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The Book of Psalms (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament | NICOT)

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Overview

This work by Nancy deClaissé-Walford, Rolf Jacobson, and Beth Tanner is the most complete and detailed one–volume commentary available on the Psalms. Significantly, the volume reflects the combined insights of three superior (younger) biblical scholars.

DeClaissé-Walford, Jacobson, and Tanner offer a succinct introduction to the Psalter, a new translation of each psalm that takes special account of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and individual entries on each psalm unit. Throughout the book they draw on state–of–the–art research on the canonical shape and shaping of the Psalter and evidence a nuanced attention to the poetic nature of Psalms.

Resource Experts
  • Offers a new translation of each psalm while taking special account of the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Reflects the combined insights of three superior biblical scholars
  • Introduction to the authorship, date, purpose, structure and theology of the Book of Psalms

Top Highlights

“The point of the metaphor is that the destination that one reaches after being led along the paths of righteousness, the destination one reaches at the end of the days of my life, the destination toward which one is shepherded and indeed toward which one is harried by God’s pursuing goodness and hesed is none other than God’s very self. God is the psalmist’s destination.” (Page 245)

“Here, the threatening presence of the darkest valley is named. But the fear-evoking danger of that presence is more than balanced by the courage-providing, fear-removing presence of the Lord. This is the true setting of the psalm: the existential space of being in the presence of something that is terrifying, a space in which every reflective human being finds himself or herself at some point, and a space in which, according to the witness of the poem, the Lord can also be found.” (Pages 238–239)

“The bank vault of human worth, according to this psalm, is not located in our own existence, but rather in the twin sources of the God who created us and the creation over which that God has directed us to exercise responsibility: We are valuable because God values us and because God has commanded us to value creation!” (Page 120)

“The way of the righteous, by theological and grammatical contrast, is the object of God’s care. The righteous are distinguished not by any action of their own, but by an action of the Lord’s: God watches over them. The message of this verse, and indeed of the entire psalm, is that it is far better to give up spurious claims to subjective autonomy and become the object of the Lord’s care. This is the true path to happiness and life.” (Page 63)

Their new translation of the psalms and the attached notes as well as attention to recent scholarship provide a treasure trove of insights.

W.H. Bellinger Jr., chair, Department of Religion, Baylor University

From careful text-critical and philological analysis to thoughtful theological and pastoral reflections, the authors have created a most useful commentary on the Psalms. While valuable to scholars, these interpretations will be especially helpful to pastors in their teaching and preaching ministry.

Patrick D. Miller, professor of Old Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary

How excellent that these three scholars have written this commentary! How admirable that they have managed to cover so much ground and deal with so many detailed points concerning text and language, all within the confines of one volume!

John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

Nancy DeClaissé-Walford is Carolyn Ward Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages at McAfee School of Theology, Atlanta, Georgia.

Rolf A. Jacobson is associate professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and an ordained pastor. He is the author of Many Are Saying: The Function of Direct Discourse in the Hebrew Psalter and coauthor of Invitation to the Psalms: A Reader’s Guide to Discovery and Engagement.

Beth LaNeel Tanner is the Kansfield Professor of Old Testament Studies at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Jersey.

Reviews

13 ratings

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  1. John Veldhuis

    John Veldhuis

    10/15/2023

    For my personal study I find this a very helpful and beautiful work. It combines clear, informative scholarly work with very encouraging personal and pastoral applications as well as relevant insights for our world today. It points to Jesus and the New Testament and I think it is quite unique in its tone, especially in the reflections after some psalms, that really can lead one into thanksgiving and prayer.
  2. Turner Hansen
    This commentary (in my estimation) is the weakest volume in the set. It downplays messianic motifs, and leans heavily into liberal scholarship.
  3. Jared Beiswenger
    The good: There is a custom Hebrew translation with insight on the Hebrew meanings. The commentary is concise with a focus on original meaning and historical context. I appreciate that there's minimal modern application. It has a scholarly approach, which I appreciate. The bad: The commentary reads strangely as though it is a Jewish commentary on the Psalms and not a Christian one. There is no acknowledgement of the possibility of the prophetic nature of any of the psalms. There is little to no mention of Jesus. New Testament commentary on the Psalms is largely ignored or even EXPRESSLY CONTRADICTED, most notably Jesus' own interpretation of Psalm 82. There is some dubious scholarship referenced, which sent me on several rabbit holes, most notably theories on Yahweh and the Canaanite gods have common origins. I get the impression that the lure of modern scholarship has caused the authors to prioritize speculative ancient history over the commentary of the apostles themselves. Despite the contradictions to the New Testament there weren't a huge number of theological red flags, which has me occasionally using it as a resource, but I treat it more like a secular historical reference who's claims need to be carefully assessed.
  4. just_me

    just_me

    7/12/2022

    Disappointing volume, not up to the standards of others in this series. There are more scholarly single volume Psalms commentaries available. I don’t recommend this volume.
  5. Robert Polahar

    Robert Polahar

    10/17/2017

  6. Chan Yew Ming

    Chan Yew Ming

    10/8/2016

  7. Alexander C. Stewart
  8. Unix

    Unix

    1/12/2016

  9. Greg Wetterlin
  10. Albert Cooper

    Albert Cooper

    5/19/2015

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Print list price: $60.00
Save $12.01 (20%)