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First and Second Samuel (Interpretation | INT)

, 1982

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With critical scholarship and theological sensitivity, Walter Brueggemann traces the people of God through the books of Samuel as they shift from marginalized tribalism to an oppressive monarchy. He carefully opens the literature of the books, sketching a narrative filled with historical realism but also bursting with an awareness that more than human action is being presented.

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“If we face this text at all, we are soon invited behind all the critical, scholarly questions to face the harder questions of human desire and human power—desire with all its delight, power with all its potential for death.” (Page 272)

“I judge this oracle with its unconditional promise to David to be the most crucial theological statement in the Old Testament, but it is not the whole of Old Testament faith. This core statement of royal faith is a bold departure from the conditional character of the Mosaic ‘if’ (cf. Ex. 19:4–6). Sound interpretation requires us to recognize that while the covenantal ‘if’ is silenced in this theology, it has not been nullified. Therefore, interpretation must struggle with the tension of ‘if’ and ‘nevertheless’ that is present in the Bible, in our own lives, and in the very heart of God.” (Page 259)

“The narrative wants us to notice Yahweh as the key actor. The narrative invites us to wait in our trouble with such a focus on God, to see if prayers can be uttered, if vows can be made, if gifts can be received, if thanks can be rendered, if worship can be enacted. When all of that becomes possible among us, we are prepared for the story of Israel’s new life.” (Page 15)

“The sin of the young men was very great’ (v. 17). The term ‘great’ (gdl) is the same term used for Samuel. The linguistic parallel seems to sharpen the contrast intentionally. Both Samuel and the sons of Eli are ‘great.’ Samuel is ‘great’ as a mature man of God, Eli’s sons are ‘great’ in sin.” (Pages 22–23)

“This oracle is built around a play on the word ‘house,’ which can mean either temple or dynasty. Roles are now reversed. David will not build Yahweh a house (temple), but Yahweh will build David a house (dynasty).” (Page 255)

The Interpretation series from Westminster John Knox Press is clearly established as a rich source for teaching and preaching. They have tapped the talents of a varied and esteemed group of contributors, resulting in what is clearly the essential comprehensive commentary series on the Bible.

—W. Eugene March, A.B. Rhodes Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

The Interpretation series is an invaluable resource for any leader or scholar interested in interpreting the biblical text to the broader church. Its works are essential for pastors, educators, and church libraries.

—Brian K. Blount, President and Professor of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary

  • Title: First and Second Samuel
  • Author: Walter Brueggemann
  • Series: Interpretation Commentary
  • Publisher: John Knox
  • Print Publication Date: 1982
  • Logos Release Date: 2004
  • Era: era:contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible. O.T. 1 Samuel › Commentaries; Bible. O.T. 1 Samuel › Homiletical use; Bible. O.T. 2 Samuel › Commentaries; Bible. O.T. 2 Samuel › Homiletical use
  • Resource ID: LLS:29.14.6
  • Resource Type: Bible Commentary
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-10-05T16:58:07Z

Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He is past president of the Society of Biblical Literature and the author of numerous books, including David’s Truth: In Israel’s Imagination and MemoryInterpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching Genesis, and The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary.


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  1. Randy



    In 2 Samuel 21, the author of this volume claims David fabricated the message from God about the cause of the famine, to justify violence against the house of Saul. He uses this as a platform to accuse David of not being the pious king he was portrayed to be in preceding chapters. This would seem to undermine both Scripture as being God's word, and the character of David. We know who the accuser of the brethren is, and who has been trying to undermine God's word since Genesis. That's evidently the inspiring source for this commentary's interpretation.
  2. Philemon Schott
  3. john kho

    john kho


  4. Chan Yew Ming
  5. Ernest



  6. Jack KiChan Kwon
  7. Min Park

    Min Park


Save 25% off during the Memorial Day Sale!


Digital list price: $26.99
Regular price: $20.99
Save $5.25 (25%)