Books of the Old Testament
The Law of Moses (Torah)
These five books form the Pentateuch,
and are always given in this order without variation.
THE LAW: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
The Books of the Law were the first Bible of Israel as a
from The Names and Order of the
Books of the Old Testament
by E.W. Bullinger
B'resheeth - The Book of the
Moses (BC 1571-1451) wrote the first book of the
law during the forty years of wanderings in the
wilderness BC 1491-1451. He was 80 years old.
Our word "Genesis" is really the
transliteration of the Greek word genesis, which
from the Septuagint has passed through the Vulgate
into all subsequent versions of the bible as the name of
the first book.
This name was given in order to describe the subject
matter of the book. The natural Greek word would have
been ktisis, "creation"; but genesis
was the technical term used by the philosophers of
Alexandria to express the origin of the universe.
As such it is not so far out, for the divine name in the
Hebrew Canon is Bresheeth, which is the
first word, and means "In the beginning". Hence
this book is The Book of the Beginning.
It is so called because it contains the beginning
of every thing, not only of the earth, of life, of man,
of sin and death, and of Israel, but the beginning of
that which forms the whole subject of divine revelation,
viz., the "enmity" between the two seeds,
between man and his great enemy the devil (Genesis 3:15).
"He was a murderer from The Beginning," i.e. anthropoktonos,
a slayer of man, says Christ (John 8:44), when He
directs our minds to the great conflict of the ages, in
which "from the beginning" from the first
murder (Genesis 4), the aim of the enemy has been to
destroy man and corrupt his seed (Genesis 6). The
Scriptures record the stages of the constant struggle.
Genesis begins it with the Adamic and Abrahmamic
history. Exodus continues it, and opens with the attempt
to destroy the whole nation. Satanic power is given to
Jannes and Jambres to withstand the deliverance of the
promised seed, Then, when the nation if formed, the
forces of the adversary are directed against the royal
house of David, and its very existence is threatened
again and again. The revolt of the ten tribes and their
apostasy to the satanic worship of Baal was a great blow.
Jehoshaphats affinity with Ahab resulted in three
generations of the royal family of Judah being cut off,
until the line of "the seed of the woman" hung
upon an infant less than a year old (Josial). For Jehoram
"slew all his brethren with the sword" (2
Chronicles 21:4). Ahaziah, his youngest son,
succeeds him, all his elder brothers being slain (2
Chronicles 22:1). And when Athaliah thought she had
"destroyed all the seed-royal of the house of Judah,"
the infant Joash alone escaped. The judgment of Hezekiah
(2 Kings 20:18) ends up the Old Testament history with
the royal seed deported and made eunuchs in the palace of
the King of Babylon! (Daniel 1).
Hence the book of The Beginning points to the great fact,
that without, what is wrongly called the New Testament,
Divine Revelation is incomplete.
The same Divine Author continues the same history. The
language is changed, but the subject is the same. The
gospel history takes up and continues the record of the
same enmity and of the same conflict. Briefly connecting
the links which were begun in Genesis, and dropped in
Babylon, it records that Jesus Christ was born, the
promised "seed of the woman", and tells how the
struggle is renewed. Like another Joash, Jesus was
rescued from the slain of Bethlehem. He frustrated the
design of the enemy on the precipice of Nazareth, but
though His heel was bruised in Gethsemane and Calvary, He
was declared to be the Son of God by power by His
resurrection from the dead (Romans 1) and God's Gospel is
now proclaimed on this basis, and righteousness imputed
on the same faith-principle as in Genesis. And finally,
the whole Revelation ends with the conclusion of the long
conflict (Revelation 12:9) until Satan is first bound for
1,000 years, and afterwards on being loosed, the record
of the "enmity" which begins in
Genesis ends with the final doom of the great Enemy in
the lake of fire.
How appropriate then, and how suggestive, is the name for
this first book - the book of the beginning.
Yes, that is all, but it is enough, for that which begins
there is that which is still going on until the close of
the whole divine record is reached.
Hence Genesis has been called the seed-plot of the whole
Bible, because, like the trees of Genesis 1:11-12, "its
seed is in itself". It contains, in germ, in type,
and prophecy, the essence of divine revelation, and the beginning
of that which finds its end unveiled in the Apocalypse.
