Book of Ezekiel
The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Tanakh and one of the major prophetic books in the Old Testament, following Isaiah and Jeremiah. According to the book itself, it records six visions of the prophet Ezekiel, exiled in Babylon, during the 22 years 593–571 BC, although it is the product of a long and complex history and does not preserve the words of the prophet; the visions, the book, are structured around three themes: Judgment on Israel. Its themes include the concepts of the presence of God, Israel as a divine community, individual responsibility to God, its influence has included the development of mystical and apocalyptic traditions in Second Temple and rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. Ezekiel has the broad three-fold structure found in a number of the prophetic books: oracles of woe against the prophet's own people, followed by oracles against Israel's neighbours, ending in prophecies of hope and salvation: Prophecies against Judah and Jerusalem, chapters 1–24 Prophecies against the foreign nations, chapters 25–32 Prophecies of hope and salvation, chapters 33–48 The book opens with a vision of YHWH.
The book moves on to anticipate the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, explains this as God's punishment, closes with the promise of a new beginning and a new Temple. Inaugural vision Ezekiel 1:1–3:27: God approaches Ezekiel as the divine warrior, riding in his battle chariot; the chariot is drawn by four living creatures, each having four wings. Beside each "living creature" is a "wheel within a wheel", with "tall and awesome" rims full of eyes all around. God commissions Ezekiel as a prophet and as a "watchman" in Israel: "Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites." Judgment on Jerusalem and Judah and on the nations: God warns of the certain destruction of Jerusalem and of the devastation of the nations that have troubled his people: the Ammonites, Moabites and Philistines, the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon, Egypt. Building a new city: The Jewish exile will come to an end, a new city and new Temple will be built, the Israelites will be gathered and blessed as never before.
Some of the highlights include: The "throne vision", in which Ezekiel sees God enthroned in the Temple among the heavenly host. Most scholars today accept the basic authenticity of the book, but see in it significant additions by a "school" of followers of the original prophet. While the book exhibits considerable unity and reflects much of the historic Ezekiel, it is the product of a long and complex history and does not preserve the words of the prophet. According to the book that bears his name, Ezekiel ben-Buzi was born into a priestly family of Jerusalem c.623 BC, during the reign of the reforming king Josiah. Prior to this time, Judah had been a vassal of the Assyrian empire, but the rapid decline of Assyria after c. 630 led Josiah to assert his independence and institute a religious reform stressing loyalty to Yahweh, the national God of Israel. Josiah was killed in 609 and Judah became a vassal of the new regional power, the Neo-Babylonian empire. In 597, following a rebellion against Babylon, Ezekiel was among the large group of Judeans taken into captivity by the Babylonians.
He appears to have spent the rest of his life in Mesopotamia. A further deportation of Jews from Jerusalem to Babylon occurred in 586 when a second unsuccessful rebellion resulted in the destruction of the city and its Temple and the exile of the remaining elements of the royal court, including the last scribes and priests; the various dates given in the book suggest that Ezekiel was 25 when he went into exile, 30 when he received his prophetic call, 52 at the time of the last vision c.571. The Jewish scriptures were translated into Greek in the two centuries before the birth of Christ; the Greek version of these books is called the Septuagint. The Jewish Bible in Hebrew is called the Masoretic text; the Greek version of Ezekiel differs from the Hebrew version – it is shorter and represents an early interpretation of the book we have today – while other ancient manuscript fragments differ from both. The first half of the 20th century saw several attempts to deny the authorship and authenticity of the book, with scholars such as C.
