Biblical studies: September 2007 Archives

Nahum Commentaries

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This is part of a larger project reviewing commentaries on each book of the Bible. Follow the links from that post for more information on the series, including explanations of what I mean by some of the terms and abbreviations in this post.

This post in particular is heavily reliant on my earlier reviews of commentaries on Habakkuk and Zephaniah, since most commentaries on each of these books include all three. One Nahum-specific commentary appears here, just as there were some Zephaniah-specific and Nahum-specific commentaries in the other posts. Where possible, I have tried to key my discussion of each commentary here to the Nahum section in the commentaries that deal with more than one book.

Waylon Bailey's NAC (1999) is probably my favorite of all the commentaries I looked at. It isn't so detailed that it's hard to wade through, but he addresses most issues most people might ask of the text unless they're working on an academic paper. He deals with historical, theological and linguistic matters fairly well, and he's also concerned about connections with the New Testament. He's coming from a conservative evangelical perspective, but he's also good at presenting various views. This is my all-around recommendation for seeking the best balance of what I look for in a commentary. It doesn't shirk anything I consider truly important.
O. Palmer Robertson's NICOT (1990) is probably my favorite Nahum commentary in terms of theology. His theological reflections are probing and get enough time to explore the issues, with more time than any of the other commentaries on the list given to the task of simply reflecting on what the text means for Nahum's view of God and its implications for life. It's much weaker on linguistic matters, sometimes not even addressing important issues that most of the other commentaries will spend some time on. It doesn't get first place primarily for that reason.

His perspective is conservative, evangelical, and explicitly Reformed. His expertise is in covenant theology, and he has a keen eye for seeing New Testament connections, although on occasion I think he reads a NT perspective into a text that may not have originally gone quite so far. It's a shame that Eerdmans has contracted a replacement for his commentary in this series this early, though Thomas Renz will probably produce a good commentary that will give more detail on the things Robertson doesn't focus much on. See my more detailed review of Robertson here.



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