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The Bible

Approximate Dates
when the Books were written

THE OLD TESTAMENT THE NEW TESTAMENT


Book Probable Date Book Date
Genesis c.1250-1200 BC Matthew c.40-60
Exodus c.1250-1200 BC Mark c.45-60
Leviticus c.1250-1200 BC Luke 57-60
Numbers c.1250-1200 BC John c.40-65
Deuteronomy c.1250-1200 BC Acts 57-62
Joshua c.1200 BC Romans 57
Judges c.1200 BC 1 Corinthians 55
Ruth c.1000 BC 2 Corinthians 56
1st Samuel c.700 BC Galatians 56
2nd Samuel c.700 BC Ephesians 58
1st Kings c.600 BC Philippians 58
2nd Kings c.600 BC Colossians 58
1st Chronicles c.350 BC 1 Thessalonians early 50
2nd Chronicles c.350 BC 2 Thessalonians 50-51
Ezra c.400 BC 1 Timothy 55
Nehemiah c.400 BC 2 Timothy 58
Tobit c.200 BC Titus 57
Judith c.150 BC Philemon 58
Esther c.300 BC Hebrews c.67
1st Maccabees c.100 BC James 40's
2nd Maccabees c.125 BC 1 Peter 65
Job c.500 BC 2 Peter 61-62
Psalms c.500 BC 1 John 57-62
Proverbs c.450 BC 2 John 57-62
Ecclesiastes c.300 BC 3 John 57-62
Song of Songs c.450 BC Jude 61-62
Wisdom c.100 BC Revelation 68-70
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) c.180 BC
Isaiah c.700 BC
Jeremiah c.585 BC
Lamentations c.550 BC
Baruch c.550 BC
Ezekiel c.590 BC
Daniel c.165 BC
Hosea c.750 BC
Joel c.400 BC
Amos c.750 BC
Obadiah c.500 BC
Jonah c.450 BC
Micah c.740 BC
Nahum c.612 BC
Habakkuk c.600 BC
Zephaniah c.620 BC
Haggai c.520 BC
Zechariah c.520 BC
Malachi c.450 BC
Dating the Books of the Bible

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, [Author, Moses]. The life of Moses
extended for 120 years (Deut. 34:7). The first forty years (1525-1485 BC) were spent in the
courts of Pharaoh leaning all the wisdom of Egypt. (Acts 7:22). The next forty years (1485-1445
BC) found Moses in the desert of Midian as a shepherd. (Ex. 2:15; Acts 7:30) During the final
forty years (1445-1405 BC) of his life, Moses led the children of Israel in the Sinai wilderness. It
was during this time (1445-1405 BC) that the Lord gave Moses the Law.

Joshua, [Author, Joshua]. The events of the Book of Joshua cover a forty-year time period (c.
1407-1367). This date is established from 1 Kings 6:1 and counting backwards. According to
that passage, the fourth year of the reign of Solomon was also the 480th year since the children of
Israel had left the land of bondage, Egypt, or 1447 BC. The forty years of wandering in the
desert would establish the dates suggested here. The author of Joshua is Joshua.

Judges, [Author, Unknown]. The Book of Judges covers a period of about three hundred years
reaching from the death of Joshua in 1367 BC until the days of Samuel (c. 1064-1044 BC)

Ruth, [Author, Unknown]. The opening verses place Ruth in the period of the judges during a
time of great famine. According to Judges 6:3-6, such a condition exited during the days of the
Midianite oppression, c. 1150 BC.

1-2 Samuel, [Author, Unknown]. According to Jewish tradition, Samuel did write the earlier
portions of 1 Samuel, (11th century BC) which was honored by the prophets Nathan and Gad.
(Cf. 1 Chron. 29:29) The final editing of the two books probably took place after the death of
Solomon in 931 BC since 1 Samuel 27:6 speaks of the kingdom being divided. Almost a century
of Hebrew history is covered (c. 1064-971 BC) as the era of the judges comes to an end and a
monarchy is established.

1-2 Kings, [Author, Unknown]. The two books of Kings record the history of the Jews from the
days of Solomon (971-931 BC) to the break up of the kingdom under the reign of Rehoboam.
The narrative continues through the history of the two nations until the Northern Kingdom
(Israel) falls in 722 BC and the Southern Kingdom (Judah) in 586 BC. About 385 years are
covered.
Northern Kingdom Southern Kingdom

First Dynasty
Jeroboam I 931-910 Rehoboam 931-914
Nadab 910-909 Abijah 931-911

Second Dynasty
Baasha 909-886 Asa 910-869
Elah 886-885
Zimri 885
Tibni 885-880

Third Dynasty
Omri 885-874
Ahab 874-853 Jehoshaphat 872-847
Ahaziah 853-852 Jehoram 852-841
Joram 852-841 Ahaziah 841
Athaliah 841-835
Fourth Dynasty
Jehu 841-814 Joash 835-796
Jehoahaz 814-798
Jehoash 798-782 Amaziah 796-767
Jeroboam II 793-753 Azariah 791-739
Zechariah 753 (Uzziah)

