Personal Thoughts About Commentaries (12): The Pastoral Epistles

When it comes to the Pastoral Epistles there is a wealth of good choices. The top four in the following list are all excellent high-level works. I would personally go for Knight and Marshall if money were no object (although Mounce and Towner would be just fine). Some of these scholars dance around Paul’s clear statement preventing women from being preachers and teachers of men. I have marked such with a (w’)

1. George W. Knight III – Good at about everything. Heavy on the Greek but usable by most. Conservative. This has been around for a while but I still think it is unsurpassed.

2. William D. Mounce – Very solid exegesis and exposition. Some people don’t like the format, but Mounce makes the most of it. I have always gotten something from this volume.

3. Philip W. Towner – Impressive and accessible despite its size. An expert on the Pastorals. (w).

4. I. Howard Marshall – Helped by Towner (above), this is the most detailed and theologically nuanced commentary of the bunch. Marshall comments on Titus first because he says it tends to get overlooked – a not unwise decision. Infuriatingly rejects Pauline authorship. Expensive. (w).

5. Gordon D. Fee – I always turn to Fee on the Pastorals because of the way he writes and his ability to bring his exegesis to street level. This is one you should own. (w).

6. Andreas J. Kostenberger – The usual pithy style of the author is on display. Kostenberger is both a good distiller of other scholars and a competent thinker in his own right. Solid.

7. Donald Guthrie – A very fine scholar of the end of the last century, Guthrie is slight but always “in” the text. (w).

8. John Stott – Two small volumes by a great expositor. (w).

9. Patrick Fairbairn – Fairbairn is never easy reading, but everything he wrote is valuable in its way. I can’t say I like the textual emendations via Tischendorf, but the work is valuable. Don’t miss the excellent appendices.

10. William Hendriksen – Hendriksen is forgotten by many today, but his work is pious, scholarly, pastoral, and conservative. This is well worth having in the preacher’s library.

Other works that should be mentioned Robert Yarbrough’s volume, which is highly praised. I haven’t seen it. Had I it would probably be in my top ten. L. T. Johnson’s large scholarly treatment on 1 & 2 Timothy in the Anchor Bible is well regarded. Surprisingly, he argues for Pauline authorship. Jerome Quinn & Grant Wacker on the same is, well, odd. It’s good in places and “meh” in others. I bought it cheap, which is how you should buy it. Of course, do not neglect Calvin here (if you can get his sermons on these books you will be impressed at his conversational preaching style). Lenski is conservative and solid. I put Hendriksen just ahead of him. J. N. D. Kelly is brief but good. Continuing with initials J. D. G. Dunn’s contribution in the NIB (Vol. 11) is bound to be good. Dunn is always thought-provoking. Finally, I suppose I should include the volume edited by Kostenberger and Wilder entitled Entrusted with the Gospel: Paul’s Theology in the Pastoral Epistles. No, I haven’t read it, but it looks good.

Brief Review of Copenhaver & Arthurs’ “Colossians and Philemon”

A Review of Adam Copenhaver and Jeffrey D. Arthurs, Colossians and Philemon: A Commentary for Biblical Preaching and Teaching, Kerux Commentaries, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2022, 335 pages, hdbk.

This is the first time I have set my eyes on a Kerux commentary. The series is designed to give exegetical, theological, and homiletical help for the expositor and preacher. This approach is nothing new, although it has not been seen for some time. These kinds of commentaries were quite popular in the 19th century (e.g., Pulpit Commentary; Lange’s Commentary). With odd exceptions, I never got anything out of the homiletic portions of these works. But what about this one? It is written by two authors, Copenhaver being the exegete and theologian with Arthurs taking the homiletic portions (9).

Layout and Introduction

This book is very nicely put together and the large two-column pages hold clear type and headings. The first section (13-26) is an “overview of all preaching passages.” This breakdown is a good idea, although the “preaching pointers” outweigh the exegetical and theological previews by a lot.

