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Jonah HB (Hearing the Message of Scripture: A Commentary on the Old Testament) Hardcover – 28 Jan 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (28 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310282993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310282990
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 1.6 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,522,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Kevin Youngblood (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate Ppofessor of Bible and amp; Religion at Harding University. Daniel I. Block (D.Phil, University of Liverpool) is Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College.

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By Lindsay on 16 Jan. 2015
Format: Hardcover
This is an excerpt from my full review on the My Digital Seminary blog.

Jonah is a profoundly rich commentary. Sure, there aren’t complex word studies, redactional criticism, or sermon illustrations, but none of these are part of this series’ intention. Paying attention to the literary strategies of the biblical authors is surely the way forward and Youngblood offers that in spades. Our first task ought to be understanding the biblical text first and foremost on its own terms, through paying close attention to its own structure and being shaped by its own agendas. Then the work of application and preaching can be built on a solid foundation. For this reason, any serious student, pastor or teacher will greatly benefit from picking this up. I read it in my own devotional time and profited immensely from it.

I am not overstating the case when I say that if all commentaries in the Hearing the Message of Scripture series live up to the quality of Youngblood’s Jonah (and Block’s Obadiah, for that matter), then the entire series will be priceless. So you need to collect the whole set!

[Many thanks to Zondervan Academic for providing a review copy. Their generosity has not affected my review.]
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Youngblood on Jonah 15 Feb. 2014
By Brendan Knox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Book of Jonah has always excited interest in both younger and older readers of Scripture. It is a fascinating narrative, but it is also a narrative that raises many questions. How does this book relate to the other Minor Prophets? How do we explain Jonah's mission to Nineveh, a seemingly unprecedented event in OT history? Why does God relent from his destruction of Nineveh?

This new commentary by Kevin Youngblood is one of the most helpful and useful commentaries on this little book of the OT. Part of the new exegetical series on the Old Testament, this commentary integrates a number of features including graphical displays of the passage, tables connecting different portions of Scripture, discourse analysis, and discussions on canonical and practical significance for each major portion of the book. All of these features make this commentary very useful from a number of different angles.

The commentary does discuss the Hebrew text regularly showings its relevance for interpretation. Students and pastors with some knowledge of Hebrew will benefit most from Youngblood's exegesis. Youngblood has many fascinating insights into the how and why of Jonah. His literary analysis is helpful in answering questions about why the text is the way it is. At points, I felt that Youngblood downplayed the obvious historical reference by focusing on the literary purpose (see for example, his comments on the size of Nineveh). But as a whole, Youngblood has cogent and satisfying answers that aid the reader in understanding the how and why of Jonah.

His sections detailing the canonical and practical significance of each portion bring out many new and fascinating insights into the connection of the book to the NT (see for example, his discussion on Peter and Jonah). It was unfortunate to see that Zondervan has chosen to transliterate all Hebrew. This is frustrating for me as I try to discern what exactly lies behind each transliteration. While in many cases it is obvious, it is nonetheless unhelpful. I would have preferred if the Hebrew text was included with transliteration underneath or in parentheses.

Youngblood's commentary is clear, concise, and helpful. As a commentary it is actually both useful and enjoyable to read (a rare thing for commentaries).

Thank you to Zondervan for providing me with a review copy of this book!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
God's Scandalous Mercy 30 Jan. 2014
By Upstate New York Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Let me begin with the same words I used to describe this new series as I did with my just finished review of the commentary on the book of Obadiah.

I first fell in love with the Old Testament during the summer of 1972 while attending a four week leadership training workshop sponsored by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. The first week was a study of the book of Amos led by Carl E. Armerding. This book helped to continue that appreciation for the Old Testament.

This new commentary on Obadiah and its companion on the book of Jonah are the first two volumes in a new series, “Hearing the Message of Scripture” from Zondervan. For lack of a better term, the titles in this series best classified as a “Rhetorical Commentaries” with the author of this first volume also serving as the General Editor of the entire series.

Recognizing that most commentaries and readers apply the syntactical tools available to the Biblical scholar to the either the word or sentence level, Block is responding to recent studies in “rhetorical and discourse analysis” suggest that similar concepts can be applied to the both the paragraph and to the literary unit as a whole. It is this background that serves as the backbone of this new series of commentaries. The series certainly assumes the authority of scripture, quoting II Timothy 3:16-17 early in the introduction; though it does not explicitly adopt the inerrancy of scripture as part of its foundation.

