Order of Contents 40+ total
The Best Commentaries on the Whole Pentateuch
God Spake by Moses: an Exposition of the Pentateuch Buy (1951; P&R, 1979) 159 pp. ToC
Allis (1880-1973) was one of the great, early Westminster Seminary scholars.
This little known commentary set by leading evangelicals (many of which were reformed) is brief (think airplane view) but helpful.
“De Graaf studies the Old Testament with an eye on the covenant and the kingdom of God. The book is written in an easy-to-undrstand style.” – Tremper Longman III, 4 out of 5 stars
Ainsworth, Henry – Annotations upon the Five Books of Moses, the Book of the Psalms, & Song of Songs, or, Canticles, vols. 1, 2 (d. 1622) Vol. 1 goes up through Num. 11.
*** ‘Thoroughly learned. Though old, not out of date.’ – Spurgeon
‘Ainsworth was a celebrated scholar and an excellent divine. His uncommon skill in Hebrew learning, and his excellent commentaries on the Scripture are held in high reputation to this day.’ – Benjamin Brook, Lives of the Puritans
Wright, Abraham – A Practical Commentary or Exposition upon the Pentateuch (1662)
** – ‘An extremely rare old book. The style and matter are after the manner of Christopher Ness [see here]. Wright [1611-1690] does not comment upon every verse, but after indicating the run of the chapter gives little sermons upon the more salient points. He is very quaint and pithy.’ – Spurgeon
Bush was a Biblical scholar, a professor of oriental literature in New York City University, and initially a presbyterian minister.
On Genesis: ** – ‘Bush has in the most barefaced manner taken copious verbatim extracts from Andrew Fuller, without acknowledgement, and he has also plagiarized Lawson on Joseph by wholesale, without even mentioning his name. For such a scholar to be guilty of wholesale plunder is inexcusable. It is one of the worst cases of robbery we have ever met with, and deserves a far stronger denunciation than our gentle pen and slender space will permit.’ – Spurgeon
On Exodus: ** – ‘Of considerable value. We do not know that it is a plagiarism.’
On Leviticus: *** – ‘The author read extensively to produce this volume. In his later years he became a Swedenborgian, but there is no trace of that leaning in this or his other comments. He inserts the notes of the Pictorial Bible, but handsomely acknowledges them.’
On Numbers: *** – ‘Although Bush is indebted to many authors, he is by no means a mere collector; his remarks repay you for consultation, and we hope that in this case they are his own.’
Keil – Commentary on the Pentateuch
** “A work for the learned. It has received the highest commendations from competent scholars. But it is somewhat dull and formal.” – Spurgeon
More Commentaries on the Pentateuch
Simple, Devotional & Practical
Anonymous – Bible Teachings; or Remarks on Genesis, Exodus & Leviticus rev. ed. Buy (John Farquhar Shaw, 1855) Preface by William B. MacKenzie
** “This book was written by the Three Misses Bird, of Taplow. The remarks are very plain and practical, and a spirit of earnest piety and fervent prayer pervades them throughout.” – Spurgeon
** “See remarks under each separate volume [below]” – Spurgeon
Erdman was a conservative liberal, who is known for his opposition to J. Gresham Machen at old Princeton Seminary.
‘A concise commentary incorporating the writer’s previous works on the Pentateuch published between 1949 and 1953. Contains good preaching values.’ – Cyril J. Barber
Meyer, F.B. – The Five Books of Moses: a Devotional Commentary on Each Chapter Buy (1955) 189 pp. Includes homiletical outlines
Babington, Gervase – Certain Plain, Brief & Comfortable Notes upon the 5 Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy also in Works (d. 1610) Puritan
* “Our copy is in the old Black Letter. It contains little to repay the student for toiling through the old-fashioned expressions.” – Spurgeon
Jackson (1593-1666) was a reformed puritan.
‘…which appear to have been the result of his pulpit expositions to his people. Valuable his works would be if there were no better, but they are not comparable to others already and afterwards mentioned. You can do without him, but he is a reputable author.’ – Spurgeon
Kidder, Richard – Commentary on the First Five Books of Moses, vol. 1 (Gen.-Ex.), 2 (Lev.-Dt.) (London, 1694)
Kidder (1634-1703) was an Anglican.
