Robert B. Chisholm provides a helpful addition to the Kregel Exegetical Library in his Commentary on Judges and Ruth. He combines these books into a single volume commentary because the events in Ruth take place during the period of the Judges. In fact, Ruth is the transition between the Judges and the monarchy. This is demonstrated by the obvious record of David’s genealogy at the close of the book and the association with Bethlehem at the beginning of the book.
Chisholm deals with “problem passages” with candor and clarity. He portrays Gideon as a flawed leader, Barak as a reluctant warrior, and Samson as morally weak and tragic hero. He deals with the unadvised vow of Jepthah straightforwardly. Instead of attempting to put a pious spin on the situation, he sees a man vowing to give a human sacrifice that he somehow thinks will be pleasing to the Lord. When his promise encompasses his daughter, he offers her as a sacrifice, thinking that fulfilling this vow is more honorable than breaking the vow, repenting of his rashness and unbelief and sparing a human life. This commentary deals with these people as they likely lived.
Chisholm provides his own translation of the books and presents this translation separating and identifying structural elements. Although those with a working knowledge of Hebrew will derive the maximum benefit from this book, it has value nonetheless for the non-Hebrew student. This author clearly has the pastor /teacher in view. Each section includes paragraphs like “homiletical trajectories” and “theological principles.”
A Commentary on Judges and Ruth is a resource that should be a part of Bible student, teacher or pastor’s library. I look forward to further volumes in Kregel’s Exegetical Library.
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