There was a time when the Bible did not exist. It is said that God made lots of things during the six days of creation but it is nowhere stated that God actually made the Bible. In fact, human beings lived on this Earth for several millennia without the Bible. Even the great heroes of the Bible were born and died without ever laying their eyes on the book we call the Bible. Cain and Abel were raised in the knowledge of God, but they never read a single word from the Bible. Enoch pleased God and was translated even though he had no Bible to show him the way to salvation. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, and host of others lived and died without having the Bible, yet they all pleased God and are declared righteous. Even in the days of Jesus, the Bible was unknown in its present form. This is not only true of the Christian Bible - with Old and New Testaments - but it is also true of the Jewish Bible. Neither Jesus nor the Jews in general possessed the Bible in its present Masoretic form. The Christian Bible - with 66 books in all - was finally approved and officially accepted at the Council of Carthage in 397 c.e. The Jewish Bible was finally approved and canonised in Jamnia about 70 c.e.
The bulk of the Old Testament books were written in the post-exilic era. Those which were written prior to this time were later revised by the Jewish editors and redactors. But these Jewish editors have gone much further than just revising some of the books which are now a part of the Jewish and Christian canons. They have actually discarded many books altogether. That’s right. Many books which were written by the prophets of Israel were discarded and rejected and left out of the present canon of Scripture. I am not referring to Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. I am referring to books which are attested to by the very Bible itself. The prophets Samuel, Nathan, Gad, Ahijah, Iddo, and Shemiah actually wrote books to which the later Jewish writers and redactors had access to. In fact, they have written 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles more or less on the information they found in those books. Frankly speaking, there was no need for the canonical books above mentioned to be written at all. Those discarded books were written by the holy prophets describing in detail the points the later redactors only deal with partially. These books that the ancient prophets wrote could be called the Bible before the Bible. These books are now called the lost books of the Bible because the Jewish editors and redactors discarded them and refused to incorporate them in the later Jewish Bible. That these books really existed is quite simple to demonstrate. In 2 Chronicles 9:29 we read:
“As for the other events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite and in the visions of Iddo the seer?”
All three were prophets. All three wrote historical books which contained a full version and account of Solomon’s reign. The account in Chronicles was merely an abridged version. But these books were left out of the canonical Bible. They are no part of the Jewish and Christian Bibles. They are either lost or suppressed. In 2 Chronicles 12:15 we read:
“As for the events of Rehoboam’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Shemiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer?”
Shemiah was a prophet from Shiloh. He instructed King Rehoboam not to wage war with Jeroboam who was the king of the Ten Tribes [1 Kings 12:22]. Prophet Shemiah was well informed of the events of his day. Regrettably his book is not available to us because the Jewish editors and scribes simply decided to discard it and not include it in the Bible. 1 Chronicles 29:29 says:
“As for the events of King David’s reign, from beginning to end, they are written in the records of Samuel the seer, the records of Nathan the prophet, and records of Gad the seer, together with the details of his reign and power, and the circumstances that surrounded him and Israel and the kingdoms of all other lands.”
The three important prophets wrote a full account of David’s reign. They also wrote of the “Gentiles” and their kings. The author of Chronicles wrote only a partial account of David’s life. But the book of Samuel was lost and suppressed. It was not incorporated in the Bible. So we are now deprived of this book even though it was written by Samuel the Prophet, who was surely greater than the later Jewish redactors and editors. It seems that the Jewish redactor had a good reason to reject and discard the book of Samuel - as well as other books. These books obviously said things that did not suit the Jews of the post-exilic era. The Record of Samuel is of special interest. It is said that he wrote a full account of David’s reign - from beginning to end. But how could this have been the case when the canonical books of Samuel clearly show that Samuel died before David even became king? Samuel died while King Saul was still the king. Is it not related that the medium of Endor consulted the ghost of Samuel at the request of Saul? How then could Samuel write a book in which he fully described the reign of David? If the text of 1 Chronicles 29:29 is really true, then the stories and accounts given in the canonical books of Samuel are fictions. 2 Chronicles 26:22 says:
“The other events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the annals of Jehu son of Hanani.”
Again this text verifies the fact that the books of Chronicles contained only an abridged account of the kings of Judah and Israel. The full accounts were written in books which are now lost. In the books that were written by prophets but which were also suppressed and discarded by the Jewish hierarchy of the post-exilic times, when the Bible was compiled by Ezra the priest. Now it is significant that the Samaritans accused Ezra of falsifying the Pentateuch and the Hebrew Scriptures in general. 2 Chronicles 33:18-19 shows that the reign of Manasseh and his prayer and the places where he built idolatrous places of worship are all written in the RECORDS OF HOZAI. But again, this book is lost because it was discarded and rejected by the later Jewish scribes. The author of the Jewish Pentateuch also had access to a book called The Book Of The Wars Of Yahweh [Numbers 21:13-14]. This is what the New Unger’s Bible Dictionary on p. 179, has to say concerning this book:
“Book of the Wars of the Lord represents a memento of a larger literary development in early Old Testament times than is represented in the canonical books. This early literary work, probably poetical, existed in Mosaic times. It was likely a collection of odes celebrating God’s glorious acts toward Israel and recited over campfires, just as Bedouin do today.”
