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1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart (Focus on the Bible Commentaries)
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1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart

(Focus on the Bible Commentaries)

4.63  ·  Rating details ·  261 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Davis brings cultural and historical colour to the task of interpretation and adds a pastor's heart for personal application. You will find a point of contact with the lives of Samuel, Saul, Jonathan and David as Davis answers the question 'What does God seek when he looks on the heart?' Davis presents simple exposition of the literary and theological character of the text ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 20th 2010 by Christian Focus Publications (first published June 1994)
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Kevin Halloran
Aug 19, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020
DRD is one of my favorite commentators. He’s a master at interpreting the OT historical books and teaching through them in a compelling way. I hope to read all of his commentaries. Rarely do you ever call a commentator a delightful writer; but here it applies.
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dale Ralph Davis has this unique gift of making Old Testament commentaries so much fun to read. Simply excellent !!
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: old-testament
I rarely read a biblical commentary from cover to cover, but Dale Ralph Davis's work is just too readable AND his scholarship is both stellar and (refreshingly) not paraded out to impress his readers. While I only have a few super-minor interpretive quibbles with him, I could almost recommend his work as a devotional supplement to personal Bible study. He's that good, that accessible, and that helpful. ...more
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I haven’t read many commentaries, but this by far the best one I’ve read. It was actually fun to read! Which is not something I ever thought I’d say about a commentary. Davis is a super engaging writer, and he doesn’t waste time, he just gets right to the point of the passage. He does so without sacrificing any of the scholarship, either. It was very helpful for me in my personal study of 1 Samuel, and I’m going to go to him for all of my OT studies, when I can.
Will Dole
May 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was the best commentary I read in 1 Samuel. There were others that were good, some that gave me a little more help on background/language (this is, after all, homiletical), but Davis was my must-read commentary every week. My soul was ministered to and challenged as Davis guided me through the narrative of this OT book. I can guarantee you this, anytime from here on out that I preach a book on which Davis has written a commentary, I’ll be picking it up.
Marcie Morris
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent commentary on the story of Samuel, Saul and David. Davis brings in very interesting stories that make the storylines make more sense and he has a witty way about exegesis that many commentators don’t have. He is definitely one of my favorites. Can’t wait to get his 2 Samuel commentary to finish out the whole book.
This commentary was amazing in its insights, wisdom and application. However, there were several questions I had about the text that were not mentioned. I know that it is written more for the lay person, and so cannot cover everything, but it does seem like some major questions that I had (and other women I was studying 1 Samuel with had) were either glossed over or not addressed at all.
Anton Berg
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is not the longest or most thorough commentary on 1 Samuel, so don't expect in depth commentary on every detail. But it is an excellent short commentary, giving good insight into the text, finding the connection to Jesus and providing valuable application of the text. Overall, highly recommended commentary. ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Davis includes stories and structure to help the reader understand the major messages of the text. This book reminds me a little of N. T. Wright's "Bible for Everyone" series. I enjoyed it, but didn't find it as thorough in addressing questions or controversies as John Woodhouse. ...more
Christian Hamaker
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. It's been a long time since I've read through a commentary, but Davis makes it a delight. Insightful and winsome, even when I'm not sure I agree with him, the author has reignited my interest in the form. On to his 2 Samuel commentary! ...more
Hudson Christmas
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent commentary. The author examines the narrative of this wonderful book and explores the themes and ideas within it. Easy to read and very well written, a worth while commentary for anyone’s study of this book.
Bryan Edenfield
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: commentary
Don’t let the size of this commentary fool you. Succinct, yet packed with biblical truth. Davis has a way of presenting theological material in a delightfully digestible manner. Some of the smallest morsels of insight lend itself to contemplative feasting for the soul. Filled with helpful and sometimes humorous illustrations and perspectives, the pastoral benefits are limitless.
Michael Beck
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biblical-studies
Davis is always helpful (and funny!) when consulted. I especially appreciate how faithfully he preaches the text as is, instead of twisting it out of context or inserting themes when they are not present. Davis' footnotes are also helpful to the reader that can make use of Hebrew. ...more
Josh Withrow
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A clear and engaging commentary.
Apr 17, 2014 rated it liked it
This is the first commentary that I have read by Dale Ralph Davis, but it won’t be the last. In fact, this is the first commentary that I have ever read completely through. Most commentaries are beneficial as a resource on this passage or that Greek word, or some textual tradition. Davis covers those topics, of course not Greek but Hebrew, and the bulk of the commentary is like sitting down with your pastor over a cup coffee chatting about the majesty of our Lord.

Dale Ralph Davis is a wonderful
Craig Childs
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Is it a stretch to call a Bible commentary “fast paced” and “exciting”? 1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart reads like a Sunday afternoon chat with a cheeky pastor who likes to enliven musty Old Testament texts by asking off-the-wall questions and finding little hidden ironies in the stories of Saul and David.

