Here is a full-scale revision of Mr. Butler’s 1983 offering to the Word Biblical Commentary series. I can say upfront that this is the best revision by the same author that I have ever seen done in a major commentary series. I own the older volume and this revision has numerous upgrades. So many upgrades, in fact, that it had to grow to two volumes.
Reading the new Author’s Preface you can tell Mr. Butler was surprised that his earlier edition of this commentary was not as well received by conservatives as he expected. While he tried to explain himself at great lengths to prove that he was more conservative than thought, he nevertheless brought this commentary more squarely into the conservative camp by what he wrote this time. I still don’t agree with him on compositional issues, but really appreciate the direction he came.
In volume 1 he has a three part Introduction. The first part is about textual issues and he makes the Masoretic Text his focus. Then he gives a major, impressive section on a “Review of Critical Research”. With a deft hand he brings us from Keil to the present. It could serve as a prototype of what a history of interpretation ought to look like. It was fascinating to see all the zany sidewalks of thought in the study of Joshua, but you will be up to speed on where scholarship has gone before. The final part covers things like ethical and theological issues,
The rest of the volume is commentary in the typical WBC format covering Joshua 1-12.
The second volume covers Joshua 13-24 in 362 more pages. Some paragraphs are unchanged, but many have been rewritten or at least tweaked.
There are many other helpful additions including some well done charts that were not present in the first edition. The visual additions really aid comprehending what he is saying. There are massive bibliographies throughout that will delight the scholars too.
All in all, this set is a winner and will be around for years to come.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.