A Commentary on the Psalms, Volume 2 (42-89)


In the spirit of full disclosure, this commentary on the Psalms was sent to me by the publisher for review. Since it is a very large volume, and since I am not presently teaching on the Psalms, I hesitated tackling such an undertaking. However, I had only read through the first few chapters before I realized that I had a masterpiece in my hands. I immediately ordered the first volume in this series and am eagerly awaiting the publication of volume three. Ross’s collection will be my go-to commentaries on the Psalms from this point on.

Ross carefully analyzes 48 psalms in this volume. For each he supplies his own translation complete with footnotes dealing with the meaning of many of the important Hebrew words as well as textual variants. The translation is followed by a “Composition and Context” section which introduces the main idea of the psalm and attempts to place the psalm in a historical context. It is clear that Ross does not accept the headings, or titles, which introduce most psalms in our English Bibles, as canonical. While these have often been accepted traditionally, he challenges most of them and regularly concludes that dates, and sometimes human authorship, cannot be discerned with authority.

In the third section, “Exegetical Analysis,” the author provides a short summary of the psalm under discussion and an outline. The section which follows, “Commentary in Expository Form,” is the commentary proper. Here Ross gives us detailed analysis of each psalm, organized around the previously given outline. Theologically the author attempts to deal with every pertinent issue. For those wanting even more detail there are copious footnotes. The footnotes are extremely helpful as they address numerous matters of importance and yet keeps the commentary itself from becoming disjoined with side issues. Practically, Ross carefully weaves his commentary with insightful application. As I studied each psalm with the use of A Commentary on the Psalms I inevitably came away not only with a better understanding of the text, but also with refreshing and edifying applications which strengthened and encouraged my daily walk with the Lord. What more could one ask from a commentary on the Psalms?

Each chapter concludes with a “Message and Application” section in which Ross offers a summary statement and additional ways to apply the message of that particular psalm to our lives. These summary statements would be very helpful to the preacher or teacher in organizing their presentation of these psalms.

Negatives are few and inconsequential. I rarely found myself disagreeing with Ross’s exegesis after I had finished reading his comments. There were occasional inconsistencies between the outlines Ross supplied and the outlines followed in the commentary (e.g. 160, 180, 792). And there were some incorrect scriptural references and typos (e.g. 166, 168, 184, 236, 468, 503, 555, 584). But these were minor issues in such a massive volume.

Over the ages there have been thousands of commentaries written on the Psalms and, of course, I have read only a handful of them. But of those I have read, Ross’s work reigns supreme. It is a valuable resource for the preacher as well as the student. It gives solid and well researched analysis of each psalm and provides fresh and helpful insight to aid in the understanding of ourselves, our world and, most importantly, God. As soon as volume three is published I will snap it up.