This is part of a larger project reviewing commentaries on each book of the Bible. Follow the links from that post for more information on the series, including explanations of what I mean by some of the terms and abbreviations in this post. This is not an exhaustive list, just the commentaries that I think are most worth paying attention to.
Gordon Wenham's WBC (1987, 1994) receives the best all-around reviews of any commentary on Genesis and from a wide range of people. Wenham is a moderate to conservative evangelical. He spends some time on source-critical issues, generally taking a skeptical stance toward those who think they can delineate sources and identify different time periods for different parts of the book. Wenham is good at historical background, often defending the plausibility of the narratives, particularly in the patriarchal section. He spends more time than most academic commentaries dealing with matters of theology and even Christian application. Of the Genesis commentaries that are accessible enough for someone like me (i.e. someone not knowing any Hebrew) to read, Wenham's is the most detailed on textual criticism. One strength is his proportionally-greater treatment of the structure of individual passages, although some might think it's a bit much. I did think the commentary was a bit briefer than I expected once you get through the literary and source-critical issues. His structural analysis shows a tightly-woven narrative by a single mind, which undermines the credence he shows to the general source-critical approach (as skeptical as he is of particular proposals in source criticism). Wenham has an absolutely stellar NICOT on Leviticus and a pretty good exposition in TOTC on Numbers. He also has done a lot of more general work on the Pentateuch and is generally seen as one of the top Pentateuch scholars of our time.
Victor Hamilton's NICOT (1990, 1995) is about at the same level. He is a conservative evangelical, and the series is generally seen as being more conservative than WBC, which is probably the reason he gets a little less attention from the less-conservative end of scholarship. I think the commentaries are about equivalent in quality, with Wenham perhaps winning out a little more often in terms of incisive exegesis but Hamilton giving a little more depth on more issues, especially in his introduction. Hamilton is particularly better on linguistic issues such as grammar and close analysis of particular words, but I think he may sometimes overdo it chasing lexical rabbit trails, and he's perhaps less strong on big-picture thinking. He takes the time throughout his commentary to look at the New Testament use of Genesis. I would say that Hamilton and Wenham balance each other pretty well as a pair. Hamilton is also known for his Handbook on the Pentateuch.
Bruce Waltke had a set of exegetical notes he would distribute to his Genesis seminary classes, and one of his former students, Cathi J. Fredericks, talked him into letting her edit them for publication in this 2001 volume. He did expand on them in places, but these are mostly brief exegetical notes with theological summaries for each unit he discusses. I generally find his exegesis to be the best of any of the Genesis commentaries I've looked at, but there isn't a lot of detail here on historical background, language, and many other things you might expect to look to a commentary to help you understand. The book is uneven, having much more discussion on the parts he chose to expand on and much less of insight on the notes he chose to leave as they were. It makes it hard to tell the intended audience also, since it doesn't have enough depth on every matter for academic work, has a bit much on structural and rhetorical elements for the average paster, and isn't evenly balanced in amount of detail across the whole book to be a first choice for any purpose. Nevertheless, I recommend it with Hamilton and Wenham as an excellent supplement to their more detailed work. Waltke is a conservative evangelical, and he's also known for excellent commentaries on Proverbs (NICOT) and Micah (Eerdmans) as well as an oft-cited Hebrew grammar.
Kenneth Mathews' NAC (1996, 2005) nearly rivals Hamilton and Wenham for length, but it's more accessible than either and has much less detail on some scholarly matters. I haven't
spent much time in it, but I think it's at least nearing their level in
quality. This is a very underrated commentary, an excellent
standout in a pretty good but often-ignored series. He's probably more conservative than
either, certainly more than Wenham. Mathews is strong on ancient near eastern background, and he shows strengths in theological and literary analysis. He spends a lot of time on historicity issues.
John Sailhamer's EBC (now bound with Walter Kaiser on Exodus and Richard Hess on Leviticus, 2008) has been revised for the new series under Tremper Longman's editorial direction. I haven't seen the new edition, but I liked Sailhamer's original EBC. It seemed to me to be one of the best popular-level commentaries. I'm guessing it's significantly improved with the new edition, and it's pretty much hot off the presses as I write this, having come out earlier this year. Sailhamer is well-known for his The Pentateuch as Narrative, which reveals his fondness for literary analysis. He feels no compulsion to adopt mainstream conclusions (e.g. his is the only recent commentary in which I've found a positive treatment of the view that the sons of God in Genesis 6 are the faithful children of Shem, while the daughters of man are the unfaithful children of Cain).
