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Volume I

The Historical Books of the Old Testament
Genesis to Esther



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Our Literary Board of 1918 initiated this undertaking and, after very mature consideration, nominated the author and drafted the general character and scope of this Popular Commentary. Accordingly Prof. Paul E. Kretzmann. Ph. D., D. D., was called from the position of instructor at Concordia College, St. Paul, Minn., in 1919 and has been continuously engaged in the preparation of the manuscript for this Commentary ever since. At the present time, April, 1923. he is writing the coneluding chapters on the Old Testament, the two volumes on the New Testament having been published in 1921 and 1922, respectively. Credit is due not only to the Literary Board (Prof. Theo. Graebner, chairman, Prof. J. H. C. Fritz, Rev. L. Buehheimer, Rev. W. F. Wilk; later succeeded by Rev. A. Doerffler and Mr. E. Seuel), but also to Professors E. Pardieck and .1. T. Mueller, who, on behalf of the theological faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, critically read the manuscripts and the proof-sheets. The author also acknowledges with thanks the cooperative and suggestive assistance of other living authorities besides the authors whose books he quotes, or the results of whose literary labor he has condensed or quoted. The reader is here referred to the preface written by Prof. J. T. Mueller for Vol. 1 of the New Testament.

Reviewers of the volumes of this work which preceded this present volume in time of publication have labeled it a Lutheran commentary. If correctly understood, we are proud to accept this designation. It

is, indeed, not a Lutheran commentary in the sense that it comments on the Bible with a view to establishing the Lutheran doctrines, though, as a matter of fact, it does establish the Lutheran doctrine from the Bible; it is not a Lutheran commentary in the sense that it starts with Lutheran beliefs and proves them from the Bible, though, as a matter of fact, it does prove the Lutheran beliefs from the Bible; but it is a Lutheran commentary in the sense that it starts with the Bible and ends with the Bible, as did Luther and as do all conservative Christians, such as the Lutherans are or should be. It is a Lutheran commentary in the sense that all Lutheran users will be grateful for the fact that their Lutheran sense of propriety and their Lutheran reverence for the inspired writings of the Bible are not offended by trivialities, or worse, by the promulgation of hypotheses and deductions in opposition to the dicta of the Holy Spirit. It is a Lutheran commentary in the sense that it proclaims the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, as Luther and Lutherans have found it in the Bible — truths that are truths not because they are Lutheran, but truths that are Lutheran because they are Biblical. The publishers expect to market this Commentary principally among Lutherans, though the publishers would fain find their principal sales among non-Lutherans.

God's blessing has manifestly been with the author and with the publishers during the preparation of this book. May His blessing abide with the book and its users! Concohdia Pi Bi.ismxc HorsE.

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