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THE MYSTERIOUS NUMBERS OF THE HEBREW KINGS, Edwin R. Thiele; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. 232 pages, $6.00

Here is a book which not only be, longs in the library of any serious student of Old Testament history, but also deserves to be studied carefully. One of the intriguing problems of the history of the divided kingdom in Israel is that of the chronology of the kings of Israel and Judah, and that, too, in relation to the history and chronology of the other nations with which Israel and Judah came into contact. On the surface of it, there appear to be many discrepancies of an insoluble nature. This book is a careful study of that chronology, and it offers a very carefully worked out solution of the various problems. 

Whether the solutions offered are in every case the correct ones would require a study as careful as that which the author has made; and I would not pass judgment on his conclusions after one reading of this book. 

He who opens this book must not expect a few evenings’ leisurely and relaxing reading; he must put on his thinking-cap and take his Bible in hand, and probably pencil and paper to follow the various calculations. 

The book is abundantly furnished with charts and tables. 

I heartily recommend it as a worthwhile .addition to the libraries of ministers and students. 

—H.C.H. 

PRINCIPLES OF CONDUCT, John Murray; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. 272 pages, $2.25 (paperback) 

The author is Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. The ten chapters of this book were expanded from a series of lectures delivered in 1955. 

There are not many books devoted specifically to the study known as Ethics. That is the general subject of this book. It does not claim to be a complete treatment; it is rather a treatment of certain important aspects of Christian conduct. 

Without stating my agreement with all that Professor Murray has written here, I can certainly recommend this book. There is thorough treatment of the, subjects dealt with; there is a very serious attempt at careful exegesis; in general, this is scholarly work. As an example, I point to the author’s treatment of I Corinthians 7, an always difficult passage, in his chapter on “The Marriage Ordinance.” I am always disappointed, however, when a work of this caliber is published in paperback form. I realize this is a reprint; but I think that even as a reprint it deserves better than a paperback treatment.

“The Epistle to the Romans,” Volume Two (Chapters IX-XVI), by John Murray, one of the series, “The New International Commentary on the New Testament;” Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. 286 pages, $5.00. 

Those who follow our book review department will recognize that we have reviewed volumes of this series previously; we will continue to do so as these volumes are sent to us. This, in my opinion, is one of the better commentaries of this series. It is rather thorough, makes a serious attempt at honest exegesis, and is fairly sound. The book is a worthwhile addition to the library of anyone who is looking for reasonably trustworthy commentaries. Moreover, the format of these commentaries is such that one need not know the original languages in order to make use of the comments; this surely makes the commentaries more popular. 

This particular volume has a “bonus” of some rather interesting appendices on various related and pertinent subjects. 

I was particularly curious as to Murray’s interpretation of the crucial passages of Romans 9-11. Noteworthy is the fact that he wants to give full value to the term “hated” in Romans 9:13. Behind his explanation of Pharaoh’s hardening, pp. 26-30, I would place a question-mark here and there. Nor would I be inclined to agree with his position on a mass conversion of Israel, pp. 96-98, although he is certainly correct in explaining “Israel” ethnically rather than spiritually. 

Recommended for careful use. 

—H.C. Hoeksema