Genesis and Exodus lay the groundwork for the rest of the Bible—God’s creation, the Fall and the promise of salvation, the patriarchs, and journey out of Egypt and into the wilderness. In their commentary on Genesis and Exodus, John N. Oswalt and Allen P. Ross explore the central themes of these important books.
“What is your name?’ Obviously the assailant was not trying to find out who Jacob was. He was asking for more than a simple name. When we remember that in the Old Testament one’s name is linked to his character or actions, the point becomes clear: By giving his name, Jacob was confessing his nature, his way of doing things. He was the heel-grabber, the deceiver, the crafty opponent. All that had to be radically changed before he would be blessed. He had to acknowledge who he was.” (Page 191)
“The Israelites would have appreciated this fact about God’s first act of creation, for he had given them light in their dwellings in Egypt when there was darkness on the Egyptians and their sun-god (Exod 10:21–24), and it was his light that led them through the wilderness (Exod 13:21–22). They would know that God is light, and that in him they could know the way to life.” (Page 38)
“The lessons of this passage for devout worshipers are timeless: (1) Faith obeys the word of God even if it conflicts with our understanding and our preferences; (2) faith surrenders the best to God, holding nothing back; and (3) faith waits on the Lord to provide all one’s needs. But God does not provide until the will has been surrendered and the offering given. True worship is costly. This was always the case for Israel as they came to the sanctuary. But if they were faithful—and if we are faithful—the Lord will provide.” (Page 144)
“I will make a helper. The word ‘helper’ in this section is not a demeaning term at all; in the Bible it is used most frequently of God (Pss 33:20; 70:5; 115:9). When God helps people, it means he does for them what they cannot possibly do for themselves. In this context the word indicates that the woman would supply what man lacked and, by implication of the Hebrew behind the phrase, ‘just right for him,’ that he would provide what she lacked. Together they would be complete and completely able to produce life.” (Page 48)
An enormously helpful series for the layperson and pastor alike because it centers on the theological message of each book and ties it directly to the text. This approach has been needed for some time and will be an invaluable supplement to other commentary series.
A treasure house of insight into the biblical text. Written by some of the best scholars working today, it is an essential tool for pastors, students, church leaders, and lay people who want to understand the text and know how it relates to our lives today. Like the New Living Translation text it uses as its base, this commentary series is extremely readable.
Allen P. Ross is Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, Stamford University. His articles have appeared in Biblical Viewpoint, Bibliotheca Sacra, and Kindred Spirit, and he has contributed to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, the Christian Life Bible, and the Biblical Hebrew Handbook. He is the author of numerous books, including Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis and Holiness to the Lord.
John N. Oswalt (Ph.D., Brandeis University) is Research Professor of Old Testament at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. He was the Old Testament editor of the Wesley Bible and also served as consulting editor for the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis. He has written six books, including a 2-volume commentary on Isaiah in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series and commentary on Isaiah in the New International Version Application Commentary series. He has been a member of the translation teams for the New International Version and the New Living Translation.