C. Torrey and Morton Smith placing it variously in the 3rd century BC and in the 8th/7th; the pendulum swung back in the post-war period, with an increasing acceptance of the book's essential unity and historical placement in the Exile. The most influential modern scholarly work on Ezekiel, Walther Zimmerli's two-volume commentary, ap
Book of Jonah
The Book of Jonah is a book of the Nevi'im in the Hebrew Bible. It tells of a Hebrew prophet named Jonah son of Amittai, sent by God to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh but tries to escape the divine mission. Set in the reign of Jeroboam II, it was written in the post-exilic period, some time between the late 5th to early 4th century BC; the story has a long interpretive history and has become well known through popular children's stories. In Judaism, it is the Haftarah portion read during the afternoon of Yom Kippur to instill reflection on God's willingness to forgive those who repent, it is retold in the Quran. Unlike the other Prophets, the book of Jonah is entirely narrative, with the exception of the poem in chapter 2; the actual prophetic word against Nineveh is given only in passing through the narrative. As with any good narrative, the story of Jonah has a setting, characters, a plot, themes, it relies on such literary devices as irony. Jonah Flees His Mission Jonah's Commission and Flight The Endangered Sailors Cry to Their gods Jonah's Disobedience Exposed Jonah's punishment and Deliverance His Prayer of Thanksgiving Jonah Reluctantly fulfills His Mission Jonah's Renewed Commission and Obedience The Endangered Ninevites' Repentant Appeal to the Lord The Ninevites' Repentance Acknowledged Jonah's Deliverance and Rebuke Jonah is the central character in the Book of Jonah, in which God commands him to go to the city of Nineveh to prophesy against it "for their great wickedness is come up before me," but Jonah instead attempts to flee from "the presence of the Lord" by going to Jaffa, sailing to Tarshish.
A huge storm arises and the sailors, realizing that it is no ordinary storm, cast lots and discover that Jonah is to blame. Jonah admits states that if he is thrown overboard, the storm will cease; the sailors refuse to do this and continue rowing, but all their efforts fail and they are forced to throw Jonah overboard. As a result, the storm calms and the sailors offer sacrifices to God. Jonah is miraculously saved by being swallowed by a large fish, in whose belly he spends three days and three nights. While in the great fish, Jonah prays to God in his affliction and commits to thanksgiving and to paying what he has vowed. God commands the fish to vomit Jonah out. God again commands Jonah to prophesy to its inhabitants; this time he goes and enters the city, crying, "In forty days Nineveh shall be overthrown." After Jonah has walked across Nineveh, the people of Nineveh begin to believe his word and proclaim a fast. The king of Nineveh puts on sackcloth and sits in ashes, making a proclamation which decrees fasting, the wearing of sackcloth and repentance.
God spares the city at that time. The entire city is broken with the people in sackcloth and ashes. Displeased by this, Jonah refers to his earlier flight to Tarshish while asserting that, since God is merciful, it was inevitable that God would turn from the threatened calamities, he leaves the city and makes himself a shelter, waiting to see whether or not the city will be destroyed. God causes a plant to grow over Jonah's shelter to give him some shade from the sun. God causes a worm to bite the plant's root and it withers. Jonah, now being exposed to the full force of the sun, becomes pleads for God to kill him, and God said to Jonah: "Art thou angry for the Kikayon?" And he said: "I am angry unto death."And the LORD said: "Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow, which came up in a night, perished in a night. The story of Jonah has numerous theological implications, this has long been recognized. In early translations of the Hebrew Bible, Jewish translators tended to remove anthropomorphic imagery in order to prevent the reader from misunderstanding the ancient texts.
This tendency is evidenced in the Greek translations. As far as the Book of Jonah is concerned, Targum Jonah offers a good example of this: In Jonah 1:6, the Masoretic Text reads, "...perhaps God will pay heed to us...." Targum Jonah translates this passage as: "...perhaps there will be mercy from the Lord upon us...." The captain's proposal is no longer an attempt to change the divine will. Furthermore, in Jonah 3:9, the MT reads, "Who knows, God may turn and relent?" Targum Jonah translates this as, "Whoever knows that there are sins on his conscience let him repent of them and we will be pitied before the Lord." God does not change His mind. Fragments of the book were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, most of which follows the Masoretic Text and with Mur XII reproducing a large portion of the text; as for the non-canonical writings, the majority of references to biblical texts were made as appeals to authority. The Book of Jonah appears to have served less purpose in the Qumran community than other texts, as the writings make no references to it.
The earliest Christian interpretations of Jonah are found in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. Both Matthew and Luke record a tradition of Jesus’ interpretation of the Book of Jonah (notably, Matthew includes two similar
Book of Habakkuk
The Book of Habakkuk is the eighth book of the 12 minor prophets of the Bible. It is attributed to the prophet Habakkuk, was composed in the late 7th century BC. Of the three chapters in the book, the first two are a dialog between the prophet; the message that "the just shall live by his faith" plays an important role in Christian thought. It is used in the Epistle to the Romans, Epistle to the Galatians, the Epistle to the Hebrews as the starting point of the concept of faith. A copy of these chapters is included in the Habakkuk Commentary, found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Chapter 3 may be an independent addition, now recognized as a liturgical piece, but was written by the same author as chapters 1 and 2; the prophet Habakkuk is believed to have written his book in the mid-to-late 7th century BC, not long before the Babylonians' siege and capture of Jerusalem in 586 BC. Habakkuk identifies himself as a prophet in the opening verse. Due to the liturgical nature of the book of Habakkuk, there have been some scholars who think that the author may have been a temple prophet.
