in Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries

by Richard S. Hess

4.58 Rank Score: 6.74 from 16 reviews, 6 featured collections, and 22 user libraries
Pages 352 pages
Publisher IVP Academic
Published 9/1/2008
ISBN-13 9780830842063


This book appears in the following featured collections.


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Though written at an intermediate level, Hess’s commentary is largely accessible to all readers. Longman notes that with expertise on Ancient Near Eastern literature and Israelite history, Hess “defends the essential authenticity of the historical memory of the book.” [Full Review]
Neil Short Neil Short October 30, 2022
I was not as impressed with this commentary as I expected. The author focused too much on technical details of the text and battle execution at the expense of practical Christian/Jewish applications. I am studying Joshua because I want to get a handle on God's bad behavior in Joshua's campaign in Canaan. Richard Hess didn't help much. Hess believes that all the Canaanite towns had the opportunity to join in covenant with Israel's God. Few joined in treaty with Israel politically and religiously. Most did not. For those rebellious towns: extermination. That reading may be correct. I have my doubts. I have a hunch that the more likely origin of the genocidal wars is an exilic idealistic memory of the conquest of Canaan. I'm still studying. I wasn't helped much by Hess. Furthermore, this commentary cannot be recommended as a study guide for class or sermon prep. There is too much tech and not enough application. The tech makes the commentary into a slow read.
Hess’s succinct commentary works with the literary shape of the text and provides some theological commentary. Of particular note is engagement with the realia of the boundary and town lists, and with archaeological and historical data to set the book’s events in the late second millennium. [Full Review]
bigcat bigcat August 10, 2019
I suspect the book of Joshua is a difficult one to get right for the editor of an introductory level commentary series. Much of the first half has interesting events and Bible stories even a child can understand. The second half is often a jumble of completely unfamiliar and uninteresting names of cities, boundaries and deceased kings. It would require a writer with a high degree of technical expertise to make sense of this second half, but this might put the commentary beyond the reach of the layman. This commentary went the second route and while it tries to cater to the lesser student, it is ultimately more of a well executed mid level treatise on archeology and the Hebrew text than a spiritual work. If this were a commentary on the Doomsday book it would have a similar feel. There are extensive notes and many charts that show both the immense level of work that went into the volume and the level of understanding and interest in Jewish geography, both present and 3,300 years past, that is required to understand it. For the pastor and seminarian, this should be a great commentary and is in fact graded very highly on the commentary review sites for this reason. Even for the layman, this is worth working your way through especially if you already own the whole commentary series. The book isn't afraid to address questions of dating and the like though it does shy away from questions of morality that can trouble us in the wholesale slaughter of men, women and children in many cities. As you would expect the first half of the verse by verse commentary on events like the Jericho and Rahab or the sin at Ai is the best part of the book. Since this is likely to be what you are teaching a Sunday School class on, this commentary has value for the teacher.
Matt K Matt K December 27, 2017
This commentary consistently gets great reviews, but I just can't rate it highly. Hess spends a lot of time on the historicity of Joshua from a very evangelical perspective, but he does not spend much addressing the very serious challenges that come from non-evangelical archaeology and scholarship. Perhaps this is a limitation of the smaller size of the Tyndale commentaries, but I was left wanting more from this book.
Warren Truesdale Warren Truesdale September 15, 2017
This commentary by Richard Hess is smaller than the other two, but it packs a punch. Dr. Hess is a renowned Old Testament scholar and is known for his insights into the Ancient Near East. His profound knowledge of the historical background shines through in this commentary. The introduction which covers the person of Joshua, the composition of the book, and the theology of the book, is well worth the meager price of the book... [Full Review]
Tim Challies Tim Challies April 22, 2013
The TOTC and NOTC series have made many appearances on this list of best commentaries; Hess’ volume on Joshua is regarded as one of the best of the entire series. Longman says, “Hess, an acknowledged expert on ancient Near Eastern literature and Israelite history, defends the essential authenticity of the historical memory of the book.” Like Davis’ commentary, it is targeted at an intermediate audience and is suitable for all readers. [Full Review]
John Glynn John Glynn September 20, 2008
The Tyndale Old and New Testament Commentary series is probably the most consistent commentary series available today. Most other series have some really good commentaries, some mediocre commentaries, and at least a handful of commentaries that are not very helpful at all. The volumes in the Tyndale series, on the other hand, are consistently good. The Tyndale commentary on Joshua is particularly good. Like Davis' commentary, this one is also written at an intermediate level and is accessible to all readers. [Full Review]
Integrates recent archaeological discoveries and literary analysis. Evangelical. [Full Review]