1 Kings 1–11
Walter Maier III
St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2018. 1,104 pages. Hardcover. $54.99.
Reviewed by Rev. Dr. Kevin Golden, Village Lutheran Church, Ladue, Missouri on 08/21/2018
Maier’s treatment of 1 Kings 1–11 is part of the ongoing Concordia Commentary series. As such, it continues the series’ great strength in giving attention to the original text via textual notes followed by commentary. Pastors will be greatly served by Maier’s notes that elucidate the grammar along with the commentary, giving insight for faithful preaching and teaching. Lay readers who have not been blessed with knowledge of Hebrew can still benefit from the commentary on individual passages.
Like previous volumes in the series, the introductory matters and excurses throughout provide additional assistance to the student of Scripture. I especially commend Maier’s treatment of the isagogical matters that often become battlegrounds between critical scholars and those who respect the text. In that regard, Maier’s discussion under the titles of “Authorship and Composition,” “Chronology,” and “Sources” are particularly helpful.
The theological nature of 1 Kings is also seen in Maier’s treatment. More than a mere historical record, herein lies the record of God’s work among and for His people in history. Maier’s introductory section on “The Christology of Kings” is complemented by the ongoing commentary that testifies to Christ being the heart of this text. This is the greatest strength of the volume in comparison to other commentaries on 1 Kings. While others become consumed either in deconstructing the text via particular critical theories or react against such excesses and thus fall prey to primary concern with rebutting critical theories, Maier allows theology (and especially Christology) to take the lead. His treatment offers sound response to critical theories but refuses to allow them to set the agenda.
Because of this breadth of treatment, Maier’s work is far from brief. It deserves a place on the shelf of all pastors who would preach and teach the word of the Lord. While most will hold it as a great reference work to be consulted as need arises for preaching, teaching, and casuistry, it also is a fine tome to read cover to cover as a means of continuing education.