It is all to common to find commentaries that miss the forest for the trees, commentaries that get so caught up in the minutiae of scholarly controversies that they miss what God is saying for His church today. This is especially evident when it comes to the book of Habakkuk.
The Teleioteti Old Testament Commentaries series is an attempt to attain theological depth, to pay attention to the forest, without neglecting the details of the text, without missing the trees. To do this, a Teleioteti Old Testament Commentary seeks to bring scholarly rigour and thoughfulness together with faithful attention to the purpose and significance of each book for God's people today. It strikes a balance between technicality, working through the Hebrew text and its difficulties, and practicality, applying each major section of the text to contemporary needs.
Habakkuk is a book that especially needs such an approach. After an extensive introduction discussing the significant issues and laying the groundwork for interpreting Habakkuk, this commentary walks through the text stanza by stanza and line by line. With a balance of theological reflection and exegetical depth, a wide variety of readers will find something to take away.
Habakkuk is a book of discipleship, a book written to bring its reader to a deeper faith in Yahweh in the presence of His unthinkable deeds. In the midst of oppressive evil at the hands of their Judahite brothers, the righteous of Judah cry out to God for salvation. His response is the invasion of fearsome Chaldea. What appears to be horrid judgment is actually His plan to save those who trust in Him. All His people are called to extraordinary faith, to believe HIm when HIs deeds are unbelievable. In this way, and only this way, will they be delivered from their oppressors and enjoy God's blessings: only by faith can they have life.
Endorsements for other works by J. Alexander Rutherford
My good friend, James Rutherford, has given the church a gift. He has taken his love for God’s Word and focused it on an Old Testament book that most Christians know very little about. The result is a study in Habakkuk that brings together deep insight and real relevance. Habakkuk is a voice among the biblical chorus that believers need to hear today. Thank you, James, for helping us to hear it clearly and faithfully. - For Believe the Unbelievable: A Study in Habakkuk, Fred Eaton, Neighbourhood Pastor of Christ City Church Kitsilano (Vancouver, Canada)
James Rutherford is a capable and creative thinker, well equipped to tackle tough projects, such as the book of Habakkuk. In this study guide, Rutherford has produced a very useful resource for individual or group study. He combines theological acumen and well-honed linguistic and literary skills to discover and then to present, in highly understandable fashion, the riches of this not so “minor” Minor Prophet. - For Believe the Unbelievable: A Study in Habakkuk, V. Philips Long, Professor of Old Testament, Regent College
In the present environment of high interest in the Book of Samuel, this contribution by James Rutherford is most welcome. Rutherford is well versed in current scholarship on Samuel, but his work moves well beyond this scholarship to contribute fresh insights, not least in respect of the priestly character of King David. And concerning its structure, Rutherford argues that the Book of Samuel as a whole is arranged and narrated so as to draw attention to the centrality of the Davidic Covenant of 2 Samuel 7. Having myself studied 1 and 2 Samuel for decades now, I was nevertheless benefitted at numerous points from Rutherford’s creative interpretive suggestions. His is a work well conceived, well written, and worthy of a serious read. God's Kingdom Through His Priest-King: An Analysis of the Book of Samuel in Light of the Davidic Covenant, V. Philips Long, Professor of Old Testament, Regent College