Bob Jones University Press
Hope Amidst Ruin presents a detailed look into one of the Old Testament’s hidden corners. Many are familiar with the events leading up to the exile of the nation, but few are as familiar with the post-exilic period. The book of Ezra details the return of Israel to her promised land and the rebuilding of the temple. The question foremost in the minds of those returning from exile in Babylon is “Does hope still exist for us as a nation?”
Philip Brown advances the thought that an analysis of this book is incomplete until “it has shown the relationship between the theological message of the narrative and the narrative itself.” He masterfully accomplishes this task, weaving together the different themes of theology presented in the text into an amazing tapestry that displays God’s holiness as the only hope for Israel’s future. As Israel, personally and corporately, responds positively to God’s holiness, God will honor their actions.
This book is a deep theological work, and would easily discourage the casual reader. Brown takes the majority of his book to develop themes minutely and precisely; but always takes care to bring the discussion to a well-presented, easy to assimilate conclusion. Chapters 5 through 8 are a much more ‘reader friendly’ presentation of the material. The Conclusion chapter is a summary of the book that is par excellence in its readability and applicability. Hope Amidst Ruin is well worth the space it would occupy on your shelf of Old Testament commentaries. – Charles L. Eldred, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
The book of Ezra deals with building the second temple, restoring the worship of Yahweh, and breaking the habits that undermined Israel’s spiritual integrity. In Hope Amidst Ruin, A. Philip Brown II analyzes the book’s use of chronology, plot, and point of view, demonstrating that Ezra composed this historical narrative to teach postexilic Israel about the goodness and holiness of their God. The themes of hope and holiness flow throughout the book as the Returnees learn anew of God’s promises to the just and of His wrath against those who abandon Him. Purification and separation from evil is necessary for the Israelites to be restored to true fellowship with Yahweh. Brown’s extensive research and thorough analysis make Hope Amidst Ruin a valuable resource for the library of any Bible scholar.