Book Review: Warfare in the Old Testament

Book Review: Warfare in the Old Testament

Author: Boyd Seevers

Publisher: Kregel Academic ISBN: 9780825436550

Warfare in the Old Testament: The Organization, Weapons, and Tactics of Ancient Near Eastern Armies

This has been a fascinating read for me and not entirely because of the content, but as much for the thoughts, the material stirred in me as I read. This is not what I have experienced as the typical or average Old Testament background commentary. The category of warfare is very specific and occupies a narrow bandwidth in the Bible; it is not something that I ordinarily dwell upon and study at length. Some of the details were very specific and at times somewhat disturbing. The range of emotions stirred many questions in me that I feel in the end will be helpful in my future studies and “big picture” understanding.

Technical details about the book are best described with Seevers’ own words from his introduction. He writes the following:

This book will describe the military practices of the following kingdoms from the time of the Old Testament: Israel (Chaps. 1-2), Egypt (Chaps. 3-4), Philistia (Chap. 5), Assyria (Chaps. 6-7), Babylon (Chap. 8), and Persia (Chap. 9). The treatment of each nation will start with some historical fiction describing a soldier’s participation in one of the nation’s major historical battles. It will continue by describing the historical backdrop for the nation during that time, and then its military organization, weaponry, and tactics. Line drawings and reliefs will illustrate the written descriptions of the military in these ancient nations—nations whose soldiers, like my modern Israeli boss, probably couldn’t imagine life without the army. (p.22)

Other notable features of the book include a very well documented references section at the end of the book with suggested reading for further study, subject and Scripture index, and figures and map index. This is the first book of this kind that I have dug into, so my experience is limited, but it seems Seevers has done a great job of researching his subject. Not only are the points and detail documented well, but the fictional narrative accounts are very compelling and engaging, which indicates to me that Seevers has attained a degree of mastery of his subject matter.

In my opinion, this is a definite specialty study resource. I’m not sure how often it will be called upon in my style of ministry, but one thing is for sure; this level of detail for this particular aspect of the Old Testament world has helped me engage the narrative accounts in deeper measure…and this is always helpful to me.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Academic to read and post a review on my site. 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 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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