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Psalms Vol. 1: From Suffering to Glory (Welwyn Commentary Series)

By Philip Eveson
May 2017 | Review by Phil Heaps
  • Publisher: Evangelical Press
  • ISBN: 978-1-78397-020-9
  • Pages: 462
  • Price: £15.99
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Book Review

This commentary from Philip Eveson, in the Welwyn Commentary Series, begins with a ten-page introduction, briefly touching on psalm headings (part of the Hebrew text); the division of the Psalter into five books; different types of psalm (praise, prayer, thanksgiving, wisdom, law, history, etc.); Hebrew poetry; musical accompaniment; and the use of psalms in personal devotion and communal worship.

Generally, about six pages are given for each psalm, that is 2-3 verses per page of commentary. Occasionally the treatment is uneven. For example, Psalm 39 (13 verses) gets a longer treatment than Psalm 37 (40 verses). The commentary concludes with a short bibliography and a few pages of endnotes.

Each psalm is given a brief title intended to capture the central theme. The exposition starts with a brief introduction, then divides the psalm into sections, each with a short heading. These headings communicate a view of the structure of the psalm, which is often helpful and sometimes memorable (for example, Psalm 24: ‘Approaching the Lord, vv. 1-6’ and ‘The Lord approaching, vv. 7-10’).

The commentary on each psalm contains a good variety of observations, illustrations, applications and cross references to other psalms and other Scriptures. The approach is theologically solid in its commitment to the Psalms as God’s inerrant Word.

Occasionally, the use of multiple cross references and treatment of broader biblical themes seem to obscure the content of the psalm itself; or the exposition focuses on detail, but is light on larger hermeneutical issues. But, by and large, the balance is good. There is the occasional technical reference to underlying Hebrew, but the book is clearly intended and suitable for the general reader.

In almost every chapter, I found something helpful in terms of understanding or applying the psalm; or a striking turn of phrase. Occasionally there were stimulating ideas I had not come across before; for example, linking the content of Psalm 23 to Israel’s wilderness wanderings.

Overall the commentary is sane, balanced and wholesome. Perhaps its greatest strength is in drawing readers’ attention to how the various psalms point to Christ or connect with key gospel themes.

Phil Heaps

Yate

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