Although each is quite different, the books of Joel, Obadiah, and Micah are all survival literature. All three address the community that survived the crushing Babylonian destruction of Judah in 586 BCE. And all three seek to help this community cope by giving voice to its disorientation, trauma, anxiety, and rage. Each book insists that God will wrestle a positive future out of catastrophe, granting both physical and spiritual renewal. No matter how dire the circumstances, Israel can trust in the gracious God who will never abandon the faith community.
In this thirty-fifth volume in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series, Old Testament scholar Daniel Epp-Tiessen explores the diverse, yet related content of these three prophetic books, always paying attention to how they might speak words of grace and healing into the disorientation, exile, and challenges of our own time. He also confronts the theologically problematic features of these books, especially their conviction that the salvation of God’s people requires that God obliterate their enemies. This volume explores how we might read Joel, Obadiah, and Micah in light of the larger biblical story of God’s saving purposes that reach their fulfillment in Jesus Christ.
About the Believers Church Bible Commentary series
This readable commentary series is for all who seek more fully to understand the original message of Scripture and its meaning for today—Sunday school teachers, members of Bible study groups, students, pastors, and other seekers.
—From the Series Foreword
Dan Epp-Tiessen is semiretired from teaching Bible at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Canada, where he has taught since 1998. Daniel earned a BTh at Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg, a BA and MA at the University of Manitoba, and a PhD at University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. Along the way Dan has been a pastor, homemaker, and spent four years working for Mennonite Central Committee in the rural Philippines during a time of revolutionary ferment. Dan and his wife, Esther, are active members of Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. They have two adult sons with partners, and two lovely granddaughters.
“Although Joel, Obadiah, and Micah originally addressed an Israel in a very different world from ours, Daniel Epp-Tiessen’s excellent examination of these books brings them to life as a word of God for today. Informed by his own rich personal experience, Epp-Tiessen tackles head-on notoriously knotty questions raised by these books around justice, judgment, and revenge.”
~Gerald Gerbrandt, president emeritus and professor emeritus of Bible, Canadian Mennonite University
“In this skillfull work, Daniel Epp-Tiessen engages three prophets who are part of ‘survival literature’—books written to help the faith community face contexts of oppression, violence, catastrophe, and suffering. Even though these texts proclaim a message of hope, they also raise important questions for the historic peace churches. Epp-Tiessen faces those questions with academic rigor and the authority of his life experience. Excellent material and a fascinating resource for those who listen to and follow the very scriptures that Jesus used as the foundation for his life and ministry.”
~César García, general secretary, Mennonite World Conference
“The themes of justice and hope are critically important for the church and the people of faith. Daniel Epp-Tiessen has provided an exposition of three prophets that in very different ways develop these topics for tumultuous times. This commentary places these prophets within a biblical theology foundational to living the Christian faith. Touching personal experiences illustrate the role of biblical theology in Christian life. This is the commentary pastors and all believers have been waiting for to bring impact in their ministry.”
~August H. Konkel, professor of Old Testament, McMaster Divinity College
“This commentary is an exegetical gem. It explores these prophetic texts within their ancient contexts, highlights their interconnections throughout Scripture, and engages them critically in light of contemporary contexts, all while offering personally profound reflections. In Dr. Epp-Tiessen’s hands, Joel, Obadiah, and Micah come alive with new relevance in a time when God’s justice and mercy are most needed.”
~William P. Brown, William Marcellus McPheeters professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary
“Inviting us into a ‘family’ reunion that includes engagement with deeply loved Micah and conversations with beloved but idiosyncratic distant relatives like Joel and Obadiah, Daniel Epp-Tiessen integrates scholarly acumen, international ministry, and personally poignant family history into a contemporary message for Bible readers struggling with chaotic environmental, political, and ecclesiastical crises.”
~Lynn Jost, professor of preaching and Old Testament and director of the Center for Anabaptist Studies, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary
“There may be nothing more pertinent to our complex modern world than the words of the ancient prophets. And few contemporary interpreters bring as much insight and clarity to their utterances as Daniel Epp-Tiessen. This exegetical rigor is on full display in his commentary on Joel, Obadiah, and Micah, which gives voice to hope and resilience arising from the experience of community trauma and dislocation.”
~Louis Stulman, professor of religious studies, University of Findlay