The Apocrypha books are believed to be written in the Intertestamental period (the period between the book of Malachi and the first Gospel). These books include (you may see different names for the same book in different translations):
- Esdras 1 (9 Chapters)
- Esdras 2 (16 Chapters)
- Tobit (14 Chapters)
- Judith (16 Chapters)
- Extended Esther (mixed in with Esther)
- The Wisdom of Solomon (19 Chapters)
- Ecclesiasticus (53 Chapters)
- Baruch (5 Chapters)
- A Letter of Jeremiah (1 Chapter)
- The Song of the Three (Prayer of Azariah) (1 Chapter)
- Daniel and Susanna (1 Chapter)
- Daniel, Bel, and the Snake (1 Chapter)
- The Prayer of Manasseh (1 Chapter)
- Maccabees 1 (16 Chapters)
- Maccabees 2 (15 Chapters)
As a whole, the Apocrypha books, have historical people, but little historical value (although some books do copy history somewhat).1
The reason for the making of the Apocrypha, you might say, was to lift the spirits of a crushed nation.
Israel had gone through many hard times but every time God had sent a prophet who warned them or comforted them. But, during this intertestamental time, there were no prophets from the LORD. And even worse, the Israelites were facing hard times with war.
A list of reasons is below:
- The Extended Esther was written to put God more in the story (the book of Esther does not even have the word “God”).
- The Song of the Three is to tell, fictionally, what happened to Meshach, Abednego, and Shadrach in the fiery furnace.
- Tobit is really just a entertaining story emphasizing, burying of the dead, angels, and sacrificing.
- 1 and 2 Maccabees was written to record the events of the Maccabees, a very important family in intertestamental times.
- Daniel and Susanna, and Daniel, Bel, and the Dragon, are books that show the wisdom and understanding of Daniel the prophet in destroying idolatry and protecting the innocent.
- Judith is a story of a heroine in the times of Nebuchadnezzar.
When these books were first publicized people claimed that they had found a book that came from the prophets or someone important. They gave hope to the people and rejuvenation, but they also taught them unholy things, such as praying to the dead.
The Apocrypha should not be taken as authoritative and never more accurate or inspired then the holy Word of God revealed in the true Scriptures.
1 For example, Daniel is in two different Apocrypha books (Daniel and Susanna and Daniel, Bel, and the Snake). Baruch, the scribe of Jeremiah is the supposed author of Baruch and Letter of Jeremiah (he did not write these, though).