The late Ray Dillard contributed an outstanding volume to the Word Biblical Commentary series. In keeping with the format of the series the commentary features a new translation by the author with textual notes; a section detailing form, structure and setting; commentary by verse; and a final explanation section which seeks to bring together all of the above for each passage. Some consider this format confusing and cumbersome; in my opinion the break down isn't terribly distracting if used well by the author.
The present volume has considerable strengths. Dillard has not looked away from the difficult historical issues raised by the text. He demonstrates an impressive familiarity with the relevant history and archeology of the Ancient Near East, the textual history of present text(s) and its interaction with the Deuteronomistic history of the Book of Kings. Difficult passages are consistently dealt with in a remarkably responsible and well balanced manner that respects the integrity of the text while admirably refusing to press unreasonable harmonizations. Dillard's linguistic skills are equally impressive. And while he has incorporated the insights of literary analysis, one gets the sense that perhaps slightly more could have been done in this area.
While Dillard's linguistic and historical skills make this commentary highly useful, it is his grasp of the overarching theological themes of Chronicles that gives the commentary it's enduring value. Dillard has clearly thought deeply about the Chronicler and his work. His appreciation of the book's theology gives the commentary an appealing coherence and leaves one with the sense of having grasped the meaning of the whole. Furthermore, Dillard thoughtfully places Chronicles within the broader context of the Christian canon finally finding the hopes of the post-exilic community fulfilled in the kingdom of God inaugurated by Christ.
Dillard's prose is well crafted. The bibliographies are helpful even if now slightly dated. The excursuses on the theology of immediate retribution and the Chronicler's presentations of Solomon, Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah are valuable treatments of those subjects. And finally, while the commentary predates the recent controversies regarding minimalist and maximalist approaches to the historical reliability of the Hebrew Bible, Dillard models an instructive reading of the text that respects both the historical and literary/theological dimensions of the text.