Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A solid commentary on Chronicles

I’ve heaped up praises on the Kregel Exegetical Library commentary series. The volumes on the Exodus, Judges & Ruth, and the Psalms are phenomenal. The latest volume on 1 & 2 Chronicles is a solid example of evangelical scholarship, but falls short of the high expectations I’ve developed after reading these earlier entries in the series.
The author is a Bible-believing scholar who accepts his subject, the books of Chronicles, as God’s word. That’s something I value in commentators. Eugene H. Merrill recently retired from Dallas Theological Seminary, a solidly evangelical institution, and he has written many books and commentaries on Old Testament books.
Like other volumes in the series, Merrill provides a thorough analysis of the Biblical text. Each passage is first given in English (NIV translation) along with a few notes on textual variants. Authors of other volumes provided their own translations, so I was a little disappointed that Merrill didn’t do that. He then dedicates the vast majority of his words to commenting on the text itself. Even at over 600 pages, I was sometimes disappointed that Merrill didn’t say more about certain passages. He says practically nothing about the involvement of Satan in David’s sinful census (1 Chronicles 20:1). Passages are grouped together into sections, which are capped off with a theological summary and application. These summaries bring out the contemporary relevance of the passages and help readers connect what they are reading to their life in Christ. Scattered throughout the commentary are 13 charts/tables and 12 excurses on such topics as the Angel of the LORD, Holy War, and the identity of the scroll in Josiah’s reformation.
The table of contents at the beginning of the book is divided into three sections, one on the passages, one for the charts, and one for the excurses. This makes finding what you’re looking for much easier than if they were all together. Unfortunately there are no indexes at the back of the book, so pastors and teachers who make use of multiple resources to prepare sermons or lessons may be frustrated by that.
The lack of a translation by the author, the lack of indexes, and the occasional lack of discussion of significant matters (like Satan in 1 Chronicles 20:1), means I’m giving this one 4 out of 5 stars. Not every volume can be a home run.

I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of providing this review.

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