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The Old Testament, also known as the Old Covenant or the Tanakh (תַנָ'ך, in Hebrew), is the first part of the Bible containing the first thirty-nine books; beginning with the Book of Genesis and ending with Malachi. The Old Testament covers a majority of ancient history, particularly that of ancient Israel and God's involvement in history. The Old Testament ends at near 400 B.C. It can be divided into 3 parts, the Pentateuch (in Greek πέντε "five rolls" in Hebrew תֹוָרָה "Torah"), the Historical and Prophetic (in Hebrew ִבִיאםים Nevi'im).



  • Genesis includes the creation of the universe, the story of Adam and Eve in Eden, the coming of sin into the world, the history of the first two brothers — Cain and Abel, the appearance of tribes and races and the development of villages, the history of the Tower of Babel and the Flood, the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his son Joseph, who was sold by his brothers, but became governor of Egypt.
  • Exodus reports the departure of Hebrew slaves from Egypt, under the leadership of Moses.
  • Leviticus deals with the subjects of the laws referring to the sacrifices, the consecration of the priests and the laws referring to the purity and sanctity.
  • Numbers includes the stories of Mt Sinai, the desert of Kadesh-Barnea and the plains of Moab.
  • Deuteronomy reports what happened from the delivery of the Tables of Law to the arrival on the plains of Moab.

Historical Books[]

  • Joshua narrates the conquest of the Promised Land and the distribution that Joshua effects among the various tribes. Then he discusses some issues of the Assembly of Shechem and the provisions of Joshua.
  • Judges: It tells the period from the death of Joshua to the birth of Samuel. He also comments on the appearance of other judges who raised the Hebrews.
  • Ruth tells the story of Ruth and Naomi, two widowed women.
  • I Samuel tells the story of Samuel and the reign of King Saul until his death, including the Israelites' war against the Philistines and the great feat of the shepherd David by defeating the giant Goliath.
  • II Samuel tells the story of Israel from the death of Saul and the subsequent reign of David, with a supplement at the end.
  • I Kings tells the story of the reign of Solomon, son of David and the kingdoms of Judah and Israel.
  • II Kings: The story of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel continues from the death of Solomon to the fall of Samaria and Jerusalem. It also recounts the miracles of the prophet Elisha and at the end of the book the story continues to culminate in the Babylonian Exile.
  • I Chronicles: It tells the period from the beginning to the death of David. It tells the story from Adam to Saul in his first half and then that of David.
  • II Chronicles: It narrates the period between the death of David and the final liberation. It tells the story of each king in a very schematic and not exhaustive way, indicating in general: name of the father, name of the mother, duration of the reign, successor, place of burial, main events and synchrony of each of the kings of Israel.
  • Book of Nehemiah: Nehemiah narrates the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, the temple arrangement and the reforms carried out by Nehemiah.

Prophetic Books[]

  • Major Prophets, also known as the last prophets:
    • Book of Isaiah is divided into two perfectly differentiated parts, separated by a historical appendix. The latter consists of two chapters taken from II Kings.
    • Book of Jeremiah contains prophetic narratives and oracles that follow each other.

In the introduction, God gives to the prophet the guidelines of his prophetic mission, while the following chapters detail a long series of threats and future punishments for Jerusalem and Judah, for false prophets and, in general, for all Jews who have sinned before the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar.

  • Minor Prophets:
    • Book of Hosea reports a prophecy that is divided in two parts.
    • Book of Joel is divided into two clearly differentiated parts. In the first, a devastating plague of locusts destroys the country, producing a penitential celebration among the victims. The second part deals with the fruits of penance and liberation that announce a future redemption.
    • Book of Amos gives a warning message to the heathen nations and sinners of Judah and Israel as they will be judged by Yahweh (God) and punished but could eventually be forgiven.
    • Book of Obadiah prophecy about the vengeance of Yahweh against Edom, who arrived in 125 BC with his conquest by the Hasmonean dynasty.
    • Book of Jonah tells of the prophet Jonah and a well-known story in which God commands Jonah to prophesy or preach to the people of Nineveh to persuade them to repent or receive destruction.
    • Book of Micah deals with the punishment of God on the northern kingdom for sins like: idolatry, Baal worship (a false figure that idolized), sacrifices, children's rituals, magic and enchantments.
    • Book of Nahum prophesies the destruction of Nineveh, which symbolizes the liberation of all slavery.
    • Book of Habakkuk narrates the final days of the Assyrian Empire and the beginning of the dominion of Babylon on a world scale under Nabopolasar and his son Nebuchadnezzar.
    • Book of Zephaniah is an invitation to penance and an affirmation of God's love for the people.
    • Book of Haggai deals primarily with the reconstruction of the temple and is divided into four chronological discourses or sermons.
    • Book of Zechariah speaks mainly on the restoration of the temple and Jerusalem and the coronation of the high priest Joshua.
    • Book of Malachi reproaches the attitudes of the families when separating and the behavior of the priests by the noncompliance to the divine cult


  • The Poetics:
  • The 5 Rolls:
    • Book of Song of Songs:
    • Lamentations (sometimes considered Prophetic book) contains five poems of lamentation for the destruction of Jerusalem after having fallen into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. They evoke the destruction of Judah and the horror of the siege of the city.
    • Ecclesiastes
    • Esther (sometimes considered Historical book) tells about Esther, a woman who, thanks to her courage, saved her people.
  • The Histories:
    • Daniel (sometimes considered prophetic book) deals with the history of Daniel who lived in Babylon as an exile along with the rest of the Hebrew people.



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