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The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament) 2nd Edition
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"An excellent commentary that provides all the aids to understanding the biblical text for which the reader might wish. . . The author's treatment of the problems -- literary, historical, and theological -- is well informed, fair, and judicious. He demonstrates wide knowledge and fine scholarly judgment."
-- Christianity Today
"Among the excellent major commentaries . . . evangelicals will look first to Leslie C. Allen's Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah."
"Allen should be commended highly for his neat and concise organization of the complex information on these four books of the Minor Prophets."
-- Restoration Quarterly
"Allen's work is very good, and his commentary should be read by all serious students of these prophets."
From the Back Cover
In the Old Testament we read God's word as it was spoken to his people Israel. Today, thousands of years later, we hear in these thirty-nine books his inspired and authoritative message for us. These twin convictions, shared by all of the contributors to The New International Commentary On The Old Testament, define the goal of this ambitious series of commentaries. Each NICOT volume aims to help us hear God's word as clearly as possible.
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I widely recomend this book
Prior to diving into commentary for a book Allen devotes time to discuss issues of date written, authorship, historical background, and theology all of which are elements that the most typical and quick commentary addresses. Allen goes beyond these indices and addresses elements of structure and analysis, use of text and language, historical criticisms, textual criticisms (throughout, in detailed notes), literary genres that the work(s) fall into, and borrowed or conscripted literary language from both within and outside of Hebrew cultic traditions. Allen also gives brief review of major opinions and dissents of important areas, such as authorship and date, before presenting his underscored but humbly reasoned stance. And for those who care (I'm one of them) Allen would fall into the camp of a conservative biblical scholar. For a casual commentary reader (like someone who would routinely read a Holman commentary which focuses not on a detailed scriptural analysis but more of a Cliff Notes approach to commentary) this approaching rigorous study of Old Testament is going to be too much to work and sift through (though Allen does something that I greatly appreciate and I haven't seen consistently with all commentaries which is he produces the scripture within the text and doesn't require the student to essentially read along with his own Bible).
As much as I ended up valuing and being challenged by the commentary on Jonah (a highly capable and sharp parable akin to Jesus' parable of the prodigal son, but that Allen believes the tale is not nor was ever intended to be an accurate historical descriptive) I think that I've come away with the most respect for the book of Micah. Allen throughout gives unity to the sudden breaks in tone and even language within the book, a book that for certain Christian readers is a goldmine of soon to be realizes eschatology. Allen refers often to the eschatology within the book but he is ever careful to present it first and foremost to those who were the original recipients, the intended audience, of the book and not so much the future Christian supplicant awaiting his Messiah's return. As such Allen keeps the book balanced between both a backward and forward view of Jewish history and hope, which will spring forward into fruitfulness for the Jewish remnant and wherein Yahweh will be magnified in the eyes of the hostile surrounding cultures.
The book of Joel, as short as it is, is given a significant treatment and like Micah Allen is careful in his approach of the eschatological materials focusing first and foremost what it would have likely meant to the ears and outworkings for the originally intended audience. He focuses sharply on the possible historical, contextual, and eschatological meanings of "the day of Yahweh" for both the sons and daughters of Abraham as well as to those outside the bounty of promise, such as the Edomites (consider his commentary of Obadiah).
In summary I valued and was propelled on through a commentary that took its time to give substance to smaller issues within the overview of the written material and was thoroughly researched and reflected in liner notes. I would think that this is more than a detailed analysis than what a pastoral commentary would be trying to equip for its reader but not so far past the lay person's ability that they would throw their hands in the air and say "forget it, I don't get this stuff!" Recommended for the individual who wants to take time and seek depth in his commentary.