- Verse-by-verse commentary
- In-depth discussion of textual and critical matters
- Introductions to each book’s authorship, date, purpose, structure, and theology
- Detailed bibliography
This collection includes the two volumes of John N. Oswalt’s study of Isaiah from The New International Commentary on the Old Testament
The first of John N. Oswalt’s two-part study of the book of Isaiah for the NICOT series, this commentary on chapters 1–39 combines theological acumen, literary sensitivity, philological expertise, and historical knowledge to present a faithful and accurate reading of one of the Old Testament’s most important books.
In the introduction to this work, Oswalt considers Isaiah’s background, unity of composition, date and authorship, canonicity, Hebrew text, theology, and problems of interpretation, and he offers a select bibliography for further research. Oswalt also provides substantial discussions of several issues crucial to the book of Isaiah. He notes, for example, that scholars often divide Isaiah into three divisions, with chapters 1–39 addressing Isaiah’s contemporaries in the eighth century b.c., chapters 40–55 presupposing the exile of the sixth century, and chapters 56–66 presupposing the eventual return from exile. While taking this scholarship into account Oswalt defends the unity of the prophetic book and argues convincingly that the whole book can be attributed to the Isaiah of the eighth century.
The commentary proper, based on Oswalt’s own translation of the Hebrew text, provides pastors, scholars, and students with a lucid interpretation of the book of Isaiah in its ancient context as well as an exposition of its message for today.
The second of John N. Oswalt’s two-part study of the book of Isaiah for the NICOT series, this commentary provides exegetical and theological exposition on the latter twenty-seven chapters of Isaiah for scholars, pastors, and students who seek to know the perennial meaning of the text in contemporary terms.
Though Oswalt’s main introduction to Isaiah is found in his commentary on chapters 1–39, this second volume opens with an important discussion of scholarly debate over the unity/diversity of Isaiah. In this work Oswalt makes stronger his case for reading the entire book of Isaiah as written by a single author—a position not common in other recent commentaries. Oswalt’s work stands alone, then, as an attempt to take seriously Israel’s historical situation at the time chapters 40–66 were composed while also seeking to understand how these chapters function as a part of Isaiah’s total vision written in the late 700s or early 600s b.c.
Assuming the single authorship of Isaiah, the verse-by-verse commentary aims to interpret chapters 40–66 in light of the book as a whole. While not neglecting issues of historical criticism or form criticism, the commentary focuses mainly on the theological meaning of the text as indicated especially by the literary structure. Building on his earlier argument that the central theme of Isaiah is servanthood, Oswalt keeps readers focused on the character of Israel’s sovereign Redeemer God, on the blind servant Israel, and on the ultimate work of the Suffering Servant in whom the world can find its Savior.