Gerlach, Otto von – Commentary on the Pentateuch 1860
** “Very different from other German authors. Plain, clear, and instructive. Not choked up with metaphysical bewilderments and long lists of skeptical authors whose names defile the pages which bear them.” – Spurgeon
Townsend, George – The Pentateuch & the Book of Job, Arranged in Chronological Order, with Prayers & Notes, vol. 1, 2 (1849)
Townsend (1788–1857) was an English priest.
* “A singular combination of family prayers, essays and notes, by an able but singular writer.” – Spurgeon
Barrett, R.A.F. – A Synopsis of Criticisms upon those passages of the Old Testament in which Modern Commentators have Differed from the Authorized Version, vol. 1, pt. 1 (Gen-Lev 6), pt. 2 (Lev 6-Deut), vol. 2, pt. 1 (Josh-2 Sam 3), pt. 2 (2 Sam 3-2 Kings), vol. 3 pt. 1 (Chron-Esth) (1847)
The work is mainly involved with textual criticism, but also contains commentary. We generally do not recommend the distinctive readings of the critical texts, which this work is mainly about.
** “The object of this work is to lay before the reader the principal alterations which modern critics have proposed in the Authorized Version, together with the reasons for or against such emendations. Many of the notes are in Latin. Of small use to the average minister.” – Spurgeon
Brightwell, Thomas – Notes Selected from the Exegetical Parts of Rosenmuller’s Scholia, & of Dathe’s Notes to his Latin Version, also from Schrank, Michaelis, Le Clerc, Ainsworth, Poole & other Authors (1840)
** “This writer worked very industriously at the almost impossible task of condensing the twenty-eight volumes of Rosenmuller’s Notes. Besides the remarks from authors mentioned in the text, there are observations from the manuscripts of Joseph Kinghorn, of Norwich. It is not a didactic or spiritual work, but almost entirely explanatory and illustrative.” – Spurgeon
Kalisch, M.M. – Historical & Critical Commentary on the Old Testament, with a New Translation, vol. 1 (Gen), 2 (Ex), 3 (Lev 1-10), 4 (Lev 11-27) (1858)
** “Contains a large amount of historical illustration, shedding new light upon the letter of the Word. The author has used the fresh information which has come to us from the Euphrates and the Nile. At the same time he sows skepticisms broadcast, and we cannot recommend him.” – Spurgeon
On the Laws of Moses in the Pentateuch
* “However much of learning there may be here, we are not prepared to recommend a work which treats so sacred a subject with levity and coarseness.” – Spurgeon
Parker, Jr., Samuel – Bibliotheca Biblica [a Biblical Library]; being a Commentary Gathered out of the Writings of Fathers & Ecclesiastical Historians, etc., vol. 1, pt. 1 (Gn. 1-24), pt 2 (Gn 25-50), 2 (Ex), 3 (Lv), 4 (Nm), 5 (Dt) (1720)
* “Darling says, that this is ‘a commentary of profound learning and research;’ but it seems to us to be mainly filled with that archaic learning which is now out of date.” – Spurgeon
Biblical Commentaries from the Canterbury School of Theodore & Hadrian eds. Bernhard Bischoff & Michael Lapidge Pre (Cambridge University Press, 1994)
‘First Commentary on the Pentateuch’, pp. 298-386
‘Supplementary Commentary on Genesis, Exodus & the Gospels’, pp. 386-96
Jewish Commentaries on the Pentateuch
Hertz, J.H – The Pentateuch & Haftorahs: Hebrew Text, English Translation & Commentary Buy 2nd ed. (1937; London: Socino Press, 1977)
This is a standard, conservative Jewish commentary found in many synagogues, by the influential English, Rabbi Hertz (1872–1946). Every Christian should love the books of Moses, and everything in them. This cheaply priced, but sturdy, commentary will greatly help you toward that end.
