Obadiah’s oracle against Edom. Jonah’s mission to the city of Nineveh. Micah’s message to Samaria and Jerusalem. These books are short yet surprisingly rich in theological and practical terms. In this Tyndale commentary on these minor but important prophets, Daniel Timmer considers each book’s historical setting, genre, structure, and unity. He explores their key themes with an eye to their fulfilment in the New Testament and their significance for today.
The Tyndale Commentaries are designed to help the reader of the Bible understand what the text says and what it means. The Introduction to each book gives a concise but thorough treatment of its authorship, date, original setting, and purpose. Following a structural Analysis, the Commentary takes the book section by section, drawing out its main themes, and also comments on individual verses and problems of interpretation. Additional Notes provide fuller discussion of particular difficulties.
In the new Old Testament volumes, the commentary on each section of the text is structured under three headings: Context, Comment, and Meaning. The goal is to explain the true meaning of the Bible and make its message plain.
The Tyndale OT Commentaries series is a solid, stable, reliable, middle of the road conservative, useful, trustworthy contribution to the field of Old Testament studies.
The present volume by Timmer is all of those things as well. Along with being a careful exegete, he is also a gifted one. He has the ability to plainly, calmly, and sensibly explain the text at hand with a manner which both scholars and laypeople can appreciate, and learn from.
Will all scholars agree with him? No. But most of them will not bother to write their own commentaries on these three books of the Bible. Because they aren’t up to the task. So they will take potshots at a work that they find wanting, but which they cannot do better than.
Lay readers will not agree with everything that Timmer writes either, but they will not be able to explain why and they will not be able to do better than he has done in explaining texts.
But Lay readers and scholars who have the gift of honest open-mindedness will admit, after reading the volume, that they benefited from it and learned from it. It is, if I may go ahead and say so, far better than its predecessor in the series (by Waltke, et al). A volume, frankly, far too proximate to fundamentalism for my tastes.
The layout of the work follows the standard commentary format: introduction to books, date, authorship, outline, genre, all the usual stuff. Each pericope is then explained in proper order. There are no indices, but there are a table of abbreviations and a select bibliography for each biblical book at the outset of the volume. Those bibliographies are a balanced blend of both conservative and moderate scholarship, though, shockingly, Timmer fails to reference my own commentary on the Prophets. Alas.
This, seriously, is a really enjoyable, readable, helpful volume. It is better than most and could never be as bad as the worst commentary I’ve ever read, that of Block on Ruth.
I would recommend that Timmer’s work be added to your syllabi on any course on the Prophets you may teach; on your list of recommended readings; and it should also be added to your personal library. You’ll wish to make use of it more than once.