Wednesday 17 June 2009

Donald Wiseman on 1 and 2 Kings

Donald J. Wiseman, 1 and 2 Kings: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Nottingham: IVP, 2009).

IVP have been reissuing the Tyndale commentaries (Old and New Testament) in a new format. IVP USA make available the (not insubstantial) Introduction to the volume on 1 and 2 Kings, written by Donald Wiseman (first published in 1993).

The blurb on the UK website reads:

‘The book of Kings is a unique source for understanding the history of Israel from the last days of the united kingdom under David to the eventual fall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Presenting Israel’s national history from a divine viewpoint, these narratives measure the kings of Israel and Judah, not by the mark they leave on secular history, but by their ‘doing what is right in the Lord’s sight’. Embedded in this story are enduring lessons of the ways of God with his people in every age.’

The Introduction covers the following areas:

• The value of the books of Kings
• Themes and theology
• Chronology
• Archaeological evidence
• Sources
• Literary Form
• Composition and authorship
• Text

Given Wiseman’s expertise in the history, archaeology, languages and documents of the ancient Near East, the commentary is most helpful in providing an accessible and concise treatment of historical and related issues.

Not that theology is totally absent… Wiseman notes the following theological emphases in the books of Kings:

• God in history
• God in judgment
• God as deliverer: hope and restoration
• God’s promise to David
• Prophecy
• Other themes – models, the centrality of worship, kingship

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