Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review of "A Commentary of Judges and Ruth" by Robert Chisholm Jr.

Kregel Academic has done us a great service by releasing A Commentary on Judges and Ruth, by Robert Chisholm Jr., professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. Much like Zondervan's new exegetical commentary set, Kregel aims to present academically rigorous commentaries that are beneficial for pastors, who posses knowledge of Hebrew. For the pastor coming out of seminary who is hoping not to lose his knowledge of the languages, this is truly remarkable.

 There is space given on themes and application (helpful for any pastor laboring through how to apply tough passages to his congregation). Each section is also outlined and major exegetical issues involving Hbrew words is also given. The Hebrew is untransliterated (but honestly, how many people use the transliteration?) so knowledge of the language is a must to truly appreciate this series.

So the question is this: how does Chisholm Jr.'s contribution on Judges and Ruth hold up? Having spent some time in this fairly large volume, I can report that it is an excellent addition to the current list of Evangelical commentaries. It stands along side Block's work as my new go to commentaries. It is thorough (almost exhaustingly so) and heavily footnoted. It leaves no stone unturned and provides good insight into all of the controversial texts I looked up. For instance, in Ruth 3 (where an abundance of sexualized metaphors are used to discuss the encounter between Ruth and Boaz) Chisholm rightly notes that the language is used to highlight exactly what did NOT happen-there was no immorality involved.

My one issue with this series in general is the layout; it is just not a fun series to read. The font just screams, "fall asleep."  I also want to point out that the style of Chisholm Jr. is not the most engaging to read. It is fairly dull. Make no mistake: this is a reference work, not an evening read.

Those minor quibbles aside, I heartily recommend this work. It will, I trust, be truly valuable for those seeking to teach and preach through this complex and brilliant literary works.

Thanks to Kregal Academic who provided this book to me for free in exchange for a fair review.