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The Wisdom and the Folly: An Exposition of the Book of First Kings Paperback – July 20, 2003
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‘Robust - that's the word ...a robust understanding, defence, explanation and application of First Kings as the Word of God. Here is no "First Kings in my own words" - the boring, fruitless fate of most commentaries on Bible History - but a delicious feast of truth, proof that the ancients were right to call the historians "prophets".'-- Alec Motyer ((1924–2016) Well known Bible expositor and commentary writer)
‘...this exposition enables the contemporary reader to breathe the air of 1 Kings, re-live its challenges, and above all, to encounter the personally the God who speaks and acts throughout its pages. This is a book to unsettle spiritual complacency and challenge us to a deep integrity in our relationship with the living God.'-- David Jackman (Past President, The Proclamation Trust, London)
‘The range of scholarship is extraordinary (is there any learned book or paper on First Kings that this writer has not winkled out?), His humour and humanity, plus a priceless American-style turn of phrase, add relish to the dish. Here is a safe and strong pair of hands to guide new, and older, readers through the treasure - and the uninspiring bits - of First Kings.'-- Dick Lucas (Formerly Rector of St Helen's Bishopsgate, London)
About the Author
- Publisher : Christian Focus (July 20, 2003)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1857927036
- ISBN-13 : 978-1857927030
- Item Weight : 11.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.75 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,672,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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He is thorough, but wisely regulates more in-depth discussions to footnotes; allowing the main text to flow freely. His depth is comparable to the New American Commentary series, but for Kings, I have found him often to be the more helpful.
If you are looking for an example of his love for the Bible, his exegetical insight, as well as his interaction with other commentators, look no further than his chapter on I Kings 19:1-18. It challenges the common take on Elijah's purpose and plea for death. Instead of attributing the prophet's behavior to some sort of strange and sudden loss of faith in God, Davis sees Elijah defeated, not by the rage of Jezebel, but by the utter lack of change in Israel in response to the events on Mt. Carmel. The prophet, then, feels like a failure, and heads to Mt. Sinai to bring formal accusation against God's people for breaking God's covenant. While he challenges the norm, his arguments are strong, Bible-based, and logical. He walks step by step through the problems and potential problems of the various interpretations and his careful consideration and incredible study show him to have not chosen his view lightly. This reverence for the text and refusal to float along with conventional currents when the Bible itself seems to say otherwise is an incredible breathe of fresh air. He isn't, like some, different for the sake of being different. He is different because the Bible is different. At every turn, he seeks first to the Word of God.
This is the model commentary. With opportunity for in-depth discussion as needed, it passionately conveys the truth of the literal history of the Kings, while still carefully drawing application out of the timeless of God's Word. Even if you may not agree with his every view or point, his study, passion, and love for God and his Word shine out strong and true. Without a doubt, if you could only have one book on the books of the Kings, this needs to be it.
Such open honesty characterises this sane and sensible commentary on 1 Kings. Perhaps the words `sane' and `sensible' give the impression that the book is itself rather dull and boring, but not so.
In a way that is refreshing, humorous and penetrating Davis opens up the book of 1 Kings and provides sound, wholesome teaching. It is only when you look in the footnotes at some of the weird and wonderful interpretations from various scholars that you begin to appreciate the quality of what Davis is giving to you. His quick-fire no-compromising-with-scripture demolition job of these authors, coupled with his simple clarity, reassures the reader that, in the words of Dick Lucas, we are in "a safe strong pair of hands to guide us through the treasure - and the uninspiring bits - of 1 Kings."
This is a superbly easy-to-read book on 1 Kings. There is clear explanation, and there is excellent illustration, with the central theme of each section being plainly set out. But the thing I liked best was the incisive application. It is not possible to read this book and feel unchallenged.
But what is there to be learnt? Davis guides us through such themes as the majesty of God, prayer, wise living, and God's faithfulness. He brings a challenge to shake us out of our complacency.
Look out for other books by this author - he has also written on Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel.
And why are bits of the Bible `boring'? "Because they are the records of sinful men who simply repeat the sins and evil of those before them. Sin is never creative, but merely imitative and repetitious ... Evil carries a built-in yawn. `And he walked in the ways of Jeroboam and in his sin.'"
Davis is a former Old Testament seminary professor, with a PhD., but has also been a pastor (Presbyterian -- PCA) for many years. These are all non-technical, unfootnoted, homiletical treatments. They are theologically rich, always Christocentric (or at least Christo-telic), well-illustrated, and relentlessly practical. Davis can turn a clever phrase like no other commentator, often tweaking a cliche to turn it on its head. Indispensible.
I was shocked that fellow PCAer Tremper Longman did not even include any Ralph Davis books in his survey of commentaries (though Longman analyzes lots and lots of inferior works).
I have two copies of each of Davis' commentaries (one for home, one for the office).
I have not really found other works on I Kings nearly as helpful. Ray Dillard's short work on the Elijah and Elisha narratives was the closest. Wiseman in the Tyndale set was perfectly competent and sound, but nowhere near as convicting as Davis.