The second of John N. Oswalt's two-part study of Isaiah for the NICOT series, this commentary provides exegetical and theological exposition for scholars, pastors, and students who seek to know the perennial meaning of the text in contemporary terms.
Though Oswalt's main introduction is found in his commentary on chapters 1-39, this second volume opens with an important discussion of the scholarly debate over the unity/diversity of Isaiah. Here Oswalt makes stronger his case for reading the entire book of Isaiah as written by a single author. Oswalt's work attempts to take seriously Israel's historical situation at the time chapters 40-66 were composed while also seeking to understand how these chapters function as a part of Isaiah's total vision written in the late 700s or early 600s B.C.
Assuming the single authorship of Isaiah, the verse-by-verse commentary interprets chapters 40-66 in light of the book as a whole. While not neglecting issues of historical criticism or form criticism, the commentary focuses mainly on the theological meaning of the text as indicated especially by the literary structure. Building on his earlier argument that the central theme of Isaiah is servanthood, Oswalt keeps readers focused on the character of Israel's sovereign Redeemer God, on the blind servant Israel, and on the ultimate work of the Suffering Servant in whom the world can find its savior.
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
John N. Oswalt is Research Professor of Old Testament at Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi. A former president of Asbury College and former professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Asbury Theological Seminary, he also served on the translation team for the New International Version of the Bible.
This is a commentary in which the meaning of the book of Isaiah for today is taken as seriously as its meaning for its original readers.