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The Book Of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15. (New International Commentary on the Old Testament) Hardcover – October 14, 2004
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"Waltke does a monumental job . . . in resurrecting the Book of Proverbs and wisdom generally to its rightful place in the exegetical and theological heritage of the church."
"Perhaps the most significant exegetical work on the Book of Proverbs in the last one hundred years. . . A testimony to [Bruce Waltke's] interpretive insight and skill, and to his vast experience as an educator and preacher."
Criswell Theological Review
"If the serious students of Proverbs had to choose only one resource on the book of Proverbs, he would be wise to choose this magnificent commentary by Bruce K. Waltke."
"Where is wisdom to be found? The book of Proverbs is an obvious answer, yet readers often find it a jumble of disconnected sayings, with little theological value. Having thought long and deeply about Proverbs, Bruce Waltke offers a wonderful guide through the book, elucidating many problems and showing how skillfully the work was composed. He explains each verse with care and authority, dealing with details of the Hebrew but giving pride of place to exegesis and exposition. . . Here is a realistic, wise, and godly commentary, better than Keil and Delitzsch for the twenty-first century."
Richard J. Clifford, S.J.
"Here is Bruce Waltke's long-awaited full-scale commentary on Proverbs, a biblical book that has generated an unusual amount of interest in recent years. . . Waltke's learned and wide-ranging commentary reminds us why his judgments are valued and taken seriously by lay readers and scholars alike: his work displays a mastery of Biblical Hebrew, a deep knowledge of ancient Near Eastern literature, a serious interchange with others, and an admirable devotion to Proverbs as the word of God to the church."
Walter C. Kaiser Jr.
"Bruce Waltke's Book of Proverbs is destined to become the outstanding commentary on this book of the Bible. . . For all who are bored with the apparent 'stuffiness' of religion and theology, the analysis of life and living as taught here will restore a good dose of realism all over again."
Tremper Longman III
"Meticulous, insightful, illuminating, erudite, devotional, rich, thoughtful, and wise. All of these words describe this important commentary. . . Everyone who seriously studies Proverbs needs to read this work."
Raymond C. Van Leeuwen
"Waltke brings to bear a lifetime of learning and expertise as a world authority on Hebrew grammar. His theological approach is conservative evangelical and intended to serve the Christian pulpit and laity."
"The best overall commentary on Proverbs available at this time. Its two volumes greatly enrich our understanding of an important biblical book."
Catholic Biblical Quarterly
"Will provide much material for the ongoing discussion and debate about Proverbs. . . . A rich resource for study."
"Waltke's desire that the commentary would serve both the church and the academy is clear. It is written in a manner commensurate with the author's own skill and piety. It is at once pious and penetrating, devotional and demanding, sacred and scholarly."
Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly
"This commentary is highly recommended as a resource for the study of the Hebrew text. It is an excellent tool for helping pastors get into this difficult and often neglected book of the Bible."
Westminster Theological Journal
"A monumental achievement that will serve as a learned and faithful guide for any serious student of Proverbs."
"An excellent resource for studying the book of Proverbs. . . . This commentary should be on the shelf of pastors and anyone else planning to study Proverbs. . . . It contains a wealth of valuable information."
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
"A tremendous contribution to the NICOT series. . . . Waltke's work is indeed a wise investment for all who are seeking godly wisdom. Any student of Proverbs (whether serious layperson, pastor, or scholar) will want to consult this masterful work."
From the Back Cover
Over twenty-five years in the making, this much-anticipated commentary promises to be the standard study of Proverbs for years to come. Written by eminent Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke, this two-volume commentary is unquestionably the most comprehensive work on Proverbs available.
Grounded in the new literary criticism that has so strengthened biblical interpretation of late, Waltkebs commentary on Proverbs demonstrates the profound, ongoing relevance of this Old Testament book for Christian faith and life. A thorough introduction addresses such issues as text and versions, structure, authorship, and theology. The detailed commentary itself explains and elucidates Proverbs as btheological literature.b Waltkebs highly readable style -- evident even in his original translation of the Hebrew text -- makes his scholarly work accessible to teachers, pastors, Bible students, and general readers alike.
