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Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah
Daniel C. Timmer.
Obadiah, Jonah and Micah.
Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries.
Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2021.
Reviewed by Andrew Judd
This volume is part of the new Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series, replacing the original volume by Baker, Alexander and Waltke. While the new volume has a single author, it is still really three self-contained commentaries. In keeping with the TOTC series approach, the commentaries are highly readable, giving laypeople a way into the sometimes confusing and foreign world of the minor prophets. A short introduction provides around ten pages of historical background, authorship, genre and structure (typically defending the unity of each book). An analysis of the sections of the text is then followed by verse-by-verse exegetical comments (and, in Micah’s case, a new translation). Timmer uses his own translation throughout. There is a solid bibliography but no indexes.
The overall approach is conservative and evangelical, with an emphasis on historicism and literary unity. For example, while acknowledging the humorous elements of Jonah, the genre is taken to be historical narrative (p. 41). Issues around the size of the historical Nineveh are resolved exegetically. The ‘meaning’ of each section is suggested in brief notes, which occasionally link to NT passages. However, for ideas on how to apply the text to the Christian situation you will need to look elsewhere.
Rather than see the Twelve as a single book, or unified corpus, this series’ approach lends itself to studying each of the books separately. There is no context given for the literary unit of the Twelve as a whole, nor any attempt to weave some of the themes together. Given the single author, it was surprising that little effort has been made to point out the intertextual connections between Obadiah, Jonah and Micah — like the call to ‘arise’ (Obadiah 1:1, Jonah 1:2) or the very different implications of the descriptions of God’s character from Exodus 15 and 34 (Jonah 4:2, Micah 7:18). Indeed, with regard to this Exodus quotation the possible intertextual links with other books are observed, just not with Obadiah!
Overall, the volume is a useful guide for a general audience and will assist Bible study leaders and expository preachers with a reliable and intelligent introduction to the book.