Book Reviews -- By: Matthew S. DeMoss
BSac 163:652 (October-December 2006) p. 487
By The Faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary
The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 1–15. By Bruce K. Waltke. New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004. 693 pp. $50.00. The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 16–31. By Bruce K. Waltke. New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005. 589 pp. $50.00.
This massive two-volume commentary is perhaps the most significant exegetical work on the Book of Proverbs in the last one hundred years. Waltke provides a thorough exegetical analysis of Proverbs that leaves no stone unturned. Between the two volumes, approximately one thousand pages are directly devoted to exegesis and interpretation, more than one page per verse. (Proverbs has 915 verses in the Hebrew text.)
This commentary is a testimony to the author’s interpretive insight and skill, and to his vast experience as an educator and preacher. He discusses text-critical, lexical, and syntactical issues in a cogent manner that will make the volume user-friendly for preachers. Of particular value are the word studies that appear throughout the interpretive notes, as well as the abundant cross-referencing. These features are especially important in Proverbs, where it is vital to examine the various facets of any given theme and the lexical nuances of wisdom vocabulary. Waltke is also sensitive to how literary structure, parallelism, and figurative speech impact exegesis. Along with the interpretive notes he includes an annotated translation of the text, accompanied by detailed technical notes that address, for the most part, text-critical matters.
Waltke includes an extensive introduction to Proverbs (133 pages in length) that covers the following topics: title, text and versions, structure, ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature, authorship, and theology. A lengthy bibliography follows the introduction. The treatment of introductory matters is uneven—the section dealing with the book’s title is only one paragraph in length (and could have been subsumed under “authorship”), while the theology section covers seventy pages. Much more could and perhaps should have been said about ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature (pp. 28–31). Those interested in this important area will want to supplement Waltke’s brief overview with William McKane’s
BSac 163:652 (October-December 2006) p. 488
lengthy discussion in Proverbs: A New Approach, Old Testament Library (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1970), 51–208. ...
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