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The Moody Bible Commentary

The Moody Bible Commentary

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by Michael A Rydelnik, Michael Vanlaningham, Louis A. Barbieri, Michael Boyle, James Coakley

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Now you can study the Bible with the faculty of the Moody Bible Institute!

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

General editors Michael Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham have led a team of contributors whose


Now you can study the Bible with the faculty of the Moody Bible Institute!

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

General editors Michael Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham have led a team of contributors whose academic training, practical church experience, and teaching competency make this commentary excellent for anyone who needs help understanding the Scriptures.

This comprehensive and reliable reference work should be the first place Sunday school teachers, Bible study leaders, missionaries, and pastors turn to for biblical insight. Scripture being commented on is shown in bold print for easy reference, and maps and charts provide visual aids for learning. Additional study helps include bibliographies for further reading and a subject and Scripture index. 

The Moody Bible Commentary is an all-in-one Bible study resource that will help you better understand and apply God's written revelation to all of life.  

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The Moody Bible Commentary

By Michael Rydelnik, Michael Vanlanigham

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2014 The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8024-9018-6



* * *





I. Primeval History: Establishing the Need for Redemption (1:1–11:26)

A. Perfect Creation: The Absence of Sin (1:1–2:25)

1. An Overview of Perfection (1:2–2:3)
a. Inanimate Perfection (1:1-19)
b. Animate (Animal) Perfection (1:20-25)
c. Human Perfection (1:26–2:3)

2. A Close-Up on the Human Ideal (2:4-25)
a. The Ideal Creation of Man (2:4-7)
b. The Ideal Place of Man (2:8-14)
c. The Ideal Responsibility of Man (2:15-25)

B. Fallen Humanity: The Advent of Sin (3:1-21)

1. The Lead-up to Sin (3:1-6)
a. Step One: Wrongly Recalling God's Word (3:1-3)
b. Step Two: Wrongly Assessing God's Purpose (3:4-5)
c. Step Three: Wrongly Approving What Seems "Good" (3:6)

2. Humanity's Response to Sin (3:7-8)
a. Conviction (3:7a)
b. Division from Each Other (3:7b)
c. Division from God (3:8)

3. God's Response to Sin (3:9-21)
a. Gentle Confrontation (3:9-13)
b. Merciful Chastisement (3:14-20)
c. Gracious Forgiveness (3:21)

C. Dire Consequences: The Aftermath of Sin (3:22–4:26)

1. Exile: The Communal Aftermath of Sin (3:22-24)
a. The Problem (3:22)
b. God's Gracious Solution (3:23)
c. The "Eastward" Paradigm (3:24)

2. Murder: The Personal Aftermath of Sin (4:1-22)
a. The Priority of Heart Attitude (4:1-8)
b. God's Mercy, Again (4:9-12)
c. Cain's Repentance and God's Grace (4:13-22)

3. Injustice: The Legal Aftermath of Sin (4:23-26)
a. Injustice as a Result of Ignoring God's Example (4:23-24)
b. Injustice Not Preclusive of God's Blessing (4:25)
c. Injustice as a Catalyst for Turning People to God (4:26)

D. Fallen World: The Attachment of Sin (5:1–11:26)

1. Break in the Prosecution: God's Blessing Despite Depravity (5:1–6:8)
a. Hope of Redemption (5:1-32)
b. God's Gracious "Cap" on Depravity (6:1-4)
c. Measure of True "Spirituality" (6:5-8)

2. The Flood: Humanity's Chance to "Come Clean" of Depravity (6:9–9:29)
a. Prelude: A Righteous Remnant in a Depraved World (6:9-10)
b. Corruption of the Land (6:11-12)
c. God's Covenant with Noah (6:13-20)
d. God's Provision for Life (6:21-22)
e. Entering the Ark (7:1-9)
f. Prevailing of the Flood (7:10-24)
g. Subsiding of the Flood (8:1-14)
h. Exiting the Ark (8:15-22)
i. God's Provision for Life (9:1-7)
j. God's Covenant with Noah and All Life (9:8-17)
k. Corruption of the Land (9:18-19)
l. Postlude: A Righteous Remnant in a Depraved World (9:20-29)

