What One Old Testament Commentary Would You Get?

If you like commentaries as I do, and you could only get a commentary on one Old Testament book other than Genesis or the wisdom literature, which one would it be and why if you care to take the time to tell.

I’m thinking Isaiah or Jeremiah and I’m leaning toward Jeremiah because there are many questions I have about it.

Also, if you would insist on recommending Psalms or Proverbs, please let me know what one(s) you like.

I have Genesis and Ecclesiastes covered and I know I want commentaries on Psalms and Proverbs. With a low budget I’m trying to decide what other one I’d eventually like to get. I think the Treasury of David is very good for the Psalms and it’s free.

17 Responses to “What One Old Testament Commentary Would You Get?”

  1. 1 T.C. R

    Jeff, this is one area I’ve lagged behind in. I’m so NT-oriented.

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    Me too. Next year I’m going to focus on the OT.

  3. 3 Mike Aubrey

    probably Goldingay on the Psalms – though it’s three volumes. For a one volume on the Psalms the best you can do is the new Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume on the Psalms by VanGemeren.

    Proverbs – Tremper Longman & Bruce Waltke are both great. I prefer Waltke, but it’s again two volumes.

  4. 4 Joel H.

    I would certainly consider the JPS commentary on Jonah, primarily because it’s written by Dr. Uriel Simon, who in my opinion sets the gold standard for modern commentary. (And by the way, if you ever have a chance to hear Dr. Simon lecture, it’s worth the trip.)

  5. 5 Scripture Zealot

    Mike, for the NT I don’t like multi-volume commentaries because of cost and because I like to read them through. But for OT I’m willing because to do justice to the Psalms I would think a multi-volume is almost necessary and I would use it more for reference. Thanks for the suggestions.

    Joel that commentary looks very interesting. Thanks.

  6. 6 T.C. R

    Someday I’ll try to be two-dimensional, but not next year. 😀

  7. 7 Scripture Zealot

    Right now you’re half dimensional or one convenental.

    I like your avatar/picture and your about page.

  8. 8 Chuck Grantham

    On Psalms I can give you the three I chose for our Sunday School three month whirlwind tour:

    Wilson, NIVAC Psalms vol 1
    Goldingay, Psalms, vol 3
    Van Gemeren, Expositors Bible Commentary Revised, Psalms

    Van Gemeren makes a good one volume choice, though it’s a large one volume….

  9. 9 Chuck Grantham

    Oh, yes. If I had to choose just one OT book, it would probably be Isaiah right now, with Motyer’s “Prophecy of Isaiah” for commentary. One volume Isaiah commentaries are hard to find.

  10. 10 Mike Aubrey

    Oh definitely Wilson on the Psalms too, that he died before volume 2 was a tragic loss for the Church.

  11. 11 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks Chuck and Chuck.

  12. 12 Kevin Sam

    Both Isaiah and Jeremiah are most important books on the prophets. Get them both.

  13. 13 Derek Ashton


    Although Psalms and Isaiah would be high on my list, I think I would go with a good conservative commentary on Deuteronomy. A few years back, I studied through Deuteronomy and was struck by how strongly its message resonates in Christ’s teachings, and the way its core principles became some of the big themes of the Bible. I’d go with Deuteronomy as one of the large foundation stones of the Old Testament, and there should be plenty of one-volume commentaries on it.

    I sometimes use Victor P. Hamilton’s “Handbook on the Pentateuch.” It’s concise, but it covers a lot of good ground.


  14. 14 Scripture Zealot

    Sam, I’d like to get both if I can.

    Derek, I was wondering about what other book might be foundational in that way other than Genesis. I’ll look into commentaries on that also.

    I know that when I read through the OT next year I’m going to have questions but I have to remember they don’t all need to be answered. I just need to read though it again first. I wish I had a few hundred dollars (don’t we all) to spend on these.

  15. 15 Gary Simmons

    Actually reading down this list, I was also going to recommend Hamilton’s Handbook on the Pentateuch. Although part of it (obviously) covers Genesis, it’s a wonderful coverage of the entire Pentateuch. We used it in my Pentateuch class, and it’s a favorite of mine.

  16. 16 Scripture Zealot

    I could get the 1st edition of Hamilton for $8. Do you think there would be much disadvantage compared to the 2nd edition?

  17. 17 Scripture Zealot

    I got the first edition (2nd is newest) of the Hamilton for $8 including shipping. I figured like electronics, I don’t necessarily need the latest and greatest. God can use an $8 book as well as a $26 book.

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