Temple prophets are described in 1 Chronicles 25:1 as using lyres and cymbals. Some feel that this is echoed in Habakkuk 3:19b, that Habakkuk may have been a Levite and singer in the Temple. There is no biographical information on the prophet Habakkuk; the only canonical information that exists comes from the book, named for him. His name comes either from the Hebrew word חבק meaning "embrace" or else from an Akkadian word hambakuku for a kind of plant. Although his name does not appear in any other part of the Jewish Bible, Rabbinic tradition holds Habakkuk to be the Shunammite woman's son, restored to life by Elisha in 2 Kings 4:16; the prophet Habakkuk is mentioned in the narrative of Bel and the Dragon, part of the deuterocanonical additions to Daniel in a late section of that book. In the superscription of the Old Greek version, Habakkuk is called the son of Joshua of the tribe of Levi. In this book Habakkuk is lifted by an angel to Babylon to provide Daniel with some food while he is in the lion's den.
It is unknown when Habakkuk lived and preached, but the reference to the rise and advance of the Chaldeans in 1:6–11 places him in the middle to last quarter of the 7th century BC. One possible period might be during the reign of Jehoiakim, from 609–598 BC; the reasoning for this date is that it is during his reign that the Neo-Babylonian Empire of the Chaldeans was growing in power. The Babylonians marched against Jerusalem in 598 BC. Jehoiakim died while the Babylonians were marching towards Jerusalem and Jehoiakim's eighteen-year-old son Jehoiachin assumed the throne. Upon the Babylonians' arrival and his advisors surrendered Jerusalem after a short time. With the transition of rulers and the young age and inexperience of Jehoiachin, they were not able to stand against Chaldean forces. There is a sense of an intimate knowledge of the Babylonian brutality in 1:12–17; the book of Habakkuk is a book of the Tanakh and stands eighth in a section known as the 12 Minor Prophets in the Masoretic and Greek texts.
In the Masoretic listing, it follows Nahum and precedes Zephaniah, who are considered to be his contemporaries. The book consists of three chapters and the book is neatly divided into three different genres: A discussion between God and Habakkuk An Oracle of Woe A Psalm The major theme of Habakkuk is trying to grow from a faith of perplexity and doubt to the height of absolute trust in God. Habakkuk addresses his concerns over the fact that God will use the Babylonian empire to execute judgment on Judah for their sins. Habakkuk questions the wisdom of God. In the first part of the first chapter, the Prophet sees the injustice among his people and asks why God does not take action. "1:2 Yahweh, how long will I cry, you will not hear? I cry out to you “Violence!” and will you not save?" – World English Bible. In the middle part of Chapter 1, God explains. 1:5 “Look among the nations and wonder marvelously. 1:6 For, behold, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, that march through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs.
One of the "Eighteen Emendations to the Hebrew Scriptures" appears at 1:12. According to the professional Jewish scribes, the Sopherim, the text of 1:12 was changed from "You do not die" to "We shall not die." The Sopherim considered it disrespectful to say to God, "You do not die." In the final part of the first chapter, the prophet expresses shock at God's choice of instrument for judgment. 1:13 You who have purer eyes than to see evil, who cannot look on perversity, why do you tolerate those who deal treacherously, keep silent when the wicked swallows up the man, more righteous than he, In Chapter 2, he awaits God's response to his challenge. God explains that He will judge the Chaldeans, much more harshly. 2:8 Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples will plunder you, because of men’s blood, for the violence done to the land, to the city and to all who dwell in it. 2:9 Woe to him who gets an evil gain for his house, Finally, in Chapter 3, Habakkuk expresses his ultimate faith in God if he doesn't understand.
3:17 For though the fig tree doesn't flourish.
