The Lost Books of the Old Testament

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor
of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

The Old Testament has thirty-nine books. However, several books and other works are mentioned in the Old Testament which are not part of the canon. Nothing is known about these books. They probably fell into disuse or were lost over the years.

The following books and works are mentioned in the Old Testament:

1. The Book of the Wars of Yahweh (Numbers 21:14).

2. The Book of Jasher (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18).

3. The Book of the Rights and Duties of the King (1 Samuel 10:25).

4. Solomon’s three thousand proverbs (1 Kings 4:32).

5. Solomon’s Thousand and Five Songs (1 Kings 4:32).

6. Solomon’s manual on botany and manual on biology (1 Kings 4:33).

7. The Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41).

8. The Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel (1 Kings 14:19).

9. The Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah (1 Kings 15:7).

10. The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel (2 Chronicles 16:11).

11. The Midrash of the Book of the Kings (2 Chronicles 24:27).

12. The Acts of the Kings of Israel (2 Chronicles 33:18).

13. The Chronicles of King David (1 Chronicles 27:24).

14. The Chronicles of Samuel the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29).

15. The Chronicles of Nathan the Prophet (1 Chronicles 29:29).

16. The History of Nathan the Prophet (2 Chronicles 9:29).

17. The Vision of Isaiah (2 Chronicles 32:32).

18. The Chronicles of Gad the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29).

19. The Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite (2 Chronicles 9:29).

20. The Visions of Iddo the Seer (2 Chronicles 9:29).

21. The Genealogical Records by Iddo the Seer (2 Chronicles 12:15).

22. The Midrash of the Prophet Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22).

23. The Chronicles of Shemaiah the Prophet (2 Chronicles 12:15).

24. The Chronicles of Jehu the son of Hanani (2 Chronicles 20:34).

25. The Acts of Uzziah Written by Isaiah the Prophet (2 Chronicles 26:22).

26. The History of Hozai (2 Chronicles 33:19).

27. The Book of the Laments (2 Chronicles 35:25).

28. The Memorial Book about the Amalekites (Exodus 17:14).

29. The Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24:7).

30. The Book of the LORD (Isaiah 34:16).

31. The Book of the Chronicles (Nehemiah 12:23).

32. The Annals of the Kings of Media and Persia (Esther 10:2).

33. The Chronicles of King Ahasuerus (Esther 2:23).

None of these books survived. If they had, we would know much more about the history of Israel and many of the questions we have about kings, wars, and other events probably would be answered and many doubts about the events of the past would disappear.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary


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24 Responses to The Lost Books of the Old Testament

  1. Duane Smith says:

    >There were no doubt many other documents like economic, agricultural, and medical texts that it would be helpful to have if for no other reason than to get a better grasp of the Hebrew language. In addition, we have relatively few letters and no formally constructed contracts or treaties. A fairly large number of other genres that we see in contemporary Akkadian and Egyptians texts are also missing, if they ever existed in Hebrew.


  2. >Dr. Mariottini, I appreciate this post. I have never seen a list like this before.I was wondering what you thought of the noncannonical books mentioned in the Old Testament that we do have copies of such as Jubilees and Jashur and Enoch?


  3. >Duane,I agree with you. We can only think of the letters, contracts, agreements, covenants, and many other documents that have been lost. Just imagine what we could learn if we could find some of these lost books and documents.Claude Mariottini


  4. >Marcus,I am glad you enjoyed the post on the lost books of the Bible.Lay me say a few words about the books you mentioned. The book of Jasher (not Jashur) is mentioned twice in the Bible, but the book is lost. There is a book of Jasher that was published in the 19th century, but it is a forgery.The book of Enoch is quoted in the book of Jude in the New Testament, but it is a pseudepigraphical book. The book of Jubilees is not mentioned in the Bible. These two last books are part of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. There are many things in these books that talk about religious life in the century before Christ but they have little or nothing to say to the church.Claude Mariottini


  5. Jeffrey says:

    >Dr. Claude MariottiniDid Jesus Christ or the Apostles quoted from any of these so called Lost books?


  6. >Thanks for clearing it up and my spelling!


  7. Kepler says:

    >Jeffrey,In the same way as we cannot know for sure if the so-called "quotations" of the known books may very well refer to other books as well.Take some references that are apparently linking to, say, Joshua AND chronicles or the like. Why are they seen as quotations? Sometimes because the content is rather similar. Still, the same things may have appeared in other books we know nothing of.Actually, there are parts of the Old Testament that are almost verbatim what Egyptian or Assyrian texts were saying. TakeProverbs and the great resemblance with this: you have strikingly similar texts in other older sources that are non Biblical, what are the chances there are similar ones within the Hebrew texts that were produced?