This book was known to the Jewish redactors and editors. But it was not incorporated in the present canonical Bible for reasons best known to the Jewish redactors. This book contained much of early Israelite history but it was discarded probably because it was not to the liking of the later Jewish hierarchy. There was also another book which is mentioned in Joshua 10:13. It was called The Book Of Jashar. This book is also mentioned in 1 Samuel 1:18. It was not completed until at least the days of David, since some of his acts are recorded in this book. The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, on p. 179, says:
“The Book of Jashar seems to have been an early national chronicle of events, in Israel that stretched over several centuries of the early history of the Hebrews.”
Why was not this important book included in the Bible together with the later writings? Was there something to hide? Why did the Jewish redactors choose to write their own version of Israel’s history - in the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles - rather than simply retain all the books to which they have referred? After all, according to their own testimony, these books contained a fuller account of what they were writing. It seems that these books were not to the liking of the Jewish scribes so they have elected to discard them and write their own abridged version of the history of Israel. Who gave the right and permission to the Jewish compilers of the Bible to discard and reject all these books? Who gave them authority to write their own version of events and then incorporate them in the Bible - labelling it God’s Word? Imagine if I was now to discard all the books of the Bible and then write my own version of the Bible claiming that it is the Holy Bible. Would not both the Jews and Christians condemn me to the fires of Gehenna? But if I was to destroy all the present versions of the Bible and promote my own version, the future generations would have no access to the Bible as we know it but would have to rely on the version I left them - whether true or false. That is exactly what the Jewish redactors had done. They had discarded the Bible before the Bible and they have left us the Bible they wrote and some other books which they have heavily edited. The books of Kings and Chronicles were not written until the time of Cyrus - the Persian king. The books of Samuel were not written by Samuel, since according to their own testimony, Samuel was long dead before most of the events occurred that are described in these books. The book of Ezra and Nehemiah were written at the end of Babylonian captivity. The same is true of the books of Daniel, Zechariah, and Haggai. This may sound incredible, but it’s true. Even the books of Moses, Joshua and Judges were not written until the post-exilic era. Internal evidence bears record to the same. In 2 Chronicles 26:22 we find this significant remark:
“The other events of Uzziah’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.”
Here we are told that Prophet Isaiah wrote a detailed account of King Uzziah’s reign - from beginning to end. This detailed account is nowhere to be found in the book of Isaiah now found in the Jewish and Christian Bibles. In this book we find no account at all except that King Uzziah’s name is merely mentioned in 1:1, 6:1, and 7:1. Where is this book that Isaiah wrote? Or could it be that some things were discarded from the canonical book of Isaiah? In any event, it is obvious that the Jewish redactors tampered with the original writings of the holy prophets. There are many books referred to in the Old Testament which were discarded by later Jewish redactors. Not even a single book of all these was actually incorporated in the present canonical Bible. Here is the complete list of these books and the references where they are actually mentioned:
1. The Book Of The Wars Of Yahweh [Numbers 21:14].
2. The Book Of Jashar [Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18].
3. The Book Of The Acts Of Solomon [1 Kings 11:41].
4. The Book Of The Annals Of The Kings Of Israel [1 Kings 14:19; 15:31; 16:5,14,20,27; 2 Chronicles 20:34].
5. The Book Of The Annals Of The Kings Of Judah [1 Kings 14:29; 15:7,23; 22:45; 2 Kings 8:23; 12:19].
6. The Book Of The Annals Of King David [1 Chronicles 27:24].
7. The Chronicles Of Samuel The Seer, The Chronicles Of Nathan the Prophet, The Chronicles Of Gad The Seer [1 Chronicles 29:29].
8. The Records Of Nathan The Prophet, The Prophecy Of Ahijah The Shilonite, The Visions Of Iddo The Seer [2 Chronicles 9:29].
9. The Histories Of Shemiah The Prophet and of Iddo The Seer [2 Chronicles 12:15].
10. The Commentary Of The Prophet Iddo [2 Chronicles 13:22].
11. The Commentary Of The Books Of The Kings [2 Chronicles 24:27].
12. The Acts Of Uzziah [2 Chronicles 26:22].
13. The Book Of The Kings Of Judah And Israel [2 Chronicles 32:32].
14. The Records Of The Kings Of Israel [2 Chronicles 33:18].
15. The Book Of The Chronicles [Nehemiah 12:23].
16. The Records Of Hozai [2 Chronicles 33:19].
17. The Book Of Isaiah [2 Chronicles 26:22].
18. The Lamentations [2 Chronicles 35:25-26].
Quite a library of lost work. And some of these books were very significant and would greatly enhance our knowledge of the history of early Israel. But there is nothing we can do. Should any of these books be ever discovered, it could not be added to the Bible, since the canon is long closed.