The Bible in Rhyme: Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, & Malachi

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The book closes with an appeal to observe the Law that the Lord gave to Moses at Horeb, and with the announcement that the prophet Elijah will come before the threatened judgment — The appeal to the "Law of Moses" is part of the redactional process of Scripture in which Torah is declared superior to the Prophets and Hagiographa. Thus, Joshua 1, which opens the Prophets, emphasizes the book of Torah. Malachi, which ends the Prophets, closes with Torah, and Psalm 1, which opens the Hagiographa opens with Torah.

These concluding words are likewise an addition, namely a later interpretation of , saying that the anonymous "messenger" is Elijah. Nonetheless, the addition shares with the body of the book its deuteronomic orientation: the book evidently regards the entire tribe of Levi as priestly, the closing appeal names Horeb instead of Sinai as the mount of revelation.

These facts favor an early rather than a late post-Exilic date. Other features bear this out. Like Haggai and Zechariah 1—8, the Book of Malachi is an expression of the changed outlook of prophecy in post-Exilic times.

23. Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi - Spotlight on the Word: Old Testament

The topics noted above clearly relate the book to the post-Exilic period, when the Temple had been rebuilt ; , 10 , the province of Judea was ruled by a representative of the Persian government , and there had been time enough for the loss of earlier religious enthusiasm. The three main abuses attacked in the text are the degeneracy of the priesthood — , intermarriage with foreign women , and the people's remissness in the payment of tithes The independent character of Malachi's attack against divorcing Jewish wives in order to marry foreign women Mal.

This earlier date is made still more likely if the reproach against mixed marriages in Malachi b is a later insertion, one which precisely reflects the preoccupations of the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. The time of Ezra's activity, unfortunately, is uncertain. Following A.

Mowinckel, above all, many scholars have assumed that Ezra was not active under Artaxerxes i in b. Ezra The problems of mixed marriages and unpaid tithes, however, existed also in the time of Nehemiah Neh. The insertion of Malachi b—13a may thus date from that period, and it may reasonably be inferred, therefore, that the original Book of Malachi dates prior to the age of Nehemiah and Ezra. In fact, most modern scholars agree that the prophet prepares the way for the work of those reformers.

There is no evidence of sufficient strength to substantiate a later date. The assumptions of H. Winckler Altorientalische Forschungen , 2 , ff. Holtzmann arw, 29 , 1—21 , who date the book to the first half of the second century b. The opinion of A. The period of Nehemiah's absence at the Persian court in approximately b. One of the chief duties of the priest was still the proclamation of the Oral Law Mal.

In fact, the prophet seems to be influenced by earlier deuteronomistic theories concerning the priests; at the same time, it is doubtful whether he knew the Priestly Code regulations on tithes found in Numbers —32, where the tithe is designated in its entirety for the maintenance of the levites whereas, according to deuteronomic legislation Deut.

It appears that the Priestly Code, in its present form, is not presupposed by the Book of Malachi. An earlier date for the composition of Malachi is also suggested by the allusion to the destruction of Edom in Malachi —4. The Arab invasion of this Transjordanian kingdom cannot be dated with precision, but Edom was apparently entirely taken over by Arab tribes toward the end of the sixth century b. Since the remaining Edomites still expected a restoration of their ruined country , approximately b.

Welch even thought that the book dated from the age of the prophet Haggai b. The bad harvests and locust plagues alluded to in would then reflect the same situation as in Haggai , 9—11; — However, the existence of the Temple as implied by Malachi indicates a somewhat later date. All things considered, it may reasonably be assumed that the book dates from approximately b. The work reflects the various currents of thought and modes of life in the Jerusalem of about b. The situation in Judea was one of depression and discontent. The expectations which earlier prophets had aroused had not been fulfilled.

The return from Babylon had brought with it none of the ideal glories promised by Deutero-Isaiah. The completion of the Second Temple b. In view of these conditions, the message of Malachi is to reassert the true relation of the people to their God, and to recall the nation to religious and moral earnestness, especially in regard to questions of ritual and marriage.

