This comprehensive study considers the historical, cultural, and literary significance of some of the most important Ancient Near East (ANE) texts that illuminate the Hebrew Bible. Christopher B. Hays provides primary texts from the Ancient Near East with a side-by-side comparison to literature of the Hebrew Bible to demonstrate how Israel's Scriptures not only draw from these ancient contexts but also shape them in a unique way.
Hays offers a brief introduction to the concept of comparative studies, then lays out examples from various literary genres that help to explain particular biblical texts. Texts about the birth of Sargon, the Code of Hammurabi, ANE treaties, divine histories, prophecies, ritual texts, oracles, prayers, hymns, laments, edicts, and instruction are compared to corresponding literature in the Torah, Prophets, and Writings of the Hebrew Bible. The book includes summaries to help instructors and students identify key points for comparison. By considering the literary and historical context of other literature of the same period, students will come away with a better understanding of the historical depth of the Hebrew Bible.