Authors of the Bible
"Authors of the Bible" tells the stories of the individual authors of the Bible in a chronological fashion, beginning around 1005 BCE when Judah's King David wrote The Book Jashar, parts of which were, a few years later, incorporated into the original Book of Samuel.
After beginning with the telling of the story of how Egypt came to conquer Canaan around 1550 BCE, Authors of the Bible describes how the Canaanite peasant-farmers endured four hundred years of Egyptian bondage in Canaan.
Authors of the Bible then tells the stories of the various individuals who wrote the Bible beginning with Judah's King David who began writing the Bible when he composed his elegy upon the deaths of King Saul and three of his sons at Mount Gilboa around 1005 BCE. David added stories of the brave deeds of the heroes of the twelve tribes he sought to unite. After David abdicated around 965 BCE Solomon commissioned the prophet Nathan to write the original Book of Samuel--the object of which was to legitimize Solomon as David's successor. Then, around 931 BCE, when Solomon died and his son, Rehoboam, lost the northern kingdom of Israel, a third writer wrote the original books of Genesis and Exodus in an (unsuccessful) effort to reunite the two kingdoms.
The struggle for power between the House of David and the priesthood--which had become much stronger due to its control of the national treasury--continued on and led to the writing of the Book of Deuteronomy during the time of King Josiah (639-609 BCE)--with Jeremiah the prophet as author who, with the help of his scribe, Baruch ben Neriyah, also wrote the original Book of Kings which provided an historical link between Solomon and Joshua. After Joshua's death at the Battle of Meggido in 609 BCE the monarchy had only a few years left before many of the Judahite elite were deported to Nippur in Babylon.
There the writing continued. The prophet Ezekiel, a true Judahite patriot, urged King Nebucchadnezzar to attack Judah's enemies, Tyre and Egypt but after those ventures failed, seems to have lost his power around 570 BCE. Around 520 BCE Ezra, wrote a new version of the Torah and supplemented that which already existed. And then, with the permission of the Persian king, Ezra used it to dispossess the families who had stayed behind in Jerusalem, taking both their land and their property. After Alexander's death the Ptolemies in Alexandria arranged for the translation of the Hebrew Bible (as it then existed) from Hebrew into Greek. Later authors added the books of Ecclesiastes (based largely upon Epicurus), Job (strongly influenced by the plays of Euripedes), the Song of Songs (which added a new ending to the story of David's last concubine, Abishag), Esther, and Daniel. Authors of the Bible also includes a chapter on the writing of the New Testament.
Each of the book's fifteen chapters is extensively footnoted and annotated in an appendix at the end of the book. A second appendix provides an extensive timeline making it easier to see the Bible in its historical context. Another appendix contains a reconstruction of the surprisingly erotic Song of Songs which is believed to have originally been written for performance as a play.
In addition to the first comprehensive telling of the story of how the Bible was written, readers will also find the Bibliography which lists over 175 books and scholarly articles, particularly helpful in pursuing their study of the many aspects of the writing of the Bible.
Even though there had been peace between northern and southern Egypt for well over a hundred years, the Egyptians in southern Egypt probably still regarded the Hyksos in the Nile Delta in the north as usurpers when, in the Spring of 1574 BCEk, a messenger from the Hyksos capital at Avaris arrived at the palace of he Egyptian king, Seqenenre Tao, in Thebes with a letter so absurd that it provokes wonder to this day.
The letter complained that the hippopotami in the canal connecting the Sacred Pool baside the temple of Amun-e to the river Nile east of Thebes, were making so much noise that neither the Hyksos king, Apepi I, nor any of his subjects could sleep, either day or night. Considering that five hundred miles separated Aavaris and Thebes, it was an absurd complaint and admitted that it had been designed as such.