Mar 9, 2015 Richard Mansfield

Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries: Minor Prophets

Last Fall, we chose to release the Isaiah – Malachi section of the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary even though we did not have the 12 Minor Prophets completely ready yet. If you purchased this module for your Accordance Library, and haven’t done so already, go to Content Updates to download this free update released a couple of weeks ago.

For me, the update with the Minor Prophets was perfect timing. I had just started teaching a survey of the Minor Prophets at church on Sunday. In our first session, I was covering Nahum 1:1-8, which is a fascinating passage concerning the prophesied fall of the Assyrian capital of Nineveh.

The first chapter of Nahum wastes no time in describing God’s attitude toward Nineveh with words like jealous (קַנּוֹא/qannoʾ), avenging (נְקָמָה/nᵉqāmāh), and wrathful (חֵמָה/ḥēmāh). While I believe these characteristics are perfectly appropriate considering some of the atrocities committed by the ancient Assyrians, detailing God’s wrath at this level can be difficult for some modern readers to take.

Fortunately, I found the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary on Nahum by Duane Christensen to be quite helpful in explaining the balance of the opening verses of this Minor Prophet with those in vv. 7-8 which describe Yahweh as good (טוֹב/ṭoḇ) and a stronghold (מָעוֹז/māʿoz). Christensen writes,

Though vengeance is a dominant motif in the opening Psalm of Nahum and the book as a whole, that theme is balanced by specific reference to God’s grace. In v 7 we read that YHWH is good, with the emphasis on good. Nahum, at the turbulent end of an era in human history, with armies in conflict and empires tottering on the brink of destruction, affirms the eternal truth “Good is YHWH.”

Nahum gives two reasons to substantiate this claim. In the first place, God is “a stronghold in the day of distress” (v 7b), a mighty fortress so that we need not fear, “though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2). God’s protection is eternal. He provides peace in the midst of the raging storm. Second, God is good because “he knows those who take refuge in him” (v 7c). And that knowledge implies intimacy—tender loving care, like that of a husband for his cherished wife (see the earlier discussion of the term baʿal at 1:2) or of a father for his child. God knows their needs, their wants, their desires, and their sufferings. He cares for his own and sustains them in time of need with his loving presence.

Christensen’s commentary on Nahum in the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary helped me to clearly communicate to a modern audience the distinction between God’s wrath directed at his enemies and his goodness and protection to those who belong to him.

The addition of the Minor Prophets brings commentary and analysis to these biblical texts from world-renown scholars. Here’s the lineup:

  • Hosea (Vol. 24) by Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman (1996)
  • Joel (Vol. 24C) by James L. Crenshaw (1995)
  • Amos (Vol. 24A) by Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman (1989)
  • Obadiah (Vol. 24D) by Paul R. Raabe (1996)
  • Jonah (Vol. 24B) by Jack M. Sasson (1995)
  • Micah (Vol. 24E) by Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman (2006)
  • Nahum (Vol. 24F) by Duane Christensen (2009)
  • Habakkuk (Vol. 25) by Francis I. Andersen (2001)
  • Zephaniah (Vol. 25A) by Adele Berlin (1994)
  • Haggai, Zechariah 1-8 (Vol. 25B) by Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers (2004)
  • Zechariah 9-14 (Vol. 25C) by Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers (1998)
  • Malachi (Vol. 25D) by Andrew E. Hill (1998)

In addition, the Isaiah – Malachi module of the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary has been carefully analyzed by our developers and tagged according to the following 14 search fields: References, Titles, English Content, Scripture, Greek Content, Hebrew Content, Transliteration, Translation, Manuscripts, Bibliography, Authors, Captions, Table Titles, and Page Numbers. This level of content classification allows the user to find very specific information to aid in his or her research or teaching preparation.

AYBC Nahum
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