At various places in the Old Testament, the authors refer to books not included in the Bible. A few examples:

And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? — Esther 10:2

Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? — 2 Chronicles 12:15a

Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer, with all his reign and his might, and the times that went over him, and over Israel, and over all the kingdoms of the countries. — 1 Chronicles 29:29-30

Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat? — 2 Chronicles 9:29

Have any of the books referred to by the authors of the Old Testament at these and other places been preserved?


1 Answer 1


The short answer to your questions is that none of these books have survived. This is not surprising; a very large number of books existed in the ancient world of which only a tiny minority have been preserved till now.

But specifically to your first example: the Greek historian Ctesias claimed to have known the royal notebooks (basilikaì diphthérai), “in which the Persians kept a written account of their old history according to a certain law.” It is indeed likely that the Achaemenid Persians did have some sort of written chronicle. But as it has not survived, it is not possible to say whether these “notebooks” really said something about Mordechai, as is claimed in the book of Esther.

You might find this article interesting: http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ctesias-

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