Old Testament Exegesis


An Outline of the Procedure


a Bibliography

for Old Testament Studies





The following outline will provide an overview of the whole process of doing exegesis, step by step, and therefore an outline of the basic parts of this course of study.  In actual practice, the steps of exegesis overlap a good deal when one gains expertise in the method, because often when researching in one area material for another is discovered.  Moreover, not every step will apply fully to every passage of the Bible.  Nevertheless, these are the basic things that the exegete should be prepared to do.

The word “exegesis” is actually a Greek term that we use for biblical studies.  Its basic meaning is “leading out,” which means that the interpretation is led out of or derived from the text.  The opposite is called “eisegesis,” which refers to “leading in,” that is, reading a preconceived idea into the text.  We try to avoid this in favor of the preceding.  But if one does not follow the procedure of exegesis carefully, it is easy to read an interpretation into the text that was not there.  And this is one of the main problems of preaching and teaching today, especially in the evangelical world: the message may be a biblical message in general, even correct theologically, but it did not come from the passage being preached.  The task of the preacher or teacher is to deliver a clear exposition of the passage, showing how that exposition came from the passage.  In this way the people will learn how they can read the Bible and derive its proper meaning.


I.           Determination of the Literary Unit to be Studied

A.                 Study the literary structure and motifs that form the unit so that the complete passage may be covered.

B.                 Take into consideration the literary genre and make comparisons with other similar passages.

C.                 Determine the relationship of the unit to be studied to its context, and to the argument of the book.

II.        Preliminary Observation of the Text

A.                 Read the passage in several English translations to see where there are major differences that will have to be explained.

B.                 Note any major textual difficulties that will need more attention.

C.                 List the key words that will need to be studied--theological words that have bearing on the message of the passage, words that are repeated, or problematic words.

D.                 Observe poetic devices and figures of speech, and mark those that will need to be explained in the exposition.

E.                  Note any unclear or difficult grammatical or syntactical expressions that will need to be studied and explained.

F.                  Mark the key verbs that have to be explained with regard to tense, mood or kind of action.

G.                 Note any motifs or patterns that build on previous passages.

H.                 Identify any lines or verses that are quoted or alluded to in the New Testament.

III.       Resolution of Critical Matters

A.                 Determine the precise and original form of the Hebrew text by the accepted method of textual criticism (lower criticism).

B.                 Settle the matters of date, authorship, composition, and integrity of the text (higher criticism).

1.                  The major critical issues will probably be settled for a book long before the individual passages will be expounded.

2.                  Give attention to the critical issues that have been raised on difficult or problematic verses.

IV.       Word Studies

A.                 Before beginning a series of lessons on a book, determine what the major theological words of the book are and study them fully.

B.                 In the regular preparation of a passage within a book, select the key words and study them to the point of being able to explain them precisely and completely:

1.                  Words that are clearly at the heart of the interpretation,

2.                  Words that are basic theological terms in the Bible,

3.                  Words that are difficult or unclear,

4.                  Words that are played upon or repeated.

V.                 Poetic Analysis

A.                 Study the structure of the passage.

1.                  Look for narrative-dialogue, repetition, inclusios, chiasms, and determine how they influence the meaning.

2.                  Compare the genre of the passage to other genres, and the details of the passage to parallel passages to determine the author’s intent.

B.                 Study the texture of the passage.

1.                  Look for the significant figures of speech, types and archetypes, and determine their meaning in the context.

2.                  Chart the narrative structural features, that is, its subjects and verbs that carry the narrative forward, repeated main verb clauses, in order to determine the central emphasis of the passage.

VI.       Grammatical and Syntactical Analysis

A.                 Poetic passages and dialogue will require the greatest attention.

B.                 Start by comparing the English versions in order to see where you must discuss the text at the outset.

C.                 Develop a knack for isolating words and constructions that will be better understood through these classifications, and be able to explain them without using the technical labels.

VII.     Exegetical Synthesis

A.                 Make a full exegetical outline of the passage, putting into your own words the contents of the passage.

B.                 Write a summary statement of the message, putting the main points together as a paragraph-sentence, so that you can easily explain what this passage is saying.

VIII     Theology of the Passage

A.                 Organize the biblical theology of the passage by observing what the passage says about God, his names, his nature, his acts, and what it says about the people, their names, natures, actions, and about the covenant.

