This book is excellent if you would like to better understand the background of the Old Testament. Understanding the 'conceptual world' or worldview and customs of the ANE allows one to better understand the OT, period. Walton is one of the best OT scholars and this book is essentially comparative studies on a variety of topics. It is thoroughly enriching, and an easy read (esp. to use as a reference). Also, the price of the book is so low that it makes it a great value to buy as it is absolutely loaded with helpful information.
Admittedly I was a bit sceptical of John Walton after reading his book on Genesis one. This isn't because I disagree (I actually agree quite a bit) but because he had not met my expectations as far as communicating his view. However, this book is far different and far better. Walton touches on each issue of ANE culture enough to introduce his readers to the way in which ancient people thought, yet his presentation was not exceedingly cumbersome. Occasionally, Walton had some dark boxes in which he included a comparative study between ancient israel and the rest of the ANE. These portions alone would be worth the price of the whole. For those who really love the OT, Walton has given us an outstanding introduction to the culture and thought patterns that lie behind its development. Thanks Dr. Walton.
This book does an excellent job of painting a picture of the way the ancient peoples around Israel thought about their gods, society, morality, nature, etc. I had 8 seminary courses on the OT back in the 80s, and yet this volume boosted my understanding tremendously. It's like all these years I've been watching the OT on a small, black-and-white TV and now I'm watching on a high-definition color TV. This helped me better understand the world of the OT and will keep me from importing our modern, Western perspectives onto the scriptural text.
An outstanding survey that helps to give one a grasp of many ancient near eastern concepts of which the 'old testament' was a part. This is an intelligent, well laid out book. A bullseye ! A must for those seeking to understand the old testament in it's own time and culture.