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Focus on the Bible - 1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart (Focus on the Bible Commentaries) Paperback – July 20, 2010
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This is the best expository commentary I have read in many years. It is comprehensive, up to date and easily read. (Eric Alexander ~ Conference speaker and formerly minister St George's Tron, Glasgow for 20 years)
This is a superbly easy-to-read book. But the thing I liked best was the incisive application. It is not possible to read this book and feel unchallenged. (The Messenger)
Enthusiasm for these commentaries is absolutely right. No preacher should be without them. No thoughtful Christian can fail to be excited and edified by them. (Evangelicals Now)
The most practical expository work that this reviewer has ever encountered. (Southwestern Journal of Theology)
An excellent, crisp, lively exposition. (Bibliotheca Sacra Journal)
... readable and theologically reliable. This commentary is of value both as a book to be read and enjoyed and as a study book for preachers. It is excellent. (Evangelical Times)
One of the reasons I enjoy Davis's exposition so much is that I feel confident that he has done his exegetical homework, and so is not just delivering blessed, unhistorical thoughts on the text. Yet at the same time, he applies the text so well. (Simon Gathercole ~ Director of Studies, Theology and Religious Studies, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University, Cambridge)
About the Author
Dale Ralph Davis is Minister in Residence, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina. Prior to that he was pastor of Woodland Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi.
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The work is not a conventional scholarly commentary. Essentially, the book is a collection of sermons that has been adapted into commentary form. Davis peppers the sermons with occasional anecdotes. He obviously likes WWII history, since a quite a few of his illustrations seem to be pulled from that field. There's also the occasional joke thrown in. He includes some thought / discussion questions at the end of each chapter for devotional contemplation.
Davis' exegesis is sound, but not immensely detailed. (Space doesn't really permit that!) He has obviously read enough of the scholarly literature to comment in an informed manner. He occasionally interacts with the Hebrew, but the words are all transliterated and it should be easy for anyone without knowledge of the language to understand. He also occasionally addresses text-critical issues when they are relevant, but he doesn't allow them to overshadow the main focus of the narrative. He is not dogmatically committed to the MT (like Tsumura), but he doesn't play fast and loose with emendations either (like McCarter).
For me, this commentary was filled with numerous "Aha!" moments, and instances of wondering how I did not see something that was so plainly at the forefront of the biblical text. Davis is super readable and super quotable, and turns phrases like I see few biblical commentators do. He has a knack for getting to the real point of the text, rather than creating contrived applications that don't really fit what the author says. He is far more interested in how the stories fit into the overall Biblical narrative than in simply compiling a list of good deeds and bad deeds that each respective character did. He rightly leaves readers with the impression that the book is really not about Saul or David, but rather about God. He also frequently makes Christological / Christotelic applications, which I found (for the most part) compelling.
If you are looking to study Samuel, this book needs to be near the top of your list. (The fact that Longman doesn't even mention this book in his survey is baffling). I heartily recommend this book, and plan to purchase more of Davis' books in the future. As a first time reader with no prior knowledge of the author, I can objectively say that it has certainly lived up to the praise that has been given to it, and it has been a refreshing reminder to me of the kinds of exposition that first got me interested in the field of biblical studies.
“The Theology of Grace” The Unmerited Favor, Unfailing Love, Free Gift and Enabling Power of Father God in the name of our Lord, Savior and King Jesus Christ via the Holy Ghost.-
Here is a statement that I find very important to remember
“…..grace must always be the decisive and dominating factor in the Christian’s practical theology. He must confess that this success, this employment, this loved one, this health, this meal is “what Yahweh has given.” “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7). Every Christian then has no choice –you must be a good theologian who both speaks and lives a theology of grace. You will find it humbling, but it is the only thing that will keep you from worshipping yourself.” (pg.318-19) –Dr. Dale Ralph Davis
God's work is often quiet (1 Sam. 2).
God for his people acts with judgement and mercy (1 Sam.4).
Yahweh's interesting and imaginative ways of deliverance calls forth praise from us (1 Sam. 19).
Yahweh's protection is completely unknown to us often (1 Sam. 25).
If you are someone who is scared of commentaries this one by Davis will not scare you. You will be able to tell by the first chapter that he does an excellent job explaining the text, illustrating the text, and applying the text for everyday life. Davis most importantly does draw out of the text the glories of Christ in a way that makes you so grateful for our great Savior.
I agree with Eric Alexander, who said this on the front cover, "The best expository commentary I have read in years."
Finished this and order the second one right away! HIGHLY recommend this!
My only complaint is that Davis doesn't give a Big Idea for the passage. For that you'll have to come up with yourself, or get the new Teach the Text Commentary Series.