Final Kings before the Exile


Shallum 752 Jotham 752-736
Menahem 751-742
Pekahiah 741-740 Ahaz (743)
Pekah 740-732 736-720
Hoshea 731-722 Hezekiah 728-699
Manasseh 698-643
Amon 642-640
Josiah 640-609
Jehoahaz 609
Jehoiakim 609-598
Jehoiachin 598
Zedekiah 597-586

Special note. Three things make it difficult to establish a precise dating method in the ancient world. (1) In the
Northern Kingdom of Israel a system was used whereby the year that a man became king was recorded as both his
first year but also the last year of his predecessor. (2) In the Southern Kingdom of Judah the new reign of a king was
not recognized officially until the beginning of the New Year in the fall after his enthronement. (3) The length of the
reign of some kings includes a period of being a co-regent with their father. However, sometime in the eighth
century both kingdoms changed to the accession year system.
1-2 Chronicles [Author, Ezra]. The books of Chronicles tells the story of the history of Israel
from Adam until the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC as well as the return of the Jews during the days
of the Persian king, Cyrus the Great (559-529 BC). The house of David is a focal point of the
book. The best that can be said is that the book was compiled sometime between the tenth
century BC and the fifth.

Ezra, [Author, Ezra]. The setting for Ezra is the return of the Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem
in order to establish worship in the Temple. There were three returns from Babylon. The First
Return took place in 538 BC; the Second Return under Ezra (chapters 7-10) occurred in 458 BC;
and the Third Return was in 444 BC. Nehemiah led it.

Nehemiah, [Author, Nehemiah]. Fourteen years after Ezra’s return to Jerusalem, Nehemiah
also returned (444 BC). Exhorting the people to rebuild the walls of the city, the work was
completed in 52 days despite severe opposition. According to the Elephantine Papyri, discovered
in AD. 1903, Nehemiah ceased to be governor of Judah before 408 BC. Sometime during this
period, this portion of the Word of God was recorded.

Esther, [Author, Unknown]. The details of this book cover a 10 year period (483-473 BC)
during the reign of the Persian king, Xerxes I (486-465 BC). On the basis of 9:20 and 9:32,
Mordecai has been suggested as a possible author. Others favor Ezra or Nehemiah. Because 1:2
implies that the reign of Xerxes is finished, the book might have been written after 465 BC.

Job, [Author, Unknown]. While the details of this book belong to the age of the patriarchs—
the father acts a priest and there is no mention of the Tabernacle or the Law—the time of the
composition is unknown. It may have been written as early as during the days of Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob, or as late as the time of Solomon when wisdom literature abounded.

Psalms, [Authors: Moses, Psalm 90; David wrote 73 psalms; Asaph wrote Psalm 50 and
Psalms 73-83; Solomon, Psalms 72, 127; Heman, Psalm 88; and Ethan, Psalm 89]. The date of
writing covers from 1400-400 BC.

Proverbs, [Authors: Solomon, Agur, Lemuel]. Because most of the proverbs were authored by
Solomon, the dating of most of the book should be c. 950 BC. However, the final form came
during the days of Hezekiah (c. 700 BC) since some of the proverbs were still being gathered.
(25:1)

Ecclesiastes, [Author, Unknown]. Solomon has traditionally been associated as the author, but
since his name is not mention, doubts have arisen since the 1500’s AD. If Solomon were the
author, the book could be dated near the end of his reign, c. 931 BC.

Song of Solomon, [Author, Solomon]. Since Solomon composed 1,005 songs (1 Kings 4:32),
this may have been one. c. 950 BC.
Isaiah, [Author, Isaiah]. The prophet Isaiah was born during the reign of Uzziah and was called
to ministry in the year of the king’s death (740 BC). He ministered during the reign of Jotham
(752-736 BC), Ahaz (736-720 BC), and Hezekiah 729-699 BC). While there is a break in the
narrative it is possible that Isaiah lived on until 681 BC, when Sennacherib died. According to
tradition, Isaiah was cut in half by a saw during the days of the evil king Manasseh who
succeeded Hezekiah. (cf. Heb. 11:37) The date of writing should be established as being in the
middle of the eighth century BC.

Jeremiah, [Author, Jeremiah]. Though Jeremiah is the leading author of the book, its final
form may have put together by his scribe, Baruch. His prophetic ministry extended from the days
of Josiah (640-609 BC) until the fall of Jerusalem during the days of Zedekiah (598-586 BC).
His call to service came in 627 BC. The dating of the book is in the latter part of the 7th century
BC.

Lamentation, [Author, Jeremiah]. The people of Palestine read this 7th century book every year
on the date honoring the memory of those sacrificed in the destruction of the Temple in 586 BC.

Ezekiel, [Author, Ezekiel].