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Bible Psalms with Jerusalem Commentary

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Bible Psalms with Jerusalem Commentary

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Bible Psalms with Jerusalem Commentary
Da'at Mikra Psalms (3 vols.)
By Amos Hakham
Mosad Harav Kook, 2003, 1429 pages
ISBN-10: 9657265037
ISBN-13: 978-9657265031

Reviewed by Israel Drazin - February 16, 2010

This is a first-class comprehensive scholarly work that can be read and enjoyed by non-scholars. It contains a forty page introduction that explains such things as the name Psalms, its place in the biblical canon, its division, headings, order of presentation, purpose, content, how it was used in antiquity, and the names of the people that appear in the book. It also explains the unique poetry of the psalms and its use in Jewish liturgy, and it offers many examples. Since people read psalms frequently, this is useful information; it reveals the psalms' meaning.

Each psalm is introduced with an introductory explanation, an extensive commentary and notes, and a summary conclusion. Thus, the first and twenty-third psalms, for example, which comprise only six short verses each, takes up four and five pages, respectively.

The translation is simple and to the point. The twenty-third psalm, for instance, is very similar in wording to the well-known translations, except that the English is more colloquial.

The commentary explains such things as other biblical places where God is compared to a shepherd, what is the significance of "still waters" for a shepherd and other people, does "soul" mean something other than "life," what does "His name's sake" imply and is it important, as well as every other phrase in the psalm. As a result, readers begin to realize that they did not understand what they thought they understood.

Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of seventeen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides. The Orthodox Union (OU) and Yeshiva University publish weekly chapters of Drazin and Wagner's book Let's Study Onkelos on and on His website is

The views expressed in this review/article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jewish Eye.
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