B.                 Be able to put your findings in a theological statement, a timeless principle that this passage is teaching.

C.                 Correlate the theological idea, and any minor points, to the theology of the whole Bible, especially the New Testament.

1.                  Be sure to recall how the New Testament uses the Old Testament.

2.                  If the theological point of your passage is not directly quoted by the New Testament, find the place where the same theology is recorded.

3.                  Be careful not to read New Testament ideas into the Old Testament: derive the theology first and then find the corresponding New Testament connection.     

IX.       Development of the Exposition

A.    Work with the theological idea you have written and form it into an expository thesis statement, a propositional statement that will form the heart (not the totality) of your exposition.

1.         It must adequately account for the contents of the entire passage.

2.                  It must be worded in the form of a timeless truth, not in the form of a history lesson about Israel, or in the form that would exlude Old Testament meaning entirely.

3.                  It must be stated in a way that is applicable to the original audience, the New Testament audience (where it correlates) and the current audience.

B.                 Now develop the main points of the expository outline in the same manner, and the sub-points if possible.

1.                  The main points should add up to your major idea.

2.                  The sub-points should add up to the main points under which they are listed.

X.                 The Application

A.                 Develop a fitting conclusion to the exposition, now that you know what it is about and where the message is going.

B.                 In the conclusion put a clear, no-nonsense application, identifying your people with participants in the text or the writer of the text.

1.                  State what you want people to know.

2.                  State what you want people to believe.

3.                  State what you want people to do.

C.                 Now that you know what you want people to do on the basis of this passage, write a clear and effective introduction.

1.                  Raise the issue that the passage addresses first.

2.                  Then put historical and background material in as needed, but keep it brief.

3.                  Be sure that the introduction creates the need, captures the interest of the audience, and lets them know where the exposition is going.

D.                 Write an effective, but accurate, title for the exposition










There are so many fine books and resources available today that it is often difficult to know what to buy, especially since almost no bookstore carries an array of the finest commentaries and tools--you have to have them order things, or you have to order them through Amazon, or Christian Book Distributors, or other similar organizations.   I have listed here the books and tools that I have found most useful in following the exegetical procedure; there are others that are also excellent, and their omission from the list should not be taken to mean they are not worth having.  The expositor needs to find what is personally the most useful and then make the purchases.  The best way to do this is in a class and in an institution with a good library; otherwise, the book might have to be ordered and if not workable returned. 

I would prioritize any plan for acquiring the best tools.  Determine wich Books of the Bible should be “covered” first, and then which tools will be used the most. 

Here is my suggestion as a starter kit for exegesis in the Hebrew text (it would be modified for people who do not know how to use Hebrew).  You want to start with a good Hebrew dictionary (BDB), a good word study book or set (VanGemeren), a concordance you can use (I like Mandelkern), a Bible dictionary or set (Zondervan Pictorial), an atlas (Collegeville), a book on customs and manners (De Vaux), a survey of the history (Merrill), an Old Testament theology (Eichrodt), and a commentary that covers the whole Bible (Expositors), to give you at least something to start with.  








Cassuto, Umberto.  A Commentary on the Book of Genesis.  2 Vols.  Translated by Israel Abrahams.  Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1961, 1964.   (Genesis 1-12)

Jacob, Benno.  Das Erste Book der Tora: Genesis.  Berlin, 1934. (German; an English summary is available, but very condensed).

Kidner, Derek.  Genesis.  Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1967.

Rad, Gerhard von.  Genesis, A Commentary.  Translated by John H. Marks.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961.

Ross, Allen P.  Creation and Blessing, A Guide to the Exposition of the Book of Genesis.  Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1988.

Wenham, Gordon J.  Genesis.  Word Biblical Commentary.  2 Vols.  Waco, TX: Word, 1987, 1994.

There are many other works on Genesis that would be of value for exegetical exposition.  I would suggest S. R. Driver, The Book of Genesis (15th edition), with appendix by G. R. Driver (London: Methuen & Co., 1948); Franz Delitzsch, A New Commentary on Genesis, 2 Vols. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1899).  For Mesopotamian background, E. A. Speiser, Genesis, The Anchor Bible (new York: Doubleday, 1964).  For a modern form critical approach, if used critically, Claus Westermann, Genesis, 3 Vols. (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1984).  Also, see John Sailhamer, Genesis, in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, ed. by Frank Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990).




