The First Book of Samuel
This book appears in the following featured collections.
- Recommended OT Commentaries by Denver Seminary Journal
- Basic Library Booklist by Detriot Baptist Theological Seminary
This volume focuses much of its energy on linguistic structures (Tsumura is primarily an expert in biblical languages), and less on literary art and narrative devices. It does well what it is attempting to do. On it's own, it's less helpful, but in conjunction with a more theological focused (like Bergen) and narrative drama focused (like Brueggemann) commentary, this provides a helpful picture of all aspects of the book.
Tsumura’s commentary on 1 Samuel was published in 2007; the NICOT still does not have a volume on 2 Samuel, though apparently Tsumura continues to work on it. Keith Mathison recommends this commentary and says, “It is very well written and very thorough. Tsumura’s expertise in the languages of the ancient Near East is evident throughout.” He suggests as well that when the second volume is complete the set “will likely be the standard scholarly commentary on these books for many years.” [Full Review]
I have not read all of this commentary but I would have to say that it is the best commentary on 1 Samuel today. It is comprehensive in depth and very evangelical when compared with other technical commentaries like McCarter. Tsumura covers the sitz em laben of the book quite well and deals with authorial and source criticism from a decent standpoint. The only complaint is he does leave out some key positions and developments within theology (like the debate over the authorial position upon kingship). He does a great job retracing Canaanite and Philistine cultus worship as well as linguistic dissection in very difficult and confusing areas. Tsumera has raised the bar for Old Testament scholarship particularly in the NICOT series! This commentary is well worth some shelf space in your own library.
The best intermediate-advanced level commentary on the first book of Samuel is now the commentary by David Tsumura in the NICOT series. It is very well written and very thorough. Tsumura's expertise in the languages of the ancient Near East is evident throughout. He is currently working on the follow-up volume on 2 Samuel in the same series, but given the fact that the first volume is approximately 700 pages, it may be some time before we see the completed set. When it is complete, it will likely be the standard scholarly commentary on these books for many years. Highly recommended. [Full Review]
Takes seriously the Hebrew text with strong grammatical, literary, and cultural insights. Evangelical. [Full Review]