A Commentary on Judges and Ruth
homiletically helpful and exegetically robust
This is a technical/semi-technical commentary that provides both a detailed exegetical analysis of the Hebrew text and a variety of homiletical helps for applying the message of the text for todayÃ¢ÂÂs hearers.
Structure and Features:
Robert ChisholmÃ¢ÂÂs Commentary on Jugdes and Ruth is organized in such a way as to provide the most help for the busy preacher or teacher who will use this volume to help in preparing to teach through these books for the benefit of the church.
Each Bible book gets a detailed and incredibly helpful introduction. Questions of authorship, date and genre are covered, as are practical concerns like what to make of the dates in Judges, and how best to understand the structure of the content in each book. Chisholm displays a concern for the literary and canonical context of these books, spending some time discussing where Ruth should fall in the order of the canonical order, and how each book fits into the larger themes of this section of the Bible. Included in the introduction are a survey of available commentaries for each book, and a helpful discussion of homilitecial strategies and a sample sermon series for each book.
After the introduction, each Bible book is divided into sections. Each section of the text is then methodically studied: first the translation (ChisholmÃ¢ÂÂs own, a slightly revised version of that he supplied for the NET Bible) is provided in segments, line by line Ã¢ÂÂ and arranged in such a way as to highlight the narrative structure. Clauses are categorized as Ã¢ÂÂsequentialÃ¢ÂÂ or Ã¢ÂÂconsequential,Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂresumptiveÃ¢ÂÂ or Ã¢ÂÂsupplemental,Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂfocusingÃ¢ÂÂ or Ã¢ÂÂdramatic,Ã¢ÂÂ and etc. Back in the introduction, Chisholm gives an explanation of the narrative structure of each book and which Hebrew grammatical clues (wayyiqtol and weqatal clauses, negated and asyndetic perfects, and more) lead him to these syntactical conclusions. Important translational and syntactical notes appear in the footnotes in this section (and the footnotes are nice and easy to read, as is the font throughout the volume).
After offering the text and structure, the commentary provides an outline and then discussion on the literary structure. Next is a detailed exposition section, followed by an application section which fleshes out the thematic emphases, theological principles, and offers homiletical trajetories and preaching ideas. Finally an extensive list of references follows to round out the volume.
This is an accessible and immensely helpful volume. It is written with a pastoral heart. I appreciated its Christological emphasis, and willingness to examine the typological connections between Judges and Ruth and the other books of the Bible (as in OthnielÃ¢ÂÂs identity as the archetypal judge against whom David must measure up, and the echoes of SamsonÃ¢ÂÂs shortcomings in SaulÃ¢ÂÂs inglorious career as outlined in the books of Samuel). The discussion on the dates in Judges was incredibly helpful, as was the section on the role of female characters in Judges, and how they pave the way for HannahÃ¢ÂÂs account which opens up 1 Samuel.
Chisholm has a mastery when it comes to Hebrew grammar, and I appreciate how he interacts with the text and helps us see the narrative flow intended by the biblical author. His eye for literary connections and the interplay of various genres, make this volume more useful and full-orbed. His interaction with the full breadth of scholarship related to these books, inform and guide the reader in their study of the text.
This commentary is a must-have on every pastorÃ¢ÂÂs shelf. The combination of practical and homiletically helpful, with technical and exegetically robust is unmatched. No matter your level of familiarity with Hebrew, interacting with this volume will be worth your time. If you skip the footnotes and just interact with the text you will still be rewarded for your effort. I highly recommend you consider picking up this volume and exploring other titles in the Kregel Exegetical Library.
This book was provided by Kregel Academic. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
June 19, 2014
A Great Commentary!
Do you need a really quality commentary on Judges and Ruth? Look no farther than this latest in the Kregel Exegetical Commentary series, this time by Robert Chisholm. Mr. Chisholm has 30 years teaching this portion of Scripture under his belt and it shows. Though a major commentary, this volume is effectively aimed at pastors and teachers. Instead of the rubbish approach of Ã¢ÂÂspeculative fancy that litters the history of biblical higher criticismÃ¢ÂÂ, he takes the superior and helpful Ã¢ÂÂliterary-theologicalÃ¢ÂÂ approach. That means he takes the text as he finds it! As a pastor, I am glad to have this book.