When we get to the Introduction we find that Colossians and Philemon considered together; a nice idea which I was not expecting. I would normally prefer separate introductions but I think this was an intriguing choice. The introduction is very well done, with black and white maps and photographs included. I believe Copenhaver wrote this part.


Copenhaver’s exegesis of the epistles is impressive. He knows his way around the letters, and he shows good judgments in his handling of the text. I must say that I have little to quibble about here. Copenhaver has written a very fine commentary on both letters from the exegetical perspective. He does not even fight shy of telling it like it is on a passage like Colossians 3:18 (“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands…”). He is one to watch. In fact, Copenhaver’s work is worth the price of the book!

An editorial quibble: The exegesis sections (which include word studies and exegetical panels) are well done, but I was surprised that the Greek was left untranslated. In a commentary such as this it would have been good to include transliterations along with the original. I’m alright, but I don’t understand the decision to leave them in the Greek without an accompanying transliteration.

Theological Focus

I don’t have a lot to say about the theological sections other than that they are competent. They follow on logically from the exegetical sections that go before and they add something to the book.

Preaching and Teaching Strategies

Jeffrey Arthurs writes the homiletical sections, and to be honest, I could have done without them. While there is some good stuff here and there (e.g., a list of ‘Ten Ways Parents Provoke Their Children,’ 239, or the warning about social media, 162), on the whole these parts of the book are a failure. For starter’s, they are seeker-sensitive and not really honed to take advantage of the solid exegetical sections before them.

I found that the more sections by Arthurs I read the more annoyed I became. My idea of preaching and teaching the Word of God is not to change clothes like a ham actor to illustrate Col. 3:9, or to play a film clip in the middle of a sermon (109). Arthurs commends the methods of Willow Creek (160), and recommends biographies for Col. 1:9-14 on Mike Pence, Bono (!), and Jim Caviezel. His advice on “Spiritual Disciplines” from the inset on page 161 is gathered from mystics Richard Foster and Ken Shigematsu (interestingly, the exegetical section of Colossians 3:16 has an inset which cites James K. A. Smith’s more solid advice on spiritual formation in the church – 212). On page 239 one is advised to “Align your soul and body” on a busy work day.

I have no use for such things. They are a distraction from the eternal Word which is being expounded. My advice, for what it is worth, is to consider the commentary because of Copenhaver’s excellent contribution. It’s such a shame it is coupled with such superficial “preaching and teaching” hints, which I for one would not recommend.

This is a Bible commentary, so indices would be nice. But this is Kregel!

Personal Thoughts About Commentaries (11): Hebrews

For my money the top three works in the list are indispensable. The next two are important to have. I do not think the warning passages in Hebrews have yet been tackled adequately (and who is up to the task?). I personally hold that Hebrews should be read alongside the Olivet Discourse.

  1. Peter T. O’Brien – Yes, I know the author has gotten it in the neck for plagiarizing (but it is odd plagiarism, like repeating phrases, not exegesis). Because of this you’ll have to search for it at a decent price. But this is really very good.

2. William L. Lane – Could easily be first. Fetches help from many sources (e.g. Thompson’s Beginnings of Philosophy, which he cites constantly). I tend to agree more with O’Brien and Bruce, but you can’t afford to be without this work.

3. F. F. Bruce – Great prose. Has read everything up to publication date. Always solid.

4. Paul Ellingworth – A must-have for close exegesis. Take a deep breath and plunge in.

5. Phillip Edgcumbe Hughes – I really like Hughes’s blend of pious scholarship and solid theology. Needs to be supplemented by one of the above.

6. David A. DaSilva – A socio-rhetorical work called Perseverance in Gratitude.

7. R. T. France – Lovely style joined to extensive learning.

8. George H. Guthrie – Guthrie is an acknowledged expert on Hebrews. This is in the NIVAC series. A more exegetical treatment by him would rank highly. (His contribution to the Carson/Beale Commentary on the NT Use of the OT is terrific).

