Numbers (Interpretation) by Olson

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This volume on Numbers in the Interpretation Bible Commentary series by Dennis Olson is one of the more favorably reviewed in the whole series. When I saw that it was judged as more academically astute than its companion volumes, I was intrigued to check it out. Its marks for theology rank highly as well. Without doubt, its conclusions spring from a critical perspective just as you will find to be true across the series. To my mind, these reviews are accurate.

The Introduction is quite brief but introduces us to Olson’s highly-regarded ideas about the structure of the Book of Numbers. That provocative view of structure divides Numbers into two parts: Numbers 1-25 and 26-36. It sees the first part as the old generation of rebellion and the other as the new generation of hope. The design within each half is also presented as cohesive. This review of structure is followed by some theological discussion. Everything else is pushed to the commentary section.

The structure Olson loves to highlight becomes a guide in the commentary itself. Besides a few places of too much brevity, the commentary is well done. If you understand the perspective this book brings, you will know what you can find versus what simply must be sought somewhere else.

There are about 5 or 6 volumes that have separated themselves from the others in this series. Mark this book down as one of them.

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.

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