When Was the Book of Genesis Written?

Moody Bible Commentary
header for When Was the Book of Genesis Written?

Moses probably wrote the Pentateuch during the Israelites’ 40-year sojourn in the wilderness (c. 1446–1406 BC), completing the literary work shortly before his death (see Dt 33:1). The dating of the Pentateuch is derived from dates mentioned in 1Kg 6:1. There it says that Solomon began construction of the temple in “the fourth year” of his reign, approximately 967/966 BC, also stating that it was 480 years after the exodus. This would make the date of the exodus 1447/1446 BC. With a 40-year wilderness wandering, the date of the Pentateuch’s completion would be approximately 1406 BC.

Additionally, the text of the Pentateuch was copied repeatedly between the time of composition by Moses and the close of the Hebrew canon (in approximately 400 BC). As such, these scribes frequently included inspired updates, making historical comments, changing the names of cities to more contemporary names, and even adding sections, such as the account of the death of Moses, likely added by Ezra or one of his contemporaries (see comments on Dt 34:1-12).

For Further Reading:

The Moody Bible Commentary

by Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham

Imagine having a team of 30 Moody Bible Institute professors helping you study the Bible. Now you can with this in-depth, user-friendly,...

book cover for The Moody Bible Commentary