Order of Contents
The Best Commentaries on Judges
Devotional & Practical
De Graaf, S.G. – ‘Judges’ in Promise & Deliverance, vol. 2: The Failure of Israel’s Theocracy (1977), pp. 11-66
De Graff is a Dutch Reformed author who focuses on the unfolding of the Covenant through history. He writes in an easy to read, but insightful style.
Reformer & Puritan
Vermigli, Peter Martyr – The Commentary of Master Peter Martyr upon the Book of Judges ToC in Most Fruitful [and] Learned Co[m]mentaries of Doctor Peter Martyr Vermil Florentine… (London )
* – ‘This would seem to be a profound work. [Richard] Rogers says of Peter Martyr: ‘Few private men can understand his works, and few ministers who understand them can obtain them; nor if they can will they find in them much that will benefit their simple hearers.’ This has not been our experience with Peter Martyr’s works; on the contrary, we have read them with interest.’
Rogers, Richard – A Commentary upon the Whole Book of Judges, Preached First & Delivered in Sundry Lectures… (London, 1615)
*** – ‘This for the puritan period is THE work upon Judges. It is thoroughly plain and eminently practical.’ – Spurgeon
Bush was a Biblical scholar, a professor of oriental literature in New York City University, and initially a presbyterian minister.
*** – ‘Like other works of this author–of considerable value.’ – Spurgeon
Douglas, George C.M. – The Book of Judges in Hand-Books for Bible Classes, ed. Dods & Whyte (1881)
Douglas (1826-1904) was a Hebraist in the Free Church of Scotland, having studied under Thomas Chalmers and came to be a Principle of the Free Church College. “He was a scholarly conservative, skeptical of higher critical views.” – DoSCH&T
Fausset, Andrew – A Critical & Expository Commentary on the Book of Judges (1885)
Fausset (1821–1910) was an Irish, evangelical, Anglican and Bible scholar. He is remembered for his part in the Jamieson, Fausset, Brown commentary on the Whole Bible. This commentary on Judges has been reprinted in the Geneva Commentary Series by Banner of Truth.
‘Remains one of the finest comprehensive and scholarly treatments for the expositor.’ – Cyril J. Barber
Kitto, John – ‘The Judges’ in Daily Bible Illustrations: being Original Readings for a Year, on subjects relating to Sacred History, Biography, Geography, Antiquities & Theology, vol. 2 (Ex.-Jud.)
*** – ‘Exceedingly meritorious. Refer to it frequently.’ ‘They are not exactly a commentary, but what marvelous expositions you have there! You have reading more interesting than any novel that was ever written, and as instructive as the heaviest theology. The matter is quite attractive and fascinating, and yet so weighty, that the man who shall study those eight volumes thoroughly, will not fail to read his Bible intelligently and with growing interest.’ – Spurgeon
Lange’s Commentary – Judges by P. Cassel
*** – ‘This is a standard work. No minister’s library is furnished without the whole set. Joshua however is inferior to Judges.’ – Spurgeon
Wiseman, Luke – Men of Faith; or Sketches from the Book of Judges (1874) 360 pp.
*** – ‘Mr. Wiseman in this work tells of ‘Gideon and Barak, of Samson and of Jephthah’, and he does it in a powerful style. He was one of the best preachers in the Wesleyan body. A man of fullness and judiciousness; in fact, a wise man.’ – Spurgeon
Poole (1624–1679) was a puritan, presbyterian minister and Bible commentator.
This is different and much larger than Poole’s Annotations on Scripture. Here Poole gives something of a history of interpretation (from Jewish writers until Christian interpreters of Poole’s own day) on every verse of the Bible.
‘…you will find in Poole’s Synopsis a marvelous collection of all the wisdom and folly of the critics. It is a large cyclopedia worthy of the days when theologians could be cyclopean, and had not shrunk from folios to octavos. Query—a query for which I will not demand an answer—has one of you beaten the dust from the venerable copy of Poole which loads our library shelves? Yet as Poole spent no less than ten years in compiling it, it should be worthy of your frequent notice—ten years, let me add, spent in Amsterdam in exile for the truth’s sake from his native land. His work is based on an earlier compilation entitled Critici Sacri, containing the concentrated light of a constellation of learned men who have never been excelled in any age or country.’ – Spurgeon
Keil, Karl F. – Judges
** – ‘Let our Biblical students not only master the facts and logic, but catch the spirit of these commentaries, and we can have no fear for the issue of that conflict with Rationalism and Popery united, by which Protestantism in this country seems to be threatened.’ – Wesleyan Mehodist Magazine, quoted by Surgeon
Commentaries on Judges
Allen, John – A Spiritual Exposition of the Old Testament: from Joshua to the end of the Psalms (1816)
‘Spiritual reflections after the high Calvinistic school. Some preachers cannot see Christ where He is, but Allen finds Him where He is not. There is in these reflections much godly savor, but very little exposition.’ – Spurgeon
This Allen was not the one that translated Calvin’s Institutes. James Darling said that Allen was an Antinomian (one who believes that Christians are not bound by moral injunctions). Antinomians, not believing that moral injunctions should be derived from God’s Word, often replaced this large aspect of Scripture’s teaching with finding Christ everywhere in the Bible, especially the Old Testament.