The alternate translation readings of the Hebrew are helpful. ‘Haftorahs’ are selected readings from the prophets and other O.T. writings used in the liturgy of the synagogue. The commentary brings out many textual insights in the Biblical narratives that will be profitable to all who treasure the Word of God.
Read the commentary on Dt. 18:18, about the coming prophet that will be greater than Moses, Num. 19 on the sacrifice of the Red Heifer and Num. 21 on the brazen serpent and see the greatest wisdom of the Rabbis admit ignorance on what these mysteries in the Torah mean, though every babe in Christ will readily discern of whom they speak. See the wooden, carnal exegesis of the ceremonial laws and the sterile, short-sighted, nationalist interpretation of the prophets, and your eyes will be opened and greatly confirmed in the faith of our Jewish Savior and the true spirituality of the Torah and the prophets.
A Historic Jewish Commentary
Etheridge, J.W. – The Targums of Onkelos & Jonathan Ben Uzziel on the Pentateuch, with the Fragments of the Jerusalem Targum, vol. 1 (Gn-Ex), vol. 2 (Lv-Dt) (1865)
A targum was an Aramaic translation of, and commentary on, the Hebrew scriptures.
* “Comparatively few of our readers will set much store by the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan Ben Uzziel; but those who desire to read it will find here a good literal version.” – Spurgeon
More Jewish Commentaries
Delgado, Isaac – A New English Translation of the Pentateuch… with a Comment... Buy (1789)
* “The author modestly says, that his work is ‘highly useful’. This is another instance of paternal partiality, and of ‘great cry and little wool’.” – Spurgeon
On the Pentateuch in General
Saurin, Jauques – Historical, Theological, Critical & Moral Dissertations upon the Most Memorable Events of the Old & New Testament, vol. 1: The Books of Moses trans. Chamberlayne (London, 1720) 312 pp. ToC This appears to be all that was ever published of the series.
Saurin (1677-1730) was a French preacher.
* “More eloquent than accurate. Florid rather than solid.” – Spurgeon
Hengstenberg, E.W. – Egypt & the Books of Moses; or the Books of Moses Illustrated by the Monuments of Egypt (Andover: Allen, Morrill, 1843) 315 pp. ToC
** “Dr. Hengstenberg, as Professor at Berlin, had access to the rich collection of Egyptian antiquities in the Museum, and he has made noble use of his advantages.” – Spurgeon
Christ in the Pentateuch
Law was an evangelical in the Church of England.
*** – ‘Deservedly popular. Simple, instructive, full of Christ. Law abounds in gospel.’
Morison, James – Introductory Key to the First Four Books of Moses, being an Attempt to show that the Great Design of the Things Recorded Therein was the Sufferings of Christ & the Following Glory (1810)
* “Plain, forcible, and instructive remarks, realizing the title–an Introductory Key.” – Spurgeon
Pierce, Samuel – Pentateuch: Discourses on the Several Revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ, from the Fall, to Moses, etc. (1815) with a preface by Robert Hawker.
Pierce was reformed.
* “Dr. Hawker says, that ‘these Discourses carry with them testimonies of being written under Divine teaching.’ Sweet, but not very expository.” – Spurgeon
* “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
Kingsley, Charles – The Gospel of the Pentateuch, a set of Parish Sermons (1878) 18 sermons
** “A small volume of Kingsley’s usual sort. Not over-freighted with what is usually known as the Gospel; but plain and practical, with common-sense remarks for common people.” – Spurgeon
Lockyer was a voluminous author and was associated with Moody Bible Institute.
“Contains an abundance of practical material and aims at expounding Luke 24:27 and its relationship to the Pentateuch. Complete with numerous helpful charts.” – Cyril J. Barber
The Authenticity & Integrity of the Pentateuch
Green, William H. – Pentateuch Analysis (NY: Funk & Wagnalls, 1888) 34 pp.
Green (1825–1900) was an imminent Princeton, Hebrew scholar.
