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Neviim (The Prophets)

Nevi’im Rishonim (Early Prophets)

Yehoshua (Joshua)

  JOSHUA. The title of this book is derived from the pious and valiant leader whose achievements it relates and who is commonly supposed to have been its author. The objections to this idea are founded chiefly on the clause, "unto this day," which occurs several times (Joshua 4:9 ; 6:25 ; 8:28). But this, at least in the case of Rahab, is no valid reason for rejecting the idea of his authorship; for assuming what is most probable, that this book was composed toward the close of Joshua's long career, or compiled from written documents left by him, Rahab might have been still alive. A more simple and satisfactory way of accounting for the frequent insertion of the clause,"unto this day," is the opinion that it was a comment introduced by Ezra, when revising the sacred canon; and this difficulty being removed, the direct proofs of the book having been produced by a witness of the transactions related in it, the strong and vivid descriptions of the passing scenes, and the use of the words "we" and"us," (Joshua 5:1-6),viewed in connection with the fact, that, after his farewell address to the people, Joshua"wrote these words in the book of the law of God" (Joshua 24:26)--all afford strong presumptive proof that the entire book was the work of that eminent individual. Its inspiration and canonical authority are fully established by the repeated testimonies of other Scripture writers (compare Joshua6:26 with 1 Kings 16:34; compare Joshua 10:13 with Habakkuk 3:11; Joshua 3:14 with Acts 7:45; Joshua 6:17-23 with Hebrews 11:30; Joshua 2:1-24 with James 2:25; Psalm 44:2; 68:12-14; 78:54-55). As a narrative of God's faithfulness in giving the Israelites possession of the promised land, this historyis most valuable, and bears the same character as a sequel to the Pentateuch, that the Acts of the Apostles do to the Gospels.

Shoftim (Judges)

JUDGES is the title given to the next book, from its containing the history of those non-regal rulers who governed the Hebrews from the time of Joshua to that of Eli, and whose functions in time of peace consisted chieflyin the administration of justice, although they occasionally led the people in their wars against their public enemies. The date and authorship of this book are not precisely known. It is certain, however, that it preceded the Second Book of Samuel (compare Judges 9:35 with 2 Samuel 11:21), as well as the conquest of Jerusalem by David (compare Judges 1:21 with 2 Samuel 5:6). Its author was in all probability Samuel, the last of the judges (see Judges 19:1 Judges 21:25), and the date of the first part of it is fixed in the reign of Saul, while the five chapters at the close might not have been written till after' David's establishment as king in Israel (see Judges 18:31). It is afragmentary history, being a collection of important facts and signal deliverances at different times and in various parts of the land, during the intermediate period of three hundred years between Joshua and the establishment of the monarchy. The inspired character of this book is confirmed by allusions to it in many passages of Scripture (compare Judges 4:2 ; 6:14 with 1 Samuel 12:9-12 ; Judges 9:53 with 2 Samuel 11:21 ; Judges 7:25 with Psalms 83:11 ; compare Judges 5:4 Judges 5:5 with Psalms 7:5 ; Judges 13:5 ; 16:17 with Matthew 2:13-23 ; Acts 13:20 ; Hebrews 11:32).

Shmuel Aleph (First Samuel)
Shmuel Bet (Second Samuel)

 THE FIRST AND SECOND BOOKS OF SAMUEL. The two were, by the ancient Jews, conjoined so as to make one book, and in that form could be called the Book of Samuel with more propriety than now, the second being wholly occupied with the relation of transactions that did not take place till after the death of that eminent judge. Accordingly, in the Septuagint and the Vulgate, it is called the First and Second Books of Kings. The early portion of the First Book, down to the end of the twenty-fourth chapter, was probably written by Samuel; while the rest of it and the whole of the Second, are commonly ascribed to Nathan and Gad, founding the opinion on 1Chronicles 29:29. Commentators, however, are divided about this, some supposing that the statements in 1 Samuel 2:26 ; 3:1, indicate the hand of the judge himself, or a contemporary; while some think, from 1 Samuel 6:18 ; 12:5 ; 27:6, that its composition must be referred to a later age. It is probable, however, that these supposed marks of an after-period were interpolations of Ezra. This uncertainty, however, as to the authorship does not affect the inspired authority of the book, which is indisputable, being quoted in the New Testament (1 Samuel 13:14 in Acts 13:22, and 2 Samuel 7:14 in Hebrews 1:5), as well as in many ofthe Psalms.

M’lakhim Alef (First Kings)
M’lakhim Bet (Second Kings)

THE FIRST AND SECOND BOOKS OF KINGS, in the ancient copies of the Hebrew Bible, constitute one book. Various titles have been given them; in the Septuagint and the Vulgate they are called the Third and Fourth Books of Kings. The authorship of these books is unknown; but the prevailing opinion is that they were compiled by Ezra, or one of the later prophets, from the ancient documents that are so frequently referred to in the course of the history as of public and established authority. Their inspired character was acknowledged by the Jewish Church, which ranked them in the sacred canon; and, besides, it is attested by our Lord, who frequently quotes from them (compare 1 Kings 17:9 ; 2 Kings 5:14 with Luke 4:24-27 ; 1 Kings 10:1 with Matthew 12:42).

Nevi’im Acharonim (Later Prophets)

Yesha’yahu (Isaiah)

ISAIAH, son of Amoz (not Amos); contemporary of Jonah, Amos, Hosea, in Israel, but younger than they; and of Micah, in Judah. His call to a higher degree of the prophetic office ( Isaiah 6:1-13 last year of Uzziah, that is, 754 B.C. The first through fifth chapters belong to the closing years of that reign; not, as some think, to Jotham's reign: in the reign of the latter he seems to have exercised his office only orally, and not to have left any record of his prophecies because they were not intended for all ages. The first through fifth and sixth chapters are all that was designed for the Church universal of the prophecies of the first twenty years of his office. New historical epochs, such as occurred in the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah, when the affairs of Israel became interwoven with those of the Asiatic empires, are marked by prophetic writings. The prophets had now to interpret the judgments of the Lord, so as to make the people conscious of His punitive justice, as also of His mercy. Isaiah 7:1-10:4 thirty-ninth chapters are historical, reaching to the fifteenth year of Hezekiah; probably the tenth through twelfth chapters and all from the thirteenth through twenty-sixth chapters, inclusive, belong to the same reign; the historical section being appended to facilitate the right understanding of these prophecies; thus we have Isaiah's office extending from about 760 to 713 B.C., forty-seven years. Tradition (Talmud) represents him as having been sawn asunder by Manasseh with a wooden saw, for having said that he had seen Jehovah ( Exodus 33:20 ; 2 Kings 21:16 ; Hebrews 11:37 Isaiah survived Hezekiah; but "first and last" is not added, as in 2 Chronicles 26:22 only carried up to a certain point. The second part, the fortieth through sixty-sixth chapters, containing complaints of gross idolatry, needs not to be restricted to Manasseh's reign, but is applicable to previous reigns. At the accession of Manasseh, Isaiah would be eighty-four; and if he prophesied for eight years afterwards, he must have endured martyrdom at ninety-two; so Hosea prophesied for sixty years. And Eastern tradition reports that he lived to one hundred and twenty. The conclusive argument against the tradition is that, according to the inscription, all Isaiah's prophecies are included in the time from Uzziah to Hezekiah; and the internal evidence accords with this.

His WIFE is called the prophetess [ Isaiah 8:3 as Miriam, with a prophetic gift.

