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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary


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Term which often refers to a scroll. A document written on parchment or papyrus and then rolled up. The “book” may be a letter (1 Kings 21:8 ) or a longer literary effort (Daniel 9:2 ). See Writing; Letter; Library . Several books are mentioned in the Bible:

The Book of the Covenant Moses read from this book during the making of the covenant between God and Israel on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:7 ). The “Book of the Covenant” included at least the material now found in Exodus 20:23-23:33 . The “Book of the Covenant” is referred to at a later time (2Kings 23:2,2 Kings 23:21; 2 Chronicles 34:30 ). It probably included the Exodus passage in addition to other material.

The Book of the Law During the reign of Josiah, Hilkiah, the high priest, found a copy of the “Book of the Law” in the Temple (2 Kings 22:8 ). Josiah based his reforms of the religion of Israel on the laws found in this book (2 Kings 23:1 ). The book is not explicitly identified in 2Kings, but by comparing the measures undertaken by Josiah and the laws of Deuteronomy it is very likely that the “Book of the Law” was a copy of Deuteronomy.

The Book of the Wars of the Lord This book is quoted in Numbers 21:14-15 ( Numbers 21:17-18 ,Numbers 21:17-18,21:27-30 may also represent quotations from this book). The part of the book quoted describes the territory conquered by God in behalf of the Israelites. The book was probably a collection of poems which relate the conquest of the land during the time of Moses and Joshua. As the title of the book suggests, the Lord (acting as commander-in-chief) was responsible for the success of the conquest.

The Books of Joshua Joshua wrote one book detailing the allotment of Canaan to the Israelite tribes (Joshua 18:9 ) and a book similar to the “Book of the Covenant” listed above (Joshua 24:25-26 ).

The Book of Jashar (or Upright) A book quoted twice in the Old Testament: Joshua's poetic address to the sun and the moon (Joshua 10:12-13 ) and David's lament for Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:17-27 ). Others would include Solomon's words of dedication of the Temple (1 Kings 8:12-13 ), which the earliest Greek translation attributes to the book of song (Hebrew shir ), a transposition of letters of Hebrew jshr or ishr for Jashar. Deborah's song ( Judges 5:1 ), and Miriam's song (Exodus 15:20-21 ) are sometimes seen as part of Jashar. The “Book of Jashar” probably consisted of poems on important events in Israel's history collected during the time of David or Solomon. The “Book of Jashar” is often compared to or identified with the “Book of the Wars of the Lord” discussed above.

The Book of the Acts of Solomon Probably a biographical document that included such stories as Solomon's judgment between the two harlots (1 Kings 3:16-28 ), Solomon's administrative arrangements (1 Kings 4:1-19 ), and the visit of the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1-13 ).

Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel Perhaps a continuous journal compiled by scribes from various sources but not to be confused with 1,2Chronicles in the Bible. The writer of 1,2Kings mentions this book eighteen times as containing more complete information on the reigns of the kings of Israel (1 Kings 14:19; 1 Kings 15:31; 1Kings 16:5,1Kings 16:14,1Kings 16:20,1 Kings 16:27; 1 Kings 22:39; 2 Kings 1:18; 2 Kings 10:34; 2Kings 13:8,2 Kings 13:12; 2Kings 14:15,2 Kings 14:28; 2Kings 15:11,2Kings 15:15,2Kings 15:21,2Kings 15:26,2 Kings 15:31 ).

Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah Source similar to the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel, not to be confused with 1,2Chronicles in the Bible. The writer of 1,2Kings mentions this book 15 times as containing more complete information on the reigns of the kings of Judah (1 Kings 14:29; 1Kings 15:7,1 Kings 15:23; 1 Kings 22:45; 2 Kings 8:23; 2 Kings 12:19; 2 Kings 14:18; 2Kings 15:6,2 Kings 15:36; 2 Kings 16:19; 2 Kings 20:20; 2Kings 21:17,2 Kings 21:25; 2 Kings 23:28; 2 Kings 24:5 ).

Books Mentioned in 1,2Chronicles The “Book of the Kings of Israel” (1 Chronicles 9:1; 2 Chronicles 20:34 ), the “Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah” (2 Chronicles 27:7; 2 Chronicles 35:27; 2 Chronicles 36:8 ), the “Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel” (2 Chronicles 16:11; 2 Chronicles 25:26; 2 Chronicles 28:26; 2 Chronicles 32:32 ), the “Acts of the Kings of Israel” (2 Chronicles 33:18 ), and the “Commentary on the Book of the Kings” (2 Chronicles 24:27 ). Many think these titles are references to the same work and refer to it as the “Midrash of the Kings.” This work may contain the books of the chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah listed above or at least be very similar in content to them.

Also mentioned in 1,2Chronicles are books of various prophets: the “Book of Samuel the Seer” (1 Chronicles 29:29 ), the “Book of Nathan the prophet” (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29 ), the “Book of Gad the Seer” (1 Chronicles 29:29 ), the “Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite” (2 Chronicles 9:29 ), the “Visions of Iddo the Seer against Jeroboam the Son of Nebat” (2 Chronicles 9:29 ), the “Book of Shemaiah the Prophet and Iddo the Seer” (2 Chronicles 12:15 ), the “Story of the Prophet Iddo” (2 Chronicles 13:22 ), the “Book of Jehu the Son of Hanani” (2 Chronicles 20:34 ), the “Acts of Uzziah” (2 Chronicles 26:22; written by Isaiah), the “Vision of Isaiah the Prophet” (2 Chronicles 32:32 ), and the “Saying of the Seers” (2 Chronicles 33:19 ). All of these, except for the last, may have been part of the “Midrash of the Kings.”

Various other works are also mentioned in 1,2Chronicles: genealogies of the tribe of Gad (1 Chronicles 5:17 ), the “Chronicles of King David” (1 Chronicles 27:24 ), an untitled work containing the plan for the Temple (1 Chronicles 28:19 ), works on the organization of the Levites written by David and Solomon (2 Chronicles 35:4 ), and lamentations for the death of Josiah by Jeremiah and others (2 Chronicles 35:25 ).

Book of the Chronicles A work which contained genealogies and possibly other historical material (Nehemiah 7:5; Nehemiah 12:23 ) but was distinct from 1,2Chronicles.

Books by the Prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 30:8 compare Isaiah 8:16 ) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:13; Jeremiah 30:2; Jeremiah 36:1; Jeremiah 45:1; Jeremiah 51:60 ,Jeremiah 51:60,51:63 ) are said to have written books. These may have represented the first stages of the collections of their prophecies we now have.

Book (of Records) of the Chronicles or Book of Memorable Deeds The royal archives of Persia which contained, among other things, the way in which Mordecai saved the life of King Ahasuerus (Esther 2:20-23; Esther 6:1; Esther 10:2; compare Ezra 4:15 ).

Book of Remembrance Book mentioned in Malachi 3:16 . Probably the same as the Book of Life (see Book of Life ).

Scripture (Book) of Truth Book mentioned in Daniel 10:21 . Probably the same as the Book of Life (see Book of Life ).

Phil Logan

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Book(S)'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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