Book Review: A Commentary on Judges and Ruth
Author: Robert B. Chisholm Jr.
Publisher: Kregel Academic ISBN: 9780825425561
I have quickly become a fan of “all things Kregel,” at least where it comes to theological resources. I have reviewed, and now use, quite a few books from the Kregel Academic publishing house. I can honestly report that I have not had a single resource that has disappointed me; each and every book has been a very useful and enlightening tool for my Bible studies. This commentary from the Kregel Exegetical Library Series on the Old Testament book of Judges and Ruth is no exception to my report.
This commentary, written by Robert B. Chisholm, follows a bit of a different format than many of the commentaries I most often go to for my Scripture studies. First, Chisholm uses his own translation of the Hebrew texts (he is eminently qualified for the task as department chair and professor of Old Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary as well as translator and senior Old Testament editor of the NET Bible). Second, Chisholm does not spend a lot of time wrestling with issues of textual criticism. While this might be important at some level of study, I have found it to be mind numbing and tedious when I am more concerned with working with meaning, interpretation, and application of the text. This is where this commentary shines, in my opinion.
There are thorough introductions to both books (Judges, and Ruth), providing expected detail information such as literary structure, chronology, outline, and socio-political landscape in addition to other items helpful in developing a high-level perspective. Included in the introductions, and not familiar to me in other commentaries, is the inclusion of a short section titled “Modern Proclamation of…” where Chisholm makes the effort to connect these ancient manuscripts to contemporary culture. Additionally, he includes preaching ideas for these texts toward the end of the introduction sections and each outline section of the book titled, “Homiletical Vantage Points.” I found these pieces thought-provoking and insightful.
As is expected with most commentaries, this is well-documented with resource references and thoroughly annotated. Concerning resources, a treasure trove bibliography is also included for each book at the end of their respective section. By treasure trove, I mean, the selection for Judges alone is thirty pages of reference titles!
While this is a very academic work, I did not find it “over my head.” I should mention that I am not a language scholar, nor do I hold a seminary degree. I found the commentary very accessible, fairly easy to read and understand (if you’ve had experience working in commentaries), and very practical. I was able to glean and apply information at first glance. This, in my opinion, is a ranking criterion for any “good” resource work and especially a Bible commentary.
As I mentioned at the outset of this review, I am rapidly becoming a huge fan of the works published by Kregel Academic and this Exegetical Library is very exciting to me. There are several other volumes planned in this series with a couple already available. If Kregel is able to maintain continuity of quality as found in this volume for Judges and Ruth, it is likely to become one of my favorite commentary series. This is an excellent choice for studies for these two Old Testament books.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publishing 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.”