3. The Depth of Depravity in Post-Flood Humanity (10:1–11:26)
a. Setting the Stage for Universal Rebellion (10:1-32)
b. Rebellion Expressed: The Rise and Fall of Universal Human Pride (11:1-9)
c. Transition to Pardon (11:10-26)

II. Patriarchal History: Delineating the Path of Redemption (11:27–50:26)

A. Descendants of Terah: God Making His Own Name for Man (11:27–25:11)

1. The Abrahamic Covenant: God's Promise for Israel and the Nations (11:27–12:20)
a. God's Sovereign Choice: Abram's Passivity (11:27-32)
b. God's Gracious Promises: Resetting Abram's Direction (12:1-9)
c. God's Unshakable Hold: Abram's Deep Depravity (12:10-20)

2. Living in the Land: God's Affirmation of the Covenant (13:1–14:24)
a. Affirming Abram's Right to the Land (13:1-18)
b. Affirming Abram's Might and Prosperity (14:1-16)
c. Affirming Abram's Blessing and Status (14:17-24)

3. Ratifying the Covenant: God's Compromise with Weak Faith (15:1-21)
a. Answering Abram's Doubt about the Son (15:1-5)
b. Affirming Abram's Imperfect Faith (15:6)
c. Answering Abram's Doubt about the Land (15:7-21)

4. Doubting God: The Fall Reprised (16:1-16)
a. The Temptation (16:1-4a)
b. The Human Consequences (16:4b-6)
c. The Divine Response (16:7-16)

5. Circumcision: The Sign of the Covenant (17:1-16)
a. The Effected Covenant as the Basis of the Rite (17:1-8)
b. Content of the Rite (17:9-16)
c. Abram's Response to the Rite (17:17-27)

6. An Expression of Divine Fellowship (18:1-33)
a. God Affirming His Empathy with Abraham (18:1-8)
b. God Affirming His Grace toward Abraham (18:9-15)
c. God Affirming His Justice to Abraham (18:16-33)

7. A Paradigm of Corporate Judgment (19:1-29)
a. Cause of Judgment (19:1-11)
b. Distinction of Judgment (19:12-22)
c. Purpose of Judgment (19:23-29)

8. Persistence of Sin (19:30–20:18)
a. Struggles of Lot's Household (19:30-38)
b. Struggles of Abraham's Household (20:1-16)
c. God's Faithfulness and Grace in Sanctification (20:17-18)

9. Sovereignty of God in Blessing (21:1-34)
a. God's Sovereignty in Blessing Abraham and Sarah (21:1-8)
b. God's Sovereignty in Blessing Hagar and Sarah (21:9-21)
c. God's Sovereignty in Blessing Abimelech and His People (21:22-34)

10. The Pinnacle of Abraham's Faith (22:1-19)
a. God's Call to Faith (22:1-2)
b. Abraham's Expression of Faith (22:3-9)
c. The Angel's Affirmation of Faith (22:10-19)

11. Family Matters (22:20–23:20)
a. Keeping Up with the Relatives (22:20-24)
b. Mourning Sarah (23:1-2)
c. Purchasing the Family Burial Plot (23:3-20)

12. Finding Rebekah in Mesopotamia (24:1-67)
a. Abraham's Petition (24:1-9)
b. God's Answer (24:10-49)
c. The People's Response (24:50-67)

13. Transferring the Torch to Isaac (25:1-11)
a. Abraham's Affirmation of Isaac (25:1-6)
b. Isaac and Ishmael's Burial of Abraham (25:7-10)
c. God's Affirmation of Isaac (25:11)

B. Descendants of Ishmael: A Locus of Conflict with God's People (25:12-18)

C. Descendants of Isaac: Learning to Wait on God (25:19–35:29)

1. Jacob and Esau: The Sons of Isaac (25:19-34)
a. Barrenness of Rebekah (25:19-21a)
b. Birth of Jacob and Esau (25:21b-26)
c. Sale of Esau's Birthright (25:27-34)

