While I appreciate much of Walton's commentary, I have found him to be clearly 'over the top' critical of conservative Genesis theology. Casting doubt on the Word of God, in any form, but especially in the name of scholarship, is not attractive to most readers of the Scriptures today. I understand Walton swoons the academic community by his comments, but I am not impressed by anything or anyone that says they subscribe to the "inerrancy of the Scriptures" while at the same time writing statements which clearly, definitely contradict this.
Zondervan gives you a brief description of who, what, where, when, and why. And then it adds little features that keep you interested such as maps, illustrations of typical tools, household wares, to help explain the life such as during their 40 years in the desert. Now Genesis was a hard book to read but there was mostly one type of information and that is the beget etc, etc,,, but to me the two hardest books were Numbers and Deuteronomy because there were the families, but then there was also the history, the Who, why, when and consequences of your actions by Gods laws and still remembering that Moses is in charge of a substantial army and Zondervan Old Testament gives you a good background than helps you by explaining as neutral as possible the reasons, the happenings and then gives you the books intertwined with explanations to aid you in figuring out a lot of things. When I was just using a Study Bible, I felt the closest source to the best translation was the Georgian Orthodox Church (which I found exciting but a little funny because it uses King James the First Version as a source of reference to the old Testament but King James used the same Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek Translation of the old Testament as the Georgian Bible, but I know Zondervan uses NIV for its Bible Reference, but if I find any differences than I go back to my Study Bible and check out the differences and than make my own opinion of what might have happened. But I still think it a good idea to have read the Bible and in that way you get so much more eye opening explanations and answers to your questions. BUT remember their are as many explanations for a verse as there is Bibles so a good idea is to slowly add other reference material from other religions and people that you get a good distribution of an answer to your questions. But these illustrated Bible backgrounds and Commentary is a very good place to start trying to find your answers. I am a little biased in that I use a lot of Zondervan because they meet my intellect Level and pictures are very helpful, see what I mean....Hardy Laugh... Not saying the Books are made of non-intellectual people just thata picture is worth a thousand words and if you read them and then see a picture or an explanation in simpler terms, it's Fantastic.