9. William Gouge – Massive Puritan work with surprisingly good exegesis. Easier to navigate than Owen.

10. Donald A. Hagner – Compact, terse, and nearly always helpful at a pinch.

There are many good commentaries on Hebrews at all levels. On the scholarly level Harold Attridge is highly skilled and liberal. It’s a toss up between him and Ellingworth. Ellingworth wins because he offers a bit more. I don’t think one needs both. Gareth Cockerill is good and could easily swap with France. B. F. Westcott’s classic might also have made the list, as might David Allen (whose thesis about Lukan authorship is interesting, if not completely convincing). Then there are Messrs Schreiner and Witherington. Old John Brown (BoT) is excellent if supplemented by newer scholarship. Finally there is John Owen’s masterful 7-volume work, which in many ways stands by itself. A lot of great stuff in Owen, but lots to get lost in too.

A Short Review of ‘John Through Old Testament Eyes’ by Karen Jobes

N.B. This is a review of the book and its merits. However, I believe the NT to be quite clear that women are not to be instructors of men in Church related matters like the interpretation of Scripture, doctrine, and the like. This has nothing to do with ability and everything to do with obedience to God and His established creation order (1 Tim. 2:11-14). As one would expect, a lot of female scholars are cited in this work. I sometimes choose to look at commentaries from female authors although not as authorities. I realize even saying such things will raise hackles, but I could not review the commentary without this note.

Review of Karen H. Jobes, John Through Old Testament Eyes: A Background and Application Commentary, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2021, 374 pages, softcover.

This is the second volume in a series of “Background and Application” commentaries edited by Andrew Le Peau. I reviewed Le Peau’s own Mark Through Old Testament Eyes previously. The aim of this series is to try to put the reader in the situation of the writers of the NT, who were OT people. That is to say, they did not have a NT to consult and learn from. Their Scripture was our Old Testament.

I think the aim is of interest, highlighting as it does the intertextual connections of the NT books with the OT. I am though, not terribly convinced that this can be done by scholars whose customary way of reading the Bible is through the lens of the NT. For example, both in the present volume and the previous entry one runs into expectations based upon the witness of the Law and the Prophets which are then said to be altered in some way by the teachings of Jesus and His death and resurrection. While this happened in certain circumstances, I think the alterations we are told to accept on this basis are often more influenced by present eschatological trends and not by what the text of the NT is demanding from us. On page 311 of John Through Old Testament Eyes the author informs us that “the fourth gospel is known for its realized eschatology.” Although I understand it, personally I stand in doubt of that assertion (e.g. Jn. 5:27-29; 6:39-44; 7:36; 14:2-3; 18:36). I question whether much of what is grouped under realized eschatology is actually eschatology at all, but that will have to wait for another day.

The author, Karen Jobes, is a highly competent NT scholar who has written some well received commentaries, as well as co-authored a fine Invitation to the Septuagint. She brings her considerable acumen to the Gospel of John and has produced a fine work.

Several things are of note in this commentary: the helpful background information, personal anecdotes which lead in to helpful discussions of passages, a liberal sprinkling of informative Greek studies to support exegesis, and brief attention-drawing references to NT scholarship which never feels like name-dropping. And she manages this in clear prose. For that reason, this book has a lot to offer as a mid-level study of John.

That said, I was disappointed at times with the lack of depth in some of the discussions. For example, when John the Baptist replies to a question about whether he is Elijah, he very pointedly responds with a firm “No” (Jn. 1:21). This begs for elucidation, especially from an OT perspective, but Jobes is silent on John’s reply (42). When commenting on Jesus’ “sign” of raising up the temple of His body on the third day (Jn. 2:18-22) she claims that “Jesus is the final and ultimate temple of humankind” (72); a notion that crosses OT expectations and is not legitimately derived from the chapter, but is rather a result of reading the NT back into the OT. In fact she quotes Richard Hays’ belief that the OT must be reinterpreted in light of Jesus (73). As another example, the supposed hermeneutical import of John 2 is noted, but that of Peter’s query about the future of the beloved disciple in John 21 is missed (308-309). If hermeneutical cues are being brought out of the text instead of read into it this would likely be the other way round. Finally, are we really to see sacramental associations in John 6:25-59 (133)?