2. Isaac: Struggles of a Patriarch (26:1-33)
a. Struggling to Trust in God's Promises: Isaac Lies about Rebekah (26:1-17)
b. Struggling to Live with Sinful Men: Isaac Quarrels with the Men of Gerar (26:18-25)
c. Struggling to Recognize the Sovereignty of God: Isaac Makes a Covenant with Abimelech (26:26-33)

3. Jacob: Successor of Isaac (26:34–35:29)
a. In the Land: Striving with Esau (26:34–28:9)
(1) Prologue: Esau Marries Foreign Women (26:34-35)
(2) Body: Jacob Strives for a Blessing (27:1–28:5)
(3) Epilogue: Esau Marries Foreign Women (28:6-9)
b. Outside the Land: Striving with Laban (28:10–31:55)
(1) Jacob's Journey (28:10-22)
(2) Jacob's Marriages (29:1-30)
(3) Jacob's Children (29:31–30:24)
(4) Jacob's Prosperity (30:25-43)
(5) Jacob's Flight (31:1–32:2)
c. Return to the Land: Striving Resolved with People and God (32:3–35:29)
(1) The Restoration of Jacob and Esau (32:3–33:20)
(a) Jacob's Fear of Esau (32:3-23)
(b) Jacob's Fight with God (32:24-32)
(c) Jacob's Restoration with Esau (33:1-17)
(d) Jacob's Restoration to the Land (33:18-20)
(2) The Rape of Dinah (34:1-31)
(3) The Close of the Jacob Story (35:1-29)

D. Descendants of Esau: Another Locus of Conflict with God's People (36:1–37:1)

E. Descendants of Jacob: God's Providence over Joseph and Israel (37:2–50:26)

1. Joseph in the Pit (37:2–40:23)
a. Joseph Is Sold into Slavery by His Brothers (37:2-36)
b. Judah Receives a Male Heir by Deception (38:1-30)
c. Joseph Is Falsely Accused by Potiphar's Wife (39:1-23)
d. Joseph Is Forgotten by the Cupbearer (40:1-23)

2. Joseph as Prime Minister (41:1–50:26)
a. Joseph Becomes Prime Minister (41:1-57)
b. Joseph Tests His Brothers (42:1–44:34)
(1) The Conscience Test (42:1-38)
(2) The Character Test (43:1-34)
(3) The Compassion Test (44:1-34)
c. Joseph Reconciles with His Brothers (45:1-28)
d. Joseph Cares for All Egypt (46:1–47:26)
(1) Joseph Provides for the Family of Israel (46:1–47:12)
(2) Joseph Provides for the People of Egypt (47:13-19)
(3) Joseph Provides for Pharaoh (47:20-26)
e. Joseph Receives the Blessing for His Sons (47:27–48:22)
f. Jacob Blesses the Twelve Tribes (49:1-33)
g. Joseph Believes God to the End (50:1-26)


Author—Traditional View. Jewish and Christian traditions consistently affirm that Moses was the writer of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible.

Moses is identified—either explicitly or implicitly—as the writer of the Pentateuch more often than any other writer is identified with any other biblical book(s). Mosaic authorship can be supported with several lines of evidence. (1) The Pentateuch claims this for itself (Ex 17:14; 24:4, 7; 34:27;Nm 33:1-2; Dt 31:9). (2) Other OT books claim Mosaic authorship (see, e.g., Jos 1:78; 8:32, 34; 22:5; 23:6; 1Kg 2:3; 2Kg 14:6; 21:8; Ezr 6:18; 2Ch 25:4; Dn 9:1113; Mal 4:4). (3) Mosaic authorship is also the view of the NT (Mk 12:26; Lk 24:27; Jn 5:46; 2Co 3:15). (4) The details included in the Pentateuch point to an eyewitness author (Ex 15:27; Nm 2:1-31; 11:7-8), not an author writing centuries later. (5) The author was knowledgeable about Egyptian names, words, customs, and geography. Such knowledge indicates a writer from Egypt (Gn 13:10; 16:1-3; 33:18; 41:43), as Moses was, not an author or editor from Israel many centuries later. (6) Above all, the Lord Jesus Christ identified Moses as the author of the Torah. He stated (Jn 7:22) that Moses "gave" the Israelites the account of circumcision (Gn 17), whereas the rite itself was given to and handed down from "the fathers," that is, the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This shows that the Lord Jesus did indeed recognize Mosaic authorship.