Here too is the reason why these two books are the special object
of Satan's enmity - the former records his sentence; the
latter, its execution; the one records his judgment, the
other his doom. This is why these two books are either
impugned as to their authority, or ignored as being fable
But to return to the book itself, we may close by giving
a pretty idea of the Rabbins (It is found in the Ts'eenah
Ur'eenah, a popular commentary on the Pentateuch.
This title means, "Go ye and see" (Canticles 3:11)),
as to the very beginning of Genesis. They ask, "Why
does the Torah commence with Beth?" (Beth
is the second letter of the alphabet) The answer
is, Because Beth is the first letter of the word
Berachah "Blessing", and therefore has
God commenced the Torah with the Beth. Then the Aleph
(Aleph is the first letter of the
alphabet) flew before the Holy One (blessed be He!) and
said, "Begin the Torah with me, for I
am the first letter of the alphabet! The Holy
One (blessed be He!) replied, "I shall begin the
Decalogue on mount Sinai with the letter Aleph;
'I am the Lord thy God'" (Exodus 20:2. Anoche
"I"). And so the Torah commences with the word,
B'resheeth, "In the beginning," to
teach us that the world was created for the sake of the
Torah, which is called "the beginning of his way"
(Proverbs 8:22). <--
V'elleh Shemoth - The Book of
Moses wrote the second book of the law during
the forty years of wanderings in the wilderness.
This again is the transliteration of the Greek exodos,
"the way out". The book is so called from its
subject-matter. But this not the true title of the book.
In the Hebrew Canon it is called V'elleh Shemoth,
These are the Names. The book is thus called because it
begins with the names of those who came into the place
from whence they were redeemed and delivered
from their ruin. Genesis began with Eden and perfection,
Exodus begins with Egypt and ruin. Man is outside of
Eden, and the book shows how he is to be redeemed and
brought into Canaan. First, God reveals His own name
(3:13-15), and further reveals it (6:3, 33:19 and 34:5-7).
He knows His redeemed by name (33:12, 17). We have the names
of His redeemed on the shoulder-stones (28:9-12) and on
the breast-plate (28:15-21). Thus the names of the
redeemed were borne with the redeeming blood into the
Holy of Holies before the mercy-seat. So we have in this
book the Names at the beginning in ruin, and at the end
in redemption. The types of Exodus are types of
It is the book in which redemption is first mentioned (15:13):
"Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth Thy people whom
Thou hast redeemed." And also where we have for the
first time the special name of the Redeemer, Jah (In
like manner this word Jah occurs for the first
time in the Psalms [Psalm 68], in the second Exodus book.).
All this tells us that redemption is "particular,"
and that God's people are redeemed by name. <--
Vayichrah - The
Book of the Calling
The third book in the Pentateuch relates
principally to the Levites (priests and their services)
and is generally held to have been written by Moses.
This again is from the Greek through the Latin Leviticon,
i.e. Levitical or relating to the Levites. But
the title in the Hebrew Canon is Va-yich-rah,
And He Called. Man names the books according to what he
deems to be the subject-matter; viz., ordinances
pertaining to the Levites. But the divine name tells of
something quite different; viz., access of the
Redeemed to Jehovah in worship. Leviticus is the
book of the Sanctuary. It tells how
Jehovah is to be approached, and teaches us that none can
truly worship except such as be "called," and
whom the Father seeks to worship Him (John 4).
This word begins the book: "And the Lord called
unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the Tabernacle of
the Congregation, saying, If any man of you bring
an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring
your offering of cattle," &c.
Thus this "calling" was for worship, and the
blessing involved in it is set forth in Psalm 65:4:
"Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest,
and causest to approach unto Thee, that he may dwell in
Thy courts; we shall be satisfied with the goodness of
Thy house, even of Thy holy temple." Only thus can
we truly worship - as called ones - an be satisfied.
Leviticus is therefore the book of access, the book of
the sanctuary, the book of worship. Its types are types
No other book contains so many of the words recorded by
the Holy Spirit as spoken directly by Jehovah Himself.
He alone must determine how He shall be approached, and
in what manner He shall be worshipped. Nothing is left to
human discretion in the matter. No choice is given to
man; the word is "must". God
is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must
worship Him in spirit and in truth' (John 4:24); i.e.,
truly in spirit. All exercise of any of the senses
is contrary to spiritual worship: an all exercise of the will
or "will-worship" is branded as "the way
of Cain" (Genesis 4, Jude 11) as opposed to "they
way of God" (Acts 18:26).