His CHILDREN were considered by him as not belonging merely to himself; in their names, Shearjashub, "the remnant shall return" [ Isaiah 7:3 he hasteth to the prey" [ Isaiah 8:1 his prophecies are intimated to the people, the judgments of the Lord on the people and the world, and yet His mercy to the elect.

His GARMENT of sackcloth ( Isaiah 20:2 fact; he appears as the embodiment of that repentance which he taught.

His HISTORICAL WORKS.--History, as written by the prophets, is retroverted prophecy. As the past and future alike proceed from the essence of God, an inspired insight into the past implies an insight into the future, and vice versa. Hence most of the Old Testament histories are written by prophets and are classed with their writings; the Chronicles being not so classed, cannot have been written by them, but are taken from historical monographs of theirs; for example, Isaiah's life of Uzziah, 2 Chronicles 26:22 of these latter all that was important for all ages has been preserved to us, while the rest, which was local and temporary, has been lost.

The INSCRIPTION ( Isaiah 1:1 that Isaiah is the author of the second part (the fortieth through sixty-sixth chapters), as well as of the first. Nor do the words, "concerning Judah and Jerusalem" [ Isaiah 1:1 the inscription applies to the whole; for whatever he says against other nations, he says on account of their relation to Judah. So the inscription of Amos, "concerning Israel" [ Amos 1:1 prophecies follow against foreign nations. EWALD maintains that the fortieth through sixty-sixth chapters, though spurious, were subjoined to the previous portion, in order to preserve the former. But it is untrue that the first portion is unconnected with those chapters. The former ends with the Babylonian exile ( Isaiah 39:6 begins with the coming redemption from it. The portion, the fortieth through forty-sixth chapters, has no heading of its own, a proof that it is closely connected with what precedes, and falls under the general heading in Isaiah 1:1 (The Antiquities of the Jews, 11.1.1,2) says that Cyrus was induced by the prophecies of Isaiah ( Isaiah 44:28 ; Isaiah 45:1 Isaiah 45:13 returning and rebuilding the temple Ezra 1:1-11 Cyrus in his edict there plainly refers to the prophecies in the second portion, which assign the kingdoms to him from Jehovah, and the duty of rebuilding the temple. Probably he took from them his historical name Cyrus (Coresh). Moreover, subsequent prophets imitate this second portion, which EWALD assigns to later times; for example, compare Jeremiah 50:1-51:64 predictions against Babylon [ 13:1-14:23 Israel," occurring but three times elsewhere in the Old Testament [ 2 Kings 19:22 ; Psalms 78:41 ; 89:18 ; Jeremiah 50:29 ; 51:5 in the second, as in the first portion of Isaiah: it expresses God's covenant faithfulness in fulfilling the promises therein: Jeremiah borrows the expression from him. Also Ecclesiasticus 48:22-25 ("comforted"), quotes Isaiah 40:1 Isaiah 61:1 Isaiah 61:2 synagogue.

The DEFINITENESS of the prophecies is striking: As in the second portion of isaiah, so in Micah 4:8-10 deliverance from it, are foretold a hundred fifty years before any hostilities had arisen between Babylon and Judah. On the other hand, all the prophets who foretell the Assyrian invasion coincide in stating, that Judah should be delivered from it, not by Egyptian aid, but directly by the Lord. Again Jeremiah, in the height of the Chaldean prosperity, foretold its conquest by the Medes, who should enter Babylon through the dry bed of the Euphrates on a night of general revelry. No human calculation could have discovered these facts. EICHORN terms these prophecies "veiled historical descriptions," recognizing in spite of himself that they are more than general poetical fancies. The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah was certainly written ages before the Messiah, yet it minutely portrays His sufferings: these cannot be Jewish inventions, for the Jews looked for a reigning, not a suffering, Messiah.

Rationalists are so far right that THE PROPHECIES ARE ON A GENERAL BASIS whereby they are distinguished from soothsaying. They rest on the essential idea of God. The prophets, penetrated by this inner knowledge of His character, became conscious of the eternal laws by which the world is governed: that sin is man's ruin, and must be followed by judgment, but that God's covenant mercy to His elect is unchangeable. Without prophetism, the elect remnant would have decreased, and even God's judgments would have missed their end, by not being recognized as such: they would have been unmeaning, isolated facts. Babylon was in Isaiah's days under Assyria; it had tried a revolt unsuccessfully: but the elements of its subsequent success and greatness were then existing. The Holy Ghost enlightened his natural powers to discern this its rise; and his spiritual faculties, to foresee its fall, the sure consequence, in God's eternal law, of the pride which pagan success generates--and also Judah's restoration, as the covenant-people, with whom God, according to His essential character, would not be wroth for ever. True conversion is the prophet's grand remedy against all evils: in this alone consists his politics. Rebuke, threatening, and promise, regularly succeed one another. The idea at the basis of all is in Isaiah 26:7-9 ; Leviticus 10:3 ; Amos 3:2

The USE OF THE PRESENT AND PRETERITE in prophecy is no proof that the author is later than Isaiah. For seers view the future as present, and indicate what is ideally past, not really past; seeing things in the light of God, who "calls the things that are not as though they were." Moreover, as in looking from a height on a landscape, hills seem close together which are really wide apart, so, in events foretold, the order, succession, and grouping are presented, but the intervals of time are overlooked. The time, however, is sometimes marked ( Jeremiah 25:12 ; Daniel 9:26 deliverance from Babylon, and that effected by Messiah, are in rapid transition grouped together by THE LAW OF PROPHETIC SUGGESTION; yet no prophet so confounds the two as to make Messiah the leader of Israel from Babylon. To the prophet there was probably no double sense; but to his spiritual eye the two events, though distinct, lay so near, and were so analogous, that he could not separate them in description without unfaithfulness to the picture presented before him. The more remote and antitypical event, however, namely, Messiah's coming, is that to which he always hastens, and which he describes with far more minuteness than he does the nearer type; for example, Cyrus (compare Isaiah 45:1 the midst of events between, for example, the humiliation of Jesus Christ, which he views as past, and His glorification, as yet to come, using the future tense as to the latter (compare Isaiah 53:4-9 given sparingly in the prophets: yet, as to Messiah, definitely enough to create the general expectation of Him at the time that He was in fact born.

The CHALDÆISMS alleged against the genuineness of the second portion of Isaiah, are found more in the first and undoubted portion. They occur in all the Old Testament, especially in the poetical parts, which prefer unusual expressions, and are due to the fact that the patriarchs were surrounded by Chaldee-speaking people; and in Isaiah's time a few Chaldee words had crept in from abroad.

His SYMBOLS are few and simple, and his poetical images correct; in the prophets, during and after the exile, the reverse holds good; Haggai and Malachi are not exceptions; for, though void of bold images, their style, unlike Isaiah's, rises little above prose: a clear proof that our Isaiah was long before the exile.

Of VISIONS, strictly so called, he has but one, that in the sixth chapter; even it is more simple than those in later prophets. But he often gives SIGNS, that is, a present fact as pledge of the more distant future; God condescending to the feebleness of man ( Isaiah 7:14 ; Isaiah 37:30 ; 38:7

The VARIETIES IN HIS STYLE do not prove spuriousness, but that he varied his style with his subject. The second portion is not so much addressed to his contemporaries, as to the future people of the Lord, the elect remnant, purified by the previous judgments. Hence its tenderness of style, and frequent repetitions ( Isaiah 40:1 comforting exhortation uses many words; so also the many epithets added to the name of God, intended as stays whereon faith may rest for comfort, so as not to despair. In both portions alike there are peculiarities characteristic of Isaiah; for example, "to be called" equivalent to to be: the repetition of the same words, instead of synonyms, in the parallel members of verses; the interspersing of his prophecies with hymns: "the remnant of olive trees," &c., for the remnant of people who have escaped God's judgments. Also compare Isaiah 65:25

The CHRONOLOGICAL ARRANGEMENT favors the opinion that Isaiah himself collected his prophecies into the volume; not Hezekiah's men, as the Talmud guesses from Proverbs 25:1 can be ascertained, stand in the right place, except a few instances, where prophecies of similar contents are placed together: with the termination of the Assyrian invasion (the thirty-sixth through thirty-ninth chapters) terminated the public life of Isaiah. The second part is his prophetic legacy to the small band of the faithful, analogous to the last speeches of Moses and of Jesus Christ to His chosen disciples.