Childs, Brevard S.  The Book of Exodus, A Critical Theological Commentary.  Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1974.

Cole, Alan.  Exodus.  Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1973.

Jacobs, Benno.  Exodus, The Second Book of the Law.  New York: KTAV reprint.

Umberto Cassuto's Exposition of Exodus (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1967), is not nearly as good as his work on Genesis; it was compiled after his death.  But it still has some helpful insights.  I also like S. R. Driver, The Book of Exodus (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1911), even though it is dated in places.  Also worth consulting would be John I. Durham, Exodus, in the Word Series (Waco, TX: Word, 1987), and Nahum Sarna, Exodus, Jewish Publication Society, 1991.




Bonar, A. A.  A Commentary on Leviticus.  London: Banner of Truth, 1966 Reprint.

Harrison, R. K.  Leviticus, An Introduction and Commentary.  Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1980.

Hartley, John E.  Leviticus.  Word.   Dallas: Word, 1992.

Levine, Baruch.  Leviticus, The JPS Torah Commentary.  New York: Jewish Publication Society, 1989.

Milgrom, Jacob.  Leviticus 1-16, 17-26.   The Anchor Bible.  Garden City: Doubleday, 1991.

 Ross, Allen P.  Holiness to the LORD.   Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2002.

Wenham, G. J.  The Book of Leviticus.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1979.   


Several other works on Leviticus are also worth noting: B. J. Bamberger, Leviticus (New York: Union of American Congregations, 1979), and Nehama Leibowitz, Studies in Leviticus (Jerusalem: World Zionist Organization, Department for Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora, 5744/1983), which offers a series of excellent discussions.




Keil, C. F. and F. Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. III, The Pentateuch.  Translated by James Martin.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans reprint.

Wenham, Gordon J.  Numbers: An Introduction and Commentary.  Leicester: InterVarsity Press, 1981.

For literary and exegetical comments, Philip J. Budd, Numbers  (Waco, TX: Word, 1984); for word studies and literary analysis, N. H. Snaith, Numbers, New Century Bible Commentary  (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1976); and, if you can use it, J. de Vaulx, Les Nombres (Paris: J. Gabalda et Cie Editeurs, 1972).




Craigie, Peter C.  The Book of Deuteronomy.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976.

Thompson, J. A.  Deuteronomy.  Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1974.

Also of great value for the literary and historical setting:  Meredith Kline, The Treaty of the Great King (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1963); and Y. Kaufmann, "The Structure of Deuteronomic Law," Maarav 1, 2 (1978, 1979): 105-158.  For theological help: R. E. Clements, God's Chosen People (London: SCM Press, 1968); A. D. H. Mayes, Deuteronomy (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981); and Eugene H. Merrill, Deuteronomy, New American Commentary (Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1994).




Boling, Robert G.  Joshua, The Anchor Bible.  Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1982.

Woudstra, Marten H.  The Book of Joshua.  The New International Commentary on the Old Testament.  Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1981.         

To be consulted also are Trent C. Butler, Joshua (Waco, TX: Word, 1983) and Albert Soggin, Joshua, A Commentary (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1972).




Boling, Robert G.  Judges. The Anchor Bible.  Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1975.       

Cundall, Arthur E.  Judges (with Leon Morris, Ruth).  Chicago: InterVarsity Press, 1968.

Soggin, J. Albert.  Judges.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1981.     

See also C. F. Burney, The Book of Judges (New York: KTAV Press, 1970); George F. Moore, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges, ICC (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1895); and D. W. Gooding, "The Composition of the Book of Judges," Eretz Israel 16 (1982):70-79.




Campbell, Edward F.  Ruth, The Anchor Bible.  Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1975.

Also of value are Arthur E. Cundall and Leon Morris, Judges and Ruth, Tyndale (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1968); Ronald Hals, The Theology of the Book of Ruth (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969); and P. Paul Jouon, Ruth, Commentaire Philologique et Exegetique (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1953).




Klein, Ralph W.  I Samuel, Word Biblical Commentary.  Waco, TX: Word Books, 1983.

