Work, Telford. Deuteronomy. Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible Edited by R. R. Reno. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2009.
Telford Work organized his comments on Deuteronomy in the categories, “Plain,” “Faith,” Hope,” and “Love.” These categories are meant to roughly correspond to the medieval fourfold sense: plain equals letter, allegorical equals faith (what is to be believed), tropological equals love (that is, what is to be done corresponds to the law of love), and the anagogical equals hope.
In the commentary proper, therefore, each section of text is followed by comments under the headings Plain, Faith, Hope, Love. Work purposely kept his comments on the plain sense to the minimum since, he noted, others have already provided plain sense commentaries that are better than what he could hope to produce (19).
This does not mean, however, that Work’s commentary is heavy on allegory. His comments often amount to helpful theological meditation and application. For instance on Deuteronomy 1:2-3a, Work notes under the heading “Love” that Israel’s disobedience at Kadesh-barnea not only led to a wilderness wandering but also resulted in Israel gaining land in the transjordan. Work perceptively ties this to Romans 5:20 (26).
Other times Work addresses a theological issue that the text raises for the modern reader. Under the heading “Plain,” he notes the regulations regarding females taken in battle (21:10-14) are hardly what a woman herself would desire (he doesn’t mention potential conflict with biblical ethics elsewhere). He responds to the challenge in the next section (“Faith”) by appealing to Matthew 19:8. The law here is not laying out the ideal. It is seeking to restrain sin while nevertheless making concession for the hardness of the Israelite’s hearts (192).
Work also attempts to make Christological connections when possible. Some of these are forced. For instance, on the passage about not muzzling the threshing ox (25:4), Work ends up talking about harvest imagery used of Jesus’ ministry in the Gospels (224).
Other attempts are more insightful. A comment (under “Faith”) on the requirements regarding a rebellious son notes that this accusation was brought against Jesus (Luke 7:34) but that Jesus was shown to be a pleasing Son (and his enemies rebellious sons) by the resurrection (193).
In general, Work’s commentary provides a light treatment of Deuteronomy’s plain sense and a more detailed treatment of theological connections to the New Testament and Christian doctrine and practice. A number of these connections are insightful; others are a bit of a stretch. Though uneven, there’s enough good to be worth consulting.