OT Must-Buy Lists

This page contains three lists of Old Testament commentaries: (1) a must-buy list, (2) an almost must-buy list, and (3) a potential must-buy list. See each list below for a description.

Amazon links are provided for your convenience and my income. Amazon prices are usually competitive. However, if you have more time than money, check price histories with camelcamelcamel.com and set price watches via email alerts with booksprice.com.

 1. Must-buy commentaries:

These are not necessarily the best commentaries, because every reader’s needs are different and because newer works may not have yet gained due attention. But these commentaries are all exceptionally strongly and widely praised by commentary reviewers both evangelical and moderately critical. They are thus important, even if not always liked in every respect. No more than one commentary has been included for each book of the Bible (except for duplication due to multi-book commentaries); all “second-best” commentaries have been automatically excluded from this list, no matter how highly praised.

  • Wenham, Gordon. J. Genesis. 2 vols. WBC. Word, 1987, 1994. 352/517pp. F-SPL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0849902002]

  • Childs, Bernard. S. The Book of Exodus. OTL. Westminster John Knox, 1974. 659pp. C-PS [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0664229689]

  • Wenham, Gordon. J. The Book of Leviticus. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1979. 362pp. F-PLS [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802825222]

  • Wenham, Gordon J. Numbers. TOTC. InterVarsity, 1981. 240pp. F-PL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0830842047]

  • Hess, Richard. S. Joshua. TOTC. InterVarsity, 1996. 320pp. F-PL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0830842063]

  • Hubbard, Robert L., Jr. The Book of Ruth. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1988. 317pp. F-PLS [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802825265]

  • Provan, Iain W. 1 and 2 Kings. NIBC/UBCS. Hendrickson, 1995. 320pp. F-PL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=080104748X]

  • Dillard, Raymond. B. II Chronicles. WBC. Word, 1987. 323pp. F-SPL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0849902142]

  • Japhet, Sara. I & II Chronicles. OTL. Westminster John Knox, 1993. 1077pp. F/C/J-PS [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0664226418]

  • Williamson, H. G. M. Ezra, Nehemiah. WBC. Word, 1985. 417pp. F/C-SPL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0849902150]

  • Clines, D. J. A. Job. 3 vols. WBC. Thomas Nelson, 1990, 2006, 2011. 1539pp. C-SP [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0849902169]

  • Waltke, Bruce K. The Book of Proverbs. 2 vols. NICOT. Eerdmans, 2004, 2005. 693/624pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802825451]

  • Oswalt, John N. The Book of Isaiah. 2 vols. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1986, 1998. 746/755pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=080282529X]

  • Lundbom, Jack R. Jeremiah 1-20; Jeremiah 21-36; Jeremiah 37-52. AB. Doubleday, 1999, 2004, 2004. 934/649/624pp. F/C-SP [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0300139632]

  • Block, Daniel I. The Book of Ezekiel. 2 vols. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1997, 1998. 887/826pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802825354]

  • Goldingay, John. E. Daniel. WBC. Word, 1989. 351pp. C-SPL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0849902290]

  • McComiskey, Thomas Edward, ed. The Minor Prophets. 3 vols. Baker, 1992, 1993, 1998. 520/420/528pp. (Reprinted in 1 vol.) F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0801036313]

  • Stuart, Douglas. Hosea–Jonah. WBC. Word, 1987. 537pp. F-SPL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0849902304]

  • Paul, Shalom. Amos. Herm. Fortress, 1991. 409pp. C/J-SP [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0800660234]

  • Waltke, Bruce K. A Commentary on Micah. Eerdmans, 2007. 490pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802864120]

  • Berlin, Adele. Zephaniah. AB. Doubleday, 1994. 165pp. C/J-SP [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0385266316]

 2. Almost must-buy commentaries:

Commentaries ranked very nearly as high as the must-buys. When multiple commentaries are listed for the same book, the highest-ranked commentary is listed first. Some recent works still have the potential to reach the “must-buy” list in the future.

  • Hamilton, Victor. The Book of Genesis. 2 vols. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1990, 1995. 522/774pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802825214]

  • Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus. 3 vols. AB. Doubleday, 1991, 2000, 2001. 2714pp. C/J-SP [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0385114346]

  • Hartley, John E. Leviticus. WBC. Word, 1992. 496pp. F-SPL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0849902037]

  • Ashley, Timothy. R. The Book of Numbers. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1993. 667pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802825230]

  • Cole, R. Dennis. Numbers. NAC. Broadman and Holman, 2000. 590pp. F-PL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0805495037]

  • Craigie, Peter. C. The Book of Deuteronomy. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1976. 424pp. F-PLS [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802825249]

  • Block, Daniel I. Judges, Ruth. NAC. Broadman and Holman, 1999. 767pp. F-PL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0805401067]

