Providing clear exposition based on solid contemporary scholarship, this commentary by F. Charles Fensham examines the books of Ezra and Nehemiah—two books of Scripture that are especially important for understanding the last century of Old Testament Jewish history and for marking the beginnings of Judaism.
A biblical scholar well known for his expertise in ancient Near Eastern studies, especially Ugaritic, Fensham places Ezra and Nehemiah against the ancient Near Eastern environment. In his introduction, Fensham discusses the original unity of the books as well as the problems of authorship. He then treats the historical and religious background of the books, taking special note of the development of a Jewish religious society in postexilic times. Text and language are examined next, followed by a thorough bibliography.
The commentary proper, based on Fensham’s own fresh translation of the biblical texts, is richly documented and displays cautious good judgment, willingness to consider different options, a sensible approach, and keen insight into the religious meaning of these key Hebrew texts.
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This is a very useful commentary. The author’s scholarship provides a sound base. His bibliography is inclusive and up to date. He interacts with all important positions on major questions. His view is conservative and clearly reasoned. A commendable work.
Provides Old Testament students with a most excellent tool for the analysis and exegesis of Ezra and Nehemiah. This volume has many strengths and practical suggestions for treating problem passages, and follows a good and logical outline of the combined texts. Ministers as well as scholars will find it useful.
The strengths of this volume are clear. Fensham uses his expertise in Semitic languages to address the many linguistic difficulties which appear in these two biblical books. In addition, his use of ancient Near Eastern history and archaeology is helpful. These elements, plus generous documentation, make this a substantial commentary.
—Biblical Theology Bulletin
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