The Kingship belongs to YHWH
(Hearing the Message of Scripture: A Commentary on the Old Testament)
Daniel I. Block
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014
Obadiah at just under 300 words is the shortest book of the Bible. There are not many one volume commentaries devoted to it, so this book is a welcome addition.
There have been a proliferation of new commentary series recently - well at least two! This commentary on Obadiah is part of a new series from Zondervan. The emphasis in this series is the place given to understanding the role of the biblical authors as rhetoricians. Block examines not only the message of the author but also what strategies he used to get over his message. As the series editors put it:
The primary goal of this commentary series is to help serious students of Scripture, as well as those charged with preaching and teaching the Word of God, to hear the messages of Scripture as biblical authors intended them to be heard . While we recognize the timelessness of the biblical message, the validity of our interpretation and the authority with which we teach the Scriptures are related directly to the extent to which we have grasped the message intended by the author in the first place . Accordingly, when dealing with specific texts, the authors of the commentaries in this series are concerned with three principal questions: (1) What are the principal theological points the biblical writers are making? (2) How do biblical writers make those points? (3) What significance does the message of the present text have for understanding the message of the biblical book within which it is embedded and the message of the Scriptures as a whole . The achievement of these goals requires careful attention to the way ideas are expressed in the OT, including the selection and arrangement of materials and the syntactical shaping of the text.
And as the author has it:
With this volume we are launching a new commentary series, whose goal is to help readers of the Scriptures hear the messages that the human and divine authors in- tended to communicate.
Each part of the commentary is split into five main sections:
1. The main idea
2. The literary context
3. Translation and outline - here the author provides his own translation
4. Structure and literary form
5. An explanation of the text.
This forms a helpful framework.
The final chapter: ‘Canonical and practical significance’ is very useful and interesting. Here the exegetical detail is supplemented by a broad overview. As Block notes: ‘The brevity of the book masks its profundity.’ Block develops the idea of Edom as a representative of the nations and as a representative of humanity. He also highlights the key idea behind the book as ‘The dominion belongs to YHWH.’ Here he leaves us rightly with a Christological perspective:
The dominion belongs to YHWH incarnate in Jesus Christ! To him be the glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen!
Block is no stranger to commentary writing he has produced major commentaries on Ezekiel, Judges and Deuteronomy, this book is a welcome addition to his corpus.