Stuart, Alexander Moody – Israel’s Lawgiver: his Narrative True & his Laws Genuine (London: James Nisbet, 1882) 203 pp. ToC
“A clear, concise refutation of the Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis.” – Cyril J. Barber
Hengstenberg, E.W. – Dissertations on the Genuineness of the Pentateuch, vol. 1, 2 trans. J.E. Ryland (Edinburgh: James Nisbet, 1847) ToC 1, 2
** “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
Allis, O.T. – The Five Books of Moses: a Reexamination of the Modern Theory that the Pentateuch is a Late Compilation from Diverse & Conflicting Sources by Authors & Editors whose Identity is Completely Unknown Buy (P&R, 1943) 344 pp. ToC
Allis (1880-1973) was one of the renowned, conservative scholars of early Westminster Seminary.
Witsius, Herman – The Question ‘Was Moses the Author of the Pentateuch?’ Answered in the Affirmative ed. John Donaldson (Edinburgh: Maclaren & Macniven, 1877) 62 pp. ToC
Donaldson was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland.
Green, William H.
The Pentateuch Vindicated from the Aspersions of Bishop Colenso (NY: John Wiley, 1863) 210 pp. ToC
The Hebrew Feasts in their Relation to Recent Critical Hypotheses Concerning the Pentateuch (NY: Hurst & Co., 1885) 340 pp. ToC
Havernick, H.A. – An Historico-Critical Introduction to the Pentateuch (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1850) 470 pp. no ToC
* “Almost entirely occupied with a discussion upon the genuineness of the Pentateuch. A check to the rationalistic and infidel spirit. Those who have never taken the poison do not need the antidote.” – Spurgeon
MacDonald, Donald – Introduction to the Pentateuch: An Inquiry, Critical & Doctrinal, into the Genuineness, Authority & Design of the Mosaic Writings, vol. 1, 2 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1861) ToC 1, 2
** “A full review of the evidence, external and internal, for the genuineness, authenticity, and Divine character of the Pentateuch. Its special attention is devoted to the connection between the Pentateuch and the great scheme of revelation, of which it forms the basis.” – Guardian, as quoted by Spurgeon
Shepheard, H. – Traditions of Eden: or Proofs of the Historical Truth of the Pentateuch, from existing facts & from the Customs & Monuments of All Nations (London: James Nisbet, 1871) 430 pp. ToC
** “A very interesting and curious work. Good lectures might be gathered from it for week-night instruction. Not a Commentary.” – Spurgeon
Vos (1862-1949) was one of the last conservative theologians at Old Princeton, and is known as the father of reformed Biblical Theology.
See also works written in response to Bishop Colenso’s The Pentateuch & Joshua Critically Examined (1888), which book argued ‘the unhistorical character, the later origin, and the compound authorship of the five books usually attributed to Moses.’
Delitzsch, Franz – ‘Theses on the Truth of Pentateuchal History’ 7 Theses, 1 page
Delitzsch was a conservative German, Lutheran theologian and Hebraist, known for his contribution to the Keil-Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. His translation of the N.T. into Hebrew is still considered the standard translation. The Free Churchman, ‘Rabbi’ John Duncan, said that Delitzsch “stood firm in maintenance of the divine authority and inspiration of the whole Old Testament” at a time when many “seemed willing to surrender.”
Here Delitzsch lays out his view of the production of the Pentateuch, which is not entirely recommended, and should be considered with caution. He allows for a ‘successive development’ of the Pentateuch up through the centuries till it was compiled, edited and codified in the 8th century BC at the time of King Josiah’s ‘deuteronomic reformation’, it still retaining ‘the divine character of this law’.
Cyril J. Barber says of his commentary on Genesis that it, ‘holds to the Mosaic authorship of Genesis, but leaves room for final redaction in the post-exilic period. Advocates an early form of the documentary hypothesis, and holds to the ‘long day’ theory of creation.’
A Latin Commentary on the Pentateuch
Robertson, James – Clavis Pentateuchi ,[the key of the Pentateuch] or an Analysis of the Hebrew Words in the Pentateuch, with Notes (Edinburgh: R. Fleming, 1770) 825 pp.
* “Almost entirely in Latin, and therefore useful only to those who can readily read that language. The work was in good repute in its day.” – Spurgeon