Book of Ruth
The Book of Ruth is included in the third division, or the Writings, of the Hebrew Bible. It is named after its central figure, Ruth the Moabitess, the great-grandmother of David; the book tells of Ruth's accepting the God of the Israelites as her God and the Israelite people as her own. In Ruth 1:16–17, Ruth tells Naomi, her Israelite mother-in-law, "Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay. Your people will be your God my God. Where you die I will die, there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it so if death separates you and me." The book is held in esteem by Jews who fall under the category of Jews-by-choice, as is evidenced by the considerable presence of Boaz in rabbinic literature. The Book of Ruth functions liturgically, as it is read during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot; the book is structured in four chapters:Act 1: Prologue and Problem: Death and Emptiness Scene 1: Setting the scene Scene 2: Naomi returns home Scene 3: Arrival of Naomi and Ruth in Bethlehem Act 2: Ruth Meets Boaz, Naomi's Relative, on the Harvest Field Scene 1: Ruth in the field of Boaz Scene 2: Ruth reports to Naomi Act 3: Naomi Sends Ruth to Boaz on the Threshing Floor Scene 1: Naomi Reveals Her Plan Scene 2: Ruth at the threshing-floor of Boaz Scene 3: Ruth reports to Naomi Act 4: Resolution and Epilogue: Life and Fullness Scene 1: Boaz with the men at the gate Scene 2: A son is born to Ruth Genealogical appendix During the time of the judges when there was a famine, an Israelite family from Bethlehem – Elimelech, his wife Naomi, their sons Mahlon and Chilion – emigrated to the nearby country of Moab.
Elimelech died, the sons married two Moabite women: Mahlon married Ruth and Chilion married Orpah. After about ten years, the two sons of Naomi died in Moab. Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, she told her daughters-in-law to return to their own mothers and remarry. Orpah reluctantly left. For wherever you go, I will go. Where you die, I will die, there I will be buried, thus and more may the Lord do to me if anything but death parts me from you.". The two women returned to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest, in order to support her mother-in-law and herself, Ruth went to the fields to glean; as it happened, the field she went to belonged to a man named Boaz, kind to her because he had heard of her loyalty to her mother-in-law. Ruth told Naomi of Boaz's kindness, she gleaned in his field through the remainder of barley and wheat harvest. Boaz was a close relative of Naomi's husband's family, he was therefore obliged by the Levirate law to marry Mahlon's widow, Ruth, in order to carry on his family's inheritance.
Naomi sent Ruth to the threshing floor at night and told her to go where he slept, "uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what you are to do.". Ruth did so. Boaz asked her who she was, she replied: "I am your handmaid Ruth. Spread your robe over your handmaid, for you are a redeeming kinsman". Boaz blessed her and agreed to do all, required, he noted that, "all the elders of my town know what a fine woman you are", he acknowledged that he was a close relative, but that there was one, closer, she remained in submission at his feet until she returned into the city in the morning. Early that day, Boaz went to the city gate to meet with the other male relative before the town elders; the relative is not named: Boaz addresses him as ploni almoni "so and so". The unnamed relative is unwilling to jeopardize the inheritance of his own estate by marrying Ruth, so relinquished his right of redemption, thus allowing Boaz to marry Ruth, they transferred the property and redeemed it, ratified by the nearer kinsman taking off his shoe and handing it over to Boaz.
Ruth 4:7 notes for generations that: Now this was done in Israel in cases of redemption or exchange: to validate any transaction, one man would take off his sandal and hand it to the other. Such was the practice in Israel. Boaz and Ruth were married and have a son; the women of the city celebrate Naomi's joy, for Naomi found a redeemer for her family name, Naomi takes the child and places it in her bosom. The child is named Obed, who we discover is "the father of Jesse, the father of David", that is, the grandfather of King David; the book concludes with an appendix which traces the Davidic genealogy all the way back from Perez, "whom Tamar bore to Judah", through to Obed, down to David. The book does not name its author, it is traditionally ascribed to the prophet Samuel, but Ruth's identity as a non-Israelite and the stress on the need for an inclusive attitude towards foreigners suggests an origin in the fifth century BC, when intermarriage had become controversial. A substantial number of scholars therefore date it to the Persian period.
The genealogy that concludes the book is believed to be a post-exilic Priestly addition, as it adds nothing to the plot.
