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.
The 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.
Preaching's Preacher's Guide to the Best Bible Reference for 2014 (General Reference)
“A man was identified in the ancient world as a member of his father’s household. When the head of the household died, his heir assumed that title and its responsibilities. It is also identified with ancestral lands and property. By leaving his father’s household, Abram was thus giving up his inheritance and his right to family property.” (Genesis 12:1)
“The process used here is more like an oracular process” (1 Samuel 10:20–21)
“Land, family and inheritance were among the most significant elements in ancient society. For farmers and herdsmen land was their livelihood. For city dwellers land represented their political identity. Descendants represented the future. Children provided for their parents in old age and enabled the family line to extend another generation. They gave proper burial to their parents and honored the names of their ancestors. In some of the ancient Near Eastern cultures these were considered essential to maintaining a comfortable existence in the afterlife. When Abram gave up his place in his father’s household, he forfeited his security. He was putting his survival, his identity, his future and his security in the hands of the Lord.” (Genesis 12:1)
“The type of law found in the Ten Commandments that prohibits or requires certain types of behavior is called apodictic law and is rarely found in the legal collections of the ancient Near East.” (Exodus 20:1–17)
“The legislation does not require rest as much as it stipulates cessation, interrupting the normal activities of one’s occupation.” (Exodus 20:8–11)
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament is a treasure of information crucial to enriching your understanding of the Bible.
—Tremper Longman III, Westmont College
John H. Walton received his PhD from Hebrew Union College and is Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. Previously he was Professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois.
Victor H. Matthews is Dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and Professor of Religious Studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.
Mark W. Chavalasis Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse.