This commentary on the little-known books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah has been influential since it was written and is one of the better volumes in the Old Testament Library (OTL) series. Mr. J. J. M. Roberts has given us a probing volume here. Though this volume is not as conservative as my personal beliefs, I’ve noticed other influential conservative scholars speak highly of this book. You might say, that this book is the best we have from that side of scholarship.
The General Introduction opens with a discussion on how to read a prophetic book. Mr. Roberts unique perspective is that looking at prophecy in terms of biblical books is not as effective as looking at individual oracles. I was surprised to read that Mr. Roberts felt that “the intricate connections discovered in such redactional analyses tend to be artificial, contrived, and obvious only to the critic proposing the analysis”. To that statement I give a hearty amen. As he explains, there’s too little evidence to describe the redactional process or what was behind it.
After a select bibliography on all three books, he launches into approaching each of the three books separately including giving an Introduction to each book. In each case, he gives some basic background, an outline, a discussion of the date (his conclusions here are pretty conservative after all), and a discussion of the prophet and his message. Then he gives commentary that includes much textual help and some interesting theology. With that commentary, he gives his own translation followed by even more detailed textual notes.
At around 225 pages, Mr. Roberts has struck the right balance between brevity and detail. I agree with others who say they have found this commentary rich. I have most of the major commentaries on these books of the Bible and I assure you I’ll be consulting this book each time I study these three obscure prophets.
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.