4 Stars Out Of 5
Sees God as micromanaging history
May 8, 2013
I am disappointed in this book. Someone else may think it's great. I won't mark it down due to my disappointment; but people should know what they are getting.
In the Introduction the writer makes a strong point that the book of Kings should not be treated as strict history in the modern sense. It should be treated, rather, as theological literature.
Sounds good to me; however, as I began to read through the commentary it became apparent the commentator is most interested in examining the book of Kings as great literature. He spends a great deal of space ponting out little inuendos in the text that tie sections together, anticipate other sections and recall other stories in subtle ways. He is fascinated, and it shows, in how the authors wrote and less interested in why they wrote or just what their theological message was.
He does eventually get around to the theological message. Nelson sees the theology of the writers of Kings as Calvinists. "The God of the Book of Kings seems willing to go to any extreme to bring about the divine will, even to the point of undercutting divine promises, destroying the temple, dismissing the beloved Davidic dynasty, and nearly liquidating the chosen people." I don't at all see that slant in the Book of Kings.
"The political structures of this world are not running wild, outside of God's control. They too are part of God's rulership for the good of humanity (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14)." That statement, the Book of Kings and the cited verses are not convincing me of the commentator's claim.
I will keep this book because I am teaching out of the Book of Kings. Sometimes people say things in class that totally catch me by surprise. The positions taken in this commentary are quite surprising so it may help me to anticipate some of the surprising things people may say.
The Book of Kings sees Yahweh as a major actor in the unfolding of events; but not as the micromanager. Most of the events in Kings result from human choices, not God's management.
By the way, I cannot tell if the pages are sewn or just glued (in the hardback edition). It's better made than the paperbacks but I cannot tell how much better made until I use a bit more.