For convenience in study. Old Testament history is generally divided into ages or time-periods. One common treatment of these ages is as follows:
1. From Creation to the Fall.
2. From the Fall to the Flood.
3. From the Flood to the Tower of Babel.
4. From Babel to Abraham.
5. From Abraham to Moses.
6. From Moses to Joshua.
7. From Joshua to Samuel.
8. The United Kingdom.
9. The Divided Kingdom.
10. The Babylonian Captivity.
11. The Restoration from Captivity,
12. The Four Hundred Silent Years between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Another familiar division of the Old Testament is:
1. Historical: Genesis through Esther.
2. Wisdom and Poetical: Job through Song of Solomon.
3. Prophetical: Isaiah through Malachi.
The books in the Historical section, with a few exceptions, follow each other chronologically in recording the events from creation to the return from Babylonian captivity. Nehemiah brings the reader to the close of the narrative, approximately 400 years before the birth of Christ. (The events in the book of Esther took place during the time of Ezra).
The Wisdom and Poetry books belong to various periods of Old Testament history. Job, for example, belongs to the early part of Genesis, just before Abraham. The Psalms of David belong to 1 and 2 Samuel. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon relate to the time of Solomon, recorded in 1 Kings.
The writing prophets ministered during the closing days of the kingdom, during the captivity, and after the return from captivity. Their historical background, therefore, is found in 2 Kings, Ezra, and Nehemiah.
For the most part, the Old Testament is concerned with God’s chosen earthly people, Israel. The beginning of that people is found in Genesis 12. Front there through Malachi, the Hebrew people hold the place of prominence, and other nations are important only as they have contact with the Israelites.