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The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1-39 (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament) Hardcover – July 25, 1986

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
"An excellent conservative commentary on the book of Isaiah. . . Oswalt's work is a treasure. It provides solid help in understanding the text and message of this Old Testament book."

Review & Expositor
"This book is a solid piece of scholarship and may be recommended to pastors and teachers alike as an exemplary piece of conservative research and exposition."

Southwestern Journal of Theology
"This commentary will be one of the most widely used and appreciated [in the NICOT series], and perhaps even one of the flagship volumes."

About the Author

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.
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Product Details

  • Series: The New International Commentary on the Old Testament
  • Hardcover: 759 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans (July 25, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080282529X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802825292
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
Basically, ditto my review of volume two...
Having just completed my study of the book of Isaiah, I have to say that I am a little shell-shocked. The depth and breadth of Isaiah's vision is breathtaking, and he is a master in communicating that vision. Much of this is evident even to a layperson like myself, but I cannot overstate the value of a commentary such as this to assist in grasping the extended themes of judgment of the faithless, redemption of the faithful, a promised Messiah, the incomparable faithfulness and glory of the living God, etc.. or how their historical significance has application to my life today.
I worked through two commentaries in my study - Edward Young's three volume set (the original NICOT offering) and Oswalt's two volume set. Without going too far into comparing them, I will say that I found Oswalt's volume to be considerably more accessible to the layperson while still impressively scholarly in tackling the textual controversies which are rife in Isaiah scholarship.
Oswalt's commentary lies in the evangelical tradition of Biblical scholarship, which means that he accepts the scriptural and traditional testimony of Isaianic authorship for the complete book, and also that his interpretation falls within the historical Christian paradigm.
He is generous in drawing from liberal and conservative studies together for interpretation of the text while at the same time very penetrating in his analysis and criticism of the a priori arguments raised by liberals in rejection of Isaiah's authorship of the whole book.
But I found most valuable the heightened vision of God and his glorious Messiah, along with the challenge to myself to seek to live a godly life before him which Oswalt has imparted to me through this commentary. I heartily recommend this commentary to all who want to understand the book of Isaiah, the Bible, and above all, their relationship to the living God.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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).
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