For thousands of years, Psalms has been one of the richest resources for worship and development of the spiritual life. At the same time it is one of the more complex and challenging sections of the Bible for expositors and students. Pastors, teachers, and all serious students of the Bible will find this commentary invaluable for developing an understanding of Psalms and for improving the ability to expound it with precision and depth. This is volume two of a three-volume commentary on Psalms.
For each psalm, Dr. Allen Ross provides a translation of the text and an overview of the context. He then guides the reader through a detailed exegetical outline and offers an expository idea for the message of the whole psalm.
The commentary includes discussion throughout of three primary challenges to understanding Psalms:
• Textual issues: Every major textual difficulty is addressed in order to help the expositor understand the interpretive issues and make decisions when there are multiple available readings.
• Poetic language: The psalms are full of poetic imagery, devices, and structures Ross discusses Hebrew poetry in its context with each psalm, specifying the precise devices being used and how they work in the psalm.
• Hebrew grammar and syntax: The Hebrew of Psalms poses a challenge to many expositors. This commentary illuminates Hebrew constructions and word meanings in a way that is helpful both to readers who are comfortable with Hebrew and those who are not.
About the Allen Ross
Allen P. Ross taught at Trinity Episcopal School of Ministry and Dallas Theological Seminary. His publications include Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis, Holiness to the Lord: A Guide to the Exposition of the Book of Leviticus, and Introducing Biblical Hebrew.
My Thoughts on Psalms Commentary
Foremost, I am a bit biased (*ahem* yes, this is supposed to be unbiased but lets be honest) because any and every writing that Allen Ross puts into publication is worthwhile. Hands down. End of discussion. Nothing more needs said right now. I could end it there and you’ll know my verdict on this resource — pastors, “laypeople,” scholars, students, moms, dads, cats and dogs, if you are reading this than you need to buy a copy. You’re still here reading? Alright, then lets get on with it!
As outlined above, Ross camps out on three crucial pieces to interpreting the beautiful language of the Psalms.
- Textual Issues: Get to know the text, and that means deal with the issues at hand. There is a LOT about the Psalms that need considered and, as serious text critics will admit, there is a LOT about the Psalms that should be approached with a grain of salt. What naturally follows is, should that worry believers? Well, you do your homework and let me know what you find in attempting to answer that question. Ross spends ample time looking at the issues of the lost world of the Psalms (and the roller coaster emotions of the Psalmist). With this commentary, expect to walk word by word, or phrase by phrase, through the speed bumps that the Hebrew world of the Psalms.
- Poetic Language: Not only is the original language a “dead language,” but it was written in a style that is utterly foreign to present day readers (especially if you’re reading a translation rather than the Hebrew text). Poems are laid out according to the Hebrew alphabet (not something you can pick up when reading the English), Hebrew synonyms (as well as antonyms) are used to end poetic lines, and some trains of thought continue on as heavenly truths are exposed — all Hebraic trades that are seldom visible to the naked, present day eye. In this commentary, Ross becomes a guide to Hebrew poems so as to point out the most minute of details as you journey into the ancient world.
- Hebrew Grammar and Syntax: Once textual issues have been faced head-on and the forgotten world of ancient poetry has been brought to life, most every passage or pericope is concluded with a look at the Grammar and Syntax (completely fitting that Ross spend more time in the language, since he’s a Hebrew guru – See Introducing Biblical Hebrew Primer).
The beginning of my thoughts truly did foretell the conclusion — I encourage you to pick this up not as an easy-to-swallow bit of information on the Psalms, but for serious, in-depth insight into the world of ancient poetry and the Hebrew language. The language of the Psalms almost needs a Hebrew primer devoted to it entirely and this may be as close as you’re going to get to having one for now.