Author—Documentary Hypothesis. The Pentateuch was one of the first portions of the Bible in the post-Enlightenment period to be seriously reexamined by humanist-inclined scholars. The starting point for these scholars' research was the conviction that the Bible is a purely (or primarily) human literary product, representing a collection of various ancient Near Eastern sources, both historical and mythological, which were collected, systematized, edited, and refashioned over centuries of time.

The application to the Pentateuch (and thus to Genesis) of this less-than-traditional approach was consolidated toward the beginning of the 19th century under the rubric of what has come to be known as the "documentary" or "JEDP" theory of the Pentateuch's origins. According to this theory the Pentateuch is comprised of at least four different sources (Jahwistic, Elohistic, Deuteronomic, and Priestly), each of which is characterized by certain distinct features and emphases.

The ideological starting point of this view and its attendant methodology is, necessarily, that Moses did not write (or, at the very least, may not have written) the Pentateuch. A review of some of the "proofs" of this assertion illustrates the tenuousness, and even the circular logic through which the data are sifted:

1. The Different Names for God. In the Torah, different names for God are used in different passages, so advocates of the documentary hypothesis claim that this indicates different sources. For example, God is called Elohim in Gn 1:1–2:3 but called Yahweh Elohim (the LORD God) in Gn 2:4–3:24. This, however, does not derive from two separate sources but rather two distinct emphases. Elohim is the name for God as the Almighty Creator of the universe, while Yahweh is the relational, covenant name for God. It makes sense therefore, that the passage that describes the creation of the world would use Elohim, but the passage that describes the creation of humanity would use His relational name. Moreover, multiple names for God appear in other literature, such as Homer's epics and the Quran, without requiring different sources.

2. The Presence of Duplications. In the Torah, there are several accounts that some claim are repetitions of the same event. For example, it is claimed that there are two creation accounts (1:1–2:3; 2:4-25), two covenant accounts (chaps. 15, 17); two banishments of Hagar (chaps. 16, 21); two name changes for Jacob (32:28; 35:10); two times Abraham claims Sarah as his sister, as does Isaac once (12:11-13; 20:11-13; 26:7); two complaints about food resolved by manna and quail (Ex 16:1-21; Nm 11:4-35); and two times water came from the rock (Ex 17:1-7; Nm 20:8-13). However, several possible reasons exist for these repetitions that do not require multiple sources. These events happened repeatedly, and the author included them for emphasis, or to show patterns of behavior, or to complement one another. In each case, there are good literary reasons for these repetitions.

3. The Presence of Anachronisms. It is claimed that when the text notes that "the Canaanite was then in the land" (Gn 12:6; 13:7) it reflects authorship at a time long after Moses when the Canaanites no longer were the dominant people in the land. Hence, the author was informing the audience of a prior state of affairs. However, the statements may simply imply that Moses, writing to the generation about to enter the land, sought to remind them that the Canaanites were also there in the days of the patriarchs. Another alleged anachronism is that the ancient city of Laish is called Dan (Gn 14:14), a name only given to that city after the conquest of Canaan (Jos 19:47; Jdg 18:29). However, calling the city Dan in the account of Abraham may be a result of a later scribe, when copying the Torah before the close of the OT canon, updating the city name, so that later generations would be able to identify the city under discussion. Another alleged anachronism is the statement that certain kings reigned in Edom "before any king reigned over the sons of Israel" (Gn 36:31), implying that this was written many years after Moses when there was kingship in Israel. But this could merely be Moses anticipating that Israel would one day have a king (cf. Dt 17:14-20) or even an editorial comment by a later scribe, copying the text before the close of the OT canon, and reflecting that Israel did indeed have kings later.