His Introduction for Judges is extensive and covers all the issues we might wonder about as well as the issues that scholars wrestle with. Chronological questions are the trickiest, but whether you finally come down where Mr. Chisholm did or not, you will for sure have the information to decide for yourself. The section entitled Ã¢ÂÂWhat Is The Point Of Judges?Ã¢ÂÂ is exceptionally good. In addition, the section on female characters, of which Judges has many, is fascinating as a backdrop for the abject failure of men in those dark days. Preachers will love his suggestions on how to approach preaching the book as well.
The commentary itself is good. Just look at, for example, his explanation of JeththahÃ¢ÂÂs vow or of the Levite and his concubine shows he will tackle hard passages with verve. He thoroughly gives the different viewpoints, yet never fails to argue passionately for his point of view. I so prefer that approach whether I agree with the commentatorÃ¢ÂÂs conclusion or not.
He is equally as good on Ruth. I was unconvinced on his arguments against Daniel Block on the wrongness of NaomiÃ¢ÂÂs sons marrying Moabites, but feel I know the issues involved like never before. There is no skepticism here.
In this second release in this series, Kregel is batting one thousand. If they can keep this level of quality, I say keep them coming!
I received this book free from the publisher. 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 CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255 .
May 9, 2014
An excellent resource on Judges and Ruth
Kregel Publishers has released a new series of commentaries entitled the Kregel Exegetical Library. One of those volumes is a commentary on Judges and Ruth by longtime Dallas Theological Seminary professor Dr. Robert Chisolm, Jr. In my seminary studies I used Chisholm's book, A Workbook for Intermediate Hebrew, which was a very useful tool for Hebrew studies. Chisholm uses a method he terms a, Ã¢ÂÂliterary-theologicalÃ¢ÂÂ method (p. 14). He employs a three-step process to analyze the biblical text: (1) he studies the text to discover the exegetical main idea of each major literary unit; (2) he moves outside of the literary unit to discover the theological main idea being expressed; and (3) he seeks to discover the homiletical main idea which would be preached to the contemporary listener (p. 14). The author acknowledges that his present work does not interact with the most recent scholarly discussion of Judges and Ruth because his research was complete in 2010, and submitted to the publisher (p. 15).
The commentary itself is laid out very well. Chisholm begins each book with a lengthy introduction. The Judge's introduction is 88 pages long! In his introduction he discusses authorship, dating of the books and events, structure of the books, and a list of useful commentaries and resources. The author also gives in-depth background on the main characters of each book, which is helpful in understanding the text. Before the author concludes the introduction shares the findings of his three-step interpretive process. Chisholm shares the exegetical idea, theological idea, and homiletical idea for each literary unit in the book of Judges and Ruth. He refers to this as: Ã¢ÂÂ(1) thematic analysis; (2) theological analysis; and (3) contemporary applicationÃ¢ÂÂ (p. 86). I appreciate Chisholm's thorough exegetical and theological work that results in contemporary application. Such an approach keeps the sermon grounded in biblical text.
When moving to the biblical commentary of each book one finds Chisholm's own slightly revised translation from the N.E.T. Bible (p. 109 footnote)from. The biblical commentary is broken into Ã¢ÂÂchaptersÃ¢ÂÂ which are the literary units or sermon messages in Judges and Ruth. The author takes the books section by section and exposits the text. He does not delve into text critical issues but rather assumes that the text should be read in a straightforward manner. This means when one reads this commentary he'll find a commentator who approaches the text with care and respect. Chisholm has provided thorough footnotes with extensive information and related resources.
This commentary is a well-done example of conservative evangelical scholarship. Chisholm has provided a useful resource for pastors and teachers alike. It will be a resource I use repeatedly. I received this book from Kregel Publishers in exchange for an honest review (CBD, Amazon).
April 29, 2014