June 2024

3. Dating and Authorship of the Old Testament Books, Psalm 151, Foy and Foss

Dating and Authorship of the Old Testament Books
Date(s) for Old Testament BooksWriter [Where a Book has been written by more than one person / covers more than one period of history then dating relates to the main portion of that Book]
Job: Considered earliest, but date unknownMoses ?, Job ?
Genesis: 1445 BC – 1405 BCMoses 1526 BC – 1406 BC = 120y
Exodus: 1445 BC – 1405 BCMoses 1526 BC – 1406 BC = 120y
Leviticus: 1445 BC – 1405 BCMoses 1526 BC – 1406 BC = 120y
Numbers: 1445 BC – 1405 BCMoses 1526 BC – 1406 BC = 120y
Deuteronomy: 1445 BC – 1405 BCMoses 1526 BC – 1406 BC = 120y
Joshua: 1405 BC – 1385 BCJoshua 1468 BC – 1358 BC = 110y
Judges: 1043 BCSamuel 1129 BC – 1017 BC = 112y
Ruth: 1030 BC – 1010 BCSamuel 1129 BC – 1017 BC = 112y
1 Samuel: 931 BC – 722 BCSamuel 1129 BC – 1017 BC = 112y
2 Samuel: 931 BC – 722 BCSamuel 1129 BC – 1017 BC = 112y
Psalms: 1410 BC – 450 BCDavid 1040 BC – 970 BC = 70y     Most [at least 73] Psalms were by David*
Song of Songs: 971 BC – 965 BCSolomon 989 BC – 931 BC = 58y
Proverbs: 971 BC – 686 BCSolomon ch.1-29; also Agur ch. 30, Lemuel ch. 31
Ecclesiastes: 940 BC – 931 BCSolomon 989 BC – 931 BC = 58y
Joel: 835 BC – 796 BCJoel 858 BC – 790 BC = 68y     active 835 BC – 796 BC = 37
Jonah: 775 BCJonah 823 BC – 720 BC = 103y     active 786 BC – 746 BC = 40
Amos: 750 BCAmos 810 BC – 740 BC = 70y     active 786 – 742 = 44
Hosea: 750 BC – 710 BCHosea 775 BC – 710 BC = 65y     active 750 – 722 = 28
Micah: 735 BC – 710 BCMicah 760 BC – 700 BC = 60y     active 737 – 696 = 41
Isaiah: 700 BC – 681 BCIsaiah 766 BC – 686 BC = 80y
Zephaniah: 635 BC – 625 BCZephaniah 665 – 600 BC = 65y     active 641 – 610 = 31
Nahum: 650 BCNahum 683 BC – 610 BC = 73y
Habakkuk: 615 BC – 605 BCHabakkuk 638 BC – 538 BC = 100y     active 615 – 605 = 10
Ezekiel: 597 BCEzekiel 622 BC – 571 BC = 51y
Lamentations: 586 BCJeremiah 643 BC – 570 BC = 73y
Jeremiah: 586 BC – 570 BCJeremiah 643 BC – 570 BC = 73y
Daniel: 605 BC – 536 BCDaniel 622 BC – 530 BC = 92y
Obadiah: 586 BC – 533 BCObadiah 625? BC – 525? BC = 100y
1 Kings: 561 BC – 538 BCJeremiah
2 Kings: 561 BC – 538 BCJeremiah
Haggai: 520 BCHaggai 610 BC – 510 BC = 100y
Zechariah: 520 BC – 518 BCZechariah
Esther: 465 BCMordecai? – the cousin of Esther > 520 BC – 450 BC = 70y
Ezra: 457 BC – 444 BCEzra 480 BC – 440 BC = 40y
1 Chronicles: 450 BC – 440 BCEzra 480 BC – 440 BC = 40y
2 Chronicles: 450 BC – 440 BCEzra 480 BC – 440 BC = 40y
Malachi: 445 BC – 432 BCMalachi     active 445 BC 432 BC = 13
Nehemiah: 445 BC – 425 BCNehemiah 473 BC – 403 BC = 70y     King’s cup bearer 445 BC – 444 BC
* Sons of Korah wrote [10] Psalms 42, 44-49, 84-85, 87; Asaph wrote [12] Psalms 50, 73-83; Heman wrote [1] Psalm 88; Ethan wrote [1] Psalm 89;
Hezekiah wrote [11] Psalms 120-123, 128-130, 132, 134-136; Solomon wrote [2] Psalms 72, 127 and Moses wrote [1] Psalm 90.
