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Reviews | The Praises of Israel volume 2

The Praises of Israel: Vol. 2

Dudley Fifield

Hardback or e-book (ePub)

352 pages

The Praises of Israel: Vol. 2

Online review

‘The Praises of Israel’ by Dudley Fifield

This is a helpful psalm-by-psalm exposition, in three volumes, of the whole of the book of Psalms. As a handy source of reference, the set of books work well. You can easily consult the appropriate volume when you want to look at a particular psalm. This is not to say that the author ignores the structure of the Psalms as a collection, or the relationships between individual psalms. Far from it. But he often repeats points made about an earlier psalm just in case you happen to be dipping in. The repetition is helpful as a reminder, if you happen to have read the commentary on an earlier psalm. At the same time, the books provide an excellent guide to anyone working their way through the psalms one by one.  

Looking back and looking forward

The historical setting of each psalm is suggested and described, providing so many insights into the lives of David and Hezekiah in particular. We see how the remembrance of God’s covenants and of the salvation of His people at the Exodus provided the encouragement and assurance that David needed in his struggles – and later Hezekiah as he faced the Assyrian threat. We realise how the word of God was etched into the consciousness of these men of faith and sustained them through all adversity. We are frequently treated to useful commentary on other parts of the Bible, either because the psalmist is drawing on earlier books or because later writers refer back to the psalms. Appropriately too, we see how every aspect of the experience of the Lord Jesus Christ is anticipated in the psalms, deepening our appreciation of his character and saving work.

Comfort and assurance

Brother Fifield draws helpfully on the exposition of earlier writers, including J. W. Thirtle’s treatise, ‘The Titles of the Psalms’ and pioneer Christadelphian writings. He carefully avoids the quicksands of many modern commentators, deferring always to the divine authorship of the writings. He shows how often the doctrine of God-manifestation is at the heart of the message of the psalms, so that as we read and reflect on the inspired text our faith in ‘the hope of Israel’ is confirmed.

The Psalms have always been a comfort to those struggling with the issues of life and death and through them we gain a greater understanding of the spiritual journey of the man of faith. In this commentary the relevance to our own circumstances is brought out well. Always we are encouraged to see the value and strength of seeking first the kingdom of God both in our personal and ecclesial lives.

‘The Praises of Israel’ is an attractive set of books in every way. Those who find Bible study a struggle will not find the writing difficult or too academic. The expositional style provides a rewarding read, bringing out so much that is at the heart of our faith and exciting us with the marvel of God’s word and the wonderful hope it contains.

MICHAEL OWEN

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