The EXPECTATION OF MESSIAH is so strong in Isaiah, that JEROME To Paulinus calls his book not a prophecy, but the gospel: "He is not so much a prophet as an evangelist." Messiah was already shadowed forth in Genesis 49:10 Psalms 2, 45, 72, 110. Isaiah brings it out more definitely; and, whereas they dwelt on His kingly office, Isaiah develops most His priestly and prophetic office; the hundred tenth Psalm also had set forth His priesthood, but His kingly rather than, as Isaiah, His suffering, priesthood. The latter is especially dwelt on in the second part, addressed to the faithful elect; whereas the first part, addressed to the whole people, dwells on Messiah's glory, the antidote to the fears which then filled the people, and the assurance that the kingdom of God, then represented by Judah, would not be overwhelmed by the surrounding nations.

His STYLE (HENGSTENBERG, Christology of the Old Testament,) is simple and sublime; in imagery, intermediate between the poverty of Jeremiah and the exuberance of Ezekiel. He shows his command of it in varying it to suit his subject.

The FORM is mostly that of Hebrew poetical parallelism, with, however, a freedom unshackled by undue restrictions.

JUDAH, the less apostate people, rather than Israel, was the subject of his prophecies: his residence was mostly at Jerusalem. On his praises, see Ecclesiasticus 48:22-25. Christ and the apostles quote no prophet so frequently.

 

Yirmi’yahu (Jeremiah)

ISAIAH, son of Amoz (not Amos); contemporary of Jonah, Amos, Hosea, in Israel, but younger than they; and of Micah, in Judah. His call to a higher degree of the prophetic office ( Isaiah 6:1-13 last year of Uzziah, that is, 754 B.C. The first through fifth chapters belong to the closing years of that reign; not, as some think, to Jotham's reign: in the reign of the latter he seems to have exercised his office only orally, and not to have left any record of his prophecies because they were not intended for all ages. The first through fifth and sixth chapters are all that was designed for the Church universal of the prophecies of the first twenty years of his office. New historical epochs, such as occurred in the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah, when the affairs of Israel became interwoven with those of the Asiatic empires, are marked by prophetic writings. The prophets had now to interpret the judgments of the Lord, so as to make the people conscious of His punitive justice, as also of His mercy. Isaiah 7:1-10:4 thirty-ninth chapters are historical, reaching to the fifteenth year of Hezekiah; probably the tenth through twelfth chapters and all from the thirteenth through twenty-sixth chapters, inclusive, belong to the same reign; the historical section being appended to facilitate the right understanding of these prophecies; thus we have Isaiah's office extending from about 760 to 713 B.C., forty-seven years. Tradition (Talmud) represents him as having been sawn asunder by Manasseh with a wooden saw, for having said that he had seen Jehovah ( Exodus 33:20 ; 2 Kings 21:16 ; Hebrews 11:37 Isaiah survived Hezekiah; but "first and last" is not added, as in 2 Chronicles 26:22 only carried up to a certain point. The second part, the fortieth through sixty-sixth chapters, containing complaints of gross idolatry, needs not to be restricted to Manasseh's reign, but is applicable to previous reigns. At the accession of Manasseh, Isaiah would be eighty-four; and if he prophesied for eight years afterwards, he must have endured martyrdom at ninety-two; so Hosea prophesied for sixty years. And Eastern tradition reports that he lived to one hundred and twenty. The conclusive argument against the tradition is that, according to the inscription, all Isaiah's prophecies are included in the time from Uzziah to Hezekiah; and the internal evidence accords with this.

His WIFE is called the prophetess [ Isaiah 8:3 as Miriam, with a prophetic gift.

His CHILDREN were considered by him as not belonging merely to himself; in their names, Shearjashub, "the remnant shall return" [ Isaiah 7:3 he hasteth to the prey" [ Isaiah 8:1 his prophecies are intimated to the people, the judgments of the Lord on the people and the world, and yet His mercy to the elect.

His GARMENT of sackcloth ( Isaiah 20:2 fact; he appears as the embodiment of that repentance which he taught.

His HISTORICAL WORKS.--History, as written by the prophets, is retroverted prophecy. As the past and future alike proceed from the essence of God, an inspired insight into the past implies an insight into the future, and vice versa. Hence most of the Old Testament histories are written by prophets and are classed with their writings; the Chronicles being not so classed, cannot have been written by them, but are taken from historical monographs of theirs; for example, Isaiah's life of Uzziah, 2 Chronicles 26:22 of these latter all that was important for all ages has been preserved to us, while the rest, which was local and temporary, has been lost.

The INSCRIPTION ( Isaiah 1:1 that Isaiah is the author of the second part (the fortieth through sixty-sixth chapters), as well as of the first. Nor do the words, "concerning Judah and Jerusalem" [ Isaiah 1:1 the inscription applies to the whole; for whatever he says against other nations, he says on account of their relation to Judah. So the inscription of Amos, "concerning Israel" [ Amos 1:1 prophecies follow against foreign nations. EWALD maintains that the fortieth through sixty-sixth chapters, though spurious, were subjoined to the previous portion, in order to preserve the former. But it is untrue that the first portion is unconnected with those chapters. The former ends with the Babylonian exile ( Isaiah 39:6 begins with the coming redemption from it. The portion, the fortieth through forty-sixth chapters, has no heading of its own, a proof that it is closely connected with what precedes, and falls under the general heading in Isaiah 1:1 (The Antiquities of the Jews, 11.1.1,2) says that Cyrus was induced by the prophecies of Isaiah ( Isaiah 44:28 ; Isaiah 45:1 Isaiah 45:13 returning and rebuilding the temple Ezra 1:1-11 Cyrus in his edict there plainly refers to the prophecies in the second portion, which assign the kingdoms to him from Jehovah, and the duty of rebuilding the temple. Probably he took from them his historical name Cyrus (Coresh). Moreover, subsequent prophets imitate this second portion, which EWALD assigns to later times; for example, compare Jeremiah 50:1-51:64 predictions against Babylon [ 13:1-14:23 Israel," occurring but three times elsewhere in the Old Testament [ 2 Kings 19:22 ; Psalms 78:41 ; 89:18 ; Jeremiah 50:29 ; 51:5 in the second, as in the first portion of Isaiah: it expresses God's covenant faithfulness in fulfilling the promises therein: Jeremiah borrows the expression from him. Also Ecclesiasticus 48:22-25 ("comforted"), quotes Isaiah 40:1 Isaiah 61:1 Isaiah 61:2 synagogue.

