Allen Ross’s Commentary on Psalms

Allen P. Ross’s first volume on the Psalms has appeared in the Kregel Exegetical Library: Psalms, Vol. 1 Psalms 1–41. From what I can tell having skimmed through the introduction, this appears to be a responsible, evangelical, careful, traditional, academic-with-a-desire-to-be-pastoral commentary on Psalms.

I don’t detect much influence from Jamie Grant’s argument that the law of the king (Deut 17) has influenced the shaping of the Psalter, nor is there a lot of interaction with the volumes by Hossfeldt and Zenger in the Hermeneia series (these do not appear on the bibliography on pp. 71–80), which examine the unfolding story of the psalter.

So I’m not saying that Ross has ignored the storyline of the Psalter altogether, or that he shows no interest in reading the Psalter in light of the whole canon, but I am saying that the focus of his commentary is not a biblical theological interpretation of the Psalms that traces out the kind of storyline articulated by the likes of Grant, Wenham, Hossfeldt and Zenger, and others.

This commentary does not take those risks, staying with the more established practice of interpreting the Psalms individually word by word, phrase by phrase. I’m not saying that’s bad, just saying that’s what this book does.

As is reflected in my section on the Psalms in God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology, I think the book of Psalms as a whole tells the same story prophesied by Moses, narrated in the Former Prophets, proclaimed in the Latter Prophets, and sung in the Writings: Israel entered the land, broke the covenant, will be (or has been) driven into exile, and awaits a glorious eschatological restoration replete with a new exodus, a new covenant, a new temple, a new conquest of a new land which will be a new Eden, and all of this will be led by a new David. And I think that the ways that Grant, Hossfeldt and Zenger, Wenham, et al. argue are essential for establishing such claims. Moreover and more importantly, it seems to me that this is how the authors of the NT see the Psalms being fulfilled in Jesus.

3 replies on “Allen Ross’s Commentary on Psalms”

  1. Are you referring to Gordon Wenham here? If so, his new book on the ethics of the Psalms, or something else? I wasn’t previously aware that he digs into the storyline approach to the Psalms.

    1. Yes – I haven’t read the ethics book, but he has an essay (cited in GGSTJ), and he did some great lectures you can find if you search Wenham on the SBTS website.

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