Clearly, these and other alleged anachronisms are easily resolved by recognizing that later scribes, writing before the close of the OT canon, would bring place names and circumstances up to date so that the readers could better understand the text.

4. The Characterization of Moses. This claim is that the Torah speaks of Moses as if he were a character in the narrative and not the author. For example, in the Torah, Moses is spoken of in the third person. This claim presupposes that the early Israelites were either unacquainted with or literarily too unsophisticated to employ the technique of third-person self-reference. However, this technique is attested in many instances throughout the OT (as in Ezra, Nehemiah, and most of the prophetic books) as well as in the NT and early postbiblical Hebrew literature. Another example is that the Torah reports that Moses "was very humble, more than every human on the face of the earth" (Nm 12:3). It is difficult to picture the humblest man on earth writing these words. However, this is a problem only if the concept of humility is understood as "marked by meekness or modesty," "low in rank," or "deferential." But the Hebrew term 'anav conveys the fundamental idea of "unworthiness," "needy," or even "afflicted" (see, e.g., Pss 10:16; 34:3; Is 29:19; 61:1). One other example is that the Torah includes an account of Moses' death (Dt 34). However, all that this indicates is that Moses did not write the last part of Dt and that God used a later prophet to add these words.

Date. 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.


Excerpted from The Moody Bible Commentary by Michael Rydelnik, Michael Vanlanigham. Copyright © 2014 The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

DR. MICHAEL RYDELNIK (Azusa Pacific University; Dallas Theological Seminary; Trinity International University) is Professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute and the Bible teacher on Open Line with Dr. Michael Rydelnik, answering listener Bible questions on over 200 stations nationwide across Moody Radio. The son of Holocaust survivors, he was raised in an observant Jewish home in Brooklyn, New York. As a High School student, Michael became a follower of Jesus the Messiah and began teaching the Bible almost immediately. He is the author of Understanding the Arab Israeli Conflict (Moody Publishers, 2004, Revised and Updated 2007) and The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? (B&H Publishers, 2010). He is the co-editor of the Moody Bible Commentary, a commentary on the whole Bible by the faculty of Moody Bible Institute. Michael served on the translation team of the Holman CSB Bible and contributed to several other books and study Bibles. Michael is a regular contributor to the Day of Discovery television program and appeared in the Lee Stroebel video The Case for Christ. Michael and his wife, Eva, have two adult sons who call and write all the time. The Rydelniks live in Chicago, IL and enjoy leading study groups to Israel and hiking with their two collies.

DR. MICHAEL VANLANINGHAM is professor of Bible at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He received his M.Div. in Systematic Theology from Talbot Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in New Testament and Pauline Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has written a number of articles for The Master's Seminary Journal as well as other publications.
CHARLES DYER (B.A., Washington Bible College; Th.M. and Ph.D., Dallas Theological Seminary) served for ten years as provost of Moody Bible Institute before becoming professor-at-large of Bible and host of The Land and the Book radio program. He is the author of numerous books, including A Voice in the Wilderness, What's Next?, The Rise of Babylon, and The New Christian Traveler's Guide to the Holy Land. His most recent book is Character Counts: The Power of Personal Integrity.
JOHN KOESSLER (D.Min., Trinity International University; M.Div., Biblical Theology Seminary) is Chairman and Professor in the Pastoral Studies Department at the Moody Bible Institute. He is author of a number of books including True Discipleship, God Our Father, and Names of Israel. John and his wife, Jane, live in northwest Indiana and have two sons.

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Moody Bible Commentary 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
1ash4 More than 1 year ago
Had been hearing about Moody Bible Commentary and was so glad I purchased it. The commentary is more than I expected. It has clarified so many questions I had about different scriptures. The only challenge has been keeping it at our house :). My youngest son just graduated from seminary and he's got his eyes on it! He'll definitely get on for his birthday!
Bill_LovedbyGod More than 1 year ago
Have not read it extensively, but from what I have seen so far, a good conservative commentary. In this day when the Bible is being dismissed as irrelevant this commentary shows how contemporary it is.
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