ECCLESIASTES

The title Ecclesiastes comes from the Greek translation of the opening line, “The words of the Preacher…” The word preacher is qoheleth in the Hebrew or ekklesiastes in Greek. The Hebrew term appears in the feminine form, which shows “…that divine Wisdom herself speaks through the inspired king Solomon” (Fausset Bible Dictionary). It is fitting the word appears seven times, inferring the perfection of wisdom.

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PROVERBS

After Solomon rose to the throne, the LORD appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?’ Solomon responded, ‘…give to your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil’ (1 Kings 3:5, 9). It took a measure of wisdom to ask this rather than for longevity, wealth, power, etc.. The LORD honoured Solomon’s request, and also blessed him with great wealth, honour and longevity.

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PSALM

A Psalm is a poem which is typically set to music. In fact, some of the psalms give instructions for the musician (ie. Psalm 4:1, “To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.).

There are 150 psalms in the book of Psalms. Several of them are labeled as psalms of David (73), the “…sweet psalmist of Israel…” (2 Samuel 23:1). Others are associated with Asaph (12), the sons of Korah (11), Solomon (2), Moses (1), and Ethan (1). The other 50 psalms do not have names linked to them.

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JOB

There is much we do not know about the book of Job. Unlike many books in the Bible, we do not know who authored the book nor do we know when it was written. There is insufficient information to know when Job lived, but we can have confidence he was a real man (Ezekiel 14:14; James 5:11) who lived in Uz (Job 1:1) which is southeast of Palestine (the region associated with Edom). There is an absence of genealogical data which would lead us to believe Job was a Gentile who served as the spiritual leader for his family (Job 1:1-2, 5) perhaps during the patriarchal age.

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ESTHER

The book of Esther is a historical record falling in the period of the return from the Babylonian captivity. There were three phases to the return: the first under Zerubbabel (536 BC) who oversaw the rebuilding of the temple; the second under Ezra (458 BC) who re-established worship; and the third under Nehemiah (444 BC) who led the people in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. The events in Esther fall between the time of Zerubbabel and Ezra.

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EZRA | NEHEMIAH

The books of Ezra & Nehemiah pick up where 2 Chronicles left off (compare 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4). They record the restoration of the Jews to their land after the captivity in Babylon.

The return to Judah happened in three phases. The first was led by Zerubbabel, the second by Ezra and the third by Nehemiah. There is a pattern which can be seen throughout the books with each of these men.

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SAMUEL | KINGS | CHRONICLES

Our Bibles list 6 books (1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles), but originally each pair was a single book. These books record just over 500-years of Israel’s history beginning with the birth of Samuel (the final judge in Israel) and culminating with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile.

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RUTH

The book of Ruth is the third history book in the Old Testament. It is a beautiful account of a young Moabite woman who came to faith in God. We do not know who wrote the book, but it appears to have been written during or after the time of David (4:17-22). It is set in the period of the Judges, which was a dark time in Israel’s history. This book shines as a light in the darkness.

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JUDGES

The book of Judges is the second of the history books in the Old Testament. The name of the book comes from 2:18, “…the LORD raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them.” The word judge is from the Hebrew jps {shaphat}, which refers to “…a magistrate or ruler, rather than one who judges in the sense of trying a case.”1 The judges served Israel to deliver them from their enemies.

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JOSHUA

The book of Joshua is the first of the history books in the Old Testament. It is named for Joshua the son of Nun, who led Israel after Moses’ death. His name means “Yahweh is deliverance,” and is the Hebrew name for Jesus (Gr. iesous).

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