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Judges, Ruth: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (The New American Commentary) Hardcover – September 20, 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
His work in the NICOT on Ezekial is heralded by many (Tremper Longman among them) as simply the best OT commentary in print. The constraints in this series might be a bit more restrictive, but Block has managed to produce what is probably the best commentary on Judges available. (Lawson Younger's work in the NIVAC series is good too but the goal of that series is even more modest.)
Block's introductory material is almost worth the price of the book. And the commentary portion, while working verse by verse, includes an awareness of the literary, poetic and narrative concerns. He also shows an awareness of the text-critical issues when appropriate without getting bogged down, he always displays a high view of inspiration, and his footnotes are a wealth of information for the student wishing to go deeper and interact with scholarly sources.
The primary drawback to the commentary is that often after writing a page or two about one particular verse Block often fails to draw some fairly obivious conclusions on what the narrator is actually communicating. For example, he spends nearly 2 pages on the place and person names of 4:2 and suggests various possibilities concerning the issue of how Jabin could oppress the Israelites from Hazor (which had recently been decimated by Joshua), and yet he does not draw any conclusions about the narrator's characterization of Israel's request for the Lord's help being due to political oppression (that is, rather than repentance.)
Block's commentary gives the reader both balanced and well-informed comments on the text's meaning as well as philological notes on the Hebrew (kept conveniently in the footnotes). It delves deeply for the more scholarly concerns, yet can be accessed by an informed layperson. Block's familiarity and usage of secondary sources, which are also listed in the footnotes, are invaluable for further study. While some quite commendable commentaries on Judges have recently appeared since Block's work, none have come close to eclipsing his fine contribution.
Throughout his commentary, Block reviews and expounds upon the continual decline of Israel after they entered the Promised Land, during the time of the shofetim (traditionally translated "judges," but Block uses the more technically correct term "tribal leaders"). Block traces two main themes of of Judges throughout his commentary. The first is the gradual Canaanization of Israel. In every episode, Israel and her shofetim take on more and more of the characteristics and culture of the surrounding peoples (the Canaanites), which of course is in direct disobedience of God's original command to them to completely and utterly destroy the native peoples. By the end of the book, the only people Israel attempts to destroy in this manner is the tribe of Benjamin--their own brothers and sisters! Block shows that this is the dramatic effect of acquiescence and indeed full acceptance of a sinful culture. The second main theme Block traces throughout the book is God's grace. Israel and her leaders follow and disobey the laws of God in whatever manner is most convenient for them at the moment. Although they cry out to God on multiple occasions, it is always a cry for help and never a cry of repentance. Every judge, save two (Othniel and Deborah), are shown to be poor leaders. And yet God continually saves them from destruction!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thorough and accessible. Great when paired with a more pastoral commentary.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I am still going through the commentary. I am sure the commentary content is good, however, the Kindle format has many imperfections that make the usage of the commentary less than... Read morePublished 3 months ago by jhkc
You can find my full review here: spoiledmilks dot wordpress dot com/2015/03/25/review-judges-ruth/
After a 52 page introduction looking at the background, the... Read more
Excellent, easy to read commentary with countless footnotes. Block' own incite and literary style combine well with the slough of references used. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Grant H. Sitler
While there are many fine Bible study series available, in my opinion the NAC series seems to be the best overall series for interested laypeople in Biblical studies. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Jetsleeper
*Note: At this point, I have only read the section on Judges. At some point, I may read the portion on Ruth and update this review, but for now, my study of Ruth needs to be put on... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Anonymous
I have had the opportunity to utilize a number of different commentary sets while in Bible College and Seminary. Read morePublished on December 31, 2013 by Michael C. Boling