The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament


Preaching's Preacher's Guide to the Best Bible Reference for 2014 (General Reference)

How can we account for the "Book of the Law" suddenly being discovered during Josiah's renovation of the temple (2 Chron 34:14)? We know from Egypt and Mesopotamia that it was common to seal important documents—including theological documents—in the masonry or foundations of a palace or temple in order to inform a future king who might undertake restoration of...

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Preaching's Preacher's Guide to the Best Bible Reference for 2014 (General Reference)

How can we account for the "Book of the Law" suddenly being discovered during Josiah's renovation of the temple (2 Chron 34:14)? We know from Egypt and Mesopotamia that it was common to seal important documents—including theological documents—in the masonry or foundations of a palace or temple in order to inform a future king who might undertake restoration of the building.

What might the psalmist have had in mind when praising God for removing our transgressions "as far as the east is from the west" (Ps 103:12)? In an Egyptian hymn to Amun-Re, the deity is praised for his judgment of the guilty. As a result of the god's discernment the guilty are assigned to the east and the righteous to the west.

What is meant by God "weighing the heart" (Prov 21:2)? In Egyptian religious tradition we find the notion of the dead being judged before the gods. As the soul is examined, the dead person's heart is weighed in a scale against a feather symbolizing Truth. If the answers are correct and the heart does not outweigh the feather, the soul may enter the realm of everlasting life.

The narratives, genealogies, laws, poetry, proverbs and prophecies of the Old Testament are deeply rooted in history. Archaeologists, historians and social scientists have greatly advanced our knowledge of the ancient world of the Bible. When we illuminate the stories of Abraham or David, the imagery of the Psalms or Proverbs, or the prophecies of Isaiah or Jeremiah with this backlight of culture and history, these texts spring to new life.

The unique commentary joins The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament in providing historical, social and cultural background for each passage of the Old Testament. From Genesis through Malachi, this single volume gathers and condenses an abundance of specialized knowledge—making it available and accessible to ordinary readers of the Old Testament. Expert scholars John Walton, Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas have included along with the fruits of their research and collaboration a glossary of historical terms, ancient peoples, texts and inscriptionsmaps and charts of important historical resourcesexpanded explanations of significant background issuesintroductory essays on each book of the Old TestamentThe IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament will enrich your experience of the Old Testament—and your teaching and preaching from Scripture—in a way that no other commentary can do.

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Editorial Reviews

Harry A. Hoffner Jr.
"Users of Craig Keener's IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament will be delighted to have a companion volume on a period both more remote in time and exotic in cultural background. . . . This volume . . . fills a need not addressed by any other book I know. It will open the eyes of lay readers to the vast and still largely untapped resources of ancient Near Eastern archaeology and texts for the understanding of the Old Testament. I predict a warm and enthusiastic reception for the book."
"This volume [The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Genesis—Deuteronomy, a precursor to this new, complete OT volume] provides Bible readers who have little knowledge of the ancient world an abundance of information on the sociocultural background of texts throughout the Pentateuch. The authors present the materials in a clear, concise, straightforward manner. . . . This book is a splendid tool that provides ready access to the cultural background of the books of the Pentateuch."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830814190
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 11/8/2000
  • Series: IVP Bible Background Commentary
  • Pages: 832
  • Sales rank: 227,918
  • Product dimensions: 9.28 (w) x 6.28 (h) x 2.13 (d)

Meet the Author

John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Previously he was professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for twenty years.

Some of Walton's books include The Lost World of Adam and Eve, The Lost World of Scripture, The Lost World of Genesis One, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, The Essential Bible Companion, The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis and The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (with Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas).

Walton's ministry experience includes church classes for all age groups, high school Bible studies and adult Sunday school classes, as well as serving as a teacher for "The Bible in 90 Days." John and his wife, Kim, live in Wheaton, Illinois, and have three adult children.

Victor H. Matthews is dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and professor of religious studies at Missouri State University (Springfield, Missouri). He has written several books on the Old Testament, including Manners and Customs in the Bible: An Illustrated Guide to Life in Bible Times, (with James Moyer) The Old Testament: Text and Context and (with Don C. Benjamin) The Social World of Ancient Israel.

Mark W. Chavalas is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin—La Crosse. He is also editor of Emar: The History, Religion, and Culture of a Syrian Town in the Late Bronze Age, (with John L. Hayes) New Horizons in the Study of Ancient Syria and (with K. L. Younger Jr.) Syria-Mesopotamia and the Bible.

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Table of Contents

Other ResourcesPentateuch: Introduction
Ancient Near Eastern Mythology and the Old Testament
Ancient Near Eastern Flood Accounts
The Religion of Abraham
Major Trade Routes in the Ancient Near East
The Date of the Exodus
The Covenant and Ancient Near Eastern TreatiesHistorical Literature: Introduction
Egyptian Information About Canaan and Israel
The Political Climate in the Early Iron Age
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
The Western Campaigns of Tiglath-Pileser III, 734-732
1 Chronicles
Significance of Genealogies to Postexilic Audience
2 Chronicles
Sennacherib's Inscriptions
HerodotusWisdom and Poetic Literature: Introduction
Retribution Principle
Common Concepts
Common Metaphors for God
Musical Terms
Proverbs Echoed in Ancient Near East
How Proverbs Were Used
Proverbs As Generalized Truth
Song of Songs
Sexual MetaphorProphetic Literature: Introduction
Afterlife Beliefs in Israel and the Ancient Near East
Seals and Bullae
Laments over Fallen Cities in the Ancient World
Akkadian Apocalypses
Day of Yahweh
Economic Changes and Social Classes in Eighth-Century Israel
Apocalyptic Literature
Summary of the Temple-Building Connections to Zechariah's Visions
Charts and Maps
Topical Index

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2000

    A good reason or three to buy this commentary

    To say that this book is an excellent resource would be like calling the Great Wall of China big speed bump. This backround commentary on the O.T. is a MUST for all who desire to understand the historical/cultural context that the O.T. was written about. Having spent time under Dr. Walton's tutilage, I can assure all prospective buyers that this book is a steal at any cost, as it is as thorough as it is accurate, addressing most every issue in the O.T. text, from the intricacies of O.T. prophecy to how there could be lions & bears in the Judean wilderness. Folks, this book is the complete package.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2012

    very helpful with point of view

    if you want to know what was going on with the people involved in the text this is almost a must. very comprehensive.
    print just a tad small for us older folk.

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  • Posted December 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not Much to This Commentary

    Spend your money on something better.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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