With this in mind, each unit of the text will include address a number of “issues”:

1. The Main Idea of the Passage: A one- or two-sentence summary of the key
ideas the biblical author seeks to communicate.
2. Literary Context: A brief discussion of the relationship of the specific text to
the book as a whole and to its place within the broader arguments.
3. Translation and Outline: Commentators will provide their own translations
of each text, formatted to highlight the discourse structure of the text and accompanied by a coherent outline that reflects the flow and argument of the
4. Structure and Literary Form: An introductory survey of the literary structure
and rhetorical style adopted by the biblical author, highlighting how these
features contribute to the communication of the main idea of the passage.
5. Explanation of the Text: A detailed commentary on the passage, paying particular attention to how the biblical authors select and arrange their materials and how they work with words, phrases, and syntax to communicate their messages. This will take up the bulk of most commentaries.
6. Canonical and Practical Significance: The commentary on each unit will conclude by building bridges between the world of the biblical author and other biblical authors and with reflections on the contribution made by this unit to the development of broader issues in biblical theology — particularly on how later OT and NT authors have adapted and reused the motifs in question. The discussion will also include brief reflections on the significance of the message of the passage for readers today.
(Copied from “Series Introduction”)

Though a few other comments are made, one caught my attention. Though smaller books may allow room for a significant word for word commentary, space may not allow authors of commentaries of larger books to include as many details.

My only additional comment at this point is that I can only hope that a similar set of commentaries on the NT will be forthcoming from Zondervan in the near future as well.

Like the commentary on Obadiah, this commentary on Jonah begins with a new translation of the whole book.

The commentary proper begins by noting that the “cultural impact of the book of Jonah is out of proportion to its small size - even referring to Bruce Springsteen’s new song, “Swallowed Up (in the Belly of the Whale).” The author goes on to say:

Perhaps one reason for this story’s ability to transcend the normal barriers of cultural and religious differences is its emphasis on the universal scope of God’s sovereignty and mercy. Furthermore, the book’s subtlety and open-endedness lend the story to a multiplicity of interpretations as is apparent
from the vast number of commentaries purporting to expound the book’s message. (25)

From that point, the book proceeds to discuss Jonah’s place in the Minor Prophets, the larger genre of the Prophetic literature, and the Bible as a whole. Part of this discussion is the historicity of Jonah - particularly as it relates to known history of the Mideast. The author understands that there are difficulties with determining the historic setting of the book, and the time of its writing but adds,

The possible chronological distance between the events recorded in the book and the book’s composition should not, however, deter readers from taking the narrative seriously. A brief and dramatic account like that of the prophet Jonah could easily have been preserved in Israel’s memory, having first circulated in northern Israel and then eventually making its way to postexilic Judah. It was finally combined with Judean prophetic traditions, at which point it was committed to writing with consummate artistic skill. (35)

Youngblood concludes with the “Canonical and Practical Significance” of the book of Jonah. The author does this by drawing from the New Testament’s use of Jonah, concluding by comparing Johan’s behavior to that of the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Because this commentary makes significantly less use of the original languages, I can recommend this commentary on Jonah for the layman, as well as the pastor and scholar. Institutional libraries would do well in adding this book to their collection as well. (176)
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Redemptive Story Through Jonah's Story 21 April 2014
By Tom Farr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
What It's About: Jonah is a commentary on the biblical book of Jonah in Zondervan's new Hearing the Message of Scripture commentary series. This commentary, along with others in the series, is focused on interpreting the Hebrew language, tracing the author's thoughts and arguments as presented in the book, and revealing how modern day believers should see the book of Jonah as applying to them today.

