Leviticus. ZECOT. Zondervan Academic, 2023.
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.