However, Jewish tradition identifies 11 authors to the Psalms: King David, Adam, Melchizedek, Abraham, Moses, Heman, Jeduthun, Asaph, and the three sons of Korah. The three descendants of the line of Korah who were great musical masters and penned the Psalms were: Heman, Asaph, and Ethan. Heman, a grandson of Samuel, penned Psalm 88, and was known for his wisdom. Asaph, one of the leaders of David’s choir, served as a musician and seer. Other men by the name of Asaph served men such as King Hezekiah and Nehemiah. And Ethan (or Jeduthan), another one of David’s chief musicians, also served as a prophet like Asaph. He, Asaph, and Heman served as choral directors of the Psalms, which would have been accompanied by music.
150-73-24-14 =39 Psalms.
The Psalms cover the time period from Moses to the Babylonian captivity and they also includes many prophecies about Christ.
Data in Italic text implies less certainty.
Explanatory Notes for the paragraph below:
The Septuagint, sometimes referred to as the Greek Old Testament or The Translation of the Seventy, and often abbreviated as LXX, is the earliest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible from the original Hebrew.
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew and Aramaic text of the 24 Books of the Hebrew Bible [the Tanach] in Rabbinic Judaism. The Masoretic Text defines the Jewish canon and its precise letter-text, with its vocalization and accentuation known as the mas’sora. For more information about these 24 Books see
Supernumerary means [in the case below] that David had helpers or called upon the expertise of other people.
Peshitta, (Syriac: “simple” or “common”) Syriac version of the Bible, the accepted Bible of Syrian Christian churches from the end of the 3rd century ce. The name “Peshitta” was first employed by Moses bar Kepha in the 9th century to suggest (as does the name of the Latin Vulgate) that the text was in common use.
Syriac is the language of ancient Syria, a western dialect of Aramaic in which many important early Christian texts are preserved, and which is still used by Syrian Christians as a liturgical language.
Psalm 151 is a short Psalm found in most copies of the Septuagint (LXX), but not in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible. The title given to this Psalm in the Septuagint indicates that it is supernumerary, as no number is affixed to it. The Psalm is ascribed to David. It is also included in some manuscripts of the Peshitta. The Psalm concerns the event of David and Goliath. The Psalm assumes familiarity with other Biblical passages, from which it draws phraseology. The Psalm 151 is preserved in Hebrew, Greek (LXX), and Syriac.
Psalm 151:1 I was small among my brothers, and the youngest in my father’s house; I tended my father’s sheep.
Psalm 151:2 My hands made a harp; my fingers fashioned a lyre.
Psalm 151:3 And who will tell my Lord? The Lord Himself; it is He who hears.
Psalm 151:4 It was he who sent His messenger and took me from my father’s sheep, and anointed me with his anointing oil.
Psalm 151:5 My brothers were handsome and tall, But the Lord was not pleased with them.
Psalm 151:6 I went out to meet the Philistine, and he cursed me by his idols.
Psalm 151:7 But I drew his own sword; I beheaded him, and took away disgrace from the people of Israel.
While the King James Version draws its translation of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew of the Masoretic Texts, translations used in branches of the Eastern Orthodox Church rely on the Septuagint to bring the Books of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha into the vernacular languages of the Orthodox world—languages such as Russian, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, and Arabic. The Greek Orthodox Church, where Koine Greek endures as a liturgical language in the same fashion as Latin does in the Roman Catholic Church, still uses the Septuagint itself these many centuries later.
The oldest manuscripts, namely the Dead Sea Scrolls text of Samuel from the late 1st century BC, the 1st-century AD historian Josephus, and the major Septuagint manuscripts, all give Goliath’s height incorrectly as “four cubits and a span” (6 feet 9 inches or 2.06 metres), whereas the Masoretic Text has “six cubits and a span” (9 feet 9 inches or 2.97 metres).
Saul was chosen to lead the Israelites against their enemies, but when faced with Goliath he refuses to do so; Saul is a head taller than anyone else in all Israel (1 Samuel 9:2), which implies he was over 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and the obvious challenger for Goliath, yet David is the one who eventually defeated him.
1 Samuel 9:2 And he had a son, whose name [was] Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and [there was] not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward [he was] higher than any of the people.
