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David and Goliath, the call of Samuel, the witch of Endor, David and Bathsheba—these stories and people are familiar, even to some with no Biblical background. But the books of 1 and 2 Samuel are among the most difficult books in the Bible. The Hebrew text presents serious issues to translators and scholars alike. The social and religious customs depart in some ways from Moses’ tradition and don’t all make sense in a context of Judaism. But in the New International Commentary: 1 Samuel, David Toshio Tsumura provides a great deal of illumination on 1 Samuel’s cultural context, paying close attention to Philistine and Canaanite practices, as he clarifies the complicated Hebrew text.