The DEFINITENESS of the prophecies is striking: As in the second portion of isaiah, so in Micah 4:8-10 deliverance from it, are foretold a hundred fifty years before any hostilities had arisen between Babylon and Judah. On the other hand, all the prophets who foretell the Assyrian invasion coincide in stating, that Judah should be delivered from it, not by Egyptian aid, but directly by the Lord. Again Jeremiah, in the height of the Chaldean prosperity, foretold its conquest by the Medes, who should enter Babylon through the dry bed of the Euphrates on a night of general revelry. No human calculation could have discovered these facts. EICHORN terms these prophecies "veiled historical descriptions," recognizing in spite of himself that they are more than general poetical fancies. The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah was certainly written ages before the Messiah, yet it minutely portrays His sufferings: these cannot be Jewish inventions, for the Jews looked for a reigning, not a suffering, Messiah.

Rationalists are so far right that THE PROPHECIES ARE ON A GENERAL BASIS whereby they are distinguished from soothsaying. They rest on the essential idea of God. The prophets, penetrated by this inner knowledge of His character, became conscious of the eternal laws by which the world is governed: that sin is man's ruin, and must be followed by judgment, but that God's covenant mercy to His elect is unchangeable. Without prophetism, the elect remnant would have decreased, and even God's judgments would have missed their end, by not being recognized as such: they would have been unmeaning, isolated facts. Babylon was in Isaiah's days under Assyria; it had tried a revolt unsuccessfully: but the elements of its subsequent success and greatness were then existing. The Holy Ghost enlightened his natural powers to discern this its rise; and his spiritual faculties, to foresee its fall, the sure consequence, in God's eternal law, of the pride which pagan success generates--and also Judah's restoration, as the covenant-people, with whom God, according to His essential character, would not be wroth for ever. True conversion is the prophet's grand remedy against all evils: in this alone consists his politics. Rebuke, threatening, and promise, regularly succeed one another. The idea at the basis of all is in Isaiah 26:7-9 ; Leviticus 10:3 ; Amos 3:2

The USE OF THE PRESENT AND PRETERITE in prophecy is no proof that the author is later than Isaiah. For seers view the future as present, and indicate what is ideally past, not really past; seeing things in the light of God, who "calls the things that are not as though they were." Moreover, as in looking from a height on a landscape, hills seem close together which are really wide apart, so, in events foretold, the order, succession, and grouping are presented, but the intervals of time are overlooked. The time, however, is sometimes marked ( Jeremiah 25:12 ; Daniel 9:26 deliverance from Babylon, and that effected by Messiah, are in rapid transition grouped together by THE LAW OF PROPHETIC SUGGESTION; yet no prophet so confounds the two as to make Messiah the leader of Israel from Babylon. To the prophet there was probably no double sense; but to his spiritual eye the two events, though distinct, lay so near, and were so analogous, that he could not separate them in description without unfaithfulness to the picture presented before him. The more remote and antitypical event, however, namely, Messiah's coming, is that to which he always hastens, and which he describes with far more minuteness than he does the nearer type; for example, Cyrus (compare Isaiah 45:1 the midst of events between, for example, the humiliation of Jesus Christ, which he views as past, and His glorification, as yet to come, using the future tense as to the latter (compare Isaiah 53:4-9 given sparingly in the prophets: yet, as to Messiah, definitely enough to create the general expectation of Him at the time that He was in fact born.

The CHALDÆISMS alleged against the genuineness of the second portion of Isaiah, are found more in the first and undoubted portion. They occur in all the Old Testament, especially in the poetical parts, which prefer unusual expressions, and are due to the fact that the patriarchs were surrounded by Chaldee-speaking people; and in Isaiah's time a few Chaldee words had crept in from abroad.

His SYMBOLS are few and simple, and his poetical images correct; in the prophets, during and after the exile, the reverse holds good; Haggai and Malachi are not exceptions; for, though void of bold images, their style, unlike Isaiah's, rises little above prose: a clear proof that our Isaiah was long before the exile.

Of VISIONS, strictly so called, he has but one, that in the sixth chapter; even it is more simple than those in later prophets. But he often gives SIGNS, that is, a present fact as pledge of the more distant future; God condescending to the feebleness of man ( Isaiah 7:14 ; Isaiah 37:30 ; 38:7

The VARIETIES IN HIS STYLE do not prove spuriousness, but that he varied his style with his subject. The second portion is not so much addressed to his contemporaries, as to the future people of the Lord, the elect remnant, purified by the previous judgments. Hence its tenderness of style, and frequent repetitions ( Isaiah 40:1 comforting exhortation uses many words; so also the many epithets added to the name of God, intended as stays whereon faith may rest for comfort, so as not to despair. In both portions alike there are peculiarities characteristic of Isaiah; for example, "to be called" equivalent to to be: the repetition of the same words, instead of synonyms, in the parallel members of verses; the interspersing of his prophecies with hymns: "the remnant of olive trees," &c., for the remnant of people who have escaped God's judgments. Also compare Isaiah 65:25

The CHRONOLOGICAL ARRANGEMENT favors the opinion that Isaiah himself collected his prophecies into the volume; not Hezekiah's men, as the Talmud guesses from Proverbs 25:1 can be ascertained, stand in the right place, except a few instances, where prophecies of similar contents are placed together: with the termination of the Assyrian invasion (the thirty-sixth through thirty-ninth chapters) terminated the public life of Isaiah. The second part is his prophetic legacy to the small band of the faithful, analogous to the last speeches of Moses and of Jesus Christ to His chosen disciples.

The EXPECTATION OF MESSIAH is so strong in Isaiah, that JEROME To Paulinus calls his book not a prophecy, but the gospel: "He is not so much a prophet as an evangelist." Messiah was already shadowed forth in Genesis 49:10 Psalms 2, 45, 72, 110. Isaiah brings it out more definitely; and, whereas they dwelt on His kingly office, Isaiah develops most His priestly and prophetic office; the hundred tenth Psalm also had set forth His priesthood, but His kingly rather than, as Isaiah, His suffering, priesthood. The latter is especially dwelt on in the second part, addressed to the faithful elect; whereas the first part, addressed to the whole people, dwells on Messiah's glory, the antidote to the fears which then filled the people, and the assurance that the kingdom of God, then represented by Judah, would not be overwhelmed by the surrounding nations.

His STYLE (HENGSTENBERG, Christology of the Old Testament,) is simple and sublime; in imagery, intermediate between the poverty of Jeremiah and the exuberance of Ezekiel. He shows his command of it in varying it to suit his subject.

The FORM is mostly that of Hebrew poetical parallelism, with, however, a freedom unshackled by undue restrictions.

JUDAH, the less apostate people, rather than Israel, was the subject of his prophecies: his residence was mostly at Jerusalem. On his praises, see Ecclesiasticus 48:22-25. Christ and the apostles quote no prophet so frequently.

 

Y’chezki’el (Ezekiel)

The name Ezekiel means "(whom) God will strengthen" [GESENIUS]; or, "God will prevail" [ROSENMULLER]. His father was Buzi ( Ezekiel 1:3 priest, and he probably exercised the priestly office himself at Jerusalem, previous to his captivity, as appears from the matured priestly character to be seen in his prophecies, a circumstance which much increased his influence with his captive fellow countrymen at Babylon. Tradition represents Sarera as the land of his nativity. His call to prophesy was in the fifth year from the date of his being carried away with Jehoiachin (see 2 Kings 24:11-15 Nebuchadnezzar, 599 B.C. The best portions of the people seem to have been among the first carried away ( Ezekiel 11:16 ; Jeremiah 24:2-7 Jeremiah 24:8 Jeremiah 24:10 ungodly were willing to do anything to remain in their native land; whereas the godly believed the prophets and obeyed the first summons to surrender, as the only path of safety. These latter, as adhering to the theocratic principle, were among the earliest to be removed by the Chaldeans, who believed that, if they were out of the way, the nation would fall to pieces of itself. They were despised by their brethren in the Holy Land not yet captives, as having no share in the temple sacrifices. Thus Ezekiel's sphere of labor was one happier and less impeded by his countrymen than that of Jeremiah at home. The vicinity of the river Chebar, which flows into the Euphrates near Circeslum, was the first scene of his prophecies ( Ezekiel 1:1 Thallaba) was his place of residence ( Ezekiel 3:15 used to come to inquire as to God's messages through him. They were eager to return to Jerusalem, but he taught them that they must first return to their God. He continued to prophesy for at least twenty-two years, that is, to the twenty-seventh year of the captivity ( Ezekiel 29:17 the rest of his life. A treatise, falsely attributed to EPIPHANIUS, states a tradition that he was killed at Babylon by a prince of his people whom he had reproved for idolatry.

