Books, Hebrew, Old Testament


I have recently become quite interested in Genesis, particularly in the so-called “primeval history” of chapters 1-11. My interests typically translate into a sermon series (if possible), so it will likely be with Genesis 1-11. My struggle right now is deciding which works will best serve me in studying these chapters, whether or not I actually preach through them.

I currently own only two commentaries on Genesis: John Walton’s volume in the NIVAC and Kenneth Mathews’ first volume in the NAC. Walton’s commentary is very good, but less technical and Mathews’ is also very good. I also own the IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, but this is very non-technical and offers mostly summary assessments of background material.

As I perused the works available on Genesis, my list of potential purchases grew rather quickly. I narrowed the list to these, but I will definitely have to narrow further, perhaps to only 5-6 volumes.

Genesis in Interpretation by Walter Brueggemann

Genesis, with an Introduction to Narrative Literature in Forms of the Old Testament Literature by George W. Coats

Genesis in The Anchor Bible by E. A. Speiser

Genesis: A Commentary in the Old Testament Library by Gerhard Von Rad

Genesis Unbound: A Provocative New Look at the Creation Account by John Sailhamer

Genesis: A Commentary by Bruce Waltke

Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary by John C. Collins

Handbook on the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy by Victor P. Hamilton

Genesis 1-15 in the Word Biblical Commentary by Gordon J. Wenham

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Genesis-Leviticus edited by Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland

Genesis : Be-Reshit: The Traditional Hebrew Text with New JPS Translation by Nahum M. Sarna

Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis by Allen P. Ross

Genesis 1-17 in the NICOT by Victor P. Hamilton

Pentateuch as Narrative: A Biblical-Theological Commentary by John H. Sailhamer

I’m interested in what you might think of these volumes, particularly you guys whose specialty is OT. I’m also open to suggestions for other works that might not be listed here.

Αυτω η δοξα,



14 thoughts on “Genesis”

  1. While I’m an NT guy, I do own some OT stuff. Lol. I have used NICOT and Ross’s book for Genesis. NICOT is certainly more technical, while Ross is more expositional. I’ve heard some good things about the WBC by Wenham though.

    1. I am more versed in NT myself, so I thought I would defer to others on suggestions. I’ve heard that about Wenham’s commentaries, too, so he may make the final cut!

  2. This book is great.

    G.K. Beale’s book on the temple (in the same series) might be helpful as well.

    RTS online (the iTunes store) has a course by Richard Pratt on the Pentateuch. It was very helpful.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Matt. I have been intrigued with Beale’s writings on the temple, so that one is on my list (just not the Genesis works list).

    1. I am interested in this volume because of Sailhamer. I will probably get his full-length commentary, too, because I am interested in his interpretation of Genesis 1:1 and v2ff.

  3. Well, Walke is good too it’s just Waltke and Brueggemann come at the OT from quite different perspectives. You should ask John Anderson, he’s a Genesis guy at Baylor.

  4. Jason:

    I have responded on my blog in the comments section to my post on translating the Jacob cycle. I hope you find it helpful . . . . these were just off the to of my head. If I can help further let me know, please.


  5. Thanks for the suggestions. Sailhamer’s interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 is what attracted me to his works. It was a different take than I had traditionally been exposed to. I have also heard good things about his Pentateuch as Narrative, hence its inclusion on the list.

    Alter’s and Von Rad’s are on the list of potential works.

  6. Jason.
    I would second all of those who firstly recommended Gordon Wenham’s 2 volumes. I have Hamilton’s two volumes in the NICOT, but have only read sporadically aside from the Abraham narratives. On those at least, they were very good and definitely enjoyable to read. I liked Waltke’s, but I almost can’t stand to read it due to the way it is organized. It might be good for sermon preparation, however. I wouldn’t recommend the C. John Collins work fir sermon preparation. It doesn’t seem very well-suited for that at all.

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