  • Butler, Trent. Judges. WBC. Thomas Nelson, 2009. 537pp. F-SPL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=084990207X]

  • Bush, Frederic. Ruth, Esther. WBC. Word, 1996. 514pp. F/C-SP [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0849902088]

  • Tsumura, David T. The First Book of Samuel. NICOT. Eerdmans, 2007. 698pp. F-SPL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802823599]

  • House, Paul. R. 1 and 2 Kings. NAC. Broadman and Holman, 1995. 432pp. F-PL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0805401083]

  • Knoppers, Gary N. I Chronicles. 2 vols. AB. Doubleday, 2003, 2004. 1045pp. F/C-SP [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0300139527]

  • Jobes, Karen J. Esther. NIVAC. Zondervan, 1999. 248pp. F-PL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0310206723]

  • Berlin, Adele. Esther. JPS. Jewish Publication Society, 2001. 110pp. C/J-PS [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0827606990]

  • Hartley, John E. Job. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1988. 591pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802825281]

  • Craigie, Peter C. and Marvin Tate E. Psalms 1-50. WBC. Word, 1983, rev. 2004. 375pp. F-SPL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0785250131]

  • Goldingay, John. Psalms. 3 vols. BCOTWP. Baker, 2006, 2007, 2008. 639/744/812pp. F/C-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0801027039]

  • Allen Leslie. C. Psalms 101-150. WBC. Word, 1983, rev. 2002. 423pp. F/C-SPL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0785247734]

  • Tate, Marvin E. Psalms 51-100. WBC. Word, 1990. 578pp. F/C-SPL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0849902193]

  • Fox, Michael V. Proverbs. 2 vols. AB. Doubleday, 2000, 2009. 496/752pp. C/J-SP [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0300139594]

  • Longman III, Tremper. Proverbs. BCOTWP. Baker, 2005. 608pp. F-PLS [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=080102692X]

  • Bartholomew, Craig G. Ecclesiastes. BCOTWP. Baker, 2009. 448pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0801026911]

  • Longman III, Tremper. Ecclesiastes. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1998. 306pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802823661]

  • Hess, Richard S. Song of Songs. BCOTWP. Baker, 2005. 285pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0801027128]

  • Longman, Tremper, III. Song of Songs. NICOT. Eerdmans, 2001. 238pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802825435]

  • Collins, John J. Daniel. Herm. Fortress, 1993. 499pp. C-SP [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0800660404]

  • Sasson, Jack M. Jonah. AB. Doubleday, 1990. 368pp. C-SP [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0300139705]

  • Robertson, O. Palmer. The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1989. 357pp. F-PLS [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=080282532X]

  • Verhoef, Pieter A. The Books of Haggai and Malachi. NICOT. Eerdmans, 1987. 364pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802825338]

  • Meyers, Carol L. and Eric M. Meyers. Haggai, Zechariah 1-8; Zechariah 9-14. AB. Doubleday, 1987, 1993. 478/552pp. C-SP [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0385144822]

3. Potential must-buy commentaries:

A sample of important recent or forthcoming commentaries, some of which will probably join future “must-buy” or “almost must-buy” lists. Starred volumes are ones that I somewhat subjectively think are among the most likely to garner such praise (based in part on past reception of commentaries by the same authors, prominence of the commentary series in which a work is found, and the amount and quality of the “competition” for a given book). N.B.: 1) If a recent book has already gained enough praise to have been listed on the “almost must-buy” list, it has not been listed again here, even if I think it is likely to continue to rise to the “must-buy” list. 2) The order of commentaries never indicates potential ranking.

  • Note: Lexham Press is publishing a promising new conservative commentary series called Evangelical Exegetical Commentary. Seven volumes have been released and more are rapidly appearing. Volumes are initially being released only through Logos Bible Software. Because of this severe limitation, EEC volumes are not listed here, with the exception of any volumes available in print. However, EEC is a major new resource that Bible students should not ignore. Some volumes are likely to rank as “must-buys.” F-SPL

  • Hendel, Ronald S. [Genesis] 2 vols. AYB. Forthcoming. C-SP?

  • Alexander, T. Desmond. [Exodus] Apollos. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • Garrett, Duane.  Exodus. Kregel, 2014. 752 pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0825425514]
  • Hamilton, Victor. Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary. Baker, 2011. 721pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0801031834]

  • Strawn, Brent A. [Exodus] NICOT. Forthcoming. F/C?-PSL?

  • Sailhamer, John. [Numbers] WBC. Forthcoming. F-SPL?

