Item description for The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1-39 (New Intl Commentary on the Old Testament) by John N. Oswalt...
Overview Here John N. Oswalt presents a detailed, scholarly, evangelical commentary on the first 39 chapters of Isaiah. It provides an extensive introduction to the book along with an extensive bibliography. The author's translation and verse-by-verse commentary follow examining in detail this important prophet. Although to get the most out of this commentary training in Hebrew would be necessary, the majority of the commentary will be useful to studious laypeople as well. John N. Oswalt is professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Asbury Theological Seminary.
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.57" Width: 6.47" Height: 1.86" Weight: 2.75 lbs.
Release Date Jul 25, 1986
Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Series New International Commentary On
ISBN 080282529X ISBN13 9780802825292
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More About John N. Oswalt
Dr. John N. Oswalt (PhD, Brandeis University) is Visiting Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is the author of numerous articles and several books, including the two-volume commentary on Isaiah in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series and Called to be Holy: A Biblical Perspective.
John N. Oswalt currently resides in Wilmore. John N. Oswalt was born in 1940.
John N. Oswalt has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1-39 (New Intl Commentary on the Old Testament)?
Excellent For A Pastoral Library Oct 3, 2007
This commentary has more than enough for a typical pastor who is exegeting Isaiah for a sermon series. He recognizes that visions ought not be interpreted literally all the way through, and also seems solid on the author issue, yet intelligently interacts with the other views in his extended introduction. I found more material than I care to read on the theories of how Isaiah was written. I found his conclusions convincing and I agree with his rejection of multiple authors on the basis of no ancient evidence at all. (That was only part of his argument).
The commentary itself lends itself to be a preaching aid for Pastors/Bible Teachers. There is plenty of meat there for anyone who desires to study. For example, in Isaiah 4:4 the term 'daughters of Zion' is used. At one point some scribes adjusted the phrase because of the implications for men if only the daughters of Zion are blessed. However, Oswalt points out that if we interpret this symbolically as a reference to all of Jerusalem, then there is no problem with seeing the blessing coming on both men and women. The over zealous literalists don't have an answer for that which makes sense. Oswalt has excellent information throughout this commentary.
I also recommend John Walton's Bible Background Commentary of the OT as a supplement to this. Another great commentary is Motyer on Isaiah.
Here is my review on the other volume for your convenience. This review focuses on Volume 2 on Isaiah for the NICOT series. I'm a preacher and full time pastor who uses commentaries in my sermon preparation. I've found that this commentary is very helpful on a number of points. It provides a wealth of relevant resources that I've typically not found in other commentaries (I'll illustrate that in a moment). He deals with the Hebrew exegetical ideas and source issues without spending a lot of time (no bogging down in minutia as some have a tendency to do). His footnotes do contain the minutia on textual issues that some require or desire. Yet in the main text of his commentary he deals with crucial textual issues if they affect the exegetical outcome. That's helpful, especially his pithy summaries of the various views. Summaries are well done in this commentary.
The second volume has over 700 pages of information on Isaiah 40-66.
Since it may be the greatest passage in Isaiah, let me zoom in on how he handles the fourth Servant song. (Isaiah 52:13 to 53:3). For this section he gives 37 pages of information. He breaks the passage down into the following outline:
a. Astonishment and Rejection (52:13-53:3) b. Punished for others (53:4-6) c. Unjustly punished (53:7-9) d. Many made righteous (53:10-12)
He provides his own unique translation for each one.
In section a. Astonishment and Rejection 52:13-53:3 Oswalt prefers the translation in 52:15 of the Hebrew 'Yazzeh' [sprinkle] to be interpreted as 'startle' because of the parallelism meaning. He also interacts with a variety of other opinions, including a footnote on 52:14 that introduces some technical points about protasis and apodasis as support for his position. They really do make the most sense of all the options (imo).
I was convinced by his points. For application ideas, see Oswalt's NIVAC on Isaiah. In that volume, which I also own, he draws out practical application to Philippians 2:5-11 as he discusses the idea of sacrificing for others. Then he draws out contemporary significance to this passage in his NIVAC by focusing on Accepting the offering by an appropriate response to what Jesus has done for us. He has many preachable points in this section.
Overall, Oswalt has written a worthy commentary that I believe is an excellent addition to every pastor's library. I also have found Alec Motyer's commentary on Isaiah to be very helpful, especially for a quick evaluation of literary style and outline ideas.
Oswalt's NIVAC commentary won the Gold Medallion Award. I think this commentary I am reviewing here, the NICOT, is worthy of an award. It's that good.