He was contemporary with Jeremiah and Daniel. The former had prophesied for thirty-four years before Ezekiel, and continued to do so for six or seven years after him. The call of Ezekiel followed the very next year after the communication of Jeremiah's predictions to Babylon ( Jeremiah 51:59 predictions are mostly later than Ezekiel's but his piety and wisdom had become proverbial in the early part of Ezekiel's ministry ( Ezekiel 14:14 Ezekiel 14:16 ; 28:3 the visions and grotesque images. It is a remarkable proof of genuineness that in Ezekiel no prophecies against Babylon occur among those directed against the enemies of the covenant-people. Probably he desired not to give needless offence to the government under which he lived. The effect of his labors is to be seen in the improved character of the people towards the close of the captivity, and their general cessation from idolatry and a return to the law. It was little more than thirty years after the close of his labors when the decree of the Jews' restoration was issued. His leading characteristic is realizing, determined energy; this admirably adapted him for opposing the "rebellious house" "of stubborn front and hard heart," and for maintaining the cause of God's Church among his countrymen in a foreign land, when the external framework had fallen to pieces. His style is plain and simple. His conceptions are definite, and the details even of the symbolical and enigmatical parts are given with lifelike minuteness. The obscurity lies in the substance, not in the form, of his communications. The priestly element predominates in his prophecies, arising from his previous training as a priest. He delights to linger about the temple and to find in its symbolical forms the imagery for conveying his instructions. This was divinely ordered to satisfy the spiritual want felt by the people in the absence of the outward temple and its sacrifices. In his images he is magnificent, though austere and somewhat harsh. He abounds in repetitions, not for ornament, but for force and weight. Poetical parallelism is not found except in a few portions, as in the seventh, twenty-first, twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth through thirty-first chapters. His great aim was to stimulate the dormant minds of the Jews. For this end nothing was better suited than the use of mysterious symbols expressed in the plainest words. The superficial, volatile, and wilfully unbelieving would thereby be left to judicial blindness ( Isaiah 6:10 ; Matthew 13:11-13 awakened to a deeper search into the things of God by the very obscurity of the symbols. Inattention to this divine purpose has led the modern Jews so to magnify this obscurity as to ordain that no one shall read this book till he has passed his thirtieth year.

RABBI HANANIAS is said to have satisfactorily solved the difficulties (Mischna) which were alleged against its canonicity. Ecclesiasticus 49:8 refers to it, and JOSEPHUS [Antiquities, 10.5.1]. It is mentioned as part of the canon in MELITO'S catalogue [EUSEBIUS, Ecclesiastical History, 4.26]; also in ORIGEN, JEROME, and the Talmud. The oneness of tone throughout and the repetition of favorite expressions exclude the suspicion that separate portions are not genuine. The earlier portion, the first through the thirty-second chapters, which mainly treats of sin and judgment, is a key to interpret the latter portion, which is more hopeful and joyous, but remote in date. Thus a unity and an orderly progressive character are imparted to the whole. The destruction of Jerusalem is the central point. Previous to this he calls to repentance and warns against blind confidence in Egypt ( Ezekiel 17:15-17 After it he consoles the captives by promising them future deliverance and restoration. His prophecies against foreign nations stand between these two great divisions, and were uttered in the interval between the intimation that Nebuchadnezzar was besieging Jerusalem and the arrival of the news that he had taken it ( Ezekiel 33:21 HAVERNICK marks out nine sections:--(1) Ezekiel's call to prophesy ( Ezekiel 1:1-3:15 Symbolical predictions of the destruction of Jerusalem ( Ezekiel 3:16-7:27 temple polluted by Tammuz or Adonis worship; God's consequent scattering of fire over the city and forsaking of the temple to reveal Himself to an inquiring people in exile; happier and purer times to follow ( Ezekiel 8:1-11:25 the several classes--priests, prophets, and princes ( Ezekiel 12:1-19:14 (5) A year later the warning of judgment for national guilt repeated with greater distinctness as the time drew nearer ( Ezekiel 20:1-23:49 (6) Two years and five months later--the very day on which Ezekiel speaks--is announced as the day of the beginning of the siege; Jerusalem shall be overthrown ( Ezekiel 24:1-27 nations during the interval of his silence towards his own people; if judgment begins at the house of God, much more will it visit the ungodly world ( Ezekiel 25:1-32:32 others, but they all began to be given after the fall of Jerusalem. (8) In the twelfth year of the captivity, when the fugitives from Jerusalem ( Ezekiel 33:21 times and the re-establishment of Israel and the triumph of God's kingdom on earth over its enemies, Seir, the heathen, and Gog ( Ezekiel 33:1-39:29 vision of the order and beauty of the restored kingdom ( Ezekiel 40:1-48:35 its offerings rather discountenances the view of this vision being only symbolical, and not at all literal. The event alone can clear it up. At all events it has not yet been fulfilled; it must be future. Ezekiel was the only prophet (in the strict sense) among the Jews at Babylon. Daniel was rather a seer than a prophet, for the spirit of prophecy was given him to qualify him, not for a spiritual office, but for disclosing future events. His position in a heathen king's palace fitted him for revelations of the outward relations of God's kingdom to the kingdoms of the world, so that his book is ranked by the Jews among the Hagiographa or "Sacred Writings," not among the prophetical Scriptures. On the other hand, Ezekiel was distinctively a prophet, and one who had to do with the inward concerns of the divine kingdom. As a priest, when sent into exile, his service was but transferred from the visible temple at Jerusalem to the spiritual temple in Chaldea.

 

Shneim-‘Asar (The Twelve)

Hoshea (Hosea)

