Israel and the Nations: The History of Israel from the Exodus to the Fall of the Second Temple

By F. F. Bruce
Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity (1998). xii + 258 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Michael Grisanti
10.2 (Fall 1999) : 282-283

Both of these volumes have been reissued with slight (Yamauchi) to moderate (Bruce) revisions. Bruce’s volume appeared first in 1963 and then reprinted with the addition of thirty-six illustrations and three maps in 1969 (originally published by Eerdmans). In the present volume, David Payne makes several moderate but helpful revisions. In order to enhance the book’s marketability in international circles, Payne occasionally seeks to use simpler and less formal English. The use of headings greatly adds to the readability of the text. He updates a number of ANE personal names, adds some footnotes referencing relevant works published since 1969, and updates the bibliography. In fact, the “For Further Reading” section is entirely redone (although it has only 21 works cited as opposed to 31 included in the 1969 edition). In contrast to the tendency of contemporary OT scholars to deny the historicity of biblical events, Payne adds footnotes that give greater attention to evidence of historicity and leaves the door open for an early date of the Exodus (something Bruce did not do). The one change this reviewer laments is the deletion of the illustrations and maps.

Economic considerations apparently caused the reissue of Yamauchi’s volume. Since hardback editions of this size often cost over forty dollars, a paperback edition (still pricey at $29.99) makes a great work on the interrelationship between Persian history and the Bible more affordable. The only content change made in this new release of Yamauchi’s outstanding work (a review of the initial edition appeared in TMSJ [1991] 2:218-19) is the addition of a helpful list of maps and illustrations (579-80).

For both these books, if one already owns an older edition, the revisions in these later editions probably do not warrant purchasing the newer edition. How ever, both volumes deserve a place on the shelf of any OT scholar’s/pastor’s library.