Psalm Commentaries

Allen, L. C., Psalms 101-150, 2nd edition, Word Biblical Commentary, Nelson, 2002. This is a good commentary which pays attention to the structure of the Psalter. It is part of three volume set, authored by different people which means the style is uneven across the set.

Anderson, A. A., Psalms, 2 volumes, New Century Bible, Sheffield: Marshall Pickering, 1972. Whilst this is an older commentary it is helpful as a back-up.

Broyles, C., Psalms, NIBCOT, Carlisle: Paternoster, 1999. This is a rather brief single-volume commentary. If price and conciseness  are important then this is a contender.

Brueggemann, B. and Bellinger, W. H. Psalms, New Cambridge Bible Commentary, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2014). In places this is a masterful commentary but I found it to be uneven. 

Charry,E. T., Psalms 1–50: Sighs and Songs of Israel, Brazos Theological Commentary, Grand Rapids: BrazosPress, 2015. An interesting commentary series. It is, however, disappointing that the Psalter will be explored in three volumes by three different authors. This works against the new scholarly consensus which sees the Book of Psalms as in some sense a theological whole. This is the only volume available at present. A full review will appear here soon.

Craigie, P. C., Psalms 1-50, Word Biblical Commentary, Waco: Word Publishing, 1983. A commentary by a master of exposition, but only one third of the Psalter is covered by Craigie.

deClassié-Walford, N., Jacobson, R. A. and Tanner, B. L., The Book of Psalms, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014. This is a highly engaging commentary. It has an introduction which pays special attention to the most recent developments in Psalms scholarship. It also pays much greater attention to the canonical approach than all commentaries other than the, as yet, incomplete but magisterial three-volume work of Hossfeld and Zenger.

Eaton, J. H., The Psalms: A Historical and Spiritual Commentary with an Introduction and New Translation, London: T & T Clark International, 2007. This is a good one-volume commentary. It deals seriously with the Psalms in their ancient context but, as the title suggests, takes them seriously now as living Scripture. No 1 Shorter Commentary.

Goldingay, J. Psalms, 3 volumes, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2006. This is arguably the best commentary in English that does justice to the Psalms in their ancient context as as Christian Scripture today. One niggle is that, like so many commentaries, it pays little attention to the significance of canonical order. No 1 Full Commentary.

Kidner, D., Psalms, 2 volumes, Leicester: IVP, 1973 and 1975. This older commentary has recently reprinted as a classic commentary, having been replaced in the Tyndale series by a new contribution fro Tremper Longman III. This is a good choice by IVP as this commentary has commendable warmth and application which make it a good devotional choice.

Kraus, H. -J., Psalms, 2 volumes, Continental Commentary, Fortress Press, 1993. This translation from the earlier German work is theological rich but is demanding. There is a companion volume on the Theology of the Psalms which is a very interesting companion (or standalone) option.

Longman III, T., Psalms, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Downers Grove: IVP, 2014. A single volume commentary in a well known series. It replaces the popular but dated Tyndale commentary by Derek Kidner.

Mays, L., Psalms, Interpretation Bible Commentary, Louisville: John Knox Press, 1994. For one-volume concise value this is a good commentary.

Spurgeon, C. H., The Treasury of David, Three volumes, Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004. The devotional richness of this work makes it a worthwhile companion to more modern commentaries.

Tate, M. E., Psalms 51-100, Word Bible Commentary, Dallas: Word Books, 1991.
A good solid commentary on the Psalms.  It is part of three volume set, authored by different people which means the style is uneven across the set.

Terrien, S., The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary, A Critical Eerdmans Commentary, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. This commentary would not be my first choice but as a second or third commentary for a library its a great resource. Its key strength is the insight given to strophic structure.

VanGemeren, W. A., Psalms: Volume 5 The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, revised edition, T. Longman III and D. E. Garland (eds.), Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008. This is a serious rival to Goldingay’s magnum opus.

Weiser, A., The Psalms, Old Testament Library, London: SCM Press, 1962. This commentary shows it age as it is based on a hypothetical reconstruction of psalm use in ancient Israel which is discredited.

Wilcock, M., The Message of the Psalms, 2 volumes, Bible Speaks Today, IVP, 2001. This is very good serious devotional commentary. It takes the Psalms seriously at a scholarly level but remains light on technical discussion. For anyone wanting to avoid technical discussion and looking for an evangelical stance this might be the best option.

Wilson, G. H., Psalms, Volume 1, NIVAC, Zondervan, 2002. This is a very good commentary. This series follows a three section approach to specific texts (in this case individual psalms), it looks at (i) the original meaning, (ii) bridging contexts, (iii) contemporary significance. In this way it goes further than some commentaries which are often reluctant to interpret the Bible. If there is going to be a volume 2, it will sadly not be penned by Wilson as he passed away not long after writing this commentary. Wilson made a seminal contribution to Psalms scholarship in helping recover the insight that the book is ordered with a sense of purpose.

 

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