I’ve thought for some time that the value of the Interpretation Bible Commentary series is in its theological reflection. It’s a critical series, but I often find the theology valuable enough to check out even though I don’t agree with the criticism nor the methodology that’s used. Walter Brueggemann is perhaps the best writer in the series for pulling out these theological gems that no one else thinks of. People all across the theological spectrum are impressed by his creative writing.
The introduction given is hardly an introduction for the books of Samuel at all. In only a few words, he describes the period of the books of Samuel as one of major social change. Going from a tribal system to a monarchy would indeed be quite a transition. He sees three factors in that social change that we can easily agree with. From there, in a few more pages, he provides more introduction to his approach than to the overall books of Samuel themselves. This is not a standard academic introduction.
While he may have had little interest in the introduction, he poured all his efforts into the commentary itself. Again, there are critical perspectives you may not agree with, but there are nuggets all around for those who are looking. Every passage will likely have them. These nuggets will be both theologically profound and exquisitely stated. This commentary is worth looking up.
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