Kregel Publishers has released a new series of commentaries entitled the Kregel Exegetical Library. One of those volumes is a commentary on Judges and Ruth by longtime Dallas Theological Seminary professor Dr. Robert Chisolm, Jr. In my seminary studies I used Chisholm’s book, A Workbook for Intermediate Hebrew, which was a very useful tool for Hebrew studies. Chisholm uses a method he terms a, “literary-theological” method (p. 14). He employs a three-step process to analyze the biblical text: (1) he studies the text to discover the exegetical main idea of each major literary unit; (2) he moves outside of the literary unit to discover the theological main idea being expressed; and (3) he seeks to discover the homiletical main idea which would be preached to the contemporary listener (p. 14). The author acknowledges that his present work does not interact with the most recent scholarly discussion of Judges and Ruth because his research was complete in 2010, and submitted to the publisher (p. 15).
The commentary itself is laid out very well. Chisholm begins each book with a lengthy introduction. The Judge’s introduction is 88 pages long! In his introduction he discusses authorship, dating of the books and events, structure of the books, and a list of useful commentaries and resources. The author also gives in-depth background on the main characters of each book, which is helpful in understanding the text. Before the author concludes the introduction shares the findings of his three-step interpretive process. Chisholm shares the exegetical idea, theological idea, and homiletical idea for each literary unit in the book of Judges and Ruth. He refers to this as: “(1) thematic analysis; (2) theological analysis; and (3) contemporary application” (p. 86). I appreciate Chisholm’s thorough exegetical and theological work that results in contemporary application. Such an approach keeps the sermon grounded in biblical text.
When moving to the biblical commentary of each book one finds Chisholm’s own slightly revised translation from the N.E.T. Bible (p. 109 footnote)from. The biblical commentary is broken into “chapters” which are the literary units or sermon messages in Judges and Ruth. The author takes the books section by section and exposits the text. He does not delve into text critical issues but rather assumes that the text should be read in a straightforward manner. This means when one reads this commentary he’ll find a commentator who approaches the text with care and respect. Chisholm has provided thorough footnotes with extensive information and related resources.
This commentary is a well-done example of conservative evangelical scholarship. Chisholm has provided a useful resource for pastors and teachers alike. It will be a resource I use repeatedly. I received this book from Kregel Publishers in exchange for an honest review (CBD, Amazon).