The Book of Genesis: Chapters 18–50

The Book of Genesis: Chapters 18–50

The Book of Genesis: Chapters 18–50

The Book of Genesis: Chapters 18–50


"In the Old Testament we read God's word as it was spoken to his people Israel. Today, thousands of years later, we hear in these thirty-nine books his inspired and authoritative message for us."

These twin convictions, shared by all of the contributors to The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, define the goal of this ambitious series of commentaries. For those many modern readers who find the Old Testament to be strange and foreign soil, the NICOT series serves as an authoritative guide bridging the cultural gap between today's world and the world of ancient Israel. Each NICOT volume aims to help us hear God's word as clearly as possible.

Scholars, pastors, and serious Bible students will welcome the fresh light that this commentary series casts on ancient yet familiar biblical texts. The contributors apply their proven scholarly expertise and wide experience as teachers to illumine our understanding of the Old Testament. As gifted writers, they present the results of the best recent research in an interesting manner.

Each commentary opens with an introduction to the biblical book, looking especially at questions concerning its background, authorship, date, purpose, structure, and theology. A select bibliography also points readers to resources for their own study. The author's own translation from the original Hebrew forms the basis of the commentary proper. Verse-by-verse comments nicely balance in-depth discussions of technical matters -- textual criticism, critical problems, and so on -- with exposition of the biblical writer's theology and its implications for the life of faith today.


One of the archetypal homileticians and clergypersons of this century, the late Dr. Paul Rees, himself a productive and eloquent writer, was once asked: “Do you like to write?” His answer was: “Yes, I like to write, but I like better to have written.”

I can identify with that dictum. When I accepted this assignment a number of years ago, I knew it would be an extended one, and would take a good while to produce. But now I have written. I started. I progressed. I finished.

But the completion of this manuscript would have been impossible without the assistance of many individuals. Accordingly, I must express my gratitude to our former general editor, Dr. R. K. Harrison. Now that he is “absent from the body, but present with the Lord,” may he look approvingly from above on this commentary. All of us who are contributors to this nicot series, as well as to other publishing projects, know how his heart beat with concern for involvement on the cutting edge of biblical scholarship. He was inimical to few things as he was to shabbiness and slovenliness.

Additionally, I would extend a large thank you to the library staff of Asbury Theological Seminary here in Wilmore, Kentucky, that made available materials and resources not available in our own undergraduate college library. On numerous occasions they helpfully directed me to or through the labyrinth of bibliographic sources.

As with the first volume of this commentary, Mr. Gary Lee has been my editor. He has been thorough, professional, sagacious enough to save me from egregious errors, and stimulating enough to interact creatively and probingly with my manuscript. I thank him for thoroughly excavating the commentary I submitted to him, and for his suggestions and recommendations.

Finally, I must one more time thank my dear wife Shirley for her constant support and encouragement. While she goads me still to write something “we ordinary people can understand,” she has been at my side con-

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