Books not included in the Bible

By Mark Morgan | Jeremiah

Aug 17

Other books in Bible times

Have you ever noticed that the Bible refers to books not included included in the Bible?  From time to time, someone in our family refers to “Waheb in Suphar and the valleys of the Arnon” – a rather quaint and attractive expression from Numbers 21:14 which tells us that it comes from “the Book of the Wars of the Lord”.  Unfortunately, this quaintness is missing from the KJV which says simply “What he did in the Red Sea, and in the brooks of Arnon”.

The Old Testament refers to quite a few books like that, and we’ll look at them today because I believe there is a connection between them and Jeremiah.

Let me show you why and then we can look at the books.  You will probably be surprised to see how many there are.

What other books are referred to?

Jeremiah is traditionally thought likely to have been the author or compiler of the books of Kings.  If this is true, he would have needed access to history and notes not included in the Bible to do the job properly.  Some of these books are mentioned in various parts of the Old Testament and are listed here in somewhat chronological order:

  1. The Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14)
  2. The Book of Jashar (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18)
  3. Book of land details (Joshua 18:9)
  4. Samuel’s book (1 Samuel 10:25)
  5. The Chronicles of Samuel the seer (1 Chronicles 29:29)
  6. The Chronicles of King David (1 Chronicles 27:24)
  7. The Chronicles of Gad the seer (1 Chronicles 29:29)
  8. The Chronicles of Nathan the prophet (1 Chronicles 29:29)
  9. The history of Nathan the prophet (2 Chronicles 9:29) (possibly the same as the previous one)
  10. The Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41)
  11. The prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite (2 Chronicles 9:29)
  12. The visions of Iddo the seer (2 Chronicles 9:29)
  13. The story of the prophet Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22)
  14. The chronicles of Jehu the son of Hanani – “recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel” (2 Chronicles 20:34)
  15. The Story of the Book of the Kings (2 Chronicles 24:27)
  16. The Chronicles of the Seers (LXX) / The Chronicles of Hozai (Heb.) (2 Chronicles 33:19)

Were they important?

If you had the job of writing a book which contained all of the important information about the kings of Israel and Judah, these were the sorts of books you would have had to work with to find the information you needed to summarise.  If Jeremiah did write/compile the books of Kings, he would presumably have been familiar with these documents.

There are also other books referred to which may be the books we now have or other books:

  1. The Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel (1 Kings 14:19; 15:31; 16:5, 14, 20, 27; 22:39; 2 Kings 1:18; 10:34; 13:8, 12; 14:15; 14:28; 15:11, 15, 21, 26,31)
  2. The Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah (1 Kings 14:29; 15:7, 23; 22:45; 2 Kings 8:23; 12:19; 14:18; 15:6, 36; 16:19; 20:20; 21:17, 25; 23:28; 24:5)
  3. The Book of the Kings of Israel (1 Chronicles 9:1; 2 Chronicles 20:34 (see earlier))
  4. The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah (2 Chronicles 16:11; 25:26; 27:7; 35:27; 36:8)
  5. The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel (2 Chronicles 28:26; 32:32)

In this list, entries 4 and 5 are probably the same.

Books of Chronicles

Did you notice that the references to the books of the Chronicles all come from the books of Kings that we now have?  Despite that, people believe that the books of Chronicles were not completed until well after the books of Kings.  However, the word “chronicles” is quite a popular title for books which present historical details of interest, so it does not necessarily refer to the books of Chronicles in the Bible.  In fact, I doubt that any of these references do so.

Books of Kings

Not only that, but the references to the Book of the Kings of <somewhere> are all found in the books of Chronicles which are believed to have been written/compiled by Ezra, well after the time of Jeremiah.  They may refer to the books of Kings or to some other ancient records.  I suspect that they are probably different records with a lot more detail than any of the books we have.

See also

Non-canonical books referenced in the Bible (Wikipedia)

Terror on Every Side!

This article is one of a series of articles on Jeremiah published as back-up material for the Bible-based fiction series Terror on Every Side!
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