Note also that even in outward matters Jehovah gave the
pattern of the tabernacle to Moses (Hebrews 8:5), and of
the temple to David (1 Chronicles 28:19). <--
B'midbar - The
Book of the Wilderness
The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness in this fourth
book of the Law.
We come, in the title of this book, to a Latin word,
straight from the Vulgate. The Greek (LXX) name
was Arithmoi, having the same meaning as the
Latin Numeri, Numbers. From this Greek word
comes our word arithmetic.
The book was so called from the Numnberings with which it
begins and ends (chapters 1-3 and 26). But man again
misses the point, which is brought out in the Divine Name
B'midbar, which means "in the Wilderness".
This title covers all the events recorded in the Book.
Numbers, therefore, is the Book of the Wilderness, and
tells of all the wanderings and sojournings of the
pilgrimage of God's people. The types of Numbers are
types of the wilderness.
The numberings were only two of the events in
the book, and these were quite different from those which
fill up its record of human failure and divine provision.
It is the book of the sojournings rather than
the numberings. It tells how Jehovah led His people
"by the right way" (Psalm 107:7).
It is a type of our wilderness journeyings. It is not the
shortest way, it is not the most direct way, it is not
the pleasantest way fore the flesh; but it is the way
where divine provision is supplied, where divine
chastisements and deliverances are experienced; it is
"the right way," and it end right!
John Newton has well expressed it when he sings:
"When Israel was
from Egypt freed, The Lord who led
Helped them in every time of need, But led them round
They often murmured by the way because they judged by
But were at length constrained to say, 'The Lord hath led
The way was right, their hearts to prove, To make God's
And show His wisdom, power and love, Engaged to save His
Just so the true believers' path Through many dangers
Though dark to sense, 'tis right' to faith, And leads him
to the skies."
- The Book of the Words
The fifth book of the Law was written by Moses
approx a month before his death in BC 1451. Moses was 120
years old. This book contains the The Song of Moses (Deu 31:30 - 32:43), which the overcomers will
The title of the fifth book is just a transliteration of
the Greek, which is made up of deuteros, second,
and nomos, law. It was given by man, who saw in
it only a second repetition of the law
to a new generation.
In the Hebrew Canon the title is Elleh Haddevareem,
"These Are The Words." It is so called because
it contains the words, testimonies, statutes, and
judgments of Jehovah. It is the fifth book, and
5 being the number of grace, these are the gracious words
of Jehovah. Accordingly as well,
||the number of sovereignty,
and marks the first book;
the number of difference and enmity,
marks the second book;
the number of divine perfection, marks the third
book, which contains more of the words of
Jehovah than any other book; and
the number of the world, marks the fourth book,
the book of the wilderness. (See Number in
Scripture, by E. W. Bullinger)
It was the only book quoted by
Christ in His conflict with the Tempter; viz., 8:3; 6:16;
6:13; and 10:20. Hence, doubtless, the devil's special
hatred of this book, as shown in the assaults made upon
it by his ministers.
This book concludes the Pentateuch, or five books of
Moses, so called from pente, five and teuchos,
a book. The Pentateuch is always in one scroll, and hence
the order of these five books has never varied.
It is worthy of note, in looking at the Pentateuch as a
whole, that Christ refers to Moses by name twelve
times. (Matthew 19:7-8; 23:2; Mark 10:3; 12:26; John 3:14;
5:45-46; 6:32; 7:19,22-23.) He also bears testimony to
the Mosaic authorship forty-five times (5x9).
Sixteen times Christ mentions the Law. Five of these
coupled with the name of Moses, and once adding, "The
scripture cannot be broken." (Matthew 5:17-18; 7:12;
11:13; 12:5; 22:36,40; 23:23; Luke 10:26; 16:16,17; 24:44;
John 7:19,23; 8:1,7; 10:34; 15:25.)
Seven times He quotes the Pentateuch as the authoritative
word of God. (Matthew 4:4,7,10; 19:18,19; 22:32,37,39.)
And sixteen times He sets His seal to events recorded in
it. (Matthew 8:4; 10:15; 11:23; 17:3; 23:35; 24:37; Luke
16:29,31; 17:28,32; 20:37; 24:27; John 3:14; 6:31; 8:17,56.)