law of Moses) Genesis - Deuteronomy.
History: (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1&2 Samuel,1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther)
Wisdom/Poetry: (Job/Ayub, Psalms/Zabur, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs)
Prophets/Ambian: (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zecharaiah, Malachi)
Zabur & Wisdom - The Books of Poetry
The books of poetry vary in literary form and content, but
in general they contain some of the world’s most enduring poetic achievements,
not only in sacred scripture, but also in all of ancient literature. They
include wisdom literature, liturgical and personal prayers, hymns and worship
the Psalms (Zabur). These beautiful, passionate and often deeply personal
writings are a reflection of the hearts of the writers and of the heart of God.
Audience: God’s people
probably lived during the
Theme: Is God a God of justice
in light of life’s
perplexities and human
Job (Ayub) (approx. 2100BC) is the story of the test of a man’s trust in God. Satan says that Job fears God only because he is being looked after, has a happy family, a thriving farm, and a healthy body. God allows Job to be tested through terrible suffering. Friends find Job suffering and try to comfort him, but they don’t understand and their arguments only make things worse (2:11-37:24). Eventually, God himself speaks to Job out of a storm and the argument with his friends comes to a sudden end (38:1-41:34). As God speaks to him, Job realizes how little he himself understands and how shallow his own words have been. He is sorry for the way he has spoken (42:1-6). The friends are forgiven and Job’s health, family, fame, and fortune are restored.
Author: David (Dawud), Asaph, the Sons
of Korah, Solomon (Suleyman),
Heman, Ethan, Moses (Musa), as
well as unknown authors.
Audience: God’s people
Date: Between the time of Moses
( 1440BC ) and the time following
the Babylonian Empire (after
Theme: Contains Israel’s ancient favorite
hymns and prayers used for wor-
ship of the Lord God, the great King
There are 150 Psalms (Zabur, or songs) in this “hymnbook” near the centre of the Bible, as part of the Wisdom books (Sihaif-e-Hykmat) mostly written by King David (Dawud) (1004-971BC). The Psalms are grouped into five books or collections (Ps. 1-41; Ps. 42-72; Ps. 73-89; Ps. 90-106; Ps. 107-150). Some psalms are very short (Ps. 125-128, for example): on the other hand PS. 119 has 176 verses (just like an average Surah in the Qur'an)! Some are full of joy and praise; others are filled with anger and unhappiness. Some are for individuals to sing and read; others are for whole groups of people: some are designed for special occasions; others are for general use. This means that there is a Psalm that is just right for almost every situation, every gathering, and every person. This helps to explain why they have continued to be so popular in Jewish and Christian worship and are revered by Muslims too. They were designed to be read aloud or sung in Hebrew, but continue to be done so today, translated in most languages.
Suleyman) and other wise men
Audience: The people of Israel
970 – 930BC
Theme: The importance of living wisely
and in the fear of the Lord, as
opposed to a seductive path of
This book is a collection of wise sayings, or proverbs among
the Wisdom books (Sihaif-e-Hykmat) mostly written by Solomon (Suleyman). He was
a great king of Israel
(971-931BC). They are usually very down to earth and apply to lots of different
areas of life: learning, parents, wealth, animals, friends, eating and
drinking, neighborliness, farming, and so on. Proverbs try to teach that true
wisdom is not about being clever, but is a way of life which is alert, caring,
understanding, and good. This wisdom is for everyone and will be given to
anyone as a free gift to anyone who asks for it (2:1-6). The key to this wisdom
is “having respect for the Lord,” which means “the worship of God.” Proverbs is
quite different from other books in the Bible. The sayings need to be read one
by one and thought about before going on to the next one.
Author: Possibly King Salomon
Audience: The people of Israel
Date: possibly as early as the tenth
Theme: Wisdom teacher reveals what
he has discovered about the
meaninglessness of every
human endeavor without God
at the center of one's life.
The writer of Ecclesiastes has had everything in life he could possibly want and has discovered that this is not the way to find happiness. The book is sometimes difficult to understand because the writer often talks about things from the opposite point of view to much of the rest of the Bible. There is, for example, the section beginning “There is a time for everything” (3:1-8); the reminder that “Races aren’t always won by those who run fast” (9:11) and the plea to “Remember the One who created you Remember him while you are still young” (12:1). This writer’s thinking is very deep, showing what life is like without faith in God, but also what it means to practical terms to trust him (e.g., 12:13-14)
Song of Songs
people of Israel
Date: possibly as early as the tenth century BC
Theme: Celebration of a sexual union between
a man and a woman as a joyful part of
marital life in God’s good creation.
This is the one love poem in the Bible as part of the Wisdom books (Sihaif-e-Hykmat) thought to be written by Solomon (Suleyman). He was a great king of Israel (971-931BC). It is easier to understand it as a description of people in love with each other rather than as a story. It is beautifully told. In the past the book was seen as a picture to God’s love for his people. In the book of Revelation (last book in the Injiil) Christ is described as marrying his bride, the church). Because all true love is a reflection of Go’s love this understanding is always helpful, yet the book itself focuses of sexual love. The lovers talk to each other tenderly and directly; they are naked and yet not at all awkward in each other’s presence. Some people find it hard to believe that the Bible contains a love poem like this. It indicates the goodness and beauty of human love between men and women and of the part that such love plays in God’s creation.