Back to the passage I was using to illustrate Oswalt's NICOT Vol 2 with. At the end of his commentary on Isaiah 52:13-53:12, he has an Excursus. Actually it is a select bibliography on the passage. However, the bibliography is organized into categories:
The Identity of the Servant New Testament and Early Christian Interpretation Jewish Interpretation Exegetical and Theological Studies
Although several of the bibliographical entries are obviously in German, and useless to most of us, most of them are in English.
Here is my note on the first volume of this series. This commentary has more than enough for a typical pastor who is exegeting Isaiah for a sermon series. He recognizes that visions ought not be interpreted literally all the way through, and also seems solid on the author issue, yet intelligently interacts with the other views in his extended introduction. I found more material than I care to read on the theories of how Isaiah was written. I found his conclusions convincing and I agree with his rejection of multiple authors on the basis of no ancient evidence at all. (That was only part of his argument).
Phenomenal Aug 26, 2007
Whether you are looking to just dip your toes into the surface waters of Isaiah, or take a full head first dive into the breathtaking splendor of it's depths, this commentary is the perfect guide for your journey. One of the best commentaries I've ever read.
The Best Commentary on Isaiah Jul 3, 2007
I was quite impressed by the breadth and scope of this book. Parts of it are devotional, apologetic, and explanatory. The author has a great understanding of Hebrew and is able to explain it well for those that may not know Hebrew. He also deals with the Higher Criticism that Isaiah has faced in recent years.
If you only have limited space for a commentary on Isaiah, this (and its companion) are the ones to have.
What a great commentary Apr 29, 2006
I have read through both volumes of Oswalt's commentary on Isaiah. This is my favorite commentary on this great prophetic book. I also like Motyer on Isaiah but Oswalt refers to his commentary and has much more detail. Anyone can read this commentary but even those who are true scholars will be thrilled by Oswalts conservative handling of Isaiah. He deals with many different views so this would be worth purchasing if you could only have one thorough commentary on Isaiah. If you are not into reading such detail Oswalt has also written a shorter book in the NIV Application Commentary series. I have read most of that series and Oswalts Isaiah is the best one yet!
Best evangelical commentary on Isaiah Sep 18, 2004
I enjoyed Oswalt's commentary on Isaiah 1-39 while leading a Bible study on it. It's the most comprehensive conservative evangelical commentary, much better than its predecessor in the series by E.J. Young. I share more theologically with Young and Alec Motyer's commentary, but Oswalt is balanced most of the time and presents so much more information that I wouldn't want to use either of the others without his.
Some mainstream commentators complain that Oswalt doesn't interact enough with contemporary Isaiah scholarship. His introduction argues for Isaian authorship of the whole book, with stronger arguments for the unity of the book than for Isaian authorship. The general argument for the orthodox position among scholars is circular in addition to assuming naturalism, so I agree with Oswalt's conclusion. I appreciate his arguments for this view, but his critics are right that he hasn't comprehensively dealt with everything the other side says. His introduction could have spent more time on such things.
In the commentary proper, he sometimes refers to others' views on authorship, and he might give quick versions of his arguments against them, but it would get too annoying to do too much of this. I can understand why he decided to make this a commentary on Isaiah rather than a comprehensive reply to modern scholarship.
Theologically speaking, Oswalt is Wesleyan, which sometimes makes a difference. He studiously avoids recognizing that chapter 10 assumes compatibilism about the responsibility of the King of Assyria for his actions and complete divine control over those very actions. On chapter 29, he acts as if Reformed thought doesn't allow the doctrine of common grace, something Reformed thinkers developed. He seems to misunderstand predestination itself, acting as if Reformed thought means that people don't endorse their own actions or believe their own beliefs for reasons within their own minds. That's not even close to Reformed theology but rather a perversion of it, but his argument against Reformed interpretations of these passages assumes that Reformed thinkers treat human beings as robots who don't make choices based on their own beliefs and desires. It's as if he thinks Reformed thought involves God forcing people to do things against their wills. This only cropped up in a few places, though, and the majority of the commentary was theologically reflective, with some concern for transferring the theology of Isaiah to our current circumstances.
Brevard Childs's commentary is less willing to see Isaiah behind as much of the book but is theologically reflective and concerned to interpret the book in its final form, though he disagrees with Oswalt on the formation of the book. Blenkinsopp and Wildberger are much more detailed but less helpful for theology or explaining the flow of the text. John Watts does better at the latter but develops idiosyncratic views in his second volume on 40-66 and isn't as well received by scholars of any persuasion. I highly recommend the longer of Motyer's two IVP volumes (which has the best treatment of the "virgin/young woman will conceive" passage I've seen but is also theologically helpful and much more concerned with the structure of the book and each passage than Oswalt is), and for a very brief exposition through the entire book, I recommend Barry Webb. I wouldn't want to use any of these without Oswalt, though.