Books of Samuel
The Books of Samuel, 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel, form part of the narrative history of Israel in the Nevi'im or "prophets" section of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, called the Deuteronomistic history, a series of books that constitute a theological history of the Israelites and aim to explain God's law for Israel under the guidance of the prophets. According to Jewish tradition, the book was written by Samuel, with additions by the prophets Gad and Nathan. Modern scholarly thinking is that the entire Deuteronomistic history was composed in the period c. 630–540 BC by combining a number of independent texts of various ages. Samuel begins with God's call to him as a boy; the story of the Ark of the Covenant that follows tells of Israel's oppression by the Philistines, which brought about Samuel's anointing of Saul as Israel's first king. But Saul proved unworthy and God's choice turned to David, who defeated Israel's enemies, purchased the threshing floor, where his son, Solomon built the Temple and brought the Ark to Jerusalem.
God promised David and his successors an everlasting dynasty. The childless Hannah vows to Yahweh of hosts. Eli, the priest of Shiloh, blesses her, a child named Samuel is born. Samuel is dedicated to the Lord as a Nazirite – the only one besides Samson to be identified in the Bible. Eli's sons and Phinehas, sin against God's laws and the people, of the priesthood and are killed in battle during the Battle of Aphek, but the child Samuel grows up "in the presence of the Lord." The Philistines capture the Ark of the Covenant from Shiloh and take it to the temple of their god Dagon, who recognizes the supremacy of Yahweh. The Philistines are afflicted with plagues and return the ark to the Israelites, but to the territory of the tribe of Benjamin rather than to Shiloh; the Philistines attack. Samuel appeals to Yahweh, the Philistines are decisively beaten, the Israelites reclaim their lost territory. In Samuel's old age, he appoints his sons Joel and Abijah as judges, but they walked not in the ways of the Lord with perverted judgement, lucre, bribes because of the corruption the people ask for a king to rule over them instead of rejecting God and his laws, forgetting all God had done to bring them out of the Land of Egypt The Lord tells Samuel to tell the people of Israel what they have asked for.
This king says Samuel that you have asked to rule over you will take the best of all your labor your fields, crops and give them to his servants. He will take your sheep, your asses, he will take your daughters and your manservants, you will cry out but the Lord will not hear you. But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. After Samuel inquires of God he directs Samuel to grant them a king God There was a mighty man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath the son of Aphiah a Benjamin a might man of power and he had a son, Saul a choice young man a goodly, there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he. Samuel had never met God led Saul to Samuel to be anointed as King. God gave Saul a new heart 1Samuel 10:9 God was with Saul and he defeats the enemies of the Israelites, but disobeys God; the spirit of the Lord departs from Saul because of his disobedience. But the Lord has selected another godly man as King over his people, David son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, David was his youngest son a Shepard boy, he is described as "ruddy and withal of beautiful countenance and goodly to look at" and "fair" 1Samuel 16:12 God tells Samuel to anoint David of Bethlehem as king, David enters Saul's court as his armor-bearer and harpist.
Saul's son and heir Jonathan recognizes him as the rightful king. Saul plots David's death, but David flees into the wilderness, where he becomes a champion of the Hebrews. David joins the Philistines but continues secretly to champion his own people, until Saul and Jonathan are killed in battle at Mount Gilboa. At this point, David offers a majestic eulogy, where he praises the bravery and magnificence of both his friend Jonathan and King Saul; the elders of Judah anoint David as king, but in the north Saul's son Ish-bosheth, or Ishbaal, rules over the northern tribes. After a long war, Ishbaal is murdered by Rechab and Baanah, two of his captains who hope for a reward from David. David is anointed King of all Israel. David brings the Ark there. David wishes to build a temple, but Nathan tells him that one of his sons will be the one to build the temple. David defeats the enemies of Israel, slaughtering Philistines, Edomites and Arameans. David commits adultery with Bathsheba; when her husband, Uriah the Hittite returns from battle, David encourages him to go home and see his wife but Uriah declines in case David might need him.
