Identifying three streams of concern in the books of Samuel (politics, people, and preaching), Mary Evans demonstrates how each of these manifests itself in the underlying and unifying theme of power-and powerlessness. She then uses this concept of power as a fascinating matrix for interpreting the events God ordains and the characters God uses in biblical history.
Evans defends her case for the unity of the books that we divide into 1 and 2 Samuel with a sensitivity to the composition of the text and the intentionality of the various "writers" who had a hand in bringing the different accounts together. The discussion interacts with the parallel material in Chronicles and Kings and recognizes the importance of the themes of covenant and law, especially from the Deuteronomic perspective.
The commentary, with its additional notes, also includes a good breadth of references to scholarly debate and discussion on various issues. Evans brings the often theologically difficult text of Samuel and the complex characters of Samuel, Saul, David, and others into sharp focus for the contemporary reader while offering fresh insights and perspectives on the ancient text.
The Understanding the Bible Commentary Series helps any reader navigate the strange and sometimes intimidating literary terrain of the Bible. These accessible volumes break down the barriers between the ancient and modern worlds so that the power and meaning of the biblical texts become transparent to contemporary readers. The contributors tackle the task of interpretation using the full range of critical methodologies and practices, yet they do so as people of faith who hold the text in the highest regard. Pastors, teachers, and lay people alike will cherish the easily understandable truth found in this commentary series.
Mary J. Evans is lecturer in Old Testament and director of the Christian Life and Ministry course at the London Bible College. Her publications include Women in the Bible and Prophets of the Lord, and she is an editor of the Study Bible for Women: The New Testament.