McCarter, P. Kyle, Jr.  I Samuel.  The Anchor Bible.  Graden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1980;  II Samuel, 1984.

Also very useful are S. R. Driver, Notes on the Hebrew Text and Topography of the Books of Samuel, 2nd edition (London: Oxford Press, 1983);  Hans W. Hertzberg, I and II Samuel, A Commentary (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1964); and David F. Payne, I and II Samuel (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1982).




Jones, G. H.  I and II Kings.  New Century Bible Commentary.  2 Volumes.  Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1984.

Long, Burke O.  I Kings, with an Introduction to Historical Literature.  The Forms of the Old Testament Literature, IX.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1984.

Additional commentaries to consider are John Gray, I and II Kings, Old Testament Library (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1964);  James A. Montgomery and H. S. Gehman, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary of the Books of Kings, ICC (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1951).




Meyers, Jacob M.  I Chronicles [II Chronicles]: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. The Anchor Bible.  2 Volumes.  Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, 1965.

Williamson, H. G. M.  I and II Chronicles.  New Century Bible Commentary.  Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1982.

For the main points of theological concern, see Sara Japhet, The Ideology of the Book of Chronicles and Its Place in Biblical Thought (Jerusalem: Bialik, 1977).




Campbell, Donald K.  Nehemiah: Man in Charge.  Wheaton: Victor Books, 1979.

Fensham, F. Charles.  The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah.  Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1982.

Also: K. Koch, "Ezra and the Origins of Judaism," JSS 19 (1974):173-197; and Jacob B. Myers, Ezra-Nehemiah, Anchor Bible (Garden City: Doubleday, 1965).





Moore, C. A.  Esther.  Garden City: Doubleday. 1971.

Two articles are helpful: C. A. Moore, "Archaeology and the Book of Esther," BA 38 (1975):62-72; and William H. Shea, "Esther and History," AUSS 14 (1976):227-246.





Habel, Norman.  The Book of Job.  A Commentary.  Old Testament Library.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1985.

Pope, Marvin H.  Job, Introduction, Translation and Notes. The Anchor Bible, 15.  Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1965.

Add to this H. H. Rowley, The Book of Job, New Century Bible (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980); N. H. Tur-Sinai (H. Torczyner), The Book of Job (Jerusalem: Kiryat Sepher, 1967); and if you can use it, L. Alonso-Schokel and J. L. Sicre Dias,  Job: Commentario teologico y literario (Madrid: Ediciones Cristiandad, 1983).  See also Francis Anderson, Job, Tyndale (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1976); and Edouard Dhorme, Job (New York: Nelson, 1926).





Alonso-Schokel, Luis.  Estudios Poetic Hebrea.  Barcelona: Juan Flors, 1963.  (Spanish)

Anderson, A. A.  The Book of Psalms.  The New Century Bible Commentary.  2 Vols.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972.

Bullinger, E. W.  Figures of Speech Used in the Bible.  Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, reprint of 1898 edition.

Jacquet, Louis.  Les Psaumes et le coeur de l'Homme.  Etude textuelle, literaire et doctrinale.  3 Vols.  Imprime en Belgique sur les presses.  Ducolot, 1975.   (French)

Keel Othmar.  The Symbolism of the Biblical World.  Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Book of Psalms.  Trans. Timothy J. Hallett.  New York: The Seabury Press, 1978.

Kirkpatrick, A. F.  The Book of Psalms.  The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges.  3 Vols.  Cambridge: At the University Press, 1906.  Reprinted by Baker in one volume.

*Perowne, J. J. Stewart.  The Book of Psalms.  2 Vols.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Company, reprint of 1878 edition.

Of the many other works on the Psalms I would suggest for theology Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Psalms, 3 Vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans reprint); and for general considerations, Peter C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50. Word (Waco, TX: Word, 1983), and the subsequent two volumes from Word.




Delitzsch, Franz.  Biblical Commentary on the Proverbs of Solomon.  Trans. by M. G. Easton.  2 Vols. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans reprint of the 1872 edition.

Kidner, Derek.  The Proverbs, An Introduction and Commentary.  Tyndale.   Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1964.

McKane, William.  Proverbs, A New Approach.  Old Testament Library.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1970.

