The is the first volume of three, covering Psalms 1-41. Ross is an outstanding expositor, and the purpose of this commentary is to focus on exposition which is the aim of exegesis. As such it is written for students, teachers, and Pastor. The work is reader friendly, concise, understandable, yet technical in a way that that is not burdensome. His scholarship is outstanding, but not heavy. He writes in concert with the text, although he does not void or omit modernization where necessary, nor textual criticism.
He opens this volume with a substantial introduction (180 pages). His first major point in the introduction is on Ancient versions of the text consisting of the Masoretic Text, Septuagint, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and as much as possible he uses the Masoretic Text. Other parts of the introduction that are especially helpful are:
The introduction on Interpreting Biblical Poetry is an excellent explanation of poetry and how to understand it. He explains the figures of speech and the important aspects of poetry in the Psalms. The student will be edified by this chapter.
An introduction of the Literary Forms and Functions in the Psalmsmainly lament, praise, songs, royal, and wisdom.
He has a chapter on worship, and another on theology. His words on worship should be taken to heart.
He explains his methodology in the last chapter of the introduction on Exposition of the Psalms.
The depth of his commentary is rich, balanced, and valuable. Each chapter has Text and its variants; The translation is his own, composition and context; and commentary in the exposition form. He does a very good job of exegesis, grammar, and syntax of the text. He clearly explains terms, phrases, and idioms found in the Psalms. He outlines the text in accord with the exegesis of the text, which is logical and useful. He ends each chapter with comments on its message and application.
One cannot go wrong with this commentary and all three volumes should be in your study. It is insightful, helpful, and challenging. It will motivate and cause one to think as he works his way through the Psalms. It is well worth having and one cannot help but benefit from this work. It is one of the best resources you can have on Psalms.
I received this book from Kregel Academic in return for a review but was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.
Another commentary on the Psalms? Yes, and better than most you already have on your shelves. Mr. Ross has spent a lifetime studying the Psalms and the fruit of it is handed right to us here. The style is pastor-friendly, yet the scholarship is rich. The difference seems to be that he doesn't feel the need to impress other scholars as he ever aims at those who handle God's Word. I loved that he had no problem consulting literature of yesteryear thereby avoiding the ridiculous idea that only the latest commentary has anything to say to us.
The first 179 pages give a powerful introduction to the Psalms. Written to be understood, he communicates what other commentaries couldn't touch in double the pages. When he writes on the value of the Psalms, we find out all we need to know about Mr. Ross. He loves, appreciates, and is in awe of the Psalms. He realizes the special place the Psalms have always help among God's people. I especially liked his discussion on the titles of the Psalms. He gives good help on the different types of Psalms. These discussions are crucial to understanding the text. He well discusses how to interpret Biblical poetry, without which we are shooting in the dark. His "Psalms in Worship" are eyeopening and a good reminder on how the Lord used the Psalms in Israel. Then, he writes again about the various types of Psalms pulling out their theology.
What's the last part of the introduction? He tells us how to develop an exposition of the Psalms. Whether you would do an exposition exactly as he would say or not, don't you appreciate that emphasis?
Pages 181-887 cover Psalms 1-41. The depth is good. You may have some volumes on the Psalms that look thick on your shelves, but they cover all 150 Psalms and can be surprisingly thin and really not cover some verses at all. He gives background on each individual Psalm, an exegetical analysis, commentary in expository form, followed by message and application. That design is superior.
If this is what the Kregel Exegetical Library Series is going to be like, give us more. I hope Mr. Ross will give us the rest of the volumes to cover the Psalms in a timely manner. This is a winner, especially for the pastor!
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 Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 .
This is a superb commentary. The length allows for thorough exposition of the Psalms and its application and homiletical helps make this commentary stand out. Often a commentary will be aimed at the scholar whereas another focuses on application, but this one bridges the gap nicely. It is quite possibly the most thorough commentary on the Psalms that I can recall. If you love God, have the money, and have no good reason not to buy this commentary, then you will not regret it, for it will allow you to draw closer to your Lord.
Very few commentaries can function as a single comprehensive resource for the Biblical passage at hand. The wise expositor makes use of theological introductions, critical comments on the Greek or Hebrew, a good exegetical commentary and then a few devotional commentaries - of course he also makes his own personal study of the passage.
What Allen P. Ross does for us in his new book, "A Commentary on the Psalms: volume 1" (Kregel, 2012), is distill the insights of decades of research and study on the book of Psalms into a single tool that can truly be a one-stop-shop for the busy pastor.
Ross provides 180 pages of introduction to the book of Psalms, focusing on structure and theology. He then gives us more than 700 pages of commentary on just the first 41 psalms. Each psalm is covered separately, the text is provided with an eye for meaningful textual variants (which are discussed at some length). The psalm's composition and context is then briefly sketched and an exegetical analysis is provided. Then comes a detailed commentary focusing on exposition, and all this is wrapped up with a brief recounting of the message and application of the psalm.
Ross aims to help modern preachers and teachers to truly exposit all of the psalms in their entirety (not just a line here and there). He blends contemporary insights with gems of yesterday as he analyzes the Psalms and provides a very useful tool for the modern preacher. Ross with help from the team at Kregel, has crafted his tool to be most user-friendly. The font is large, there are helpful charts and diagrams, and clear section headings which break up the massive book. He uses footnotes throughout for more technical discussions, but chooses not to provide Hebrew transliterations as a rule, preferring just English translations and the Hebrew words themselves.