THE first of the twelve minor prophets in the order of the canon (called "minor," not as less in point of inspired authority, but simply in point of size). The twelve are first mentioned by Jesus, the son of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus 49:10). St. Stephen, in Acts 7:42 (in referring to Amos 5:27 collective body of writings, "the book of the prophets." So JEROME and MELITO, the first Greek father who has left us a catalogue of these books. The collection of the sacred books is by Jewish tradition attributed to the great synagogue of learned scribes formed by Ezra. Many think Nehemiah completed this collection by adding to the books already in the canon those of his own times. Malachi, the last in the series, probably aided him in determining with infallible authority what books were entitled to be ranked in the inspired canon. The chronological order differs from the canonical. Joel, about 810 B.C.; Jonah, about 810 B.C., or, as others, first, 862 B.C.; Amos, about 790 B.C.; Hosea, about 784 B.C. Hosea, the contemporary of Isaiah, Micah, and Amos, seems to have entered on his prophetical office in the last years of Jeroboam (contemporary in part with Uzziah), and to have ended it in the beginning of Hezekiah's reign, 722 B.C., that is, about sixty years in all, from 784 B.C. to 722 B.C. The prophets, however, were not uninterruptedly engaged in prophesying. Considerable intervals elapsed, though their office as divinely commissioned public teachers was never wholly laid aside. The Book of Hosea which we have constitutes only that portion of his public teachings which the Holy Spirit saw fit to preserve for the benefit of the Church. The cause of his being placed first of the twelve was, probably, the length, the vivid earnestness, and patriotism of his prophecies, as well as their closer resemblance to those of the greater prophets. His style is abrupt, sententious, and unrounded; the connecting particles are few; there are changes of person, and anomalies of gender, number, and construction. His name means Salvation. He was son of Beeri, of the tribe of Issachar, born in Beth-shemesh [JEROME]. His mention, in the inscription, of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, is no proof that he belonged to Judah: for the prophets in Israel regarded its separation from Judah, civil as well as religious, as an apostasy from God, who promised the dominion of the theocracy to the line of David. Hence Elijah in Israel took twelve stones to represent Judah, as well as Israel ( 1 Kings 18:31 from Jeroboam of Israel, though he belonged to Israel, with whose sins and fate his book is chiefly occupied. He, however, makes incidental references to Judah. His first prophecy foretells the overthrow of Jehu's house, fulfilled on the death of Jeroboam, Jehu's great-grandson ( 2 Kings 15:12 Jehu, conspired against by Shallum. This first prediction was doubtless in Jeroboam's life, as Zachariah, his son, was only suffered to reign six months; thus the inscription is verified that "the word of the Lord came unto him in the days of Jeroboam" ( Hosea 1:1 Hosea 10:14 as past, that is, the first inroad against King Hoshea, who began to reign in the twelfth year of Ahaz; so that as Ahaz' whole reign was sixteen years, the prophecy seems to have been given about the beginning of Hezekiah's reign. Thus the inscription is confirmed that the exercise of his prophetical functions was of such a protracted duration.

Hosea ( Hosea 11:1 Matthew 9:13 ; 12:7 23; 1 Corinthians 15:55 Hosea 1:9 Hosea 1:10 ; 2:23 predictions of the future conversion of Israel to the Lord their God, and David their king, and of the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham that his spiritual seed should be as the sand of the sea ( Hosea 1:10 ; 3:5

The first and third chapters are in prose, the rest of the book is rhythmical.

 

Yo’el (Joel)

JOEL (meaning "one to whom Jehovah is God," that is, worshipper of Jehovah) seems to have belonged to Judah, as no reference occurs to Israel; whereas he speaks of Jerusalem, the temple, the priests, and the ceremonies, as if he were intimately familiar with them (compare Joel 1:14 ; Joel 2:1 Joel 2:15 Joel 2:32 ; Joel 3:1 Joel 3:2 Joel 3:6 Joel 3:16 Joel 3:17 Joel 3:20 Joel 3:21 probably delivered in the early days of Joash 870-865 B.C.; for no reference is made in them to the Babylonian, Assyrian, or even the Syrian invasion; and the only enemies mentioned are the Philistines, Phoenicians, Edomites, and Egyptians ( Joel 3:4 Joel 3:19 Joash, he would doubtless have mentioned the Syrians among the enemies whom he enumerates since they took Jerusalem and carried off immense spoil to Damascus ( 2 Chronicles 24:23 2 Chronicles 24:24 temple services, the priesthood, and other institutions of the theocracy, are represented as flourishing. This all answers to the state of things under the high priesthood of Jehoiada, through whom Joash had been placed on the throne and who lived in the early years of Joash ( 2 Kings 11:17 2 Kings 11:18 ; 12:2-16 ; 2 Chronicles 24.4-14 2 Chronicles 4-14

The first chapter describes the desolation caused by an inroad of locusts--one of the instruments of divine judgment mentioned by Moses ( Deuteronomy 28:38 Deuteronomy 28:39 ( Joel 2:1-11 suggesting that the locusts were symbols and forerunners of a more terrible scourge, namely, foreign enemies who would consume all before them. (The absence of mention of personal injury to the inhabitants is not a just objection to the figurative interpretation; for the figure is consistent throughout in attributing to the locusts only injury to vegetation, thereby injuring indirectly man and beast). Joel 2:12-17 God will deliver His people, the former and latter rains shall return to fertilize their desolated lands, and these shall be the pledge of the spiritual outpouring of grace beginning with Judah, and thence extending to "all flesh." Joel 2:18-3:21 enemies, whereas Judah shall be established for ever.

Joel's style is pre-eminently pure. It is characterized by smoothness and fluency in the rhythms, roundness in the sentences, and regularity in the parallelisms. With the strength of Micah it combines the tenderness of Jeremiah, the vividness of Nahum, and the sublimity of Isaiah. As a specimen of his style take the second chapter wherein the terrible aspect of the locusts, their rapidity, irresistible progress, noisy din, and instinct-taught power of marshalling their forces for their career of devastation, are painted with graphic reality.

 

‘Amos (Amos)

AMOS (meaning in Hebrew "a burden") was ( Amos 1:1 Tekoa, a small town of Judah, six miles southeast from Beth-lehem, and twelve from Jerusalem, on the borders of the great desert ( 2 Chronicles 20:20 compare 2 Chronicles 11:6 than for agricultural purposes. Amos therefore owned and tended flocks, and collected sycamore figs; not that the former was a menial office, kings themselves, as Mesha of Moab ( 2 Kings 3:4 however (from Amos 7:14 Amos 7:15

Though belonging to Judah, he was commissioned by God to exercise his prophetical function in Israel; as the latter kingdom abounded in impostors, and the prophets of God generally fled to Judah through fear of the kings of Israel, a true prophet from Judah was the more needed in it. His name is not to be confounded with that of Isaiah's father, Amoz.

The time of his prophesying was in the reigns of Uzziah king of Judea, and Jeroboam II, son of Joash, king of Israel ( Amos 1:1 is, in part of the time in which the two kings were contemporary; probably in Jeroboam's latter years, after that monarch had recovered from Syria "the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath to the sea of the plain" ( 2 Kings 14:25-27 coasts, "from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of the wilderness," should be the scene of Israel's being afflicted ( Amos 6:14 then existing ( Amos 6:1 Amos 6:4 Amos 6:13 the Assyrian foe ( Amos 1:5 ; Amos 3:12 Amos 3:15 ; 5:27 ; 8:2 of Jeroboam's reign, which terminated in 784 B.C., the twenty-seventh year of Uzziah's reign, which continued down to 759 B.C. He was contemporary with Hosea, only that the latter continued to prophesy in reigns subsequent to Uzziah ( Hosea 1:1 in the reign of that monarch. The scene of his ministry was Beth-el, where the idol calves were set up ( Amos 7:10-13 roused Amaziah, the idol priest, to accuse him of conspiracy and to try to drive him back to Judah.

The first six chapters are without figure; the last three symbolical, but with the explanation subjoined. He first denounces the neighboring peoples, then the Jews, then Israel (from the third chapter to the end), closing with the promise or restoration under Messiah ( Amos 9:11-15 JEROME to betray his humble origin; but though not sublime, it is regular, perspicuous, and energetic; his images are taken from the scenes in nature with which he was familiar; his rhythms are flowing, his parallelisms exact, and his descriptions minute and graphic. Some peculiar expressions occur: "cleanness of teeth," that is, want of bread ( Amos 4:6 excellency of Jacob" ( Amos 6:8 ; 8:7 ( Amos 7:9 the wind" ( Amos 4:13

HENGSTENBERG draws an able argument for the genuineness of the Mosaic records from the evidence in Amos, that the existing institutions in Israel as well as Judah (excepting the calves of Jeroboam), were framed according to the Pentateuch rules.

