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A Commentary on Exodus

A Commentary on Exodus (Kregel Exegetical Library) by Duane A. Garrett

With an onslaught of movies coming out covering the first few books of the Bible, our culture is immersed in the stories of the early people of God.  Yet, there is much that is not good and/or misleading about Hollywood’s portrayal of the Pentateuch.  What we need is able scholars to make sense of the Pentateuch.  In steps Duane A. Garrett, Professor of OT Interpretation at SBTS, to provide readers with a clear and commendable commentary on the book of Exodus.  With careful handling of the Hebrew text and an eye toward the theological trajectory of Exodus, Garrett’s commentary is top-notch and not to be missed.

With a 130 page Introduction, Duane leads us through such issues as the date of the Exodus, the structure of the entire book and the history of Ancient Egyptian kings to give us a snapshot of the background of Exodus.  Yet, Duane guides us through the historicity of the exodus as it depends upon the dating of this momentous event (97).  At the end of his comments of dating, Duane writes, “In short, we have ample reason to believe that the biblical account is true, but we do not have sufficient information to specify the details of when it all happened and of what pharaohs were present” (103).  Therefore, trying to tie a specific Pharaoh with the Exodus event is a futile activity

Duane carries out his comments on the life of Moses with patience and great wisdom.  Concerning Moses’ idealism and activity in Exodus 2, he writes, “Second, Moses was an excitable, young idealist…On the other hand, his ideals were not tempered with moderation.  He could only strike out against the Egyptian taskmaster, and end up himself being a murderer, rather than wait to find a better way to remedy the situation.  That is, as a typical young idealist, he was impatient to set things right” (180).  Yet, the idealism of Moses was tempered with bad memories of Egypt, for that is where he committed murder, staining not only his conscience but his life.  Duane writes, “He had committed murder there, and no doubt, as he grew older and more reflective, he bitterly regretted it…The last place he would want to go was back to the scene of the worst moment of his life” (182).  The timidity, the running away from what God was calling him to do was based upon the tragic event in Moses’ early life, killing the cruel Egyptian taskmaster.

Lastly, Duane does an excellent job at bringing together the main theological center points of the book of Exodus.  Looking at ch.3-4 on pg. 232, Duane brings together 5 consecutive points about the previous passage that reflect Moses’ obedience to his father, God’s care for his firstborn son (Israel), and finally Christ’s example as the supreme example of the obedient son.  This kind of careful analysis does not try to find Christ under every rock in the OT but sees patterns in the OT that provide us a way to see Christ and his fulfillment of these patterns and types.

Overall, this commentary was very good in its grasp of grammatical, theological, and narrative issues in Exodus.  I recommend this commentary to anyone wanting to get a firm handle on the second book of the Bible.

Thanks to Kregel Academic for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 


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