A Commentary on the Psalms (Volume 2, Psalms 42-89) by Allen P. Ross
Anyone familiar with Allen P. Ross knows that when he writes a book, it is going to be detailed and very good. The same can be said for his new commentary on Psalms 42-89. This commentary is rich in analysis, grammar and syntax, but also gives the reader some practical applications of the text also. What I found particularly illuminating was the exegetical outline provided at the beginning of each chapter that outlines the psalm, giving meaning but also pointing to the main ideas in the text.
As others have pointed out, the way Ross approaches the Psalms provides a model for reading the text of Scripture. In the section of Psalm 58 concerning Unrighteous Judges, Ross carefully makes the point that we don’t entirely know of the occasion in David’s life that led to this Psalm but we should see it as a communal lament psalm (296-297). The cautious nature of Ross steers us clear of any radical speculation concerning the occasion of the text. In Psalm 58:1, the first line is troubling for some. Yet, Ross points out that the phrase “Do you truly speak righteousness in silence?” possibly to “uttering long-silent justice” which ‘would mean that these people claimed to be remedying the lack of justice but were introducing injustice (299).” The very nature of the judges and their work pronounced to the culture around them that they promoted and rallied around injustice.
On the Message and Application section of Psalm 62, Allen points us to a truth about God that is beneficial for all ages. He writes, “God alone is able to deliver the faithful from destructive enemies and make them safe and secure because he alone is both savior and judge (375).” In other words, he has both the power to judge enemies rightly and fully while also mediating salvation for God’s people. The effective nature of God’s judgments and his saving work are no more apparent than in the coming of Jesus in the incarnation and in his Second Coming. If God were just judge, then mercy would not be on offer and salvation would not be effective. If he were just savior, than his people would not be free from the ravaging nature of sin that besets all people. Allen points us to God’s character that is both rewards the just and condemns the unjust, delivers the righteous and punishes the wicked.
I also appreciated the way Ross interacted with both older commentaries and more recent works. This kind of thorough treatment of the Psalms is just what the student and pastor need for their study.
Thanks to Kregel Academic for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.