The book of Numbers tells a story that has two main characters — God and Israel. The way the story is told sounds odd and often harsh to readers today. In spite of the difficulties imposed by Numbers on today’s readers, the main point of the book is of immense importance for God’s people in any age: exact obedience to God is crucial.
This comprehensive and erudite commentary — resulting from nearly a decade of study of Numbers by Timothy Ashley — presents a thorough explication of this significant Hebrew text. Ashley’s introduction to Numbers discusses such questions as structure, authorship, and theological themes, and it features an extended bibliography of major works on the book of Numbers, concentrating mainly on works in English, French, and German.
Dividing the text of Numbers into five major sections, Ashley’s commentary elucidates the theological themes of obedience and disobedience that run throughout the book’s narrative. His detailed verse-by-verse comments are intended primarily to explain the Hebrew text of Numbers as we have it rather than to speculate on how the book came to be in its present form.
About the New International Commentary Old Testament Series
“In the Old Testament we read God’s word as it was spoken to his people Israel. Today, thousands of years later, we hear in these thirty-nine books his inspired and authoritative message for us.”
These twin convictions, shared by all of the contributors to The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, define the goal of this ambitious series of commentaries. For those many modern readers who find the Old Testament to be strange and foreign soil, the NICOT series serves as an authoritative guide bridging the cultural gap between today’s world and the world of ancient Israel. Each NICOT volume aims to help us hear God’s word as clearly as possible.
Scholars, pastors, and serious Bible students will welcome the fresh light that this commentary series casts on ancient yet familiar biblical texts. The contributors apply their proven scholarly expertise and wide experience as teachers to illumine our understanding of the Old Testament. As gifted writers, they present the results of the best recent research in an interesting manner.
Each commentary opens with an introduction to the biblical book, looking especially at questions concerning its background, authorship, date, purpose, structure, and theology. A select bibliography also points readers to resources for their own study. The author’s own translation from the original Hebrew forms the basis of the commentary proper. Verse-by-verse comments nicely balance in-depth discussions of technical matters — textual criticism, critical problems, and so on — with exposition of the biblical writer’s theology and its implications for the life of faith today.
About the Author
Timothy R. Ashley is minister of First Baptist Church in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He previously served for more than twenty years as professor of biblical studies at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
A balanced and sensitive treatment. Highly recommended as a fresh and authoritative approach to this difficult but theologically rich Old Testament book.