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Official Description:

Many today find the Old Testament a closed book. The cultural issues seem insurmountable and we are easily baffled by what seems obscure. Furthermore, without knowledge of the ancient context we can easily impose our own culture on the text, potentially distorting it.

Combining informative entries and full-color photos and graphics, the Zondervan  Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary brings readers back to the ancient world in a way unlike other commentaries….

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“This is a unique and important commentary. It is a milestone in the collection of comparative interpretation of ancient Near Eastern texts, pictures, and other archaeological material as well as geographical, historical, and cultural information as they relate to the Old Testament. There is nothing else like it available today…”

– Richard Averbeck, Professor of Old Testament & Semitic Languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“To me, every Christian should own these commentaries. I say that seriously because when we study Scripture without looking into the historical and cultural background of what was happening when each part of the Bible was written, we miss so much meaning, understanding, and depth.”

– Dan Kimball, pastor and author of They Like Jesus but Not the Church.

“As a pastor, I am certain that the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament is a deeply valuable tool for ministry”

– Kevin Harney, pastor and author of Organic Outreach for Ordinary People

“This is a rich gift to everyone who seeks to teach the Scriptures.”

– John Ortberg, author and pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, Menlo Park, California.

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The Zondervan Illustarted Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament first appeared in 2009 as a five-volume set covering the entire Old Testament. The project brought together over thirty contributors from around the world, all top scholars in background studies. Written to be both accessible to non-specialists and a starting point for Old Testament research, the commentary brings together the best available scholarship on background issues related to history, archaeology, geography, manners and customs, and ancient literature….

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I highly recommend this text for anyone who is dialoging with the Old Testament (which should be all believers, New Testament scholars and lay people alike). The God of the Old Testament is unlike any god worshipped in the Old Testament and it is only when we study His unique revelation that we understand and worship Him as such. Exploring the world of the ancient cultures is a crucial step in moving from the text to application and this is a great resource to help make that leap.

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