These beautiful and eloquent books contain some of the most striking poetry and prophecy in the entire Old Testament. The book of Isaiah has been remarkably influential on art, music, political theory, missions, and evangelism over a long period of time, and many who are unfamiliar with Scripture can still recognize phrases and concepts from this great book. Likewise, the books of Jeremiah and Lamentation reveal God’s unfailing love in the middle of struggle, God’s faithfulness in times of transition, and God’s warnings against sinful excess. Larry L. Walker’s commentary on Isaiah, and Elmer A. Martens’ commentary on Jeremiah and Lamentations bring the vivid imagery and poignant prophecy to life.
“Motyer (1993:424) says, ‘The threefold exaltation (raised … lifted up … highly exalted) expresses a dignity beyond what any other merits or receives and is surely intended as a clue leading to the identity of the servant. It is impossible not to be reminded of the resurrection, ascension and heavenly exaltation of the Lord Jesus.’” (Page 233)
“The second metaphor is agricultural (17:5–8). The stunted shrub on salty flats is a picture of one who trusts solely in human resources, including his own. The key trait is autonomy. By contrast, the person whose support system is initially and primarily the Lord is a flourishing tree perpetually producing fruit. The key trait is dependence on God. To trust in God is to rely on, lean on, and place one’s confidence in God (cf. Ps 62:8 ; Isa 7:4–9).” (Page 392)
“He may be remembered popularly as a weeping prophet, but given his lifelong, uphill struggle against unrelenting opposition from virtually every quarter, he can more accurately be characterized as a courageous prophet.” (Page 296)
“Those advocating two authors (a widespread view) claim that the traditional Isaiah of Jerusalem wrote chapters 1–39 and that ‘Deutero-Isaiah,’ most likely living in Babylon, wrote chapters 40–66.” (Page 3)
“The subject of the first half of chapter 58 (58:1–12) is the sin of hypocrisy, especially as it relates to fasting. This passage has many parallels with 1:10–20. Both passages expose the folly of religious hypocrisy—thinking that one can be truly religious but socially indifferent. Smart (1965:247) puts it succinctly, ‘One of the unique features of the Biblical faith is that there is no genuine relation with God that is not at the same time a relation with the brother.’ True faith is depicted in 58:13–14: God’s laws are to be kept, but not in a legalistic fashion. People are to enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight (58:13). Serving the Lord is to be a joyful experience (58:14), not a grudging one.” (Page 252)
An enormously helpful series for the layperson and pastor alike because it centers on the theological message of each book and ties it directly to the text. This approach has been needed for some time and will be an invaluable supplement to other commentary series.
A treasure house of insight into the biblical text. Written by some of the best scholars working today, it is an essential tool for pastors, students, church leaders, and lay people who want to understand the text and know how it relates to our lives today. Like the New Living Translation text it uses as its base, this commentary series is extremely readable.
Elmer A. Martens is professor emeritus of Old Testament and president emeritus at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno, California, where he has taught for over thirty years. He is the author of God's Design, A Focus on Old Testament Theology, and the volume on Jeremiah in the Believers Church Bible Commentary (19 Vols.). He was co-editor of The Flowering of Old Testament Theology and served for several years as the editor of the journal, Direction.
Larry L. Walker held a professional teaching career with time split between Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Seminary. Since his retirement in 1998, he has done adjunct teaching at several seminaries. He authored a commentary on Zephaniah for the Expositor's Bible Commentary and is also a contributor to the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis.