The Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries provide compact, critical commentaries on the books of the Old Testament for the use of theological students and pastors. The commentaries are also useful for upper-level college or university students and for those responsible for teaching in congregational settings. In addition to providing basic information and insights into the Old Testament writings, these commentaries exemplify the tasks and procedures of careful interpretation to assist students of the Old Testament in coming to an informed and critical engagement with the biblical texts themselves.
The prophetic books gathered together in the book of the Twelve are sometimes called the "minor" prophets because of their relatively small size when compared with Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. They are often neglected, at least partly because their words of judgment make the reader uncomfortable. Yet they have considerable theological and ethical value--for their call for social justice (especially Amos and Micah), their insights about the passionate love of God (in Hosea), God's grace and forgiveness (Jonah, Hosea, and elsewhere), and the finality of hope, even in the face of terrible catastrophes.
"Informed by up-to-date scholarship and exhibiting a surefooted instinct for the contemporary relevance of the texts, Professor Simundson has produced a fresh reading of these prophets that is exegetically sound, pedagogically well shaped, and clearly and convincingly written. The author deals effectively with contemporary issues, such as the use of Hosea's marriage and family imagery in our contemporary context, and the ecological, theological, and ethical importance of these writings for our time. Simundson does not dodge the hard questions such as, 'What about God and natural disasters?' (Joel), or 'How do God's will and human freedom work together?' (Amos), or 'Does God change God's mind?' (Jonah). Especially valuable are the "Theological and Ethical Analysis" summary sections, which lay out in topic sentences the special contributions of each prophet. Running through Simundson's reading of each prophetic book is the conviction that 'the last word about God is a word of hope' (Amos) and the certainty that, as was demonstrated to Hosea, 'God will be there for the long haul.' The book concludes with a useful annotated bibliography. I recommend it with enthusiasm for use in colleges, seminaries, or lay school classes."
James Limburg, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley
"Simundson brings an unusual combination of skills to commentary writing, including Old Testament exegesis, pastoral counseling, and an ability to write clearly and succinctly for laity and clergy. Those who preach and teach on these prophetic books will find here a valuable friend for their times of preparation."
Terence E. Fretheim, Luther Seminary, St. Paul