Two quotations from Amos occur in the New Testament (compare Acts 7:42 Acts 7:43 Amos 9:11

PHILO, JOSEPHUS, MELITO'S catalogue, JEROME, JUSTIN MARTYR (Dialogue with Trypho, 22, quoting the fifth and six chapters of Amos as "one of the twelve minor prophets"), and the sixtieth canon of the Laodicean council support the canonicity of the book of Amos.

 

‘Ovadyah (Obadiah)

This is the shortest book in the Old Testament. The name means "servant of Jehovah." Obadiah stands fourth among the minor prophets according to the Hebrew arrangement of the canon, the fifth according to the Greek. Some consider him to be the same as the Obadiah who superintended the restoration of the temple under Josiah, 627 B.C. ( 2 Chronicles 34:12 time overthrown by the Chaldeans, and that he refers to the cruelty of Edom towards the Jews on that occasion, which is referred to also in Lamentations 4:21 Lamentations 4:22 ; Ezekiel 25:12-14 ; 35:1-15 ; Psalms 137:7 with Jeremiah 49:9 ; Obadiah 2:8 with Jeremiah 49:7 of Obadiah's, as he had done in the case of other prophets also (compare Isaiah 15:1-16:14 present position of Obadiah before other of the minor prophets anterior in date is: Amos at the close of his prophecies foretells the subjugation of Edom hereafter by the Jews; the arranger of the minor prophets in one volume, therefore, placed Obadiah next, as being a fuller statement, and, as it were, a commentary on the foregoing briefer prophecy of Amos as to Edom [MAURER]. (Compare Amos 1:11 date of Obadiah's prophecies was probably immediately after the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, 588 B.C. Five years afterwards (583 B.C). Edom was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah must have incorporated part of Obadiah's prophecies with his own immediately after they were uttered, thus stamping his canonicity.

JEROME makes him contemporary with Hosea, Joel, and Amos. It is an argument in favor of this view that Jeremiah would be more likely to insert in his prophecies a portion from a preceding prophet than from a contemporary. If so, the allusion in Obadiah 2:11-14 the former captures of Jerusalem: by the Egyptians under Rehoboam ( 1 Kings 14:25 1 Kings 14:26 ; 2 Chronicles 12:2 Arabians in the reign of Joram ( 2 Chronicles 21:16 2 Chronicles 21:17 of Israel, in the reign of Amaziah ( 2 Chronicles 25:22 2 Chronicles 25:23 reign of Jehoiakim ( 2 Kings 24:1 Jehoiachin ( 2 Kings 24:8-16 to the Jews; and the terms in which that enmity is characterized are not stronger in Obadiah than in Joel 3:19 Amos 1:11 Amos 1:12 is that by Joash and the Israelites in the reign of Amaziah. For as, a little before, in the reign of the same Amaziah, the Jews had treated harshly the Edomites after conquering them in battle ( 2 Chronicles 25:11-23 it is probable that the Edomites, in revenge, joined the Israelites in the attack on Jerusalem [JAEGER].

This book may be divided into two parts: (1) Obadiah 1:1-6 Edom's violence toward his brother Israel in the day of the latter's distress, and his coming destruction with the rest of the foes of Judah; (2) Obadiah 1:17-21 their own possessions, to which shall be added those of the neighboring peoples, and especially those of Edom.

 

Yonah (Jonah)

JONAH was the son of Amittai, of Gath-hepher in Zebulun (called Gittah-hepher in Joshua 19:10-13 of the ten tribes, not to Judah. His date is to be gathered from 2 Kings 14:25-27 entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He spake by the hand of His servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher. For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. And the Lord said not that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash." Now as this prophecy of Jonah was given at a time when Israel was at the lowest point of depression, when "there was not any shut up or left," that is, confined or left at large, none to act as a helper for Israel, it cannot have been given in Jeroboam's reign, which was marked by prosperity, for in it Syria was worsted in fulfilment of the prophecy, and Israel raised to its former "greatness." It must have been, therefore, in the early part of the reign of Joash, Jeroboam's father, who had found Israel in subjection to Syria, but had raised it by victories which were followed up so successfully by Jeroboam. Thus Jonah was the earliest of the prophets, and close upon Elisha, who died in Joash's reign, having just before his death given a token prophetical of the thrice defeat of Syria ( 2 Kings 13:14-21 Amos prophesied also in the reign of Jeroboam II, but towards the closing part of his forty-one years' reign. The transactions in the Book of Jonah probably occurred in the latter part of his life; if so, the book is not much older than part of the writings of Hosea and Amos. The use of the third person is no argument against Jonah himself being the writer: for the sacred writers in mentioning themselves do so in the third person (compare John 19:26 tense ( Jonah 3:3 that Nineveh's greatness was past when the Book of Jonah was being written; it is simply used to carry on the negative uniformly,--"the word of the Lord came to Jonah . . . so Jonah arose . . . now Nineveh was," &c. ( Jonah 1:1 ; 3:3 the Israelites had that intimate knowledge of it which they must have had soon afterwards through frequent Assyrian inroads.

As early as JULIAN and PORPHYRY, pagans ridiculed the credulity of Christians in believing the deliverance of Jonah by a fish. Some infidels have derived it from the heathen fable of the deliverance of Andromeda from a sea monster by Perseus [APOLLODORUS, The Library, 2.4,3]; or from that of Arion the musician thrown into the sea by sailors, and carried safe to shore on a dolphin [HERODOTUS, History, 1.24]; or from that of Hercules, who sprang into the jaws of a sea monster, and was three days in its belly, when he undertook to save Hesione [DIODORUS SICULUS, Historical Library, 4.42; HOMER, The Iliad, 20.145; 21.442]. Probably the heathen fables are, vice versa, corruptions of the sacred narrative, if there be any connection. JEROME states that near Joppa lay rocks, pointed out as those to which Andromeda was bound when exposed to the sea monster. This fable implies the likelihood of the story of Jonah having passed through the Phoenicians in a corrupted form to Greece. That the account of Jonah is history, and not parable (as rationalists represent), appears from our Lord's reference to it, in which the personal existence, miraculous fate, and prophetical office of Jonah are explicitly asserted: "No sign shall be given but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for, as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" ( Matthew 12:39 Matthew 12:40 being in the belly of the fish as a "sign," that is, a real miracle, typical of a similar event in His own history; and assumes the execution of the prophet's commission to Nineveh, "The men of Nineveh . . . repented at the preaching of Jonas; and behold, a greater than Jonas is here" ( Matthew 12:41

It seemed strange to KIMCHI, a Jew himself, that the Book of Jonah is among the Scriptures, as the only prophecy in it concerns Nineveh, a heathen city, and makes no mention of Israel, which is referred to by every other prophet. The reason seems to be: a tacit reproof of Israel is intended; a heathen people were ready to repent at the first preaching of the prophet, a stranger to them; but Israel, who boasted of being God's elect, repented not, though warned by their own prophets at all seasons. This was an anticipatory streak of light before the dawn of the full "light to lighten the Gentiles" ( Luke 2:32 himself a strange paradox: a prophet of God, and yet a runaway from God: a man drowned, and yet alive: a preacher of repentance, yet one that repines at repentance. Yet Jonah, saved from the jaws of death himself on repentance, was the fittest to give a hope to Nineveh, doomed though it was, of a merciful respite on its repentance. The patience and pity of God stand in striking contrast with the selfishness and hard-heartedness of man.