For my money I do not think this work succeeds in looking at John “through OT eyes” any better than its predecessor. But it is not to be dismissed on that count. This will not be the first volume I will turn to when I study John’s Gospel. Neither does it make it into my top ten recommendations on the Gospel. Still, I will consult it. There is enough useful comment throughout to make it worth ones while to spend time in it.

Personal Thoughts About Commentaries (10): Daniel

As with the selections on the Book of Revelation, this list will display some bias towards Dispensational works, although I don’t want to fill it up with just those. One big reason for that is because Dispensationalists have not written many great commentaries on any book of the Bible. Often-as-not they have been content to furnish basic commentaries for the masses. The fact is that if a person wishes to go deep into an inspired author he will need to be conversant with many writers who he may not see eye to eye with. So here goes:

  1. Stephen Miller (NAC) – This is a mid-level Dispensational commentary that holds its own against the usual contenders (see below). Miller thinks through the text and asks the right questions. This is the most helpful interpretation of Daniel that I know.
  2. Leon Wood – Thorough and very competent. Good to have on hand when preaching through the book.
  3. John Goldingay (WBC) – He doesn’t believe the book was written in the 6th Century B.C. (he puts the author in the 2nd Century), and he comes up with some odd explanations (e.g. of the four kingdoms), so why have him so high on the list? Because he is an excellent exegete. Because he provides the depth one needs if the student is to know what mainline scholarship, plus much of evangelicalism, thinks about Daniel. And because it does contain a lot of insight.
  4. J. Paul Tanner (EEC) – I’m going out on a limb here, but by the looks of it Tanner’s forthcoming large commentary on Daniel is not to be missed. Tanner is a Hebrew specialist and careful scholar. I expect much from this work.
  5. Gleason Archer (old EBC) – Archer was a great OT scholar and linguist who wrote the still excellent A Survey of Old Testament Introduction. He makes very good use of his page limit and his work teems with insights.
  6. Andrew Steinmann (CC) – Steinmann is a Lutheran scholar you ought to know. He is very conservative and practical, but also analytical. I own several of his works and he seldom disappoints. This commentary is not brilliant on the prophetic portions, but is great on the early chapters and the authenticity of the Book. Focusses on the “Son of Man” theme.
  7. John Walvoord – A reliable, straightforward Dispensational commentary which does not interact much with other works. Walvoord was a top prophecy scholar.
  8. Peter Steveson – A very worthwhile effort from a conservative Dispensational scholar, with good word studies.
  9. Joyce Baldwin – Baldwin was well known for solid thinking and her pithy style. Again, the use of this work for the prophetic chapters is as a foil for the futurist view, but there is much helpful material in this little book.
  10. E. J. Young – Old, dogmatic, staunchly conservative amillennial work from a great OT scholar. This thorough commentary should not be overlooked.

The above list will not impress those readers who must have the latest cutting edge commentaries, but I stand by it. Of other works I like Zoeckler’s contribution to the Lange set. He is liberal but he is surprisingly useful. Keil’s work in the Keil and Delitzsch set is good. J. J. Collins is an expert on “apocalyptic” (for what it’s worth) and writes clearly, but he also writes as one who doesn’t believe the text he is writing about. E. C. Lucas can’t seem to make up his mind what the Book of Daniel is about, while Sinclair Ferguson is not as good as Young. J. A. Motyer is a great scholar and his small commentary on Daniel nearly squeezed out Baldwin’s.