David was most likely around 4’10” to 5’0” (148–153 cm).
As the sons of Jesse passed before Samuel, he would have selected Eliab, who was of high stature, and dignified appearance, but the angel of God stood by him to guide him in the important decision, and instructed him that he should not judge from appearance. Eliab did not fear the Lord. His heart was not right with God. He would make a proud, exacting ruler. None were found among the sons of Jesse but David, the youngest, whose humble occupation was that of tending sheep. He had filled the humble office of shepherd with such faithfulness and courage that God selected him to be captain of his people. In course of time, he was to change his shepherd’s crook for the sceptre. {4aSG 77.5 1864}
David was not of lofty stature, but his countenance was beautiful, expressive of humility, honesty, and true courage. The angel of God signified to Samuel that David was the one for him to anoint, for he was God’s chosen. From that time the Lord gave David a prudent and understanding heart. {4aSG 78.1 1864}
When the Philistines renewed war with Israel, David was permitted to go to his father’s house to resume the occupation of shepherd, which he loved. The Philistines dare not venture their large armies against Israel, as they had heretofore done, fearing they would be overcome, and fall before Israel. They are ignorant of the weakness of Israel. They know not that Saul and his people have great anxiety, and they dare not commence the battle with them, fearing that Israel will be overcome. But the Philistines propose their own manner of warfare, in selecting a man of great size and strength, whose height is about twelve feet; and they send this champion forth to provoke a combat with Israel, requesting them to send out a man to fight with him. He was terrible in appearance, and spoke proudly, and defied the armies of Israel and their God. {1SP 370.1 1870}
For forty days the host of Israel had trembled before the haughty challenge of Goliath, the Philistine giant. Their hearts failed within them as they looked upon his massive form, measuring six cubits and a span, or ten and a half feet, in height. Upon his head was a helmet of brass, he was clothed with a coat of mail that weighed five thousand shekels, or about a hundred and fifty-seven pounds, and he had greaves of brass upon his legs. The coat was made of plates of brass that overlaid one another, like the scales of a fish, and they were so closely joined that no dart or arrow could possibly penetrate the armor. At his back the giant bore a huge javelin, or lance, also of brass. “The staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and one bearing a shield went before him.” {ST, August 10, 1888 par. 1}
For forty days, morning and evening, Goliath had approached the camp of Israel, saying with a loud voice, “Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? Choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants; but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.” No one had dared to go against this boaster, until David, stirred with indignation at the proud words of the idolater, offered himself to Saul, as one who was willing to fight for the glory of God and the honor of Israel. {ST, August 10, 1888 par. 2}
Saul decided to permit the shepherd to make the venture; but he had small hope that David would be successful in his courageous undertaking. Command was given to clothe the youth in the king’s own armor. The heavy helmet of brass was put upon his head, and the coat of mail was placed upon his body, while he was girded with the monarch’s sword. Thus equipped, he started upon his errand; but erelong he turned back, and began to retrace his steps. What was the trouble? Was he afraid? The first thought in the minds of the anxious spectators was that David had decided not to risk his life in meeting an antagonist in so unequal an encounter. But this was far from the thought of the brave young man. {ST, August 10, 1888 par. 3}
When he returned to Saul, he begged permission to lay aside the heavy armor, and he said, “I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them.” He laid off the king’s armor, and in its stead took only his staff in his hand, with his shepherd’s scrip, and a simple sling. Choosing five smooth stones out of the brook, he put them in his bag, and, with his sling in his hand, he drew near to the Philistine. The champion strode boldly and proudly forward, expecting to meet with the mightiest of the warriors of Israel. His armor-bearer walked before him, and he looked as if nothing could stand before him. As he came nearer to David, he saw but a stripling, called a boy because of his youth. His countenance was ruddy with health; and his slender form, unprotected by armor, displayed all its youthful outline in marked contrast to the massive proportions of the Philistine. {ST, August 10, 1888 par. 4}
Goliath was filled with amazement and anger. His indignation burst forth in words that were calculated to terrify and overwhelm the daring youth before him. “Am I a dog,” exclaimed the giant, “that thou comest to me with staves?” Then the Philistine poured upon David the most terrible curses by all the gods of his knowledge. He cried in derision, “Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.” This haughty threat only served to inspire the youth with loftier courage, and to kindle in his breast a greater zeal to silence the enemy of his people. He did not weaken before the champion of the Philistine. He knew that he was about to fight for the honor of his God and the deliverance of Israel, and his heart was full of calm faith and hope. {ST, August 10, 1888 par. 5}
