The Old Testament provides peculiarly powerful ways of thinking and seeing. Brueggemann considers the artistry of 1 & 2 Kings as it mediates between history and faith. He has spent many years engaged with the artistry and imagination of the Old Testament, pondering the ways of power in church and society and he makes clear that those issues of power in the ancient texts still pertain to contemporary times. The commentary proceeds text-by-text, special focus is placed upon Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, and Josiah as models of faith. Brueggemann provides a guide for the reader to maneuver between flat history and absolute faith.
This commentary uses a three-fold format for each section of the biblical text: (1) a commentary section containing critical analysis and interpretation; (2) a section that makes connections between the text and the modern reader by suggesting contemporary applications; and (3) special interest material related to the text. Also included is a CD-ROM containing all the text and images of the volume in a searchable format. The CD-ROM that contains: the full text of the commentary, visuals from the commentary, hyperlinked outline and visual thumbnails, powerful search capabilities, Adobe Acrobat Reader with Search, and the ability to add study notes to the file.
Smyth & Helwys are to be congratulated in choosing Walter Brueggemann to write the commentary on 1 & 2 Kings. Perhaps no other Old Testament scholar is better equipped to offer penetrating and scholarly commentary in a way that the layperson can understand, and to make insightful connections of the text to the world in which we live. The introduction is brief, yet it cogently encapsulates the movement of the "royal history." Brueggemann's detailed outline for 1 & 2 Kings is itself a goldmine for the preacher/teacher. The sidebars throughout the commentary are extremely insightful. A must have!
Nothing Brueggemann writes is bad. This is an outstanding commentary on two books on which there is a lack of good commentaries. What is unique about this series of commentaries is that it is truly post-modern. There are a lot of images and the commentary has a user-friendly design. My criticism is not of the commentary, but the series. I do not know what audience the publisher hopes to reach, but it is not the average pastor or informed layman, for the price is excessive.