What I Liked About It: The commentary has a great overall format in the way that it presents the biblical text, breaks it down, and outlines its structure. Jonah is one of the most interesting books of the Bible, and I enjoyed the the author breaks the text down both in terms of the events it records and the literary approach the author takes in communicating the events. This includes parts that are straight narrative and parts that are in poetic form. The author states the way some of the events of the story are also symbolic of something else. For example, the Jews often understood Jonah's three days and nights in the belly of a fish as a journey into and out of death. The author also shows the parallels between the story of Jonah and Jesus' story, particularly Jesus' calming of the storm, his wrestling in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane while the disciples slept, and, of course, Jesus' death and resurrection three days later. I also enjoyed the author's discussion of the role of divine and human freedom in the response of the people of Ninevah. Overall, this is a helpful little commentary for anyone studying the book of Jonah and wanting to know how it fits into the redemptive narrative of Scripture and how it applies to us today.

Review copy provided by Zondervan, courtesy of AcademicPS
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
New Commentary Series that lives up to it's handle "Hearing the Message of Scripture" 23 Aug. 2014
By William D. Curnutt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the first commentary books in a new series titled, "Hearing the Message of Scripture a Commentary on the Old Testament." I received a copy of this book from Zondervan asking for an honest review of the material.

If the entire series they are planning is as good as this book then I will be very happy to start buying a new set of commentaries. Why do I like it?

1. It is written by Conservative Christian Scholars who stick to the Bible and believe it is The Word of God and useful for teaching and leading the Christian in their daily walk.

2. It is formatted in a way that I find useful. It gives an explanation of the section of scripture, gives historical and doctrinal background and then provides an outline form to help you catch the full meaning of the text.

3. It is not written 'over the head' of the layperson. It does have it's scholarly insights and gives uses of the original language, but it is not such that a layperson would feel lost and unable to comprehend the structure and dialogue of the text.

The insights that you will gain from this commentary are plentiful. If you read this while your Pastor is leading you through a study of the book you will find the additional information a good preparation study for you to get the most out the sermons that you will hear.

If you are writing the sermon, well the commentary will provide you some points to ponder as you wrestle with the text and seek to teach your flock what they need to learn from the Lord through this Old Testament book.

All in all, this is a great start to a new commentary series.
Best commentary on Jonah 6 July 2014
By SLIMJIM - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Jonah is one of my favorite books in the Bible. I preached through this book two years ago and I learned a lot from it. So in picking up this new commentary that just came out, I was looking for a work that can get more insights from the text beyond what previous commentaries have pointed out. This commentary didn’t disappoint—as a matter of fact, I learned a lot of new things about the book of Jonah as a result of reading this book. At this time I would say that this commentary tops them all.
The author interacts with other major books and articles on the book of Jonah. The author did a good job with the introduction which on my Kindle indicates that it made up eighteen percent of the book. There is a lot that is pack in those eighteen percent! This is the first volume in a new Old Testament commentary series published by Zondervan and the editor aims to make it not just a typical exegetical commentary but one that engages with the text using the tools of discourse analysis, analysis of literary forms, canonical criticism (specifically, the canonical significance of a passage) and insights from inter-textuality. This commentary is also immensely rich with exegetical insights one expect from a traditional exegetical commentary such as lexical details and grammatical observations.
What were some of the things that I learned from this commentary? Since there are too many examples I will stick only to some of the highlights in the first two chapter of the book of Jonah. One literary device the author noted that I haven’t noticed before in the book of Jonah was the use of suppression of historical and geographical detail as a rhetorical device. Two years ago when I went through Jonah 1:3 in the Hebrew I was stuck with why there is a third person feminine singular suffix for the word fare when I was thinking of Jonah as the referent (therefore should be third person masculine singular) but the author made a good point that this was referring to the ship and therefore one must not miss that Jonah was so desperate to leave God that he paid for the whole ship’s fare. The author also made the observation that the Hebrew verb for “go” (boa) is used in the story for opposing the movement of God as oppose to other verbs of motion which serves to imply Jonah’s unrighteous heart whenever the word appears. Youngblood also noted that the adjective “big” appears in the book twelve times and always with reference to obstacles to Jonah and his wishes. The author also advanced the latest view that Hesed which is typically translated as “loving kindness” actually does not refer to covenantal love but instead to action and attitude of love beyond the call of duty. The book also made me change my position concerning the prayer of Jonah in chapter two which I originally believed was a prayer of repentance; but the author Youngblood argues that it’s otherwise and quite conclusively I must say.
Whether one is a season exegete or a new student to Biblical Hebrew, this work will be fun, challenging and informative. If you are going to go through Jonah in great details you need this work.
NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Zondervan Academic and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
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