David stepped forward, and addressed his antagonist in language that was both modest and eloquent. And he said to the Philistine, “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.” {ST, August 10, 1888 par. 6}
What an inspiration of courage and lofty faith was displayed by the simple shepherd before the armies of the Israelites and the Philistines. There was a ring of fearlessness in his tone, a look of triumph and rejoicing upon his fair countenance. This speech, given in a clear, musical voice, rang out on the air, and was distinctly heard by the listening thousands encamped for war. As David’s rich voice uttered the words of trust and triumph, the anger of Goliath was roused to the very highest heat. In his rage, he pushed up the helmet that protected his forehead, and rushed with determined hatred to wreak vengeance upon his opponent. The son of Jesse was preparing for his foe. Both armies were watching with the most intense interest. “And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.” {ST, August 10, 1888 par. 7}
Amazement spread along the lines of the two armies. They had been confident that David would be slain; but when the stone went whizzing through the air, straight to the mark, they saw the mighty warrior tremble, and reach forth his hands, as if he were struck with sudden blindness. The giant reeled, and staggered, and fell prostrate to the ground. David did not wait an instant. He knew not that life was extinct. He sprang upon the prostrate form of the Philistine, and with both hands he laid hold of Goliath’s heavy sword. A moment before the giant had flourished it before the face of David with the boast that he would sever the youth’s head from his shoulders, and give his body to the fowls of the air. Now it served to work the will of the servant of God. It was lifted in the air, and then the head of the boaster rolled from his trunk, and a shout of exultation went up from the camp of Israel. {ST, August 10, 1888 par. 8}
The Philistines were smitten with terror. They knew that the day was lost. In horror and confusion they began an irregular retreat. The shout of the triumphant Hebrews echoed along the summits of the mountains, as they rushed after their retreating enemies, and they “pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents. And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armor in his tent.” {ST, August 10, 1888 par. 9}
In the above event, God used a young, humble God-fearing person to prove that He controls all things.
God did the very same thing when He chose Ellen Harmon [Ellen G. White] to explain His Word [the Bible] by giving the Spirit of Prophecy to His people.
We will now dwell upon what happened around that time:
Ellen, with her twin sister Elizabeth, was born November 26, 1827, to Robert and Eunice Harmon. With eight children in the family, home was an interesting and busy place. The family lived on a small farm near the village of Gorham, Maine, in the northeastern part of the United States. However, a few years after the birth of the twins, Robert Harmon gave up farming, and, with his family, moved into the city of Portland, Maine, about twelve miles east.
During her childhood Ellen assisted about the home and helped her father in the manufacture of hats. At the age of nine, while returning home from school one afternoon, she was severely injured in the face by a stone thrown by a classmate. For three weeks she was unconscious, and in the years that followed she suffered greatly as a result of the serious injury to her nose. Ellen’s formal education ended abruptly, and it seemed to all that the formerly promising little girl could not live long. Ellen’s injury was serious, limiting her to a third-grade education but Ellen found comfort in her faith. At that time, a new religious enthusiasm was sweeping New England. After years of Bible study, a Baptist farmer turned evangelist named William Miller was teaching from the prophecies of the Book of Daniel [notably 8:13–14] that Jesus was about to return and that the present world would end “about the year 1843”. In the year 1840, Ellen, with her parents, attended a Methodist camp meeting at Buxton, Maine, and there, at the age of 12, she gave her heart to God. On June 26, 1842, at her request she was baptized by immersion in Casco Bay, Portland. That same day she was received as a member of the Methodist Church.
However, Ellen Harmon was the third person to receive divine messages From God.
Prior to her calling, two Millerites claimed to have had visions – William Ellis Foy (1818–1893), and Hazen Foss (1818?–1893). The gift offered to these two men was instead passed on to Ellen Harmon [Ellen G. White]. This was because the men kept their visions to themselves but when Ellen White revealed hers, it was the same as theirs.
The Lineage team have comprehensively covered details about these two men.
The Lineage Host is Adam Ramdin. Adam was Youth Director for the North England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. This post now belongs to Pastor Micah Campbell. Incidentally:
Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvellous [are] thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well.
The Youth Department has taken that Bible passage and created the word I. M. A. G. E, an acronym for “I’m Always Good Enough”.