See also Norman C. Habel, "The Symbolism of Wisdom in Proverbs 1--9," Interpretation 26 (1972):131-157;  A. Cohen, Proverbs, Soncino (London: Soncino Press, 1946);  and for a brief exegetical idea/summary and analysis of each proverb, Allen P. Ross, Proverbs, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, ed. by Frank Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990).





Ginsburg, Christian D.  The Song of Songs and Coheleth.  London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longman and Roberts, 1857; reprinted by KTAV, 1970. 

Also good are Michael A. Eaton, Ecclesiastes, Tyndale (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1983); and Robert K. Johnston, "Confessions of a Workaholic: A Reappraisal of Qoheleth,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 38 (1976):14-28.





Pope, Marvin H.  Song of Songs.  The Anchor Bible.  New York: Doubleday, 1977.




Motyer, J. Alec.  The Prophecy of Isaiah, An Introduction and Commentary.  Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

North, Christopher R.  The Second Isaiah.  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964.

Oswalt, J. N.  The Book of Isaiah.  2 Volumes.  NICOT.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986.         

Westermann, Claus.  Isaiah 40-66.  Old Testament Library.  London: SCM Press, 1966.

Wildberger, Hans.  Isaiah 1-12, and Isaiah 13-27.  A Continental Commentary.  Translated by Thomas H. Trapp.  Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991, 1996.

Young, Edward J.  The Book of Isaiah.  NICOT.  3 Volumes.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1965-72.

Also to note are Otto Kaiser, Isaiah 1-12, Old Testament Library (London: SCM Press, Ltd., 1972) for an excellent critical approach to these chapters; Roy F. Melugin, The Formation of Isaiah 40-55 (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1976); Sigmund Mowinckel, He That Cometh; and C. R. North, The Suffering Servant in Deutero-Isaiah (London: Oxford, 1929). 




Bright, John.  Jeremiah, A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary.  The Anchor Bible.  Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965.

Holladay, William.  Jeremiah.  2 Vols. Hermeneia.  Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986, 1989.

Somewhat brief exegetically and theologically but still of use is John A. Thompson's The Book of Jeremiah, NICOT (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1984).  For inspirational ideas, see Eugene H. Peterson, Run With the Horses (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1983); and for a specific theological focus see Thomas W. Overholt, The Threat of Falsehood, A Study in the Theology of the Book of Jeremiah (Naperville: Alec R. Allenson, 1970).




Hillers, Delbert.  Lamentations, A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary.  The Anchor Bible.  Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1972.

When available, J. M. Roberts, Lamentations, Hermeneia (Philadelphia: Fortress Press), is among the best.  For sermon ideas, Norman K. Gottwald, Studies in the Book of Lamentations (London: SCM Press, 1954), if you can find a copy.





Eichrodt, Walther.  Ezekiel, A Commentary.  Philadelphia: the Westminster Press, 1970.

Feinberg, Charles L.  The Prophecy of Ezekiel.  Chicago: Moody Press, 1969.

Zimmerli, Walther.  A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, Chapters 1-24.  Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979;  A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, Chapters 25-48, 1983.

For textual data, see G. A. Cooke, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Ezekiel (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1936); for theology, see Moshe Greenberg, Ezekiel 1-20, Anchor Bible (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983); and excellent, though small, is John B. Taylor, Ezekiel (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1969).   Fairly new is the two volume set by the conservative scholar Daniel Block, Ezekiel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000).




Montgomery, James A.  A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Daniel.  The International Critical Commentary.  Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1927.

Baldwin, Joyce G.  Daniel, An Introduction and Commentary.  Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries.  Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1978.

For critical matters, try to obtain a copy of D. J. Wiseman and T. C. Mitchell, et. al., Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel (London: Tyndale Press, 1965).





Chisholm, Robert B., Jr.  Hosea in The Bible Knowledge Commentary.  Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1985.

Macintosh, A. A.   The Book of Hosea.   Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.  1998

Wolff, Hans Walter.  Hosea.  Hermeneia Series.  Translated by Gary Stansell.   Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974.

Also useful are James Luther Mays, Hosea (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1965); and Derek Kidner, Love to the Loveless, The Message of Hosea (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1981).




Allen, Leslie C.  The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah, NICOT.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans. 1976.

Wolff, Hans W.  Joel and Amos.  Hermeneia Series.  Translated by W. Janzen, et al.  Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977.





