1 and 2 Samuel (Tyndale Old Testament Commentary)

Written by Joyce Baldwin Reviewed By D.G. Deboys

The impossible is always expected of a commentator on the Books of Samuel. If the perils of the defective received Hebrew text in its relationship to the daughter versions, and especially nowadays to the Hebrew Qumran material, are circumnavigated successfully there then await the enthralling complexities of a multi-faceted story told to legitimate the Davidic succession. It is a story moreover where many women appear, not to be sure, as central characters but as foils to the main protagonists. Perhaps it is too much to expect Baldwin to pick up this aspect. She comes close to it in regard to the Bathsheba incident, but eschews it, exonerating the male-dominated perspective of the text by describing interest in Bathsehba’s perspective as an ‘invitation to side-track’ (p. 244). The persistent tendency to moralise is well exemplified in her extended discussion of this affair. It may be, however, that the volume with its gentle approach to all the complexities of the Books of Samuel (cf. her non-threating discussion of the major textual dislocation at 1 Samuel 10:26–27 on pp. 95–6) is just the sort of introduction to these issues that many conservative students will find most helpful.

D.G. Deboys