David Toshio Tsumura has finally completed the second volume in his now two-volume set covering the books of Samuel. It’s great to see that the New International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT) series now has both books of Samuel covered. After I’ve carefully looked this book over, I feel that maybe his first volume was not fairly evaluated. Even when I reviewed the first volume myself, I think I missed how high of quality this book really is. Most have said that the author is a fine philologist, but perhaps the overall impact of this commentary is not as keen as others. Since I took more time with this second volume to understand his approach, I want to greatly upgrade the ranking I would give to it and now label it as totally top-notch. I fear that some have graded him more for his opinion about MT texts over the LXX and other variants than for his actual work. What we really have here is a superior approach linguistically to most commentaries on the market today as well as solid commentary for readers.
He begins his introduction by explaining his approach to textual criticism. I found it to be totally refreshing. Most textual critics today butcher the text, even lord over it trying to tell us what we can receive or not receive, but his approach allows the Scripture to speak for itself. What is brilliant about it is how he proves it at a linguistic level. I don’t possess that specialty but found him easy to follow as I read. He gets into the genre, style, discourse, and structure, before he gets into the message of the book. His section on themes and theology is not long, but good as far as it goes. His outline is as good as anyone’s and his bibliography is quite extensive.
I dug into his commentary for my favorite II Samuel passages, passages that I was most familiar with and have studied before. I found that he continued to make his brilliant linguistic points while truly contributing thoughtful reflection on what the text was saying. He also always stayed close to the text which is what we are really looking for in a commentary, wouldn’t you agree?
Some may be influenced by the reviews given for his first commentary, but I recommend you check it out for yourself. As for me, it is a five-star volume all the way.
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.