Pages 352 pages
Publisher IVP Academic
This book appears in the following featured collections.
- John Piper's OT Commentary Recommendations by Desiring God Ministries (John Piper)
- Recommended OT Commentaries by Denver Seminary Journal
- Tremper Longman III's 5-Star Commentaries by Tremper Longman III
- Ultimate Commentary Collection - OT Expositional by John Glynn
- Building a Commentary Library - Old Testament by Invitation to Biblical Interpretation
I suspect the book of Joshua is a difficult one to get right for the editor of an introductory level commentary series. Much of the first half has interesting events and Bible stories even a child can understand. The second half is often a jumble of completely unfamiliar and uninteresting names of cities, boundaries and deceased kings. It would require a writer with a high degree of technical expertise to make sense of this second half, but this might put the commentary beyond the reach of the layman. This commentary went the second route and while it tries to cater to the lesser student, it is ultimately more of a well executed mid level treatise on archeology and the Hebrew text than a spiritual work. If this were a commentary on the Doomsday book it would have a similar feel. There are extensive notes and many charts that show both the immense level of work that went into the volume and the level of understanding and interest in Jewish geography, both present and 3,300 years past, that is required to understand it. For the pastor and seminarian, this should be a great commentary and is in fact graded very highly on the commentary review sites for this reason. Even for the layman, this is worth working your way through especially if you already own the whole commentary series. The book isn't afraid to address questions of dating and the like though it does shy away from questions of morality that can trouble us in the wholesale slaughter of men, women and children in many cities. As you would expect the first half of the verse by verse commentary on events like the Jericho and Rahab or the sin at Ai is the best part of the book. Since this is likely to be what you are teaching a Sunday School class on, this commentary has value for the teacher.
This commentary consistently gets great reviews, but I just can't rate it highly. Hess spends a lot of time on the historicity of Joshua from a very evangelical perspective, but he does not spend much addressing the very serious challenges that come from non-evangelical archaeology and scholarship. Perhaps this is a limitation of the smaller size of the Tyndale commentaries, but I was left wanting more from this book.
This commentary by Richard Hess is smaller than the other two, but it packs a punch. Dr. Hess is a renowned Old Testament scholar and is known for his insights into the Ancient Near East. His profound knowledge of the historical background shines through in this commentary. The introduction which covers the person of Joshua, the composition of the book, and the theology of the book, is well worth the meager price of the book... [Full Review]
The TOTC and NOTC series have made many appearances on this list of best commentaries; Hess’ volume on Joshua is regarded as one of the best of the entire series. Longman says, “Hess, an acknowledged expert on ancient Near Eastern literature and Israelite history, defends the essential authenticity of the historical memory of the book.” Like Davis’ commentary, it is targeted at an intermediate audience and is suitable for all readers. [Full Review]
The Tyndale Old and New Testament Commentary series is probably the most consistent commentary series available today. Most other series have some really good commentaries, some mediocre commentaries, and at least a handful of commentaries that are not very helpful at all. The volumes in the Tyndale series, on the other hand, are consistently good. The Tyndale commentary on Joshua is particularly good. Like Davis' commentary, this one is also written at an intermediate level and is accessible to all readers. [Full Review]
Integrates recent archaeological discoveries and literary analysis. Evangelical. [Full Review]