  8. >Marcus,If I corrected you was just to answer your question correctly. I hope you did not get offended by the correction.Claude Mariottini


  9. >Jeffrey,In answer to your question, so far as we know, neither Jesus nor Paul quoted from any of the lost books of the Bible. Most of these books probably were already lost by the first century.Paul, however, quoted from some secular writers. One of this quotation is clearly mentioned in the book of Acts 17:27.Claude Mariottini


  10. >Kaplan,In answer to your comment and Jeffrey's question above, we know that some of the canonical books quoted from these lost books. For instance, Joshua 10:12-14 reflects a direct quote from the book of Jashar.There are quotes from other sources in the canonical books, as the book of Proverbs shows.Jeffrey's question was whether Jesus or Paul quoted from these books. As I said in my answer to Jeffrey, as far as we know, they did not, since these books probably no longer existed in the first century.Claude Mariottini


  11. Jeffrey says:

    >Dr. Claude Mariottini I’m not sure if this makes sense to you. This is why I’m a person of Christocentric and Apostolic Hermeneutics of the Bible.The Holy Spirit through the teachings of Jesus Christ and Apostles shows me how to interpret the Old and New Testament.The foundation is built upon the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone.That is why I don’t believe in the theory of Jesus and the Apostles quoted from the wrong text.Jesus Christ is the Word.Paul said though we or angel from heaven, preach any other gospel then we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.


  12. >Jeffrey, I do not dispute what you are saying, but the truth is that in Acts 17:27 Paul quoted a pagan philosopher. Check it for yourself.Claude Mariottini


  13. Jeffrey says:

    >Dr. MariottiniAre you sure the pagan philosopher did not get his words from some godly person before him ?God made a donkey talk.God Bless you in Jesus name


    • Daniel Fine says:

      Just because we are alive with the current bible does not mean it is full intact. we make that decision on faith. If we assume that the pagan philosopher got his words from a godly person then we have to be a lot less skeptical in society – this is a slippery slope. We have to read the bible critically and also conclude that there are different versions of the bible. We can’t just choose what works for us because of indoctrination – we have to be a little open minded (obviously the church has got it wrong in the past). Some questions are better left for God (not our assumption). Learn to judge less, lest ye be judged.
      Truth is there was more books in the bible during jesus’s teachings then there are now. Do some research on the bible that Ethiopia has kept intact since 400AD – maybe the closest version intact from the earliest of time.


  14. >Oh no! I meant to express gratitude that helped me so much!


  15. >Jeffrey,The answer is "no."Claude Mariottini


  16. >Marcus,Good, because what I did, I did to help.Claude Mariottini


  17. Kepler says:

    >Jeffrey,Paul was using the word evangeloi. That is as much as "message".Now what message are we to interpret from those different accounts throughout the Bible, from the diverging (very diverging) genealogies of Jesus christ (thus, it cannot be one from Mary, one from Joseph), the different ends to the coins Juda got (in one account he threw them away, in another he bought a land plot where he hanged himself) and so on.Here some: fact is we cannot take things literally. They were for their given time. The important thing is to keep the key MESSAGE.The same: we know 6-7 days are not to be taken literally. Mankind has existed for over 100 thousand years.A great book:


  18. Kepler says:

    >Dr Mariottini,Thanks for the references to Jashar.


  19. Jeffrey says:

    >Kepler,Let God be true and every man be liar.What God says by his Presence (Holy Spirit) via the Word (Bible) is Truth anything MAN says contradictory to that are liars.In the name of Jesus ChristLuke is from Mary and Matthew is from Joseph. The Seed came through the son of David, Nathan, for God told one of those individuals in the Old testament his seed would not sit on the throne, I believe its Jechonias.Always remember when God Says something it will come to pass. Mary’s genealogy goes all the way back to Adam the Seed came all the way down to Mary.These two genealogies show you that what God said happened, Jechonias seed do not come down through to Mary but it do come to Joseph but he is a step father.


