Publisher Zondervan Academic
A careful, scholarly look at the Book of Leviticus specifically created for pastors and teachers. Offering an original translation together with an exegetical outline, Sklar's passage-by-passage commentary provides in-depth analysis and interpretation of the Hebrew text while illuminating each section's key ideas, literary context, structure, and canonical and practical significance.
When I heard that this commentary was being published, I was thrilled. While in seminary to get my MDiv, I had audited a ThM level class on the book of Leviticus, taught by Dr. Jay Sklar. That class gave me such an appreciation for the book of Leviticus. Leviticus truly is a book that teaches us about the grace of God. I know we don’t often think of the book that way, but it is true: if we are to have God as our neighbor, God in his grace must make a way for us to be able to be present with him. I have perused the “Leviticus” commentary in the Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament series. I have not yet read the commentary in-depth, as I am not currently teaching Leviticus. My initial thoughts are that it is an excellent commentary for pastors, lay leaders, students, and anyone who is willing to do the work of reading this book. Although the book of Leviticus is found difficult to understand by many modern readers, this commentary is very readable and accessible. I did receive a complimentary copy of this commentary, but Zondervan Academic has not placed any requirements or conditions on my review as a condition for receiving a complimentary copy. Here’s what I appreciate: - Each pericope is treated comprehensively. The context is considered, the main idea is presented, the exegetical outline is listed, issues of structure and literary form are addressed, there is an explanation of the text, and finally there is a section exploring the canonical and theological significance. - It is incredibly readable. The prose is simple and straightforward. It avoids technical phrases as much as possible. It explains vocabulary when technical phrases are used. - The introduction frames well the interpretive issues. - The structure of the commentary continually keeps the overall flow of Leviticus in mind. The outlines are clear and helpful. This continual big picture perspective is incredibly valuable. - The explanations of the biblical text are thorough without being unnecessarily long. - The translations of the Hebrew text make it easy for the reader to follow: the translations are all in charts with three columns. The three columns include: the Hebrew, the English translation, and a detail outline. I love this. - The footnotes give both the source for the argument in the main text, as well as more detailed scholarly argument. I like the footnote rather than endnote style. - By continually tying together the details of any particular text with the unfolding of the larger context, the meaning of the text is made very clear. - The canonical and theological significance portion for each text is rich with thoughtful implications and applications of that text. The points in the canonical/theological section clearly are intended to help pastors think through how to preach and teach this book. - The author clearly is aware of and addresses concerns modern readers have when reading Leviticus.
Dr. Jay Sklar is a master at taking complex ideas and communicating them in understandable and engaging ways. Though this commentary series is written for the pastor or teacher, Sklar's explanations of the Hebrew language, the historical context, and the religious practices of ancient Israel are very accessible. The ZECOT format is, in my opinion, the most helpful commentary format out there. Each section offers both broad summaries and detailed analysis, both explanation and application of the text. Sklar also includes many helpful diagrams and excursuses at points where more clarification is needed. It is a large volume, but it never feels laborious. As a preaching pastor, I especially appreciate the "Canonical and Theological Significance" at the end of each section, which includes applications and preaching points that are rooted in the original context yet still very relevant for the Christian today. It is also worth noting that Sklar does an excellent job at handling the contentious topics of Leviticus, giving them the breadth and sensitivity they deserve. Sklar anticipates the well-meaning objections and addresses them respectfully, but without compromise to the authoritative teaching of Scripture. Perhaps this commentary's greatest strength is Sklar's persistent effort to explain God's heart behind His law. This, unfortunately, is too frequently ignored in other commentaries on Leviticus. While the law needs to be understood in its historical context, the law is from God Himself, revealing His character, His cares, and His mission. A historical and theological context are required to fully understand the message of Leviticus. Sklar gives special attention to both. He also demonstrates each step of the way how Levitical law anticipates and is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. (I have received a complimentary copy but Zondervan Academic has not placed any requirements or conditions on my review as a condition of receiving the complimentary copy.)
I just received Jay Sklar’s latest and magisterial work, Leviticus, from within the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament series. This is by far the most engaging commentary I have read with respect to the book of Leviticus. Dr. Sklar brings his years of close research to full scope and depth, building upon his Sin, Impurity, Sacrifice, Atonement: The Priestly Conceptions and his Tyndale Old Testament Leviticus commentary and providing students and scholars alike a tremendous overview of the theological thrust of the book as well as insightful exegesis, in addition to the discourse analysis feature so welcome in this Zondervan series. This is an extremely accessible commentary for students and pastors, as well as those engaged in academic work in the book of Leviticus. Professor Sklar has succeeded in opening up the book of Leviticus and has provided a compelling framework for relishing this OT primer for living as the priestly people of God. I have received a complimentary copy but Zondervan Academic has not placed any requirements or conditions on my review as a condition of receiving the complimentary copy. Rev Martin L Hawley, PhD