David thus deliberately sends Uriah on a suicide mission. Nathan tells David. For the remainder of his reign there are problems. Amnon rapes his half-sister Tamar. Absalom kills Amnon, rebels against his father, David flees from Jerusalem. Absalom is killed following the Battle of the Wood of Ephraim, David is restored as king, he returns to his palace. Only two contenders for the succession remain, son of David and Haggith, Solomon, son of David and Bathsheba; the Second Book of Samuel concludes with four chapters (chap
Books of Kings
The two Books of Kings a single book, are the eleventh and twelfth books of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. They conclude the Deuteronomistic history, a history of Israel comprising the books of Joshua and Judges and the two Books of Samuel, which biblical commentators believe was written to provide a theological explanation for the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah by Babylon in c. 586 BCE and a foundation for a return from exile. The two books of Kings present a history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of King David to the release of Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years. Scholars tend to treat the books as made up of a first edition from the late 7th century BCE and a second and final edition from the mid 6th century BCE; the Jerusalem Bible divides the two books of Kings into eight sections: 1 Kings 1:1–2:46 = The Davidic Succession 1 Kings 3:1–11:43 = Solomon in all his glory 1 Kings 12:1–13:34 = The political and religious schism 1 Kings 14:1–16:34 = The two kingdoms until Elijah 1 Kings 17:1 – 2 Kings 1:18 = The Elijah cycle 2 Kings 2:1–13:25 = The Elisha cycle 2 Kings 14:1–17:41 = The two kingdoms to the fall of Samaria 2 Kings 18:1–25:30 = The last years of the kingdom of JudahIn David's old age, Adonijah proclaims himself his successor but Solomon's supporters arrange for David to proclaim Solomon as his successor, so he comes to the throne after David's death.
At the beginning of his reign he assumes God's promises to David and brings splendour to Israel and peace and prosperity to his people. The centrepiece of Solomon's reign is the building of the First Temple: the claim that this took place 480 years after the Exodus from Egypt marks it as a key event in Israel's history. At the end, however, he oppresses Israel; as a consequence of Solomon's failure to stamp out the worship of gods other than Yahweh, the kingdom of David is split in two in the reign of his own son Rehoboam, who becomes the first to reign over the kingdom of Judah. The kings who follow Rehoboam in Jerusalem continue the royal line of David. At length God brings the Assyrians to destroy the northern kingdom, leaving Judah as the sole custodian of the promise. Hezekiah, the 14th king of Judah, does "what right in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor David had done" and institutes a far reaching religious reform, centralising sacrifice at the temple at Jerusalem and destroying the images of other gods.
Yahweh saves the kingdom from an invasion by Assyria. But Manasseh, the next king, reverses the reforms, God announces that he will destroy Jerusalem because of this apostasy by the king. Manasseh's righteous grandson Josiah reinstitutes the reforms of Hezekiah, but it is too late: God, speaking through the prophetess Huldah, affirms that Jerusalem is to be destroyed after the death of Josiah. In the final chapters, God brings the Neo-Babylonian Empire of King Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem; the final verses record how Jehoiachin, the last king, is set free and given honour by the king of Babylon. In the Hebrew Bible and Second Kings are a single book, as are the First and Second Books of Samuel; when this was translated into Greek in the last few centuries BCE, Kings was joined with Samuel in a four-part work called the Book of Kingdoms. Orthodox Christians continue to use the Greek translation, but when a Latin translation was made for the Western church, Kingdoms was first retitled the Book of Kings, parts One to Four, both Kings and Samuel were separated into two books each.
What it is now known as 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel are called by the Vulgate, in imitation of the Septuagint, 1 Kings and 2 Kings respectively. What it is now known as 1 Kings and 2 Kings would be 3 Kings and 4 Kings in old Bibles before the year 1516 such as the Vulgate and the Septuagint respectively; the division we know today, used by Protestant Bibles and adopted by Catholics, came into use in 1517. Some Bibles still preserve the old denomination, for the Douay Rheims Bible. According to Jewish tradition the author of Kings was Jeremiah, who would have been alive during the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BCE; the most common view today accepts Martin Noth's thesis that Kings concludes a unified series of books which reflect the language and theology of the Book of Deuteronomy, which biblical scholars therefore call the Deuteronomistic history. Noth argued that the History was the work of a single individual living in the 6th century BCE, but scholars today tend to treat it as made up of at least two layers, a first edition from the time of Josiah, promoting Josiah's religious reforms and the need for repentance, a second and final edition from the mid 6th century BCE.
