Over the past year or so, I have become less of a hoarder of commentaries and commentary sets. In my Bible College and Seminary days, I used such tools extensively as they are required resources for writing research papers and other academically related tasks. With that said, when I see a commentary, especially one on a rather favorite book of Scripture, namely that of Ruth, I typically jump at the chance to take a look to see what the author has to offer, hoping to find some further nugget of truth. Daniel Block’s commentary on Ruth as part of Zondervan’s Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament series is such a commentary.
There is much to enjoy about this commentary. For starters, it is not a 25-pound weight that you dread pulling off your bookshelf in fear of straining your triceps. It is a manageable size and thus is not intimidating looking from a sheer volume standpoint. Those who are not a fan of large academic minded commentaries that are hard to read and even harder to understand should have no fear as Block does not take that approach in this volume. Conversely, with pastors and laymen in mind, he approaches the text in a manner that is extremely helpful. Mind you he does not shy away from engaging academic related elements concerning the text, but he does it in a way that is very understandable and accessible to both seasoned theologian and those who might be new to the subject matter, in this case, the book of Ruth.
Another valuable aspect of this commentary that is related to the aforementioned ease of reading is the numerous helpful tools that accompany each section. For example, before his commentary on each periscope of Ruth, he provides the main idea of the passage, the literary context, structure and literary forms such as chiastic structure, and on several occasions gives the reader very helpful tables, charts, and other visual aids before he even gets to an explanation of the text. Such background information is hugely helpful to the reader as it sets the important foundation.
Finally, Block provides in Appendix A something quite interesting that I have yet to see in other commentaries. He gives instructions on how to do a dramatic reading of the Book of Ruth complete with how to set the dramatic reading up, as well as the dialogue to be read. This commentary would be a neat tool to use for young children or teenagers in a Sunday School setting. Homeschoolers, especially those with larger families or who are part of homeschool cooperatives, might find this a fun activity as part of Bible or drama class.
I highly recommend Daniel Block’s commentary on Ruth. It is engaging, replete with a plethora of helpful tools for understanding the text, and provides a wealth of information that will assuredly help the reader better understand the message of Ruth. In addition, this commentary will help readers understand more of the overall message of restoration and redemption found throughout Scripture.
I received this book for free from Zondervan and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”