A mid-to-upper level critical commentary on the book of Judges suitable for pastors and laity with college or seminary level biblical training, students, and scholars.
The New International Commentary on the Old Testament [NICOT] is one of the most respected commentary series in the world. The volumes in this series deal with multiple aspects of the biblical books including textual integrity, literary structure, and socio-historical background. Current scholarship is also reviewed though technical matters are typically confined to the footnotes.
Barry G. Webb's The Book of Judges is a critical commentary that comprehensively explores the book of Judges and briefly but adequately reviews current scholarship on the ancient document. Webb treats the Judges as a unified book and spends the majority of his time dealing with the text. He is particularly astute at examining literary structure and showing how that structure tells the story of Israel's Judges. Knowledge of Hebrew is, as always, very beneficial for navigating Webb's work but is not required and very little Hebrew actually appears in the text. Where Hebrew words are referenced they appear in transliterated form. Nonetheless, readers should have their grammatical ears ready when reading this commentary.
The historical and sociological context of the book and the difficulties associated with it receive ample attention as does the biblical context of the book situated, as it is, between the Exodus and the emerging monarchy. Theologically, Webb discusses important points such as the violence of the book of Judges, the roles of Women and its relation to the New Testament. But these discussions are restrained to the historical contexts and data from the text and do not directly engage doctrinal theology.
Eminently readable, exegetically thorough, and written in an emotionally warm style that flows from his keen sensitivity to the text, Barry Webbs commentary on Judges is just what is needed to properly engage a dynamic, narrative work like the book of Judges. It discusses not only unique features of the stories themselves but also such issues as the violent nature of Judges, how women are portrayed in it, and how it relates to the Christian gospel of the New Testament.
Webb concentrates throughout on what the biblical text itself throws into prominence, giving space to background issues only when they cast significant light on the foreground. For those who want more, the footnotes and bibliography provide helpful guidance. The end result is a welcome resource for interpreting one of the most challenging books in the Old Testament.
Barry G. Webb is senior research fellow emeritus in OldTestament at Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia,where he taught for thirty-three years. Among his otherpublished works are The Book of the Judges: AnIntegrated Reading and Five Festal Garments:Christian Reflections on the Song of Songs, Ruth,Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther.
We have been waiting for Barry Webb's commentary a long time. It's here! This volume is the mature fruit of three decades of study and reflection on the book of Judges. Webb combines the best of thorough scholarship with an evangelical passion for readers to grasp the rhetorical agenda and message of the book. Scholars, teachers, and pastors will find this volume to be a worthy addition to the already excellent NICOT series.
-Daniel I. Block
from author's preface
"I have always felt cheated by the kind of exegetical vivisection that kills by analysis until all that's left is lifeless bits and pieces, classified and arranged, conquered rather than read. For me the text is a living thing, whose life has to be respected if it is to be understood. . . . Judges is not a nice book. It's rough and raw and confronting. Working on it has been like living with someone who always tells you the truth: it is good for you, but not pleasant. In this commentary I have tried to let Judges be what it is instead of taming it."
Daniel I. Block
"We have been waiting for Barry Webb's commentary a long time. It's here! This volume is the mature fruit of three decades of study and reflection on the book of Judges. Webb combines the best of thorough scholarship with an evangelical passion for readers to grasp the rhetorical agenda and message of the book. Scholars, teachers, and pastors will find this volume to be a worthy addition to the already excellent NICOT series."
"Webb combines solid exegetical insights with literary sensitivity. . . . Pastors will find Webbs verse-by-verse commentary helpful. . . . Webb respects the text as it is and uses sound literary and rhetorical methods to discover its message."
"The first-rate NICOT series has been enhanced by the inclusion of Barry Webbs commentary on the Book of Judges. . . . Heartily recommended."
Masters Seminary Journal
"The NICOT is one of the best evangelical commentary series on the Old Testament. The reputation of the series will only be enhanced with this superb work on Judges. . . . Highly recommended."
Bulletin for Biblical Research
"This commentary deserves the attention of all who are interested in the study of the Book of Judges."
Review & Expositor
"It will have an important place in college and seminary classrooms and in the libraries of ministers."
Reformed Theological Review
"One need only say that this commentary is everything that would be expected of a new addition to the NICOT commentary series: readable, well-researched and reliable."
Review of Biblical Literature
"A strong, conservative theological reading of the complex book of Judges. . . . College and seminary courses will welcome this approach to Judges."
Journal of Ancient Judaism
"The commentary contributes valuable insights especially into the structure of Judges. Alongside an extensive introduction, Webb provides his readers with an English translation of the Hebrew text and a commentary."