Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book: A Commentary on the Psalms, Volume 2

Some time back, I reviewed Allen P. Ross’ A Commentary on the Psalms Volume 1. You can find that review here. I am excited that Kregel Academic has furnished a copy of Volume 2 for me to review.

Where would I begin in reviewing Dr. Allen Ross’ work A Commentary on the Psalms Volume 2? This 800+ page hardcover commentary covers Psalms 42-89 and is the companion volume of his excellent first volume in the series. It looks like this: (Click the picture for more info from the publisher)

I will begin, then, with the major fault I could find with this work. It is an excusable fault, and is based in this being the second volume in an intended series. A Commentary on the Psalms Volume 2 starts straight into the Psalms with Psalm 42-43, and provides no introductory material on the Psalms as a whole. It is perfectly reasonable, as the goal here is to build a set, but for the tight-budgeted among us, it is a bit of a hindrance. If you need the comments on Psalm 70 but can only buy one volume at a time, you will be without the overall background.

Beyond this issue, one that is clearly a reasonable decision by Ross and Kregel in publication, I cannot truly fault any aspect of A Commentary on the Psalms Volume 2. Ross again presents his readers with a translation of each Psalm, heavily referenced with footnotes about his word choices in debatable moments. Of great excitement is that the text is peppered with footnotes, which is as God intended reference books to be. Not those pesky endnotes that break up the flow with loads of page-flipping.

Ross’ translations for A Commentary on the Psalms Volume 2 agree with my amateur Hebrew skills, and where he renders differently than major translations remains perfectly logical. He also notes the major textual variations, and continues the habit from volume 1 of treating the titles of the Psalms correctly as part of each Psalm.

From an organizational point-of-view, A Commentary on the Psalms Volume 2 examines Book 2 and Book 3 of the Psalms. Ross presents each Psalm separately, except for Psalms 42 and 43, noting that the evidence for why these may have been one Psalm originally. He first presents the translation of each Psalm, then a summary in outline form.

From there, A Commentary on the Psalms Volume 2 examines details about the setting and nature of each Psalm. Ross then concludes with a look at potential practical application of the Psalm. This includes a look at any Messianic implications found in the Psalm.

As a pastor who has weak Hebrew skills (getting better, hopefully) and a diverse schedule, I find A Commentary on the Psalms Volume 2 extraordinarily helpful in working through Psalms to prepare lessons and sermons. It is perhaps a shade too nerdy to label this as devotional, but it is academically powerful while being practical in concert. If you have a limited budget for books but plan on teaching the Psalms, save up and get A Commentary on the Psalms Volume 2. And if it’s just a matter of shelf space, clear off about five inches for volumes 1 and 2, and make room for volume 3 when it comes.

I heartily recommend this entry from the Kregel Exegetical Library. As always, watch the pricing online. The “new” price from Amazon is reasonable, but there’s a “used” seller with this at $999 right now. That’s just silly and you know it.

I did receive a copy of this book in exchange for the review.

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