I am looking for a book or series of volumes that puts the Old Testament within its Historical / Social context. For example, an understanding of the greater political situation with the Assyrians, Babylonians and Egyptians during the time of Hezekiah would seem to shine light on his decision to show the envoys the wealth/strenght of Judah.
Though some commentaries do provide a glimpse behind the curtain I have not seen anyone systematically lay this out in a way that puts the historical and prophetical books of the bible within their greater context. This historical context is a gap for most people that seems to hinder a fuller understanding of the the message of much of the Old Testament.
Interested to hear of any recommendations.
Thank you for your good question! There is help for you.
There are Bible background helps available as well as commentaries which do an better than average job showing the background material.
Let me recommend the following:
Walton & Matthews, IVP BIBLE BACKGROUND
COMMENTARY: OLD TESTAMENT--shows the secular history and background issues that should lead to greater clarity of our understanding of the biblical text.
Walton, ZONDERVAN ILLUSTRATED BIBLE
BACKGROUNDS--OLD TESTAMENT; 5 volumes--given the fact it is five volumes rather than one (see above) it stands to reason that much more is included.
Arnold & Wiliamson, IVP DICTIONARY OF THE OLD
TESTAMENT: HISTORICAL BOOKS--1000 pages of
Boda & McGonville, IVP DICTIONARY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: PROPHETS--Ditto above
COMMENTARIES WITH HELPFUL HISTORICAL BACKGROUNDS:
Dale Ralph Davis, JOSHUA; Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis, JUDGES, Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis, 1ST SAMUEL; Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis, 2ND SAMUEL; Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis; 1ST KINGS; Christian Focus
Dale Ralph Davis, 2ND KINGS; Christian Focus
Robert Hubbard, ed.; NEW INTERNATIONAL
COMMENTARIES ON THE OLD TESTAMENT; Eerdmans
multi-volume set covering the complete O.T.
Two other resources are very useful.
NIV ARCHEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE; Zondervan--the faculty of Gordon-Conwell Seminary gives archeological and historical backgrounds for the whole Bible, aiding our understanding immensely.
James Hoffmeier and Dennis Magary, eds.; DO HISTORICAL MATTERS MATTER TO FAITH ?; Crossway--scholars from around the world show how the Bible is historical and it matters. Eight chapters are on the Old Testament.
These should get you started and provide much help.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin
Posted: 05:19:00 AM :: permalink