One of the hardest books to preach through is the Book of Judges. For many of the scene in the Book of Judges run contrary to that of our own current cultural trends. It is therefore extremely helpful that Zondervan Publications has put out a commentary on the Book of Judges and Ruth in the NIV application Commentary series. This commentary is well-known and respected in both popular and scholarly circles. For the NIV application Commentary series truly helps the exegete understand the original context of the text as well as its contemporary significance.
This commentary is written by K Lawson younger Jr who is a professor of Semitic languages in the ancient near East at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. This background and his deep understanding of the historical books of the Old Testament hair to make a phenomenal work on the books of judges and Ruth.
It is confusing that more often than not The Book of Ruth is paired with the Book of Esther even though they are nowhere near the same historical context. It was there for explaining room refreshing to have the Book of Ruth paired with the Book of Judges do to them happening at the same chronological time.
With regard to the introductory section to both of the books inside this work I found the introductory section on the Book of Judges comparable to most mid-level commentaries diving into both composition purpose as well as a few biblical theological components. On the other hand the introduction to the Book of Ruth was little more than a few pages and did not die deeply into authorship or structure. Yet the introduction did Shine when dealing with background issues such as the kinsman-redeemer and Levirate marriage. This study into both of these Concepts are deeply important and necessary when it comes to understanding and applying the Book of Ruth.
In dealing with the commentary proper in both judges and Ruth, the textual commentary is written in pericope sections rather than dealing with a verse by verse exegetical study. This is the form at which the NIV application study commentary, is exclusivity written init was therefore not a surprise, but it is something that a reader should expect. This does not negate in any way this commentaries usefulness rather it enhances a preacher’s focus on seeing the forest through the trees. I therefore recommend this commentary wholeheartedly as a useful tool to both the preacher, teacher, uneducated laymen, and Sunday school teacher. I do suggest though that this commentary be paired with a more solid one that deals exegetically with each verse.
These books was provided to me free of charge from Zondervan Press in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.