The latest in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT) series covers three exceptionally interesting Minor Prophets. The term “under appreciated” comes to mind. Apparently, Thomas Renz appreciates them because he delivers here what must be one of the most thorough exegetical commentaries available on them. He almost doubles the page count of the O. Palmer Robertson volume he replaces. It’s not a matter of verbosity either as masses of content abound.
He gives both an Introduction to the three collectively and to each alone. He doesn’t see the unity of the Twelve Minor Prophets as scholars like Paul House do. That doesn’t materially affect the commentary, but in a similar vein, structure is by far the weakest attribute of this volume. It wasn’t a matter of laziness, but a genuine belief on his part that these big-picture structures are overdeveloped by many. I don’t agree with him, but with his belief what other choice did he have?
His conclusions otherwise are good and generally conservative. He tips his hat to form critics but gently admits that their contributions are unverifiable. To my mind, form critics are like the man who escaped an asylum, stole a nice suit, and entered the boardroom and sat down among the executives and miraculously convinced them he was part of the team. It worked so well that you could say the asylum merely changed addresses and expanded. In any event, you have to appreciate the masterful diplomacy that Renz displays as he deals with them as if they, wink-wink, nudge-nudge, really belonged.
The weaknesses on structure and occasional scholarly capitulation notwithstanding, this book is an exceptional scholarly exegetical commentary. That is clearly the trend of the series from its earlier expositional days, and Renz can hold his head high among his fellow contributors. In fact, it matches the quality of several recent titles covering various Minor Prophets that have appeared in this series.
The work on grammar and words as well as history is all you could want. That means the commentary provides solid value. At first, you might ask, where is the theology? You will find it immediately after commentary in each passage in a section called “Reflections”. When you look there you will find that theology is a strength of this book as well. I was impressed.
Maybe we will see this series completed eventually, but for now this is a winning contribution.
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.