Below is the William Ellis Foy and Hazen Foss article in full, albeit slightly adapted. All credit is given to the Lineage team for their detailed information. Their article [script] may be viewed here:
Alternatively, the YouTube version may be watched here:
The small meeting house on May Street in Boston was packed to the rafters with barely a square of space to stand on. William Ellis Foy shifted uncomfortably in his seat and focused on the speaker. It was 1842 and the Millerite movement was just beginning to gain traction across the East coast of the United States. Foy himself was a Freewill Baptist preacher who had embraced Miller’s teachings and was eagerly looking forward to the second coming of Jesus. Eagerly looking forward to Jesus coming. Foy’s mind lingered over the words. He was looking forward to the soon return of Jesus alright but how would he be able to stand before Him and answer for his terrible disobedience? Foy’s eyes restlessly combed through the standing crowd and he spotted one of his friends standing just behind him. The brother had been standing all evening and Foy decided to offer him his seat. Standing up he motioned for the brother to take his place. The man was only too grateful and he as he sat down he shot Foy a grateful smile.
Foy shifted his weight uncomfortably from one foot to another. His mind was dredging up events from two weeks ago and he wasn’t sure that he wanted to think about any of it. He had been in a little congregation on Southack Street, here in Boston when he had been taken off into vision. It had been an excruciating experience and for a long moment, he had really believed that he was dying. He had felt his breath being sucked out of his lungs in one long gust and then he had had a strange out of body experience. He had then seen a man dressed in white who had spoken to him. The vision lasted two and a half hours. When he came to he was informed that a doctor had been called to examine him and that there had been no signs of life in his body except around his heart.
The experience had been overpowering and immediately after he was convicted to share his experience. Foy forced his mind back to the present. How could he speak? For one thing, he was black. A free black he reminded himself, but black nonetheless he added hastily. Who would want to listen to him? How would he travel? How would he be received? Why couldn’t God pick someone more educated? Someone whose skin was a different colour? Why him? The barriers seemed insurmountable. Finally unable to bear the burden of the conviction he had written out a rough sketch of the vision and printed it out for distribution. He had tried to convince himself that that was sufficient to appease his conscience but the persistent voice continued to haunt him. He knew he was being disobedient, shirking his God-given duty but how could God expect him to…suddenly he heard a voice, the same voice he realised with a mental jolt, that he had heard two weeks ago. Again he felt a rush of air being sucked out of his body and he collapsed onto the floor.
Foy was given a second vision that day on May street which lasted twelve and a half hours. Three days after the second vision he shared what he had seen on at the Methodist Church on Broomfield street. This opened the door to many other opportunities and he travelled for three months speaking to packed houses. He then did manual labour to support his family before travelling along the preaching circuit once again. Foy was faithful to his calling, sharing all four of the visions he received in the years leading up to and immediately after the disappointment of 1844.
“Ellen, I want to speak with you” Ellen Harmon looked up at the familiar face of Hazen Foss and smiled. Hazen’s brother Samuel was married to her sister Mary and she frequently saw him when she visited her sister. “What is it Brother Foss?” she asked looking at him expectantly. Foss moved across the room and sat down next to her. “The Lord gave me a message to bear to His people and I refused after being told the consequences” Foss paused struggling to find the right words. “I was proud” he shook his head at the memory “I was unreconciled to the disappointment. I murmured against God and I wished myself dead” he stood up abruptly and began to pace the floor restlessly. “Then I felt a strange feeling come over me and…” he hesitated “and I heard a voice” his voice broke “a voice telling me ‘you have grieved away the Spirit of God” he stared intently at the floor not daring to look up at Ellen to gauge her reaction. I shall henceforth be as one dead to spiritual things” he said quietly.“Brother Foss” Ellen began haltingly as she took in his words “I…”.
Foss rushed on cutting her off. “I heard you talk last night. I believe the visions are taken from me and given to you. Do not refuse to obey God” he finally looked up at her and his eyes wore a tortured expression “Do not refuse to obey God” he repeated “for it will be at the peril of your soul…I am a lost man. You are chosen of God” he turned away again and slowly spoke the next few sentences “Be faithful in doing your work, and the crown I might have had, you will receive”.
It was a heartbreaking moment but also a fearful one. Hazen Foss never again showed interest in spiritual things.
The moral from the event is simple and poignant:
Be faithful to the calling God has placed on your life. Remember Hazen Foss.