On Knowing the Bible, by Witness Lee


A. The Old Testament

The Pentateuch of Moses—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy—was written by Moses. Moses was raised in the palace. He was a scholar, a politician, and a military leader. According to the world, he was also a religious leader. The Pentateuch was written by him at Mount Sinai and in the wilderness.

The book of Joshua was written by Joshua. He was a military leader and a politician. He wrote most of this book in Canaan and a smaller portion in the plains of Moab.

There are a lot of contentions about the authorship of Judges, and they are hard to verify. However, many authorities have postulated that it was written by Samuel.

The book of Ruth is connected to the preceding book of Judges and the following books of Samuel in history and in time. Therefore, it was most probably written by Samuel.

The first twenty-four chapters of 1 Samuel were probably written by Samuel. Chapter twenty-five, verse 1 says that Samuel died. Therefore, from chapter twenty-five on, the rest of 1 Samuel and the whole book of 2 Samuel were surely not written by him. First Chronicles 29:29 says that regarding the things of David, there was not only the recording of Samuel, but also the recordings of the prophets Nathan and Gad. Bible scholars have concluded from this verse that the recordings in the books of Samuel after the death of Samuel must have been continued by the prophets Nathan and Gad.

Why was 2 Samuel called by that name even though it was not written by Samuel? This is because these two books form one group in history. Therefore, the author or authors continued to write from chapter twenty-five of 1 Samuel until the end of 2 Samuel. Moreover, in the original Hebrew Old Testament, the two books of Samuel were a single book, not two. It was only when the Old Testament was translated into Greek in the Septuagint that Samuel was divided into the first and second books, because it was too long and difficult to roll up into one scroll.

Samuel was a Nazarite consecrated to God. He became a priest, and he also became a judge and a prophet. In addition, he brought in the kingship. It is certain that his book was written in Canaan.

Both Nathan and Gad were seers. It is also certain that their records were written in Canaan.

The books of 1 and 2 Kings were one book in the Hebrew Old Testament. They were divided by the Septuagint. It is hard for Bible scholars to ascertain who was the author of Kings, but some think that Jeremiah was the author.

The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles were also one book in the Hebrew Old Testament. It was also divided by the Septuagint. This book has been generally ascertained by many authorities to have been written by Ezra. If we compare the ending of Chronicles and the beginning of Ezra, we can see that the style, the grammar, and the phrases are all very similar and have to be from the same author. Therefore it has been proposed that Chronicles was written by Ezra.

The book of Ezra was certainly written by Ezra. Ezra was a very learned scribe and priest. He knew the laws of God very well and therefore was also a lawyer. His books were written in Jerusalem.

The book of Nehemiah was certainly written by Nehemiah. Ezra was a descendant of Levi, the tribe of the priests. Nehemiah was a descendant of Judah, the tribe of the kings. One attended to religion, and the other attended to politics. At that time, the Persian Empire treated Judea as a province, and Nehemiah became the governor of Judea. His book was also written in Jerusalem.

It is hard to ascertain the authorship of the book of Esther. Probably Mordecai was the author, because in 9:20 and 23 it is mentioned that Mordecai recorded the happenings then. He was one who loved God and loved the Jews. If it was written by him, it was written in the heathen city of Shushan.

(On Knowing the Bible, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)