This review appeared in the Jan-Mar 2007 vol. 164 no. 1 issue of Biblotheca Sacra, DTS’s quarterly academic journal.Subscribe Today
Handbook of the Wisdom Books and PsalmsBaker Academic, Grand Rapids January 1, 2010
Estes correctly notes that the books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs explore in poetic form “the most profound issues that confront humans . . . with penetrating insight and memorable expression” (p. 9).
In discussing each of these five books, Estes, distinguished professor of Bible at Cedarville (OH) University, summarizes key introductory issues, such as authorship, date, unity, structure, purpose, and theme. He then expounds the books of Job, Ecclesisates, and Song of Songs paragraph by paragraph. He discusses ten major types of psalms and expounds an example of each type. And in Proverbs Estes discusses the topics of cheerfulness, contentment, decisions, diligence, friendship, generosity, humility, kindness, parenting, purity, righteousness, and truthfulness.
Estes correctly notes that lb,h, in Ecclesiastes, often translated “vanity” or “meaningless” (in the sense of life being futile or hopeless), should be rendered “enigmatic.” He also views the Song of Songs as a drama that retraces the couple’s relationship from courtship through the wedding and their growth in marital love.
Countless quotations of other commentators on various passages give readers ready access to the views of many authors, thus saving readers hours of research. This element stands as a somewhat unique feature of this outstanding handbook on five of the most intriguing books of the Old Testament. Every Christian reader and leader will find this book a valuable asset for studying these often-overlooked Bible books.
—Roy B. Zuck