Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Commentary on the Psalms v.2 - By Allen P. Ross

It is odd, at least to me, to find a commentary that is both exegetical and Premillennial.   Normally exegetical/linguistic commentaries are really good with their linguistics, and much of their basic exegesis, but are Amillennial, Covenantal and overly typological.  And to my knowledge, most premillennial commentaries are not exegetical/linguistic commentaries but more of the devotional/light type, and like the Covenantal commentaries, are too typological in their views of certain texts.    This commentary on the Psalms, by Allen Ross, is a very refreshing find in that it is both exegetical and Premillennial, and if anything, tries a little too hard not to be typological, focusing on examining the text for what it says. 
Each examination of a Psalm starts out with the Psalm itself, and underneath the Psalm, one of my favorite features, LOTS of footnotes containing textual variants from other manuscripts, such as the Greek version, Symmachus, the Syriac, Targums and other sources. These footnotes discuss the differences between the  Masoretic text and other manuscripts and sometimes explains  why the author favors one rendering over another.     

Next we are brought to examine the "composition and context" of the Psalm, and eventually we will end up at an outline of the Psalm, which happens to be another feature that I like.  Following the outline, we come to "Commentary in Expository Form" which delves into the meaning of Psalm in more detail.  This part deals with the verses in groupings with  headings, such as "The Righteous must not be troubled by the pomp of this world because it cannot redeem and it cannot survive death(5-12)."  This section also has many footnotes, and some rather long ones too, which delve further into discussion of various word meanings and other things about the  verses in question.  And finally, we end with a look at the "message and application" of the Psalm.

My only real qualms with Mr. Ross is that, as I mentioned before, he seems to be a little too careful about not coming to conclusions about whether a Psalm, or verse or two of a Psalm, is prophetic or not.  For example, Psalm 45 vs. 6-7 reads:

"Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever; an upright scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.  You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of rejoicing over your companions…." Part of Ross' commentary on these verses is that, "In Israel the king was never considered divine.  He might be called 'God' as in this psalm, but only because he his vice-regent in the theocracy…It was an easy step for the New Testament writers to apply this passage to Jesus the Messiah, who they were convinced was divine."  That makes it sound like the writers of the New Testament simply looked for verses that they could apply to the Messiah, rather than using actual proof texts.  When the New Testament writers look on a verse as a solid proof text, we should defer to them and assume it was/is such, rather than that they just looked for just looked for similarities to the Messiah in the Old Testament to  use in their defense of the Messiahship of Jesus.   That wouldn't be a solid biblical stance on the Apostles' part, they could have been answered very easily by the Jews that the text wasn't really speaking about the Messiah, and all that they could say in defense of their usage of the verse was that, though it was not speaking of the Messiah, it sounded a lot like the One they(the Apostles) claimed to be the Messiah so they applied it to Him.  Now, this Psalm was quoted in the epistle to the Hebrews, defending and explaining the Messiahship of Christ, and His perfect salvation. But this commentary makes it sound as though the Jews were to be convinced by the Apostles application of the Psalm to Jesus, not by the Psalm as a prophetic text speaking of Jesus, the Divine Messiah Himself. I can't buy that. 

But aside from things like what I just mentioned, the commentary is rather good, and really does give some good insights into the text.  I am pleased with it.


Many thanks to Kregel Academic for sending me a free review copy of this book!(My review did not have to be favorable)
This book may also be purchased at Amazon

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