  20. Adam Stuart says:

    >Dr. Mariottini,Thank you for your informative post above. I was aware of several of these lost books of the Bible but did not realize there were so many, and lament their loss. Also thanks to Kepler for the link to the Wikipedia article regarding the Instructions of Amenemope. I do think that there are striking similarities between ‘Amenemope’ and Proverbs. The debate over when ‘Amenemope’ was composed looks like one on which ideas on revising Egyptian chronology may shed light. Did ‘Amenemope’ influence the writing of Proverbs or vice versa? The Wikipedia article indicates that a major factor in determining the direction of influence is the date when ‘Amenemope’ was composed. Pharaohs of the 19th dynasty have been dated, at least tentatively, to the period of the 8th-7th centuries BC (by Donovan Courville and in ‘Unwrapping the Pharaohs’ by John Ashton and archaeologist David Down) or to the late 7th/early 6th centuries BC (by Velikovsky in ‘Ramses II and His Time’, for many reasons). I have previously argued at this blog that the Merneptah Stele describes the desolation of Palestine after destructions and deportations by either the Assyrians or Babylonians and does not fit the time of the Exodus.The Wikipedia article indicates that because a 21st dynasty date makes ‘Amenemope’ chronologically prior to the earliest possible date for Proverbs, this would establish definitively the priority of ‘Amenemope’ over Proverbs and make influence in the other direction an impossibility.I suggest otherwise. In ‘Peoples of the Sea’ Velikovsky dated 21st dynasty texts to the Persian period (the dynasty being characterized by local rule by priest-princes under overall Persian rule) and just after it. Thus the ‘barbarians’ of 21st dynasty text(s), who oppressed Egyptians and levied taxes, would be the Persians; Greek authors routinely referred to Persians as ‘barbarians’ meaning ‘foreigners’. Velikovsky interpreted the 21st dynasty Stela of the Banishment (Maunier Stela) as an Egyptian record of Alexander the Great’s visit to Egypt and the oracle of Amon in 332-331 BC. [I urge professional scholars to please read ‘Peoples of the Sea’, including the chapter “Alexander”. This chapter itself is worthy of headline news]. Regarding the ‘Instructions of Amenemope’, please see the Wikipedia article’s table of fragments listed by date. If one dates the 21st dynasty fragments to the Persian period (if there are any—are they 21st or 22nd dynasty? They are listed in the table as being in dynasties 21-22 or late 21st-early 22nd), then the earliest fragments would date to some time in the first half of the first millenium BC. Thus for example the earliest fragments could be from the 8th century BC. Or the 9th. So the questions need to be asked: In light of ideas on revised Egyptian chronology, was ‘Amenemope’ composed in the first millenium BC? Was Proverbs composed earlier or later? Which influenced which? Adam Stuart


  21. >Adam,Last year, during the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in New Orleans, I had the opportunity to talk to a friend about Velikovsky’s theory. This friend is an Egyptian archaeologist who has done intensive work in Egypt. He is versed in Egyptian history and culture. He can read Egyptian hieroglyphic and is very familiar with Egyptian literature.He said that Velikovsky’s work does not agree with the reality of Egyptian archaeology and history. He said that he has read some of Velikovsky’s work and as an Egyptian archeologist, he cannot accept Velikovsky’s theories and proposals. In addition, no Egyptologist and Hittitologist believe that Egyptian and Hittite history should be lowered by 500-600 years.I have written my own review of Velikovsky’s three books (here, here, and here). As I said in my review, it is just unbelievable that the events related to the ten plagues that struck Egypt at the time of the Exodus were caused by a comet that passed close to earth around 1500 B.C., a comet that eventually became the planet Venus.Also, Velikovsky’s theory is based on the view that the "Papyrus Ipuwer", published under the title “Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage”, provides an eyewitness of the tragic events caused by the approaching comet. I am not aware of any Egyptologist that believes that the "Papyrus Ipuwer" is describing the destruction caused by the planet Venus.I know that you are a firm believer in Velikovsky’s theory and that you have been trying to convince the readers of my blog that Velikovsky’s theory is true. Velikovsky’s theory is not true; his ideas are just that, a theory. So, I would like to request that you stop promoting Velikovsky’s views in my blog. No other comment promoting Velikovsky’s views will be accepted. Further comments promoting Velikovsky’s views will be deleted.Claude Mariottini


  22. Johnny C says:

    >Dr MariottiniThank you for the opportunity to post at your blog about a great many things. I have found your insight inspiring – like the Mother's Day story of Rizpah, that ofen goes untold, but once we are aware of it, it is unforgettable. I am aware of a scripture in which God says something like "behold, I will do something in your day that you will not believe, even if someone told you" or something to that effect. Sometimes unbelievable things can and do happen. Like the exodus, the flood was unbelievable to all but Noah. I have posted something about the shape of the ark, being possibly a papyrus vessel, and was wondering in this context, are there genuine apochryphal traditions that further describe Noah and the flood? Is/was there a book of Noah? Johnny C Godowski


  23. >Johnny,Thank you for your nice words. I welcome comments to my posts. This allows me to be in touch with people who read by blog regularly.I love Rizpah's story. It is unfortunate that many people do not know that story in the Bible.The scripture you refer is found in Habakkuk 1:5. It is a great verse in the Bible.Where have you posted the information about the Ark? There is a Book of Noah that is mentioned in the of Enoch and also in the book of Jubilees. You can read about the Book of Noah here.


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