Handbook on the Prophets

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"An excellent contribution. . . . [Chisholm] has provided an accessible commentary that offers an overview of the message of the biblical text with sensitivity to the historical context of the prophet."--Mark J. Boda, Review of Biblical Literature

The prophetic books of the Bible contain some of the most difficult passages in the entire Old Testament and can prove especially confusing for those new to this corpus. Handbook on the Prophets offers a thorough and insightful introduction for the beginning student of the Old Testament prophetic literature. Robert Chisholm guides students through the important and often complex writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Minor Prophets. Rather than attempting to provide a detailed verse-by-verse commentary, the handbook focuses on the prevailing themes and central messages of the prophetic books.

Chisholm begins each chapter with a brief analysis of the social and historical setting of the book under discussion. As he works through each of the writings, Chisholm describes the structure, content, and important concepts found therein. Without becoming mired in overly technical issues or academic jargon, Chisholm considers critical issues whenever they are important for the interpretation of a particular passage. In general, however, he focuses more broadly on the theological themes that characterize the work as a whole. In each case, he considers how the message of the prophets would have been heard in their respective historical communities and the prophets' continuing importance for contemporary study.

In addition to those who are new to the prophets, seminarians and students of advanced biblical studies will find this volume enlightening and helpful as they forge their way through the prophetic books. Handbook on the Prophets will also be a valuable resource for pastors and teachers to refer to in their teaching and exposition of this portion of Scripture. The value of the handbook is further enhanced by the extensive bibliographies that are provided for continued study.


"Chisholm's book is a welcome addition to the books on the Hebrew prophets. It will help readers find their way through the complexities of the writings themselves and also through the thickets of varying interpretations. The author takes a thoughtfully conservative approach to the knotty critical problems posed by the prophetic books, offering concise but incisive support for positions that take the Bible's own claims seriously. This book will make the prophets more accessible to a whole range of readers."--John N. Oswalt, Wesley Biblical Seminary

The Author

  1. Robert B. Chisholm Jr.

    Robert B. Chisholm Jr.

    Robert B. Chisholm Jr. (ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary) is senior professor of Old Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is the author of several books, including Handbook on the Prophets and Interpreting the Historical Books.

    Continue reading about Robert B. Chisholm Jr.


"Chisholm's Handbook on the Prophets is an excellent contribution. . . . He has provided an accessible commentary that offers an overview of the message of the biblical text with sensitivity to the historical context of the prophet."--Mark J. Boda, Review of Biblical Literature

"Here is a book on prophetic literature that is in a genre almost of its own! . . . Its major strength is to help students with interpretation of specific passages, less detailed than most commentaries, but interacting with a broad range of scholarship and providing clear presentation and argument. Students, irrespective of background, who explore this work will have a clearer understanding of passages, with an irenic and fair presentation of various views. Whether for exegesis courses or for further reading on exegetical issues raised in an introductory course, this book should become a much used reference."--John Olley, Colloquium

"An accessible introduction of the prophetic books for those who desire a better understanding of the message of the prophets. . . . [Chisholm's] discussion of the context of the prophetic books is very helpful."--Claude Mariottini, Review & Expositor

"In a single volume edition covering the Major and Minor Prophets, Professor Robert Chisholm . . . has provided an extremely useful tool for serious study of the Old Testament. . . . Commentaries of this nature and especially of this quality not only bridge the chasm between the technicalities of scholarship and the practical situations of preaching, teaching, and worship in churches, but also begin to disturb the status quo in which the use of and reliance upon translations and paraphrases has dulled the Church's sense of responsibility toward the study of the Hebrew text. This is one of the most praiseworthy aspects of Chisholm's work. . . . Chisholm deserves much praise for the extent and depth of his commentary."--J. C. Lubbe, Old Testament Essays

"If you are looking for an accessible handbook on the prophets that is theologically conservative yet cognizant of the broader scholarly issues, then this book is worth investigating. This book is geared toward college students, students taking their first course on the prophets at seminary, pastors, and interested laypeople. . . . The strengths of this handbook are its breadth in one volume, division between introductory material and deeper scholarly issues, attention to conservative and higher critical interpretations, and a wealth of references for pursuing further study. . . . This handbook is to be commended for tackling such a vast topic, approaching it in a scholarly yet conservative way, differentiating between basic and more complicated levels of commentary, and making all of this accessible to various readers."--Scott A. Ashmon, Concordia Journal

"The vast majority of the volume is a well-written concise commentary offering many sound interpretations and suggestions for new approaches to old cruxes that will make the volume valuable to its readers."--William D. Barrick, Master's Seminary Journal

"Chisholm proceeds chapter by chapter through each prophetic book (as well as Lamentations and Daniel) and provides an often-detailed summary of its contents plus an analysis of literary themes, linguistic notes, and occasionally historical contexts. . . . The works seems most appropriate for conservative Christian pastors and educated laypeople."--Tyler Mayfield, Religious Studies Review