When we have his entire three volume commentary (at least from reading the introductory material it appears this will be three volumes), we will truly have a single and comprehensive resource for what may be the most important book in all of Scripture. His approach is to stick to the text but not to shy away from reading the text in light of the context of the NT revelation as well (at a later stage in the interpretation). Even if in some respects one differs with Ross, he will still find Ross's book immensely helpful.
Ross shows how vital the Psalms were both for Hebrew worship and that of the early church. Even in the Reformer's era, intimate knowledge of the psalter was a prerequisite for anyone aiming to take up a pastorate. How far we have fallen from an age where psalms made up the bulk of corporate worship. May Ross's work help revive a study and interest in the Psalms today.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Kregel Publications. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
Ross's introductory section (180 pages!) covers some of the typical issues (date, authorship, provenance, etc.) encountered in most commentaries, but he doesn't devote whole sections to them. He instead intersperses discussion of these issues throughout the commentary itself as he finds them relevant. His attention then is paid to matters that are more particular to the psalter: abbreviations, the psalms' value, the text and versions of the psalms, and titles and headings. Reading through these chapters shows the reader the psalms' truly variegated nature. Following these chapters, Ross attends to other matters that are more broadly applicable, but important for understanding the psalms. These chapters cover the history of interpretation (which shows quite a diversity of approaches), biblical poetry (a notoriously untamable beast!), literary forms and functions in the psalms, theology of the psalms, and an exposition of the psalms. I won't deal with these sections except to say they are helpful in equipping the reader with the appropriate tools necessary to begin the interpretive process in the psalter.
Though I've not read many commentaries on the psalter (and what I have read has been on particular psalms, never a whole volume), I've worked with them enough to know what I expect from the commentary in general and whether or not it will be helpful to the overall interpretive process. I can say that after my examination of Ross's commentary I am assured that many will find great help in this volume (and presumably the coming volumes 2 and 3), even those whose training in Hebrew far exceed my own.
Perhaps the most commendable aspect of this commentary is its accessibility, a goal that many commentators either eschew or miss altogether. To benefit from Ross' commentary one need not have advanced knowledge of Hebrew to work through the exegetical discussions. However, some facility in Hebrew will be beneficial, perhaps even necessary, to fully benefit from Ross's work. Ross, whom I know primarily through his introductory Hebrew grammar, offers plenty in the way of grammatical analysis and categorization of usage. While for me this is helpful, it may not be to some, only because some of the categories require minor explanations (which are standard fare in Hebrew grammars). In fact, it's the one element that stands out about this volume in comparison to other commentaries on the same level, which is why I say some facility in Hebrew will help gain the fullest benefit from the commentary (just keep Ross's grammar handy and you're good to go!).
Another feature that I appreciate is the absence of transliterations. I am no fan of them so I was glad to see that Ross does not employ it, but rather puts terms/phrases being discussed in quotes as a translation and provides the Hebrew in parentheses. I also appreciate the relegation of more technical discussion to the footnotes (and by implication the absence of endnotes!), which of course is the whole purpose of footnotes, thereby providing opportunities for deeper study for those interested. I must admit that at times I was a little frustrated that the information I was after was in the footnotes and didn't receive quite the attention I would have liked, but again this is in a way a commendation for Ross for keeping more technical points and discussions out of the main text.
One other interesting aspect of the commentary is its layoutÃ¢â¬âeach psalm is arranged structurally according to the Hebrew text, yet Ross takes another step and arranges the discussion homiletically. For those teaching or preaching through the psalms, this could be a great help.
I did encounter a few minor annoyances while reading through the commentary. For one, there is the occasional use of rather esoteric vocabulary. Because of the nature of Hebrew poetry, some technical jargon is to be expected and thankfully Ross keeps it to a minimum; yet, the presence of words such as epizeuxis and tapeinosis aren't really necessary in a commentary written on this level, even with brief definitions provided. Second, there were a few instances in which I was hoping for a more helpful discussion in the footnotes (as I mentioned above). For example, in the discussion of Psalm 22, Ross claims that Jesus' enemies knew Psalm 22 as a messianic psalm and thus quoted from it in order to mock and deride Jesus as he suffered (536). While I find it very likely that by the time of Christ's death this psalm was being read through a messianic lens, Ross only points to one example from Jewish literature that substantiates this idea. I only wish there were more discussion of this. Again, this is comparatively minor complaint, especially given the detail some Hebrew words/concepts are given, but I hoped for a little more here. Third and finally, I had hoped for a little more background to explain the figurative language that permeates many of the psalms. I am certainly not saying such was entirely absentÃ¢â¬âhardly! The literal reality that stands behind figurative speech can really bring the text to life and such is the case when Ross fills us in, but it's not quite enough to satisfy me. Again, this is more a personal preference and not necessarily a critique of Ross.
You might think that a commentary that addresses 41 psalms in just over 700 pages (for the commentary proper) would be verbose, but not so. Part of this is due to the length of some of the psalms themselves and part is due to Ross's extensive footnoting (as previously mentioned), but in general he provides rather concise discussion for each psalm. Ross's style is easily read and never comes across as pedantic and that makes this particular volume quite handy. Again, this series is not going to be as helpful to some (those whose own scholarly pursuits intersect with the material presented), but there is more than enough insight and exposition to benefit the vast majority of those for whom it was written. I would recommend this volume to any who are studying the psalms, but especially for those whose training in Hebrew and OT is/has been minimal.