John Walton's NIVAC (2001) is thought by many to be one of the better expositional/applicational Genesis commentaries. The strength of this series is tracing out how to bridge the gap between the original meaning and contemporary application, and those who do it well have produced some very good volumes, especially in the Old Testament. Walton is one of the editors of the series, and he has a better idea than some contributors of what the series was supposed to be like. Also, one of his scholarly strengths is ancient near eastern background, including literary genre. I've looked at it a little bit, and what I've seen has mostly been good. The original meaning section is pretty light, though, as is typical of this series. My biggest complaint has been Walton's endorsement of Walter Kaiser's view of Old Testament interpretation that there can be no truth expressed in a biblical passage unless the original human author intended it, which leads him to ignore many fruitful avenues of New Testament connections with Genesis.
Allen Ross has written an excellent guide to expositors who want to teach through the book of Genesis, called Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis (1988). The introduction deals with the source-critical issues, but you won't see those issues much in the main body of the book. He doesn't see it as a commentary so much as an aid to thinking through how to teach the book, but a lot of commentating gets done along the way, and what I've read of it is indeed very helpful, especially on theology. It won't be very useful for academic work. Walton and Sailhamer are more up-to-date, but Allen is up to something a little different from either of them. Ross has a similar book on the exposition of Leviticus and a commentary in the EBC on Proverbs, which is on the verge of publication in its revised form as I write this. See also the forthcoming commentaries below for the upcoming CBC by Ross.
Derek Kidner's TOTC (1967) is getting very out-of-date now, but Kidner is so good that I had to mention it. This is a pretty brief volume, even by the Tyndale series' standards, but Kidner is a master of working a lot of excellent reflection into a compressed space. In some ways he's both more imaginative and more careful than most of the more detailed commentaries you'll find in this list. It won't be much help on issues of language or text, and it will be no help on recent scholarly issues.
Walter Brueggemann's Interpretation (1982) is especially interesting in a number of ways. Brueggemann is know for challenging tradition, and this commentary is no exception. He's very passionate about a number of things, some of which will be more welcomed by those toward the leftward end of biblical interpretation. He will challenge your preconceptions about the text no matter where you stand, however, and while I often don't agree with his views about the nature of scripture or with some of his political conclusions, I think it's worth a look to find insights you might not see elsewhere, and some of the assumptions he challenges are well worth challenging but still uncomfortable for many to move away from (e.g. Western, upper-class, holier-than-thou approaches). Brueggemann tends to be better than most with literary observations. He always has an eye out for the practical import of the text in contemporary society. Though he accepts a fragmented approach to the origins of the text, he does not spend much time analyzing its development but simply looks at the text as we have it.
Terence Fretheim's NIB (1994) is pretty much in the same category as Brueggeman's commentary above. The two of them are probably the biggest heroes of popular-level commentary writing for what some call the religious left. Fretheim is an open theist, and I think that mars his work considerably. Others, of course, will find that welcome. He certainly does reflect on biblical theology, though, and that's something a lot of critical scholars don't do as much of. He might be somewhat less critical on other issues than much of mainstream biblical scholarship, however. This volume begins with some essays on the Bible as an introduction to the series. I would describe them as moderately-critical in perspective. It also includes Brueggeman on Exodus and conservative evangelical Walter Kaiser on Leviticus. The price for each volume in this series is quite high, but this is one volume where all the commentaries might be worth having.
John Hartley's NIBC (2000) has received favorable enough reviews for me to include it here, even though I've not seen the book myself. Hartley is something of a moderate evangelical. I generally like his Leviticus WBC and Job NICOT. This series tends to be very brief on exposition, with some scholarly endnotes that I expect are unreadable to a popular audience, so I've never been sure who the audience is supposed to be. It's got too little detail to be used for serious scholarship, but the scholarly footnotes give far more detail than is necessary for an exposition. He defends idiosyncratic views about the structure of Genesis and of individual passages. He gives arguments for the authenticity of the patriarchal narratives and for a Mosaic role in the book. The volumes in this series are very inexpensive, so it's a nice, cheap additional resource if you just want one other perspective to balance out some other volumes.
