Ruth is one of my favorite books to teach from in scripture, so any time I have the opportunity to acquire a commentary on Ruth I jump at the chance. Ruth is written by James McKeown and is part of the newer and growing Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary produced and published by Eerdmans Publishing. This commentary series focuses on the gap between Biblical studies and systematic theology, focusing not on verse by verse exegetical study but on section by section exegesis.
Mckeown, who has already written a excellent commentary on Genesis in the Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary series writes a truly superb commentary on Ruth. With regard to the book itself, McKeown writes a very short introduction to the biblical book which focuses more on laying the groundwork for a study of the cultural context rather than arguments for a date, place, and authorship of the book. This type of introduction is very useful to the laymen and pastor alike who are trying to read or teach through Ruth, instead of the scholar looking to write a technical piece on the subject.
With attention to the commentary on the text, McKeown demonstrates the need to understand the cultural customs of the ancient near east so that the book of Ruth becomes understandable and interpreted as its original audience would have herd it. He does this in an easy to read manner so that no one will get bogged down in technical details. In addition to a focus on cultural discussions, McKeown examines the theme of the “Seed” and looks deeply into what is known as “Seed Theology”, which is a fascinating study which is not written about much in other treatments of the Old Testament Scriptures.
I was disappointed in McKeown’s treatment of Ruth 3:6-9 in which he avoids almost all cultural discussion of Ruth spending the night on the threshing floor. Despite this hiccup, this work is truly wonderful and I highly recommend it to any pastor or laymen looking to read or teach through this underappreciated and misunderstood Old Testament book.
This book was provided to me free of charge from Eerdmans Publishing in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.
Ruth: Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary
© 2015 by James McKeown
Page Count: 162 Pages
Publisher’s Website: http://www.eerdmans.com/
Book’s Landing Page: http://www.eerdmans.com/Products/6385/ruth.aspx