The books of the Old Testament are intended to show us how much God loves us, how he wanted to make an Alliance with us to lead us to a life of communion with Him. This divine project converts the history of Israel, and our history, into “History of Salvation”. All the books of the Old Testament, from different points, refer to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who appears in the “fullness of time.” Christ is the axis of the entire Bible, which gives meaning to all the facts of the salvation story. It all starts with the people of Israel.
Why him, if it is a small town, of little interest in the history of the great civilizations, such as Egypt, Syria, Persia, and Rome? Because God wanted it that way. The smallness of the history of these insignificant people was the object of the wonderful saving action of the Lord. God chose him to make him “His People,” from whom his very Son, the Savior, would come to all men.
God guided with his providential hand the history of Israel, infused his Spirit into his writings and literature, which thus became the Word of God. The writings of the Old Testament have their origin in the oral tradition of the people. This fact is important since the ancient history of Israel was transmitted orally from parents to children.
And the history of the people of God began to be written around 1000 BC, that is, in the time of King David. All previous times, that of the patriarchs, that of Moses, that of the judges, that of King Saul, were transmitted orally. This does not mean that there were no written documents. Pieces of very old history are preserved (e.g. the Alliance code: Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5) and poems ... and around these ancient pieces the history, rites, customs and faith of that people were transmitted orally.
Once David and Solomon gave importance to the scribes in the Kingdom of Israel, it was time that all those oral tradition materials could crystallize in writings and books. The 50 years of exile from Babylon were decisive for these people of Israel. It was the year 587. Israel had lost everything: their land, their temple, their king. Would you also lose your faith in God? Cyrus, king of the Persians, in 538, gives freedom to the Jews, and they return to Palestine.
The Community, purified by the suffering of exile, lives poorly. And during the following 500 years, until they reach Jesus, people review their history several times: the writings and books of the law are read and compiled. The sages themselves, under the inspiration of God, offer us wonderful doctrinal works: Proverbs, Job, Tobias, etc. In the year 333 B.C. Alexander of Macedonia conquered the peoples of the Middle East, including Palestine, and spread Greek culture and language everywhere. In the year 167 B.C. a successor of Alexander tries to force, under penalty of death, the Jews to deny their faith.
It is the time of the martyrs of Israel, in the book of the Maccabees. The town conquers its freedom in the year 165 BC. It is the time of Daniel. In the year 63 B.C. Rome conquers Palestine and put Herod as its representative. We are already at the threshold of the “fullness of time.” Jesus is born!