The close-knit bond between prophecy and history, according to O. Palmer Robertson, becomes particularly clear through the study of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. As the historical context of their messages is explored, it becomes ever more apparent that biblical history—in addition to providing the context for prophecy—actually embodies and functions as prophecy. The events that occurred to Judah and its neighbors spoke in anticipation of world-shaking circumstances that were yet to come.
In this commentary Robertson combines the insights of biblical theology with a keen awareness of the age in which we live. After first dealing with the relevant background issues of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah—redemptive-historical setting, theological perspective, date and authorship, and so on—Robertson applies the care and precision of an exegete and the concern of a pastor to his verse-by-verse exposition of each book. The result is a relevant confrontation with the ancient call to repentance and faith—a confrontation greatly needed in today’s world.
“The underlying theme of the book may be summarized as follows: A matured faith trusts humbly but persistently in God’s design for establishing righteousness in the earth.” (Page 136)
“Steadfastness in faith is the way of receiving the gift of life. Continuation in trust alone can assure continued possession of the gift of life.” (Page 179)
“Not a weak faith but a perplexed faith torments Habakkuk.” (Page 156)
“The concept of righteousness (Heb. ṣəḏāqāh) in the OT develops a distinctive flavor in that it is bound inseparably to the idea of judicial standing.” (Page 175)
“Since prayer is provided specifically as the framework in which all the burdens of God’s people may be poured out before the Lord, prayers expressing perplexity are appropriate so long as they are offered in a context of trust.” (Page 138)
Robertson has produced an outstanding volume that treats three of the lesser-known Old Testament prophecies. He writes in a clear style with an emphasis on the rich theological meaning of these prophets and with a pastor’s insight regarding their relevance to Christians today.
—Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College
O. Palmer Robertson’s work on Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah is a first-class theological commentary with unique applications to the present day. His conclusions are balanced and well aimed with regard to the particulars of the immediate historical situation as well as with regard to the overall canonical stance of the ongoing drama of revelation. From these three orphan books of the Old Testament Robertson has crafted a most memorable message for the present-day church.
—Walter C. Kaiser Jr., president emeritus, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
O. Palmer Robertson gained his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Westminster Seminary and his Master's and Doctorate from Union Theological Seminary, Virginia. Dr. Robertson was active in the establishment of the Presbyterian Church in America and has worked in various church ministries as well as seminary teaching. He has numerous books in print, including Psalms in Congregational Celebration. He is a frequent lecturer and conference speaker in Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America.