Providing clear exposition based on solid contemporary scholarship, this commentary by F. Charles Fensham examines the books of Ezra and Nehemiah — two books of Scripture that are especially important for understanding the last century of Old Testament Jewish history and for marking the beginnings of Judaism.
A biblical scholar well known for his expertise in ancient Near Eastern studies, especially Ugaritic, Fensham places Ezra and Nehemiah against the ancient Near Eastern environment. In his introduction Fensham discusses the original unity of the books as well as the problems of authorship. He then treats the historical and religious background of the books, taking special note of the development of a Jewish religious society in postexilic times. Text and language are examined next, followed by a thorough bibliography.
The commentary proper, based on Fensham’s own fresh translation of the biblical texts, is richly documented and displays cautious good judgment, willingness to consider different options, a sensible approach, and keen insight into the religious meaning of these key Hebrew texts.
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
F. Charles Fensham (1925–1989) was professor of Semitic languages at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Author of several books, including a commentary on Exodus, he also served as the editor of the Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages.
This is a very useful commentary. The author’s scholarship provides a sound base. His bibliography is inclusive and up to date. He interacts with all important positions on major questions. His view is conservative and clearly reasoned. . . . A commendable work.