Isaiah 40-66: Translation and Commentary. By Shalom M. Paul. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0-8028-2603-9. xiii and 714 pages. Paper. $68.
What is unique about this Eerdmans Critical Commentary, according to the author, is the exegesis of the Hebrew text with its emphasis on the philological, poetic, literary, linguistic, grammatical, historical, archaeological, ideational, and theological aspects of these prophecies written during the last years of the Babylonian exile and the early years of the return to Zion. Attention is given to medieval Jewish commentators, to extra biblical literature, to the Septuagint, and to the Isaiah scrolls from Qumran. Paul, a retired professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, does not distinguish between Second Isaiah and Third Isaiah, but between prophecies delivered in Babylon in chapters 40-48 and those delivered later, in Jerusalem, in chapters 49-66. He interprets the servant as a representative of the Israelite nation or as the steadfastly righteous minority.
While some of the above positions could easily be debated (e.g., the unity of authorship in chapters 40-66), what will be valued about this commentary is its close attention to the Hebrew text. The commentary itself begins with an English translation of all twenty-seven chapters. Chapter by chapter notes average about eighteen pages per chapter.
A few gleanings: the opening plural...