The Old Testament consists of many distinct books by various authors produced over a period of centuries. Christians traditionally divide the Old Testament into four sections: (1) the first five books or Pentateuch (Torah); (2) the history books telling the history of the Israelites, from their conquest of Canaan to their defeat and exile in Babylon; (3) the poetic and “Wisdom books” dealing, in various forms, with questions of good and evil in the world; and (4) the books of the biblical prophets, warning of the consequences of turning away from God. The books that compose the Old Testament canon, as well as their order and names, differ between various branches of Christianity. Most common Protestant canon comprise 39 books; the Catholic canon comprises 46 books; the canons of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches comprise up to 49 books.

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