Although more than six hundred commentators have written on the Psalms, it has long been difficult to find a comprehensive treatment of this book of Scripture in one volume. Some expositions have excelled in scholarship, but, unlike the Psalter, in instructing the mind they have failed to exercise the heart. Dr Plumer’s Commentary avoids this defect, the author believing that from the Psalms ‘piety has derived more nourishment than from any other source,’ and that his work should serve that same purpose. In 1211 pages he gives both exposition and doctrinal and practical remarks and presents in readable form a great wealth of material drawn from all the leading commentators who had gone before him. In the opinion of Dr John Macleod of Edinburgh, he succeeded in producing the best single volume on this book of Scripture.
Graduating from Princeton Seminary in 1826, Plumer was a well-known Southern Presbyterian preacher and writer who spent the last thirteen years of his life as a Professor at Columbia Theological Seminary, South Carolina. He produced his exposition of the Psalms during the prime of life, and, as he tells us, ‘never felt more disposed to any work.’ In the opinion of others, Dr Plumer was outstanding as a spiritual Christian: ‘His prayers,’ wrote Moses D. Hoge, ‘were the tender pleadings of a soul in communion with God.’ Of the place which the Psalms had in his own experience he writes: ‘During a Christian and ministerial life, neither short, uneventful, nor free from dark days and sharp sorrows, the author has never been able to secure to himself, or administer to others, full support and abounding consolation without a resort to the Psalms.’
William Swan Plumer (1802-80) was a minister, author, and theological professor. Plumer was a prolific author and active churchman. His published works include commentaries, biblical studies, articles, essays, sermons, and a volume on pastoral theology. His writings, while profoundly theological in nature, are very practical in focus. His books represent a high point in the theological-devotional literature produced of nineteenth century American Presbyterianism.
‘William S. Plumer’s Commentary on the Psalms is my constant companion as I read and preach through the Psalms. His “Devotional Thoughts” at the end of his exposition of each of the psalms are so rich, wise, pastoral, specific and suggestive, that every preacher will find superabundant help, especially in the area of application, in them. I cannot recommend Plumer too highly.’ — LIGON DUNCAN