Best Nine 1 Samuel Commentaries You Should Start With

By | 2018-02-02T09:59:58+00:00 June 6th, 2017|0 Comments
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1 and 2 Samuel are named after the person God used to establish monarchy in Israel. Samuel not only anointed both Saul and David, Israel’s first two kings, but he also gave definition to the new order of God’s rule over Israel. Samuel’s role as God’s representative in this period of Israel’s history is close to that of Moses (see Ps 99:6; Jer 15:1) since he, more than any other person, provided for covenant continuity in the transition from the rule of the judges to that of the monarchy.1Source

The central theme of the books of Samuel is how the LORD established a dynasty (“house”) in Israel for David rather than Saul and how he chose Jerusalem as the place where David’s successor would establish the temple (“house”) for the worship of the divine King Yahweh.2Source

Best Commentaries on 1 Samuel Commentaries

Best 1 Samuel Commentaries


1 and 2 Samuel (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries)

Written by the late Joyce G. Baldwin – a principal of Trinity College, Bristol, who wrote several volumes in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series – this commentary was the recipient of a 1990 Christianity Today Critics’ Choice Award.

Digging below the well-known surface of the stories in Samuel, Baldwin explores the authorship, date, composition and structure of Samuel.  Written in a clear and concise style, she provides an able discussion of Samuel’s theological themes.

The introduction to each Tyndale volume gives a concise but thorough description of the authorship, date and historical background of the biblical book under consideration. Tyndale commentary itself examines the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. Additionally, it comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation. The original, unrevised text of Samuel has been completely retypeset and printed in a larger, more attractive format with the beautiful new cover design for the series.


1, 2 Samuel: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture

Robert D. Bergen is the primary author of  1,2 Samuel: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (The New American Commentary). Highly regarded as a go-to for the minister or Bible student who wants to understand and expound their understanding of the Scriptures, this series is readable and scholarly simultaneously.

Key features include: commentary based on the new international version,  sound scholarly methodology that reflects research in the original languages, NIV text printed in the body of the commentary, interpretation emphasizing the theological unity of each book, and readable and applicable exposition.


1 Samuel: Looking for a Leader (Preaching the Word)

Australian author John Woodhouse has a passion for teaching the Bible in a way that helps people understand the various parts of Scripture in light of the center of God’s revelation, Jesus.

He puts this passion into text beautifully in 1 Samuel: Looking for a Leader (Preaching the Word).  As Woodhouse demonstrates, 1 Samuel’s biblical context provides serious reflection on our need for leadership and the failure of human leaders (but it also reveals God’s answer for Israel).

Woodhouse’s thoughtful and perceptive commentary reads like a gift – illuminating Old Testament history and God’s promises to us.


Forms of Old Testament Literature: 1 Samuel

Jesuit priest Antony F. Campbell – a Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Jesuit Theological College in Parkville, Australia – pens Samuel (Volume VII) of The Forms of the Old Testament Literature (FOTL).

FOTL is a series that presents a critical analysis of every book and each unit in the Hebrew Bible. Exegetical in its foundation, the FOTL volumes examine the structure, genre, setting, and intention of the biblical literature in question.  FOTL volumes also study the history behind the discussion of the material and attempt to bring consistency to the vast terminologies in biblical literature. Ultimately, these writings enable students and pastors to engage in their own analysis and interpretation of the Old Testament texts.


Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Samuel (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary)

The dynamic duo of J.D. Greear and Heath A. Thomas unite to present Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Samuel, part of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series. This series affirms that the Bible is a Christ-centered book, containing a unified story of redemptive history in which Jesus is the hero.

The Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary is presented as sermons and divided into chapters that conclude with a “Reflect & Discuss” section.  Thus, this series is ideal for small group study, personal devotion, and sermon preparation.  More easy-reading, practical and friendly than academic, this growing series is expected to be 48 volumes.


Focus on the Bible – 1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart

IFocus on the Bible – 1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart Dale Ralph Davis – minister in residence at the First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina – brings cultural and historical light to commentary.

Adding a pastor’s heart for personal application, readers find a point of contact with the lives of Samuel, Saul, Jonathan and David. Davis educates with precision, excitement and life examples.


I Samuel (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries)

P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., brings a thorough analysis of text and literary sources to rich descriptions of the people, places, customs, and language of Samuel in I Samuel from the Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries.

A Harvard educated, William F. Albright Professor in Biblical and Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University, McCarter offers his scholarly opinions on Samuel and presents a unique new translation based upon the latest and most extensive textual sources available (these include  scrolls and fragments from Qumran).  The book has 30 pages of introductions, a plethora of maps, and all the indexes you would expect in a serious, scholarly work.


The First Book of Samuel (New International Commentary on the Old Testament)

Awriter who is both scholarly and easy to read,  David Toshio Tsumura pens The First Book of Samuel for the New International Commentary on the Old Testament Series. This series serves as an authoritative guide bridging the cultural gap between today’s world and the world of ancient Israel.

Each commentary opens with an introduction to the biblical book, looking especially at questions of its background, authorship, date, purpose, structure, and theology. A select bibliography also points readers to resources fore their own study. Each volume aims to help the reader hear God’s word as clearly as possible.


Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 10, 1 Samuel

A well-constructed work of genuine biblical scholarship, the lead author of 1 Samuel, Volume 10 from the Word Biblical Commentary is  Ralph W. Klein.  Klein is a Christ Seminary-Seminex professor of Old Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  This publishing house delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars of our day. This series emphasizes a deep analysis of textual, linguistic, structural and theological evidence.

Balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology is the end product. These widely acclaimed commentaries serve as exceptional resources for everyone from professional theologians to lay people interested in building theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship.



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