Finally, Tony Garland is writing a massive commentary on Daniel, which, if he isn’t careful, will remain unfinished until we’re in the Kingdom. He’s just beginning chapter 5. A wise person would get to know this work and its numerous appended studies as soon as he can.

I forgot to add Robert D. Culver’s fine Daniel and the Latter Days. It is not a commentary, but a study of premillennial eschatology with emphasis on Daniel.

Review of ‘The New Testament Commentary Guide’

A Review of Nijay K. Gupta, The New Testament Commentary Guide: A Brief Handbook for Students and Pastors, Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020, 124 pages, pbk.

Nijay Gupta is a Professor of NT at Northern Seminary and a busy author.  This little book is his attempt at writing a NT Commentary survey that is up to date and judicious.  No attention has been given to NT Introductions or NT Theologies, only commentaries are included.  Gupta’s introduction covers several questions about commentary sets, one-volume works, and Study Bibles.  When speaking about one-volume NT works the author says that he knows of no non-technical ones.  I find this surprising as Robert Gundry’s Commentary on the New Testament is very worthy attention.

The rest of the Introduction provides a survey of the commentary sets (e.g. Anchor, ICC, Baker, NICNT, Pillar, etc.). The author puts in a good word for the Smyth & Helwys series, which I am not familiar with. I have always thought it was a bit pricey.

The main part of the book is entitled “Commentary Recommendations.” These are separated into Technical, Semi-Technical, and Non-Technical, with an additional category called Hidden Gems. Gupta writes from the perspective of the evangelical left. His knowledge of the choices is extensive, but more conservative shoppers (like me) will need to augment this guide to ensure the right balance. Only modern commentaries are listed.

So what about the commentary recommendations themselves? As might be expected Davies and Allison gets top billing on Matthew for scholars. Among others on Matthew, Craig Keener’s volume fairs better than he does in many lists. Hagner does well, as does R. T. France. There is no place for Grant Osborne or D. A. Carson (whose commentary on John also doesn’t make it).

On Mark’s Gospel, R. T. France, A. Y. Collins, and Mark Strauss are among the top picks. I appreciated the inclusion of Larry Hurtado’s short commentary, but where oh where is James Edwards? The same applies to Luke. Edwards is nowhere to be seen, although his commentary is excellent. Darrell Bock, Joel Green, and David Garland are among the books that Gupta commends.

Moving on to Romans, the top choice is C. E. B. Cranfield’s classic, with his successor at Durham J. D. G. Dunn next. I have a high opinion of Dunn, not because he is conservative (he is not), but because he asks the right questions and, in lucid prose, has such fertile suggestions for exploration. Moo makes the cut. Schreiner does not.

Elsewhere, I thought that Gupta’s suggestions for 2 Corinthians were very good. On Ephesians he tells us which interpreters believe the epistle is authentic or pseudonymous. Rather astonishingly, there is no place for Harold Hoehner’s massively detailed work! Gupta’s recommendations on Hebrews were overall a disappointment.

At the back Gupta includes a list of “Commentaries by Women and People of Color.” I have no time for such politically correct nonsense. Either a commentary is good or it isn’t. The “accidental” characteristics of the writer are hardly relevant.

At $18.99 this Handbook may be priced a little above what some people are willing to pay. Since I received my copy free from the publisher I didn’t have to come up with the money. Would I have done otherwise? Possibly. It’s good to have an alternative to Carson. I thought many of Gupta’s comments were informative.



Personal Thoughts About Commentaries (8): Mark

Mark’s Gospel is terrific for the preacher.  It really comes into its own when expounded.  Any commentary on this book that keeps flipping back and forth between Mark, Matthew and Luke should not be considered a first choice.  There is now an embarrassment of fine resources.  Here is my list:

1. James R. Edwards (Pillar)

Edwards’ commentary on Romans is very good, and it was on my experience with that work that I purchased this.  I ended up reading the whole book and marking most of its pages.  The author gives you what you need (the Markan reveal of Jesus; the theology of Mark; the personal touches; the deliberate plan of the Gospel), in clear prose with good application.  This is my top pick for the preacher and teacher of Mark.

