Edited by John H. Walton
Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan 2009
Reviewed by Clifford B. Kvidahl
*This is the first in what will probably be more than a few reviews*
My previous entry on this very useful commentary from Zondervan dealt briefly with basic information such as presentation and layout. In this brief review we will look at a section from Genesis 22. Because I have a paper to write on this section of the OT, I figured that it would be beneficial to write some of my thoughts down in a brief review.
The commentary on Genesis was written by John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College). Dr. Walton teaches at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Earlier this year Dr. Walton published “The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate.” (IVP, 2009). Prior to these works on Genesis, Dr. Walton published “Genesis, NIV Application Commentary.” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001). It is clear that Dr. Walton is adequate and up to the task to publish a commentary on Genesis.
Obviously with a work that encompasses the whole of the Pentateuch it is impossible to be thorough and very detailed, but do not let that hinder your usage of this fine commentary. If detail is what you seek, there are numerous single volume commentaries that cover just Genesis that will adequately suit your exegetical needs. What makes the ZIBBCOT so helpful is not just the written text of commentary, but also the various sidebars of information, pictures, maps, and the like. These numerous illustrations are almost nonexistent in almost every commentary published today.
An example of the illuminating affect of the sidebars is tidbit of information included on “Child Sacrifice in the Ancient Near East” (p. 97) as well as a map that helps to identify the exact location of Moriah, the hill on which Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac. While a detailed textual account of the region surrounding Moriah is indeed helpful, the inclusion of a map as a visual aid only helps to situate the region in a way that we can see and comprehend. Think of the textual information as a normal movie experience and the visual aid as digital 3D.
The actual text of commentary is brief, covering only 22.2, 10, 13, and 19. But as I mentioned above the purpose of ZIBBCOT is not detailed exegesis, but rather background information. It is here that I feel this work is very helpful. The amount of information on the ANE is very helpful for anyone desiring to study the world of the patriarchs.