This commentary on two of the more exciting books of the Bible is a real asset to pastors and Bible students. Firth is becoming quite the prolific commentator of late and tackles here another historical book of the Bible (since he rightfully argues the two are one book).
His Introduction is sufficient, and at 48 pages for a larger Bible book, it is quite succinct. While he writes well on genre and purpose, I couldn’t follow his thinking on authorship or sources–in fairness, it wasn’t radical. His explanation on narrative was insightful, but his discussion on central themes were spot on and the best the Introduction had to offer.
The commentary was by the far the best value in the book. He followed the standard Apollos setup with translation, notes on the text (just the right coverage for pastors), form and structure (with enough detail to explain its short discussion in the Introduction), comment (thought-provoking), and explanation (where he well ties it together).
I looked at several passages and enjoyed what he shared. He took extra care in the most famous passages (David and Goliath, for example). I had read criticism before I received this volume on his analysis of David with Bathsheba, and while I might fully agree with him there, he argued his point well. David did, as he said, not completely hide his sin from those he sent to get Bathsheba. He feels that David was more interested in getting Uriah out of the way to get the child than to hide his sin. I doubt that is true, but it does make you think!
This is a fine volume. As a point of comparison, this volume is fair superior to the well known Word Biblical Commentary volumes covering the same material. I highly recommend it.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.