2. William L. Lane (NICNT)

First issued in 1974 this commentary is still better than most of those which have come after it.  Yes, the form-criticism is annoying in places, but when he gets down to interpreting the evangelist’s thought Lane is always an attentive listener.

3. R. T. France (NIGNTC)

France writes beautifully and has a great ability to keep you engaged with Mark while digging deep into his language and structure.  Many would rank this one first.  I demur because I don’t like his treatment of the Olivet Discourse.

4. Eckhard Schnabel (TNTC)

Replacing the solid work of R. Alan Cole was not easy, but Schnabel, who has more pages at his disposal, has bettered the previous commentary in the Tyndale series (of which he is the new editor).  Schnabel gets to grips with what matters, and reads Mark as self-contained.  A good shorter contribution.

5. C. E. B. Cranfield (CGTC)

Talking about short contributions brings me to Cranfield’s work.  Like France (see above) Cranfield writes good prose so naturally that the reader doesn’t have to stop and wonder what was meant.  Breezes through the Greek text while not ignoring theology.  Very helpful for checking ones exegesis.

6. Andrew T. LePeau

I reviewed this when it first came out and gave it a cautious recommendation.  Very good on thought-flow and backgrounds, but questionable assumptions regarding OT allusions.  A good foil to the above commentaries.

7. Larry Hurtado (UBNT)

I like Hurtado and I like this book.  It doesn’t waste your time and inserts good information on culture, structure and the like.

8. Mark Strauss (ZECNT)

I’m not a big fan of Strauss’s survey of the Gospels so I didn’t think I’d like this one.  But it has a lot of merits: attention to Greek without getting bogged down in quibbles, good on theology, plus a great layout.

9. Timothy Geddert (BCBC)

I should perhaps place this one further up the list.  Geddert really gives Mark his due, and holds him in high esteem as a thinker.  That comes across in this helpful book.  The group of essays that come with the commentary enhance its value.  Should I have placed it higher…?

10. D. Edmond Hiebert

Coming from the same stable as Geddert, this older work is very conservative and premillennial.  It also takes the last 12 verses seriously!  A bit stodgy but reliable.


There are other good commentaries on this Gospel which deserve a read.  Cole is the older Tyndale work, but being older doesn’t mean it isn’t still good.  Lenski is good and he defends the last 12 verses.  Barbieri’s Moody Gospel Commentary is reliable, but I found myself defaulting to Hiebert for a premillennial view.  Honorable mentions go to Darrell Bock (who might have made the top ten), David Garland, and Robert Stein.  Older works by J. A. Alexander and James Morison shouldn’t be sniffed at (in fact I resorted to Morison quite a lot when I preached through Mark).  The sermonic works of John MacArthur and particularly Alexander Maclaren are of real use.  Finally, Dean Burgon’s ‘The Last Twelve Verses of Mark’ is still pertinent.

Merrill’s New Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles

A review of Eugene H. Merrill, A Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles, Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2015, 637 pages, hdbk

Among readers of the Old Testament (you know, those creatures of legend that used to inhabit churches), the Books of 1 and 2 Chronicles would not rank too high on their list of favorites.  Even zealous preachers would, given the choice, prefer to go through 1 & 2 Kings rather than Chronicles.

But these neglected books (one book in the Hebrew Bible) are the only ones which traverse the entire history of Israel, even if they do so by concentrating mainly on the fortunes of the tribe of Judah, particularly the line of David, and the fate of Jewish worship under a succession of kings.  A key underlying theme concerns the self-identity of the Davidic monarchy as related to the Davidic covenant (see the excellent treatment of the Theology of the Book, 57-68).