Further levels of editing have been proposed, including: a late 8th century BCE edition pointing to Hezekiah of Judah as the model for kingship. The editors/authors of the Deuteronomistic history cite a number of sources, including a "Book of the Acts of Solomon" and the "Annals of the Kings of Judah" and a separate book, "Chronicles of the Kings of Israel"; the "Deuteronomic" perspective is e
Book of Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Torah and of the Old Testament. Most of its chapters consist of God's speeches to Moses, which God commands Moses to repeat to the Israelites; this takes place within the story of the Israelites' Exodus after they escaped Egypt and reached Mt. Sinai; the Book of Exodus narrates how Moses led the Israelites in building the Tabernacle with God's instructions. In Leviticus, God tells the Israelites and their priests how to make offerings in the Tabernacle and how to conduct themselves while camped around the holy tent sanctuary. Leviticus takes place during the month or month-and-a-half between the completion of the Tabernacle and the Israelites' departure from Sinai; the instructions of Leviticus emphasize ritual and moral practices rather than beliefs. They reflect the world view of the creation story in Genesis 1 that God wishes to live with humans; the book teaches that faithful performance of the sanctuary rituals can make that possible, so long as the people avoid sin and impurity whenever possible.
The rituals the sin and guilt offerings, provide the means to gain forgiveness for sins and purification from impurities so that God can continue to live in the Tabernacle in the midst of the people. Scholars agree that Leviticus developed over a long time and that it reached its present form in the Persian period; the English name Leviticus comes from the Latin Leviticus, in turn from the Greek Greek Λευιτικόν, referring to the priestly tribe of the Israelites, “Levi.” The Greek expression is in turn a variant of the rabbinic Hebrew torat kohanim, "law of priests", as many of its laws relate to priests. In Hebrew the book is called Vayikra, from the opening of the book, va-yikra "And He called." I. Laws on sacrifice A. Instructions for the laity on bringing offerings 1–5; the types of offering: burnt, peace, reparation offerings B. Instructions for the priests 1–6; the various offerings, with the addition of the priests' cereal offering 7. Summary II. Institution of the priesthood A. Ordination of Aaron and his sons B.
Aaron makes the first sacrifices C. Judgement on Nadab and Abihu III. Uncleanliness and its treatment A. Unclean animals B. Childbirth as a source of uncleanliness C. Unclean diseases D. Cleansing of diseases E. Unclean discharges IV. Day of Atonement: purification of the tabernacle from the effects of uncleanliness and sin V. Prescriptions for practical holiness A. Sacrifice and food B. Sexual behaviour C. Neighbourliness D. Grave crimes E. Rules for priests F. Rules for eating sacrifices G. Festivals H. Rules for the tabernacle I. Blasphemy J. Sabbatical and Jubilee years K. Exhortation to obey the law: blessing and curse VI. Redemption of votive gifts Chapters 1–5 describe the various sacrifices from the sacrificers' point of view, although the priests are essential for handling the blood. Chapters 6–7 go over much the same ground, but from the point of view of the priest, who, as the one carrying out the sacrifice and dividing the "portions", needs to know how do this. Sacrifices are between God, the priest, the offerers, although in some cases the entire sacrifice is a single portion to God—i.e.
Burnt to ashes. Chapters 8–10 describe how Moses consecrates Aaron and his sons as the first priests, the first sacrifices, God's destruction of two of Aaron's sons for ritual offenses; the purpose is to underline the character of altar priesthood as an Aaronite privilege, the responsibilities and dangers of their position. With sacrifice and priesthood established, chapters 11–15 instruct the lay people on purity. Eating certain animals produces uncleanliness; the reasoning behind the food rules are obscure. Leviticus 16 concerns the Day of Atonement; this is the only day on which the High Priest is to enter the holiest part of the sanctuary, the holy of holies. He is to sacrifice a bull for the sins of the priests, a goat for the sins of the laypeople; the priest is to send a second goat into the desert to "Azazel", bearing the sins of the whole people. Azazel may be a wilderness-demon. Chapters 17–26 are the Holiness code, it begins with a prohibition on all slaughter of animals outside the Temple for food, prohibits a long list of sexual contacts and child sacrifice.
The "holiness" injunctions which give the code its name begin with the next section: there is are penalties for the worship of Molech, consulting mediums and wizards, cursing one's parents and engaging in unlawful sex. Priests receive instruction on acceptable bodily defects; the punishment for blasphemy is death, there is the setting of rules for eating sacrifices.