Isn’t it funny that David spent most of his life fighting the Philistines, but on at least two occasions they saved him from certain death at the hands of King Saul?

What must it have been like
Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
D. Ralph Davis' commentaries (Judges, Joshua, I Sam., II Sam., I Kgs) -- ALL are consisently amazing. In fact, if I had just one commentary on each of thsoe books I'd take Davis.

Davis is a former OT seminary prof, with a PhD., but has also been a pastor (Presbyterian PCA) for many years. These are all non-technical, unfootnoted, homiletical treatments. They are theologically rich, always Christocentric (or at least Christo-telic), well-illustrated, and relentlessly practical. Davis can turn a c
Matthew Crowe
Mar 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Davis does a great job once again of bringing scholarly exegesis to the person in the pew. Davis is aware of the academic literature on 1 Samuel, frequently citing it in footnotes. However, he stays diligently focused on the purpose of the narrative's final form. He has one foot planted in the academy and the other firmly planted in the church, so to speak.

His discussion questions were too abstract in this book, at least compared to his books on Joshua and Judges, which is why I give it three s
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Davis' commentaries have always been my favorite. He uses a lot of illustrations, easy language, and his footnotes are even interesting. (Probably why it took me so long to finish this--I couldn't skip the footnotes.) I Samuel is a narrative, and the stories of Samuel are made so rich to me when I can learn contextual details I wouldn't necessarily see while reading through the book in the Bible. ...more
Khai Ken
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is exactly what I am looking for in a commentary. Since I am not a preacher or a teacher, this book is setup up in such a way that is massively helpful and accessible to ordinary christians who want to grasp a better understanding of God's Words. I think this book really nailed it well in that dimension. Definitely looking forward to read the 2 Samuel and other commentaries by this author. Thank you for your good work! ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biblical-studies
A wonderful companion for my daily reading of 1st Samuel. Steady guide through the twisting and turning stories of Samuel, Saul and David. Full of helpful illustrations and practical application to my daily walk. Best of all, a relentless witness to the continued purpose, provision and grace of Yahweh for his people, both past and present.
Daniel Alvers
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My overall thought on this work is it's, "Fantastically candid and clever." I think this practical pastoral commentary is great alongside other notable works. I found much marrow in this work. You can't beat the brevity and jokes. Thankful for the questions at the end of each chapter. DRD is always good. From my other reading of his work, you can't beat him. ...more
Jul 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pastors Ministers Clergy Bible Students
Dale Ralph Davis' works on the Old Testament are all excellent for the student or Pastor. He's done to my knowledge Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel and 1& 2 Kings. All great, all worth owning and reading. ...more
Bob O'bannon
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Not a technical commentary, but one filled with poignant observations, practical exhortations, Christ-centered interpretation, and even a healthy dose of humor. Would work well for sermon prep or just for private devotions.
Matthew Mitchell
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Simply excellent. Never have I read commentaries so FUN yet carefully researched as this series. The author is quotable, humorous, scholarly, and insightful at every turn. If I could only have 1 commentary on 1 Samuel, this is the one I'd pick, hands down. Highly recommended. ...more
Bendick Ong
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
Bored with bookish commentary? Think we cant read a commentary like a storybook – this book will prove you wrong. Palatable – almost informal yet insightful chapter by chapter exposition of the 1 Samuel narrative.
Scott Head
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: commentaries
One of the most useful commentaries on 1 Samuel out of the many choices from a reformed perspective. Not as Academic as some, more accessible than most, carries a lot of insights and application as well.
Emma Schramm
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is the type of commentary that I love. It is clear by his writing that Dale Ralph Davis not only knows and understands the text information, but that God has written it on his heart. I highly recommend this book for the study of Samuel!
Mark Wilson
Dec 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: commentaries, 1samuel
Excellent and insightful, in line with Dale Ralph Davis's other Old Testament expositional commentaries ...more
K.M. Weiland
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent as always. Davis is one of the most thorough and insightful commentators I've come across. ...more
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Dale Ralph Davis is Minister in Residence, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina. Prior to that he was pastor of Woodland Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi.

Other books in the series

Focus on the Bible Commentaries (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Joshua: No Falling Words
  • Judges: Such a Great Salvation
  • I Kings: The Wisdom and the Folly
  • 2 Samuel: Out of Every Adversity
  • 2 Kings: The Power and the Fury
  • Ephesians (Focus On The Bible Commentaries)
  • Philippians (Focus On The Bible Commentaries)
  • Daniel: A Tale of Two Cities (Focus on the Bible)
  • Romans (Saint Andrews Expositional Commentary)
  • Deuteronomy: The Commands of a Covenant God

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