Mays, James L.  Amos, A Commentary.  The Old Testament Library.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1969.

Wolff, Hans W.  Joel and Amos.  Hermeneia Series.  Translated by W. Janzen, et. al.  Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977.

See also J. A. Motyer, The Day of the Lion, The Message of Amos (Leicester: InterVarsity Press, 1974), for homiletical and applicational ideas; and for textual problems, William Harper, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Amos and Hosea (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1905).




Allen, Leslie C.  The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Erdmans, 1976

Watts, John D. W.  Obadiah: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary.  Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1967.

See also Obadiah, Jonah, Micah in the Tyndale Series of InterVarsity Press, written by David Baker, Desmond Alexander, and Bruce Waltke, respectively.




Allen, Leslie.  The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1976.




Allen, Leslie C.  The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1976.

Goldman, S.  Micah.  In The Twelve Prophets.  Edited by A. Cohen.  London: The Soncino Press, 1948.  Pp. 151-189.

Mays, James Luther.  Micah, A Commentary.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976.




Maier, Walter A.  The Book of Nahum.  St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959.

The writings of Kevin J. Cathcart are very helpful since this was the area of his doctoral research: Nahum in the Light of Northwest Semitic (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1973), and, "Treaty Curses and the Book of Nahum," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 35 (1973):179-187.  See also R. D. Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, Wycliffe (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991).




Eaton, J. H.  "The Origin and Meaning of Habakkuk 3."  ZAW 76 (1964):144-171.

Gowan, Donald E.  The Triumph of Faith in Habakkuk.  Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1976.





Hilber, John W.  "A Biblical Theology of Zephaniah."  Th.M. Thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1984.

Kapelrud, Arvid S.  The Message of the Prophet Zephaniah: Morphology and Ideas.  Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1975.





Baldwin, Joyce.  Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.   Tyndale Series.   Downers Grove, Il: InterVarsity Press.    

Pusey, E. B.  The Minor Prophets, A Commentary.  Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1966 reprint of 1860 edition.

.Smith, George Adam.  The Book of the Twelve Prophets.  Volume II.  Garden City: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1929.

Smith, Ralph L.  Micah--Malachi.  Word Biblical Commentary.  Waco, TX: Word Books, 1984.

For solid Hebrew exegesis, still use Carl F. Keil, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament: The Twelve Minor Prophets (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1949 reprint);  also, a general work: David L. Peterson, Haggai and Zechariah 1-8 (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1984).





Baldwin, Joyce.  Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.  Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1972.

Unger, Merrill F.  Zechariah: Prophet of Messiah's Glory.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963.




Baldwin, Joyce.  Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.  Downer's Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1972.

See note under Zechariah.

Kaiser, Walter C. Jr.  Malachi: God's Unchanging Love.  Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984.

Smith, Ralph L.  Micah--Malachi.  Waco: Word Books, 1984.









Arnold, Bill T. and Bryan E. Beyer, Encountering the Old Testament, A Christian Survey.   Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1998.

Dorsey, David A.  The Literary Structure of the Old Testament.   Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1998.

Harrison, R. K.  Introduction to the Old Testament.  Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1969.

Kitchen, Kenneth A.  Ancient Orient and Old Testament.  Chicago: InterVarsity Press, 1966.

________.  The Bible in Its World. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1978. 

LaSor, William Sanford, David Allen Hubbard, and Frederick William Bush.  Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament.  Grand Rapids:  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1982.

Other works of importance include the following: for the interesting but overworked canonical approach, Brevard S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979); for another moderately conservative text, Raymond B. Dillard and Tremper Longman III, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994);  for a classic liberal approach, Otto Eissfeldt, The Old Testament, An Introduction (New York: Harper and Row, 1965); and for an up-to-date, non-conservative, Catholic approach, J. Alberto Soggin, Introduction to the Old Testament: From Its Origins to the Closing of the Alexandrian Canon (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1980.





Eichrodt, Walther.  Theology of the Old Testament.  Two Volumes.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961.

Hasel, Gerhard.  Old Testament Theology: Basic Issues in the Current Debate.  Third edition.  Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975.

.Oehler, Gustave F.  Theology of the Old Testament.  Translated and edited by George E. Day.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan reprint of the 1874 English edition.