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Yet the author is no formalist. Ritual observances are of value in his eyes only as expressions of spiritual service; for example, he supposes that God does not accept offerings presented by disloyal husbands b— Moral and social offenses are fiercely condemned by the prophet , and from the concept of the brotherhood of all Jews under one Father , he deduces the duties which they have toward each other, and the wrongfulness of the selfish practice of divorce prevalent in his day — The Book of Malachi is a significant landmark in the religious history of Israel.

Despite its emphasis on the observance of ritual, it shows genuine prophetic spirit. The denunciation also involves a protest against the influences of foreign marriages, the prohibition of which was to be made effective, at least in Yehud, by the reforms of Nehemiah and Ezra. The influence of the closing words of the book —24 on later messianic expectation is apparent in the Jewish post-biblical literature Ecclus. The author of Malachi was considered the last of the prophets, along with Haggai and Zechariah. Upon their death, the spirit of prophecy departed from Israel Yoma 9b.

The Acts of the Apostles is a sort of sequel to the Gospel of Luke, written by the same author, and tells the history of the first 30 years of the Christian Church, mostly centered on the apostles Peter and Paul who were the preeminent leaders of early Christianity.

The other Epistles by James, Peter, John and Jude were also written to encourage, instruct and correct the early Christians, and to encourage them to put their faith and trust in Christ and to put that faith into action through Christian love, kindness and respect for all people. The Book of Revelation also known as the Apocalypse is also a letter of sorts, written by a man named John possiby the apostle John , but it is in the form of apocalyptic literature, which tells a story largely through dramatic symbols, images and numbers.

Some denominations also incorporate additional books into their canons. This accounts for a further 27 books as follows:.

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Around CE, St. Even St. The vast majority is written in prose, incorporating such prose features as plot, character, dialogue and timing, and prose is the form generally used when telling stories about people and historical events. It also employs features common to modern poetry, such as word plays, metaphors, rhymes and metre to communicate its message. It was produced during a particularly fertile period for English literature within the lives of Shakespeare, Jonson, Webster, et al , but also a period when religion had become very politicized. William Tyndale had been executed in for his early Protestant translation, although his work then became a major source for the King James Version.

The work was accomplished by a committee of fifty scholars and clerics, working in six teams between and Genesis, 2. Exodus, 3. Leviticus, 4. Numbers, 5. Q: In Hag , when was Haggai written? A: According to what was written in Haggai 1, this would be B.


Precise dating is a feature of Babylonian and Persian writings, such as the Babylonian Chronicle, which precisely dates every event. Haggai lived under Babylonian and Persian rule, and thus dates things by the Babylonian calendar, not the Old Testament calendar, as one who had lived his life under their rule. Haggai is also unusual in mentioning minted coins, which Darius learned about from the kingdom of Lydia.

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New International Bible Commentary p. A: B. About 50, Jews were allowed to return home when Cyrus conquered Babylonia. The Jews worked on the temple for two years and then stopped.

Cyrus died in battle. Cambyses II ruled Persia. He was a tyrant who mismanaged the empire. All was at peace in the Persian Empire pax Persiaca except for rebellious Egypt, which Cambyses marched to Palestine at the head of his army to subdue. Cambyses died mysteriously and there was a revolt in Persia. Artaxerxes was an imposter who reigned 7 months. He is called Pseudo-Smerdis by the Greeks and historians today.

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He wrote the letter in Ezra stopping the building. Darius I Hystaspis became king after killing the imposter. He fought the Scythians and Greeks, defeated at Marathon in B. Esther was his queen B. Haggai and Zechariah gave their first prophecies B. Artaxerxes I. He was called by the Persians Artaxerxes I to erase the memory of the imposter Artaxerxes.

Nehemiah was his cupbearer. A: Both had a role. Here is the sequence of events. In B. He issued a decree stopping the building. The Jews then started rebuilding. The enemies questioned their authorization for rebuilding. The Jews pointed out in a letter to King Darius the previous decree from King Cyrus, and after a search, that decree was found. Esther and Daniel say that the laws of the Persian kings could not be repealed.