The First Book of Samuel

The First Book of Samuel

The First Book of Samuel

The First Book of Samuel

Synopsis

David and Goliath, the call of Samuel, the witch of Endor, David and Bathsheba - such biblical stories are well known. But the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, where they are recorded, are among the most difficult books in the Bible. The Hebrew text is widely considered corrupt and sometimes even unintelligible. The social and religious customs are strange and seem to diverge from the tradition of Moses. In this first part of an ambitious two-volume commentary on the books of Samuel, David Toshio Tsumura sheds considerable light on the background of 1 Samuel, looking carefully at the Philistine and Canaanite cultures, as he untangles the difficult Hebrew text.

Excerpt

Long ago St. Paul wrote: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Cor. 3:6, NRSV). He was right: ministry indeed requires a team effort — the collective labors of many skilled hands and minds. Someone digs up the dirt and drops in seed, while others water the ground to nourish seedlings to growth. the same team effort over time has brought this commentary series to its position of prominence today. Professor E. J. Young “planted” it forty years ago, enlisting its first contributors and himself writing its first published volume. Professor R. K. Harrison “watered” it, signing on other scholars and wisely editing everyone’s finished products. As General Editor, I now tend their planting, and, true to Paul’s words, through four decades God has indeed graciously “[given] the growth.”

Today the New International Commentary on the Old Testament enjoys a wide readership of scholars, priests, pastors, rabbis, and other serious Bible students. Thousands of readers across the religious spectrum and in countless countries consult its volumes in their ongoing preaching, teaching, and research. They warmly welcome the publication of each new volume and eagerly await its eventual transformation from an emerging “series” into a complete commentary “set.” But as humanity experiences a new century of history, an era commonly called “postmodern,” what kind of commentary series is NICOT? What distinguishes it from other similarly well-established series?

Its volumes aim to publish biblical scholarship of the highest quality. Each contributor writes as an expert, both in the biblical text itself and in the relevant scholarly literature, and each commentary conveys the results of wide reading and careful, mature reflection. Ultimately, its spirit is eclectic, each contributor gleaning interpretive insights from any useful source, whatever its religious or philosophical viewpoint, and integrating them into his or her interpretation of a biblical book. the series draws on recent methodological innovations in biblical scholarship, for example, canon criticism, the so-

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