If you want a good study of the history and the development of biblical theology, John Hayes and Frederick Prussner, Old Testament Theology, Its History and Development (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1985).  To balance Eichrodt, Gerhard von Rad, Old Testament Theology, 2 Volumes (New York: Harper & Row, 1962); this work is excellent for textual discussions of individual themes, but of questionable value for its understanding of the origins of theology.





Moscati, Sabatino.  Ancient Semitic Civilizations.  New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1957.

Wiseman, D. J., ed.  Peoples of Old Testament Times.  Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1973.

Also of value are William W. Hallo and William K. Simpson, The Ancient Near East: A History  (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Inc., 1971), which is a popular textbook; and for a more thorough investigation, J. E. S. Edwards, et al, eds.  The Cambridge Ancient History (London: Cambridge University Press, 1970-- [still in revision]).





Bright, John.  A History of Israel.  Third edition.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1981.

Merrill, Eugene H.  Kingdom of Priests, A History of Old Testament Israel.  Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987

Other helpful resources include:  John H. Hayes and J. Maxwell Miller, eds., Israelite and Judean History (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1977) for a collection of studies on the subject;  Martin Noth, The History of Israel (New York: Harper & Row, 1960) for a clear presentation of the (unproven) view that is a major force in Old Testament studies.





Aberbach, Moshe, Labor, Crafts and Commerce in Ancient Israel.  Jerusalem: At the Magnes Press, 1994.         

*de Vaux, Roland.  Ancient Israel.  Volume 1: Social Institutions.  Volume 2: Religious Institutions.  New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965.

Noth, Martin.  The Old Testament World.  Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966.


Also to be recommended are:  W. Corswant, A Dictionary of Life in Bible Times (Bungay, England: Hodder and Stoughton, 1960);  M. S. Miller and J. L. Miller, Encyclopedia of Bible Life (New York: Harper & Row, 1955), considered by many the best; and still F. H. Wight, Manners and Customs of Bible Lands (Chicago: Moody Press, 1953), though somewhat superficial.




Aharoni, Y.  The Archaeology of the Land of Israel.  Philadelphia: Westminster, 1982.

Albright, W. F.  Archaeology and the Religion of Israel.  5th edition.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1968.

Avi-Yonah, Michael and Ephraim Stern, eds.  Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land.  4 Volumes.  Jerusalem: Massada Press, 1975-1978.

Currid, John C.  Doing Archaeology in the Land of the Bible.   Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1998.

Kenyon, K.  Archaeology in the Holy Land.  4th edition.  New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1979.

Lance, D.  The Old Testament and the Archaeologist.  Guides to Biblical Scholarship, Old Testament Series.  Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981.

Further works:  P. Lapp, The Tale of the Tell, PTMS 5 (Pittsburgh: Pickwick Press, 1975) for a treatment of how archaeologists work; for current discussions, subscribe to journals like Biblical Archaeology Review and Bible Review;  and for topical treatments, e.g., water systems, walls, town planning, etc., see S. Paul and W. Dever, eds., Biblical Archaeology (Jerusalem, Keter, 1973).






Mullen, E. T.  The Assembly of the Gods: The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature.  Harvard Semitic Monographs, 24.  Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1980.

Oppenheim, A. L.  Ancient Mesopotamia, A Portrait of a Dead Civilization.  Revised and completed by Erica Reiner.  Chicago/London, 1977 (1964).

Pritchard, J., ed.  Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament.  3rd edition with supplement.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969.

Also of value, and perhaps more affordable (but in no way complete) are the following works:  Helmer Ringgren, Religions of the Ancient Near East (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1973);  John Day, God's Conflict with the Dragon and the Sea: Echoes of a Canaanite Myth in the Old Testament (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985);  J. Gibson, ed., Canaanite Myths and Legends (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, Ltd., 1977); and, if available, especially New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (New York: Hamlyn Publishing Group, 1968).




Blackman, Philip, ed.  Mishnayoth.  6 Volumes.  New York: Judaica Press, 1973.

Bloch, Abraham.  The Biblical and Historical Background of Jewish Customs and Ceremonies.  New York: KTAV, 1980.

Cross, Frank Moore, Jr.,  The Ancient Library of Qumran and Biblical Studies.  Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980 (New York: Doubleday, 1961).