David Atkinson's BST on chapers 1-11 (subtitled "The Dawn of Creation", 1990) is a very brief
exposition of those chapters. I haven't seen it, but I know it's
well-liked by those who tend to appreciate this kind of series, which is somewhat devotional in tone but usually backed up by careful scholarly study. As might be imagined, a volume in this series will spend more time on hot-button issues than you'd expect to find in a more traditional commentary. Thus Atkinson weighs in on evolution (he accepts theistic evolution), gender relations (he is a full egalitarian), and homosexuality (here he takes a more traditional view). He also discusses issues such as environmentalism, the mysterious origin of evil, and the seeming unfairness of extending grace only to some. The emphasis is on the overall story, however, and he spends as much time on the crucial first three chapters as he does on the rest of his assigned section (which actually goes to 12:3, despite its being advertised as going just through ch.11).
Baldwin did the second volume on chapters 12-50 (subtitled "From Abraham to Joseph", 1986). I really like most of
Baldwin's work, especially at the expositional level. She wrote this before Atkinson wrote the first volume, so it's not exactly designed as a followup to Atkinson's commentary. One of Baldwin's interests is in connecting the stories of the patriarchs with archeological finds and defending the text against skeptical claims against its accuracy. Unlike Atkinson's much smaller portion of the book, Baldwin has to cover a huge amount of material and thus is much thinner. Much of that space is summary of what happens, with some use of background information to aid understanding and some reflection on principles of application, but this is somewhat brief for a series that almost specializes in that in most of its volumes.
Nahum Sarna's JPS Torah commentary (1989) is a very good representation of Jewish scholarship on Genesis. Those doing scholarly work ought to consult it. There are a number of commentaries I haven't listed, however, that that's true of. The main reason I'm listing it is because I think it's one of the most readable scholarly commentaries, even with the pages moving backwards and the Hebrew text being printed (with translation). It's a close analysis of the text, sometimes word-by-word, focusing on the final form of the text without denying multiple sources. I don't think most people teaching through the book will need it, but those who like to have a lot of input from diverse sources might want to go to this commentary if they want a purely scholarly work from a very different perspective from the ones above. Sarna pays closer attention to the history of interpretation, particularly Jewish interpretation, than most commentators. He isn't as sparse on theology as some older critical commentators, but I wouldn't say it's a strength of this commentary either. He is also helpful on ancient near eastern historical background and archeology.
Richard Clifford's one volume Hermeneia will set a new standard. This series allows for large volumes, so it still might be more detailed than some of the two-volume commentaries, e.g. Wenham's WBC. Erhard Blum's HCOT, if it matches up to the standards of most of the series so far, will most likely be an important work for scholars to refer to but more difficult for someone with less scholarly background to handle. Ronald Hendel is doing the new Anchor Yale Bible replacement for Genesis, and last I'd heard the first volume, covering chs.1-11, was
supposed to be out in 2008. Hendel already has published work on the textual issues of those chapters. David L. Petersen is doing the OTL replacement, and his work is also well-received among scholars. If I had to guess, it will probably be more accessible than the other scholarly commentaries in this paragraph, just because this series usually is. All of these will represent generally-mainstream biblical scholarship and its critical assumptions.
Intermediate commentaries include Bill Arnold (NCBC) and David Baker (Apollos). I really like Arnold's work on Samuel. Baker has published commentaries on a number of the minor prophets in the NIVAC and TOTC series. Both are conservative evangelicals.
The three most notable beginning-level commentaries are probably Allen Ross's CBC, which will be bound with John Oswalt's Exodus, Walter Brueggeman's Old Testament for Everyone volume, and Theodore Hiebert's AOTC. The first two already have commentaries on Genesis. Ross will be the most conservative of the three.
I'm not sure whether to place Duane Garrett's KECOT at the intermediate or beginning level. Garrett is very good at this sort of commentary. Even though his scholarly commentary on the Song of Songs hasn't been as well received, his low-to-mid-level commentaries on Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Hosea, and Joel have done well in reviews, and my limited use of them fits with that. He's done work on Genesis before in Rethinking Genesis, a critical analysis of contemporary views of the authorship of Genesis and a defense of a more traditional approach. I expect this to be pretty good, although it does have some strong competition in lighter Genesis commentaries.