The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament
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
"Users of Craig Keener's IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament will be delighted to have a companion volume on a period both more remote in time and exotic in cultural background. . . . This volume . . . fills a need not addressed by any other book I know. It will open the eyes of lay readers to the vast and still largely untapped resources of ancient Near Eastern archaeology and texts for the understanding of the Old Testament. I predict a warm and enthusiastic reception for the book."
"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."
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
The Western Campaigns of Tiglath-Pileser III, 734-732
Significance of Genealogies to Postexilic Audience
Wisdom and Poetic Literature: Introduction
Common Metaphors for God
Proverbs Echoed in Ancient Near East
How Proverbs Were Used
Proverbs As Generalized Truth
Song of Songs
Prophetic Literature: Introduction
Afterlife Beliefs in Israel and the Ancient Near East
Seals and Bullae
Laments over Fallen Cities in the Ancient World
Day of Yahweh
Economic Changes and Social Classes in Eighth-Century Israel
Summary of the Temple-Building Connections to Zechariah's Visions
Charts and Maps