  • Arnold, Bill T. [Deuteronomy] NICOT. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • Block, Daniel. Deuteronomy. NIVAC. Zondervan, 2012. 880pp. F-PL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0310210488]

  • * Butler, Trent. Joshua. 2 vols. 2nd ed. WBC. Word, 2014. 1264pp. F-SPL? [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0310520452]

  • Hubbard, Robert. Joshua. NIVAC. Zondervan, 2009. 652pp. F-PL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=031020934X]

  • McCarter, P. Kyle, Jr. [Joshua] Herm. Forthcoming. C-SP?

  • * Chisholm, Robert B. A Commentary on Judges and Ruth. Kregel, 2013. 704pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0825425565]

  • Sasson, Jack M. [Judges] AYB. Forthcoming. C-SP?

  • * Webb, Barry G. The Book of Judges. NICOT. Eerdmans, 2012. 555pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802826288]

  • Firth, David. G. 1 and 2 Samuel. Apollos. InterVarsity, 2009. 614pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0830825088]

  • * Tsumura, David T. The Second Book of Samuel. NICOT. Forthcoming. F-SPL

  • * Hess, Richard. S. [1 and 2 Kings] NICOT. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • Bodner, Keith. [1 and 2 Chronicles] NICOT. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • * Knoppers, Gary N. [2 Chronicles] AYB. Forthcoming. F/C-SP

  • Eskenazi, Tamara Cohn. [Ezra, Nehemiah] AYB. Forthcoming. C-SP?

  • Harrington, Hannah. [Ezra, Nehemiah] NICOT. Forthcoming. F/C?-PSL?

  • Fox, Michael V. [Esther] Herm. Forthcoming. C/J-SP?

  • * Hubbard, Robert L., Jr. [Esther] NICOT. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • Hess, Richard S. [Job] HCOT. Forthcoming. F-SP?

  • * Longman, Tremper, III. Job. BCOTWP. Baker, 2012. 491pp. F-PLS [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0801031079]

  • * Seow, Choon-Leong. Job 1-21: Interpretation and Commentary. Illum. Eerdmans, 2013. C-SP [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802848958]

  • Brown, William P. [Psalms] OTL. Forthcoming. C-PS?

  • Cole, Robert. Psalms 1-89. NAC. Forthcoming. F-PL?

  • Cooper, A.M. [Psalms] AYB. Forthcoming. C-SP?

  • Jacobson, Rolf A., Nancy deClaisse-Walford, and Beth LaNeel Tanner. The Book of Psalms. NICOT. Eerdmans, 2014. 880pp. F-PSL? [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802824935]

  • Ross, Allen. P. A Commentary on the Psalms. 3 vols. Kregel, 2012, 2013, ?. 896/848/?pp. F-PSL [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=082542562X]

  • Shepherd, Jerry. Psalms 90-150. NAC. Forthcoming. F/C-PL?

  • Wenham, Gordon. [Psalms] Apollos. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • Johnstone, Gordon. [Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs] Kregel. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • Weeks, Stuart. [Ecclesiastes] ICC. Forthcoming. C-SP?

  • Paul, Shalom M. Isaiah 40-66. ECC. Eerdmans, 2012. 728pp. C/J-SPL? [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802826032]

  • Schultz, Richard. [Isaiah] Apollos. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • Allen, Leslie C. Jeremiah. OTL. Westminster John Knox, 2008. 656pp. F/C-PS? [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0664222234]

  • Scalise, Pamela J. [Jeremiah] NICOT. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • Vanhoozer, Kevin. [Jeremiah] BTCB. Forthcoming. F-PL?

  • * Hubbard, Robert L. [Lamentations] NICOT. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • * Parry, Robin A. Lamentations. THOTC. Eerdmans, 2010. 272pp. F-PS? [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802827144]

  • Salters, R.B. Lamentations. ICC. T&T Clark, 2011. 375pp. C-SP [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0567576515]

  • Wooden, R. Glenn. [Daniel] NICOT. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • * Dearman, J. Andrew. The Book of Hosea. NICOT. Eerdmans, 2010. 422pp. [amazon template=add to cart1&asin=0802825397]F/C-PSL

  • Gordon, Robert P. [Joel, Amos, Obadiah] ICC. Forthcoming. F/C-SP?

  • Carroll R., M. Daniel. [Amos] NICOT. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • Kugel, James. [Jonah] Herm. Forthcoming. C-SP?

  • * Stuart, Douglas. [Micah-Malachi] WBC. Forthcoming. F-SPL

  • Renz, Thomas. [Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah] NICOT. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • Jacobs, Mignon. [Haggai, Malachi] NICOT. Forthcoming. F/C-PSL?

  • Boda, Mark J. [Zechariah] NICOT. Forthcoming. F-PSL?

  • Wolters, Al. [Zechariah] HCOT. Forthcoming. F-SP?

Dwight Gingrich is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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