Hubbard’s Joshua Commentary Due for Release

Post a Comment » Written on June 4th, 2009     
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CHICAGO, IL (June 4, 2009) – Robert Hubbard, professor of Old Testament at North Park Theological Seminary, says he would have titled his new commentary, “Surprised by Joshua.”

Instead it is simply entitled Joshua. The book is the latest installment in publisher Zondervan’s NIV Application Commentary Series.

“I was really surprised by how much the book emphasizes Joshua as a continuation of Moses,” Hubbard says. For example, Joshua copies the book of the law onto stone tablets and reads it to the people after they enter Canaan.

CoverWhile the book emphasizes the continuity, it also demonstrates that Joshua adapted Moses’ commands to a new situation. “Joshua exemplifies the obligation to contextualize. He is being innovative. He’s not just slavishly following Moses.”

Hubbard cautions, however, “We have to be careful because we can deceive ourselves. Our motives can be mixed.”

Joshua most likely would not make the Top Ten list for favorite books of the Bible. “It’s often overlooked because it has too much blood and guts,” Hubbard says. “It makes people uncomfortable. It raises too many ethical questions about war.”

Hubbard says he hopes the commentary will navigate through the battle scenes to see the larger ideas of the book. For example, Hubbard notes that Rahab is among the group of people that God commands must be destroyed when the people enter the land. But spies sent into the land make a deal to spare her life, if she helps them.

“The principle of annihilation is superseded by God’s desire to draw close to people who are open to him,” Hubbard says.

The growth of Joshua as an individual and descriptions of the land also are important aspects of the book for people to understand.

Hubbard said he had started working on the commentary, but stopped because he was frustrated by the way the series forces the authors to divide the comments on each passage into three sections: Original Meaning, Bridging Contexts, and Contemporary Significance.

Due largely to the limitations, he stopped working on the book and Zondervan enlisted another scholar to write the volume. After that author backed away, the publisher again turned to Hubbard to write the commentary.

“I really felt a sense of call, which surprised myself,” Hubbard says.

This time he also was able to work within the format. “I did find that the format, while it was always challenging, did not frustrate me. I found my own voice,” he says.

The book will be published later this month, but is available for pre-order through the online Covenant Bookstore.

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