Eugene Merrill was a wise choice to write the commentary.  Anyone familiar with his Kingdom of Priests will know about his attention to detail, faithfulness to the biblical text, and refusal to swallow the camels of historical criticism.  As the reviewer can personally testify, Dr. Merrill is a churchman, and his book is a fine exposition for the preacher and teacher of the Bible.

As is usual with this impressive series, the comments are deep enough to cover the important items: text, exegesis, explanation and application.  Merrill even includes twelve excurses on topics like “The Angel of YHWH”, two on “Holy War”, “Old Testament Historiography”, issues of chronology in relation to extra-biblical events.

For me the real treasure of this commentary are the chapters handling the “Theology of…” which close out each section.  These expand the fine summary in the Introduction and they deserve careful attention.  As 1 & 2 Chronicles are, first and foremost, theological histories, these chapters are invaluable.

In my opinion this is the best place to go to study these books, and to preach them!

Sad to say, the editing of the Commentary leaves a lot to be desired in the area of proofing of errors.  Also, once again for this series, there are no indexes, and there’s no excuse for that!


I received the commentary free from the publisher.


Review: ‘A Commentary on Exodus’ by Duane A. Garrett

A review of Duane A. Garrett, A Commentary on Exodus, Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2014, 741 pages

This latest commentary to be released by Kregel comes from the veteran commentator Duane Garrett of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Garrett is known for contributing solid works on Hosea and Joel, Amos, and several commentaries on Wisdom Books.  He is known for his balanced approach and careful exegesis.  This new work on the Book of Exodus helps to maintain his standards.

Kregel’s Exegetical Commentary series has already made a strong impact with works by Allen Ross on Psalms and Robert Chisholm on Judges/Ruth, and Garrett doesn’t let the side down.  His Exodus Commentary is a fine work of scholarship, being nicely “weighted” towards the first part of the Book (to ch. 24) for preachers.

The one hundred and thirty page Introduction runs through issues such as sources (the critical approach with which the author is unimpressed), the author’s own translation policy (which I found very helpful), historical background (including interesting cameos of Pharaohs), topography, and Book analysis.  Lengthy discussions of the date of the Exodus and the Yam Suph crossing are sandwiched in there.  After a detailed look at arguments for both an early 15th century movement and a late 13th century date, Garrett concludes that although the exodus certainly happened, it is better not to be dogmatic on a set date, or to repair to novel reinterpretations of Egyptian chronology to try to settle the matter.  This conclusion will not satisfy everybody (like this reviewer), but one cannot claim that the writer has not looked into the matter seriously.

Preachers will find that the coverage of the first chapters are full, the treatment of the miracles is ample, while the actual wilderness journey in chapters 15:22 to 19 is very well done.  Garrett keeps up the theme of movement through the section, as well as taking care to discuss different interpretations.  I found his comments on the Ten ‘Words’ good but a little slender.  Students wanting more reflective ethical evaluations will have to turn to Douma, Frame, or Rooker.  However, the coverage of the “Sinai Covenant’s” Book of the Covenant connects chapter 20 with chapters 21-24 in a way many will appreciate.

Another notable feature of this book are the several excursii on important places and themes. some of these are thought-provoking (e.g. whether the plagues ought to be interpreted as directed against the gods of Egypt).  Some of them a little disappointing (as when Garrett prefers not to believe the Nile was turned to blood), and some extremely good (like the lengthy discussion of the Hardening of Pharaoh’s heart).  There is also a (rather too compressed) appendix on ‘The Songs of Exodus” at the back.  Of note in the book is the author’s stress upon the theological contribution of Exodus to Israel’s identity.

One major complaint I have is the editorial decision to dispense with indices.  Who decided that? Further, the usefulness of the commentary would be greatly improved by an analytical Table of Contents. It is in these not unimportant areas that the publisher fails both author and reader.  Nevertheless, this is a commentary worth considering.  I would place it close to Douglas Stuart in the NAC series, and Walter Kaiser in the EBC, although for me Kaiser still takes the laurels.