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A Word About the Introduction
If you are like me and prefer to jump into the heart of the book the temptation is to skip over the author's note or preface shoot past the introduction and get started with the meat of the text. To skip over the introduction of this book would land you 132 pages into this 2 volume commentary. NICOT commentaries are known for their extensive introductions and this commentary is no exception. Waltke begins in his author's preface exhorting us to read this misunderstood and largely neglected book. He discusses the misconception we have today with Proverbs and the difficulty for the commentator to explain this ancient text. He also explains his aim for the book he is writing and who he is writing to (scholar, pastor, and bible lover)
In the beginning of the introduction the author discusses the original text and gives an exhaustive (but worthy) explanation of the structure of Proverbs. There is included a section on Ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature relevant to understanding proverbs and a discussion on the Authorship. He concluded the introduction with the different types of Proverbs and the theology behind this bible book. In the introduction we learn about the different characters throughout the proverbs such as the sluggard or lady wisdom. My favorite is the discussion on the structure where the author shows how this seemingly random collection of proverbs is indeed ordered and not without purpose in the layout of this book. There is much to say about the introduction in this review because of the immense size and helpfulness for better understanding proverbs. Waltke does a great job throughout the commentary section with page references back to the sections of the introduction so that as one encounters something needing further discussion already mentioned in the introduction you can quickly look back and see what is mentioned. This is great for the one referencing back to what they previously read or to the one simply jumping ahead to the commentary and needing further information. My advice is to not skip the introduction but the author makes possible for those who choose not to to still have all the information they need.
Waltke is a superb commentator and one quickly sees that his explanation of the text is both brilliant and clear. The structure of each section (discussed in the introduction) is briefly shown and then each verse is exposited individually adding comments at times of application and finishing each section recapping the message being expressed in the culmination of the unified verses. The author shows how the better understanding of the ancient culture of the original reader and the influence of ancient wisdom literature has on the understanding of the text. Though far removed from the day of this people Waltke shows how God's word is relevant to all generations and vital to our walking with Christ in our own culture today. This commentary is divided into two separate volumes and the 1st volume being reviewed here includes the introduction mentioned above and commentary on chapters 1-15. The remaining chapters are covered in volume 2
Whether a scholar, pastor or lover of the word if you are wanting to better understand the book of Proverbs I can't recommend more highly this wonderful work by Bruce Waltke and the New International Commentary on the Old Testament.
I bought this book and the 2nd volume on Amazon.com
Waltke displays a brilliant command of OT narrative structures throughout this commentary. The average person picking up a Bible and reading Proverbs can easily conclude that Proverbs is little more than an extensive list of random sayings devoid of any real order or structure. Not so. Waltke repeatedly demonstrates how the chiastic structures that are found all over the place in Proverbs provide great order and reveal deep insights into what the writer was doing. Waltke's command of wisdom literature as a literary genre is also impressive, and adds "wisdom" to his commentary.
One can certainly read Proverbs and gain many insights without reading Waltke's commentary. But Waltke does a fantastic job in showing the structure of Proverbs and how its contents integrate with the rest of the Bible, particularly the OT. Waltke labored over this commentary for years, and the painstaking scholarship that went along with this is obvious from cover to cover. While a working knowledge of Hebrew would be a big help in digesting this commentary, even those with no training in the Hebrew language can still profit from the many insights Waltke provides. Pastors in particular should get this commentary, even pastors who aren't Hebrew scholars. Proverbs is a profound but too often misunderstood book. Waltke provides reliable and insightful guidance to the pastor who wants to responsibly preach out of Proverbs with the desire to edify his flock. Highly recommended.
Since this is a 2 volume treatment, there is sometimes more information than a reader might want. For a briefer treatment, but one that is also very helpful, I recommend Dave Bland's commentary on Proverbs published by College Press (Bland's text also includes Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs).