Tehillim – Psalms (150 chapters) - Composed by David, incorporating the work of ten “elders” (Adam, Malki-Tzedek, Abraham, Moses, Heyman, Yedusun, Asaf and the three sons of Korach), circa 2883-2924 (878-837 BCE); Songs of praise to God, many of which are now among our most common prayers.
Mishlei – Proverbs (31 chapters) - Composed by Solomon, transcribed by Hezekiah and his court circa 3220 (541 BCE); * Words of wisdom, the importance of Torah and trust in God, Eishes Chayil (“A Woman of Valor”).
*Solomon would have originally composed Proverbs during his reign, 2924-2964 (837-797 BCE)
Iyov – Job (42 chapters) - Written by Moses sometime between 2448-2488 (1313-1273 BCE);* The story of Job’s trials and his debates with his friends on suffering and the nature of God.
*The Talmud in Baba Basra 15a-b debates when Job lived – or whether he ever actually lived at all! We have chosen to go with the commonly-accepted opinion that the Book of Job is a parable written by Moses; see there for other opinions.
Chameish Megillos (The Five Scrolls)
Shir HaShirim – Song of Songs (8 chapters) - Composed by Solomon, transcribed by Hezekiah and his court circa 3220 (541 BCE);* The relationship between God and Israel presented in the form of a love song. According to the Mishna (Yadayim 3:5), Shir HaShirim is the “holiest of the holy” among the Writings. Read on Passover.
*Solomon would have originally composed Song of Songs during his reign, 2924-2964 (837-797 BCE)
Rus – Ruth (4 chapters) - Written by Samuel circa 2884 (877 BCE); The story of Ruth, a righteous Moabite convert and the ancestor of King David. Read on Shavuot. Covers events circa 2792 (969 BCE).
Eicha – Lamentations (5 chapters) - Written by Jeremiah, 3321 (440 BCE); Mourning over the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Covers events in 3338 (423 BCE)*
*Eicha was written before the actual destruction of Jerusalem, in an effort to inspire repentance; see Jeremiah chapter 36.
Koheles – Ecclesiastes (12 chapters) - Composed by Solomon, transcribed by Hezekiah and his court circa 3220 (541 BCE);* Philosophic reflection on the nature of man and the meaning of life. Read on Succos.
*Solomon would have originally composed Ecclesiastes during his reign, 2924-2964 (837-797 BCE)
Esther – Esther (10 chapters) - Written by the Men of the Great Assembly circa 3450 (311 BCE);* Through Mordechai and Esther, God saves the Jews of Persia from Haman’s plot. Read on Purim. Covers events from 3395-3406 (366-355 BCE).
*From the letter distributed in 3406 (355 BCE) by Mordechai, a member of the Great Assembly.