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My Top Six OT Commentaries: Judges (Dr. Michelle E. Knight)

My Top Six OT Commentaries: Judges (Dr. Michelle E. Knight) July 12, 2021

Dr. Michelle Knight (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is an expert on the book of Judges. She wrote her dissertation on Judges and is currently working on a commentary and other writing projects on the historical books. So, you can trust she has worked extensively with the academic commentaries. Thank you for sharing your expertise, Dr. Knight!

FYI: She is also one of the hosts of the TEDS Foreword Podcast—Check it out.

(If you want to look back at earlier posts in this series, check out this index)


Technical

Dr. Michell E. Knight

Jack Sasson’s Anchor Bible Commentary on chs. 1–12 is one of my favorites. It is very Hebrew-oriented, but it stands out from other commentaries as creative and thought-provoking. Sasson takes the Masoretic Text seriously and reads it afresh without getting bogged down in less fruitful discussions.

 

Barry Webb’s NICOT is another more recent volume (2012), but it builds on a monograph Webb wrote decades ago that has shaped literary and theological discussion of Judges. His literary observations are brilliant and provide a foundation for rich and robust exegesis of the book as a whole.

 

Daniel Block’s NAC volume on Judges is older, but has become a classic. He follows Webb in more cohesive reading strategies, and builds upon them to offer a thorough and technical commentary that is just as pastoral and convicting as it is rigorous. Block’s careful attention to the structure of the Hebrew text will be a help to any reader working through the book in its original language.


Semi-Technical

Tammi Schneider’s commentary in the Berit Olam series is really excellent. It offers so much insight into the Hebrew text, but it does so in a way that is eminently approachable for anyone to read. Her observations on the narrative flow are astute. She is keenly attentive to the literary design of Judges and pushes readers to consider the rhetorical impact of the artistic choices evident in the book.

 

Lawson Younger’s NIVAC commentary is time-tested and has proved to be exceptionally useful in Judges study, so much so that a revised edition was released just last year (2020). Younger draws on a careful reading of the biblical text alongside his extensive ancient Near Eastern expertise to help students of Judges to read it in its original context, with all of its depth, color, and impact. His applications are timely and pastoral.


Non-Technical/Theological

David Beldman’s Two Horizons commentary is concerned with broad themes and theological implications more than the minutiae of linguistics. His observations are rich and his areas of reflection are timely. His commentary is essential for anyone hoping to think about how Judges contributes to our understanding of God and the world.

 

Bonus: YES, I KNOW THIS IS SEVEN. But I couldn’t avoid mentioning Mary J. Evans’ new TOTC commentary. It is an extremely approachable commentary that analyzes the text carefully with a pastoral sensitivity to contemporary concerns and reading strategies.

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