Peter Leithart's 1 & 2 King's is required reading for anyone wishing to understand the theological underpinnings of these two books. It divides the entire text of both books into sections. While Leithart explores certain themes, he does not treat the books piecemeal the way Pelikan does Acts in the series' first installment. The end result is a more complete, user-friendly commentary. I certainly hope that Leithart's format is used for subsequent volumes in the series. Its greatest strength is its Christological interpretations. The introduction to reading 1 & 2 Kings from a Christian perspective which begins this commentary is excellent, setting the tone for the rest of the book. It doesn't leave readers stranded in the Old Testament era, but helps them better understand what 1 & 2 Kings means in light of Christ by relating each section to the New Testament. This commentary will appeal particularly to Reformed Christians, since it serves as an excellent exercise in redemptive-historical interpretation and covenant theology, which are two mainstays within that tradition. Leithart's excursions into theology, Church history, literature, typology, and even some current trends within the Church today provide excellent guidance for those who struggle with how to preach or teach these sometimes difficult texts. While the Brazos Theological Commentary is ecumenical in its intention, its editors do not force contributors to hide their theological convictions to the point where volumes in the series have no substance, which is very commendable on their part. Leithart's commentary is written unabashedly from a Reformed perspective, discussing doctrinal disagreements with Roman Catholicism in a friendly tone that seeks genuine reconciliation between the two camps rather than division.
While primarily theological, this commentary doesn't shy away from exegetical and interpretative insights. Instead, it's chock full of them. My only complaint is that I believe some sections should've been given a more thorough treatment. For example, Leithart's section on 1 Kings 19:1-21 seems a bit oversimplistic for such a hotly-debated chapter among Old Testament scholars. Surely much more theological reflection regarding its significance could have been provided as well. However, the section on 2 Kings 3:1-27, which contains one of the most perplexing episodes in all of Scripture, is incredibly insightful, and well worth the price of the commentary itself, I might add! Unfortunately, introductory topics, such as composition, date, historical background, and authorship, are strangely absent from this volume (and I assume all other existing and forthcoming volumes in the series). I guess this is what the series editors mean when they refer to these commentaries as readings 'in faith.' Scripture has been given to the Church and needs no defense for its veracity. However, I would argue that authorship and historical background frequently provide clues to a particular book's overall theological message. For this reason, I would definitely advise preachers and teachers to supplement this text with an exegetical commentary that provides a more detailed analysis of the text and addresses the aformentioned issues (The 1 & 2 Kings volume by Reformed Baptist, Paul R. House in the New American Commentary would be an excellent choice.). Leithart's comments in a few of the sections are simply too brief. Nevertheless, this is a strong commentary overall and a worthy acquisition for anyone wishing to better understand and apply the Old Testament to today. Since it accomplishes its theological goal on every level, I give it a five-star rating. It will serve preachers and teachers well, providing a goldmine of illustrations for sermons and lectures. If I were teaching an undergraduate course on 1 & 2 Kings, this would definitely be my first choice as the primary textbook. I hope that subsequent volumes in the Brazos Theological Commentary are as informative as Leithart's 1 & 2 Kings. Highly recommended!!!!!