The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament

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Preaching's Preacher's Guide to the Best Bible Reference
How can we account for the "Book of the Law" suddenly being discovered during Josiah's renovation of the temple (2 Chron 34:14)? We know from Egypt and Mesopotamia that it was common to seal important documents--including theological documents--in the masonry or foundations of a palace or temple in order to inform a future king who might undertake restoration of the building.
What might the psalmist have had in mind when praising God for removing our transgressions "as far as the east is from the west" (Ps 103:12)? In an Egyptian hymn to Amun-Re, the deity is praised for his judgment of the guilty. As a result of the god's discernment the guilty are assigned to the east and the righteous to the west.
What is meant by God "weighing the heart" (Prov 21:2)? In Egyptian religious tradition we find the notion of the dead being judged before the gods. As the soul is examined, the dead person's heart is weighed in a scale against a feather symbolizing Truth. If the answers are correct and the heart does not outweigh the feather, the soul may enter the realm of everlasting life.
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. Expert scholars John Walton, Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas have included along with the fruits of their research and collaboration

a glossary of historical terms, ancient peoples, texts and inscriptions
maps and charts of important historical resources
expanded explanations of significant background issues
introductory essays on each book 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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 832 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 58mm | 1,479g
  • Nottingham, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0830814191
  • 9780830814190
  • 56,945

Table of contents


Other Resources

Pentateuch: Introduction


Ancient Near Eastern Mythology and the Old Testament

Ancient Near Eastern Flood Accounts

The Religion of Abraham

Major Trade Routes in the Ancient Near East


The Date of the Exodus




The Covenant and Ancient Near Eastern Treaties

Historical Literature: Introduction


Egyptian Information About Canaan and Israel


The Political Climate in the Early Iron Age


1 Samuel

2 Samuel

1 Kings

2 Kings

The Western Campaigns of Tiglath-Pileser III, 734-732

1 Chronicles

Significance of Genealogies to Postexilic Audience

2 Chronicles

Sennacherib's Inscriptions






Wisdom and Poetic Literature: Introduction


Retribution Principle


Common Concepts

Common Metaphors for God

Musical Terms


Proverbs Echoed in Ancient Near East

How Proverbs Were Used

Proverbs As Generalized Truth


Song of Songs

Sexual Metaphor

Prophetic Literature: Introduction


Afterlife Beliefs in Israel and the Ancient Near East


Seals and Bullae


Laments over Fallen Cities in the Ancient World



Akkadian Apocalypses



Day of Yahweh


Economic Changes and Social Classes in Eighth-Century Israel









Apocalyptic Literature

Summary of the Temple-Building Connections to Zechariah's Visions



Charts and Maps

Topical Index
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Review quote

This volume [The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Genesis--Deuteronomy, a precursor to this new, complete OT volume] provides Bible readers who have little knowledge of the ancient world an abundance of information on the sociocultural background of texts throughout the Pentateuch. The authors present the materials in a clear, concise, straightforward manner. . . . This book is a splendid tool that provides ready access to the cultural background of the books of the Pentateuch.--Themelios
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About John H. Walton

John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Previously he was professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for twenty years.
Some of Walton's books include The Lost World of Adam and Eve, The Lost World of Scripture, The Lost World of Genesis One, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, The Essential Bible Companion, The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis and The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (with Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas).
Walton's ministry experience includes church classes for all age groups, high school Bible studies and adult Sunday school classes, as well as serving as a teacher for "The Bible in 90 Days." John and his wife, Kim, live in Wheaton, Illinois, and have three adult children. Victor H. Matthews is dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and professor of religious studies at Missouri State University (Springfield, Missouri). He has written several books on the Old Testament, including Manners and Customs in the Bible: An Illustrated Guide to Life in Bible Times, (with James Moyer) The Old Testament: Text and Context and (with Don C. Benjamin) The Social World of Ancient Israel. Mark W. Chavalas is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin--La Crosse. He is also editor of Emar: The History, Religion, and Culture of a Syrian Town in the Late Bronze Age, (with John L. Hayes) New Horizons in the Study of Ancient Syria and (with K. L. Younger Jr.) Syria-Mesopotamia and the Bible.
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