Dods, Marcus – Israel’s Iron Age: Sketches from the Period of the Judges in The Expositor’s Library (1874) There are 7 chapters, entitled: ‘Joshua’, ‘Gideon’, ‘Jotham’, ‘Jephthah’, ‘Samson’, ‘Eli’, & ‘The Blessings of the Tribes’
Dods was a liberal.
* “Dr. Dods considers that to find Samson and other judges types of our Lord Jesus is mere fancy, and he interprets upon ‘a rational principle’ which renders his book dry and unspiritual; at the same time his sketches are not without value.” – Spurgeon
Kirk, Thomas & Lang, John Marshall – Studies in the Book of Judges Buy 473 pp. Reprinted by Klock & Klock
Lang, John Marshall – Men of the Bible: Gideon & the Judges, a Study Historical & Practical (NY: Randolph, 1890) 220 pp.
Lang was a Church of Scotland minister and author, to be distinguished from John Peter Lange, the editor of the whole Bible commentary.
‘An old, well-reasoned work. Helpful for its historical material.’ – Cyril J. Barber
Conquest & Crisis: Studies in Joshua, Judges & Ruth Buy (BMH, 1969) 175 pp.
‘A systematic consideration of the central themes of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, incorporating into its material the latest archaeological findings in the Near East… Deals with the difficult problems… A commendable volume.’ – Cyril J. Barber
Israel from Conquest to Exile: a Commentary on Joshua to 2 Kings Buy (1994)
Burney, Charles Fox – The Book of Judges: with Introduction & Notes (1920)
‘Abounds in textual, philological, historical, geographical, and archaeological material which translators and those who preach from a careful exegesis of the text will find helpful.’ – Cyril J. Barber
Hengstenberg, E.W. – Time of the Judges
** “This great author contends ably for the Pentateuch, but the perusal of his book reminds us of the king who ‘Fought all his battles o’er again, And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew the slain.'” – Spurgeon
The Early Church on Judges
Franke, John – Judges in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel (InterVarsity Press, 2005), pp. 99-181
Ambrosiaster – Question on Judges 11:39 at Patristic Bible Commentary
Augustine – Questions on Judges at Patristic Bible Commentary
Theodoret of Cyrus – The Questions on the Octateuch, vol. 2: On Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges & Ruth in Library of Early Christianity Ref (Catholic University of America Press, 2007) 431 pp.
Theodoret (c. AD 393 – c. 458/466)
Christ in Judges
Browne, Robert – Christ in the Prophets: Judges (1873)
* “Of the High Church order, and praised by the Saturday Review. What worse need be said? Yet will we add that the savor of Christ in these books saves them from unqualified condemnation.” – Spurgeon
On Chapters in Judges
Cooper, Thomas – The Exposition upon the 4th Chapter of Judges in A Brief Exposition of such Chapters of the Old Testament as Usually are Read in the Church at Common Prayer on the Sundays (d. 1594) English reformer
Cooper, Thomas – The Exposition upon the 5th Chapter of Judges in A Brief Exposition of such Chapters of the Old Testament as Usually are Read in the Church at Common Prayer on the Sundays (d. 1594) English reformer
On Bible Characters in Judges
The Life of Gideon Judges 6-7
Bruce, John – The Life of Gideon Illustrated & Applied (1870)
Bruce was a Free Church of Scotland minister.
** “The author deserves attention, both for matter and style. Note Hugh Miller’s high opinion of his ‘Biography of Samson’. Gideon is a better work, but both are over-estimated.” – Spurgeon
“A very full, devotional exposition.” – Cyril J. Barber
Guthrie, Thomas – Gideon the Deliverer in Studies of Character from the Old Testament (1872) Free Church of Scotland
Rogers, George – The Valor of Faith; or, the Gospel in the Life of Gideon (1859) 170 pp.
*** – ‘A thoroughly lively little book. Each of the eight chapters is full of thought.’ – Spurgeon
Whyte, Alexander – Gideon in Bible Characters, vol. 1 d. 1921
Jephthah Judges 11
Whyte, Alexander – Jephthah & his Daughter in Bible Characters, vol. 1 d. 1921
Samson Judges 13-16
Bruce, John – The Biography of Samson; Illustrated & Applied 1854
Bruce was a Free Church of Scotland minister.
** “Hugh Miller said: ‘There is a poetic richness in the style, which at one time reminds us of Chalmers, and at another of Jeremy Taylor, but which in reality is Mr. Bruce’s own, that does not seem poor or bald beside even the blank verse of the great master of English song.’ We think this eulogy is greatly overdone.” – Spurgeon
Kirk, Thomas – Samson: his Life & Work (1891)
“Six moving messages based upon Judges 13-16. Well reasoned, deeply devotional, and true to the Scriptures.” – Cyril J. Barber
Whyte, Alexander – Samson in Bible Characters, vol. 1 (d. 1921)
** “This queer, quaint, odd volume of rhyme is far from despicable. Kitto frequently quotes Quarles upon Samson, and says of him that he was a poet of no mean order. We are glad to have his testimony to confirm our own opinion. Refined tastes will be offended, but those who wish for quaint thought will be gratified. The book is very rare.” – Spurgeon