Doeve, J. W.  Jewish Hermeneutics in the Synoptic Gospels and Acts.  Assen, Amsterdam: Van Gorcum Press, 1954.

Lightfoot, John.  A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica.  4 Volumes.  Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979 reprint of the 1859 edition.

Patai, Raphael.  The Messiah Texts.  Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1979.

For the best history of the period, S. Safrai, et al, The Jewish People in the First Century (Assen, Amsterdam: Van Gorcum Press, 1974); still the most exhaustive work is the multi-volume commentary on the New Testament by Strack and Billerbeck; and for an introduction to the literature in general, Hermann L. Strack, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (New York: Atheneum, 1974).  One of the more reliable works, if you can find it, is Thomas Robinson, The Evangelists and the Mishna (London: James Nisbet and Co., 1859); he uses the material carefully, not making it say what it is not saying.  Also, for a very practical and critical use of Jewish sources, Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979).




Chisholm, Robert, Jr.  From Exegesis to Exposition, A Practical Guide to Using Biblical Hebrew.  Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1998.

Stuart, Douglas.  Old Testament Exegesis: A Primer for Students and Pastors.  2nd edition.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1984.

See also John H. Hayes and Carl R. Holladay, Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner's Handbook (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1982); and The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplementary Volume, pp. 296-303, s.v. "Exegesis" by K. L. Keck and G. M. Tucker.




Bright, John.  The Authority of the Old Testament.  Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1967.

Caird, G. B.  The Language and Imagery of the Bible.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1980.

Goldingay, John.  Approaches to Old Testament Interpretation.  Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1981.




Barr, James.  Comparative Philology and the Text of the Old Testament.  Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1968.

________.  The Semantics of Biblical Literature.   Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1961.

Botterweck, G. Johannes and Helmer Ringgren, eds.  Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament.  12 Volumes.  Translated by John T. Willis.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1974--

.Harris, R. Laird, Gleason Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke, eds.  Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.  2 Volumes.  Chicago: Moody Press, 1980.

Jenni, Ernst and Claus Westermann, eds.  Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament.   Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998.

Richardson, Alan, ed.  A Theological Word Book of the Bible.  New York: MacMillan, 1950.

Van Gemeren, Willem, ed.  The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis.  5 Volumes.   Grand Rapids, Zondervan Publishing House. 1998.




Buttrick, George A., ed.  The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible.  4 Volumes + Supplement.  Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962.

Douglas, J. D., ed.  The Illustrated Bible Dictionary.  3 Volumes.  Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press, 1980.

There are a number of other works that are useful too.  The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible put out by Zondervan, of course, as an excellent resource, and more conservative than the above, filled with good charts and photographs.





Even-Shoshan, A.  A New Concordance of the Bible.  Jerusalem: Kiryat-Sepher, 1977.

.Hatch, Edwin, and Henry Redpath.  A Concordance to the Septuagint and the Other Greek Versions of the Old Testament.  2 Volumes.  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1897-1906, reprinted by Baker, 1983.

Lisowsky, G. and L. Rost.  Konkordanz zum Hebraischen Alten Testament.  Stuttgart: Wurttembergische Bibelanstalt, 1958.

*Mandelkern, S.  Veteris Testamenti Concordantiae: Hebraicae atque Chaldaicae.         4th corrected edition, 1958.

Wigram, George V.  The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament.  London: Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1890.  Many reprints.





Aharoni, Yohanan.  The Land of the Bible.  A Historical Geography.  Revised and enlarged edition.  Translated and edited by A. F. Rainey.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1979.

Aharoni, Y. and M. Avi-Yonah, eds.  The Macmillan Bible Atlas.  Revised edition.  New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1977.

The Collegeville Atlas of the Bible.  Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1998.





Baker, D. L.  Two Testaments, One Bible.  Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1977.

Bruce, F. F.  New Testament Development of Old Testament Themes.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1968.

France, R. T.  Jesus and the Old Testament: His Application of Old Testament Passages to Himself and His Mission.  London: Tyndale Press, 1971.

Johnson, S. Lewis, Jr.  The Old Testament in the New: An Argument for Biblical Inspiration.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980.

Longenecker, Richard N.  Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975.

Moo, Douglas J.  The Old Testament in the Gospel Passion Narratives.  Sheffield, England: Almond Press, 1983.