Nineveh in particular was chosen to teach Israel these lessons, on account of its being capital of the then world kingdom, and because it was now beginning to make its power felt by Israel. Our Lord ( Matthew 12:41 impenitence in His day, just as Jonah provoked Israel to jealousy ( Deuteronomy 32:21 that a heathen city afforded as legitimate a field for the prophet's labors as Israel, and with a more successful result (compare Amos 9:7

The book is prose narrative throughout, except the prayer of thanksgiving in the second chapter ( Jonah 2:1-9 the original do not prove spuriousness, or a later age, but were natural in the language of one living in Zebulun on the borders of the north, whence Aramaic peculiarities would readily arise; moreover, his message to Nineveh implies acquaintance with Assyrian. Living as Jonah did in a part of Israel exposed to Assyrian invasions, he probably stood in the same relation to Assyria as Elijah and Elisha had stood to Syria. The purity of the language implies the antiquity of the book, and the likelihood of its being Jonah's own writing. Indeed, none but Jonah could have written or dictated such peculiar details, known only to himself.

The tradition that places the tomb of Jonah opposite to Mosul, and names it "Nebbi Junus" (that is, "prophet Jonah"), originated probably in the spot having been occupied by a Christian church or convent dedicated to him [LAYARD]. A more ancient tradition of JEROME'S time placed the tomb in Jonah's native village of Gath-hepher.

 

Mikhah (Micah)

MICAH was a native of Moresheth, not the same as Mareshah in Micah 1:15 lay near Eleutheropolis, west of Jerusalem, on the border of the Philistine country; so called to distinguish it from Moresheth of Judah. His full name is Micaiah (not the Micaiah mentioned 1 Kings 22:8 reigns of Jotham. Ahaz, and Hezekiah, that is, between 757 and 699 B.C. Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 26:18 reign of Hezekiah. He was thus a contemporary of Isaiah and Hosea. The idolatries practised in the reign of Ahaz accord with Micah's denunciations of such gross evils, and confirm the truth of the time assigned Micah 1:1 (Samaria), partly against Judah. As Samaria, Israel's metropolis, was taken first, and Jerusalem, the capital of Judah subsequently, in the introductory heading, Micah 1:1 Jerusalem. He prophesies the capture of both; the Jews captivity and restoration; and the coming and reign of Messiah. His style is full, round, and perspicuous; his diction pure, and his parallelisms regular. His description of Jehovah ( Micah 7:18 Micah 7:19 elsewhere in Scripture. The similarity between Isaiah and Micah in some passages (compare Micah 4:1-3 accounted for by their being contemporaries, acquainted with each other's inspired writings, and having the same subjects for their theme. HENGSTENBERG maintains that the passage in Micah is the original. Isaiah was somewhat the older, being a prophet in the reign of Uzziah, Jotham's predecessor, whereas Micah began his prophecies under Jotham.

The book consists of two parts: (1) the first through fifth chapters; (2) the sixth and seventh chapters, a dialogue or contestation between Jehovah and His people, in which He reproaches them with their unnatural and ungrateful conduct, and threatens judgment for their corruptions, but consoles them with the promise of restoration from captivity.

Micah stands sixth of the minor prophets in the Hebrew canon, but third in the Septuagint.

 

Nachum (Nahum)

NAHUM means "consolation" and "vengeance"; symbolizing the "consolation" in the book for God's people, and the "vengeance" coming on their enemies. In the first chapter the two themes alternate; but as the prophet advances, vengeance on the capital of the Assyrian foe is the predominant topic. He is called "the Elkoshite" ( Nahum 1:1 Elkosh, or Elkesi, a village of Galilee, pointed out to JEROME [Preface in Nahum] as a place of note among the Jews, having traces of ancient buildings. The name Capernaum, that is, "village of Nahum," seems to take its name from Nahum having resided in it, though born in Elkosh in the neighborhood. There is another Elkosh east of the Tigris, and north of Mosul, believed by Jewish pilgrims to be the birthplace and burial place of the prophet. But the book of Nahum in its allusions shows a particularity of acquaintance with Palestine ( Nahum 1:4 ( Nahum 2:4-6 ; Nahum 3:2 Nahum 3:3

His graphic description of Sennacherib and his army ( Nahum 1:9-12 makes it not unlikely that he was in or near Jerusalem at the time: hence the number of phrases corresponding to those of Isaiah (compare Nahum 1:8 Nahum 1:9 Nahum 2:10 Nahum 1:15 refers to the murder of Sennacherib twenty years after his return from Palestine ( Isaiah 37:38 be about the former years of Hezekiah. So JEROME thinks. He plainly writes while the Assyrian power was yet unbroken ( Nahum 1:12 ; 2:11-13 Nahum 3:15-17 those of Isaiah and Hezekiah, as recorded in Second Kings and Isaiah, proves the likelihood of Nahum's prophecies belonging to the time when Sennacherib was demanding the surrender of Jerusalem, and had not yet raised the siege (compare Nahum 1:2 Nahum 1:7 Nahum 1:9 Nahum 1:11 Nahum 1:14 Nahum 1:15 ; Nahum 2:1 Nahum 2:2 Nahum 2:13 itself are the humiliation of Israel and Judah by Assyria ( Nahum 2:2 the invasion of Judah ( Nahum 1:9 Nahum 1:11 Thebes, in Upper Egypt ( Nahum 3:8-10 had carried away Israel. The Jews were harassed by the Syrians, and impoverished by Ahaz' payments to Tiglath-pileser ( 2 Chronicles 28:1-27 ; Isaiah 7:9 reduction of Phoenicia by the latter, fearing lest Egypt should join Palestine against him, undertook an expedition to Africa ( Isaiah 20:1-6 and took Thebes; the latter fact we know only from Nahum, but the success of the expedition in general is corroborated in Isaiah 20:1-6 Sennacherib, Sargon's successor, made the last Assyrian attempt against Judea, ending in the destruction of his army in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah (713-710 B.C.). As Nahum refers to this in part prophetically, in part as matter of history ( Nahum 1:9-13 ; 2:13 about 720-714 B.C., that is, almost a hundred years before the event foretold, namely, the overthrow of Nineveh by the joint forces of Cyaxares and Nabopolassar in the reign of Chyniladanus, 625 or 603 B.C.

The prophecy is remarkable for its unity of aim. Nahum's object was to inspire his countrymen, the Jews, with the assurance that, however alarming their position might seem, exposed to the attacks of the mighty Assyrian, who had already carried away the ten tribes, yet that not only should the Assyrian (Sennacherib) fail in his attack on Jerusalem, but Nineveh, his own capital, be taken and his empire overthrown; and this, not by an arbitrary exercise of Jehovah's power, but for the iniquities of the city and its people. His position in the canon is seventh of the minor prophets in both the Hebrew and Greek arrangement. He is seventh in point of date.

His style is clear, elegant, and forcible. Its most striking characteristic is the power of representing several phases of an idea in the briefest sentences, as in the majestic description of God in the commencement, the conquest of Nineveh, and the destruction of No-ammon [EICHORN]. DE WETTE calls attention to his variety of manner in presenting ideas, as marking great poetic talent. "Here there is something sonorous in his language there something murmuring; with both these alternates something that is soft, delicate, and melting, as the subject demands." Excepting two alleged Assyrian words ( Nahum 3:17 English Version, "crowned," or princes, and English Version, "captains," or satraps (used by Jeremiah 51:27 pure. These two, doubtless, came to be known in Judea from the intercourse with Assyria in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.

 

Havakuk (Habakkuk)

HABAKKUK, from a Hebrew root meaning to "embrace," denoting a "favorite" (namely, of God) and a "struggler" (for his country's good). Some ancient authors represent him as belonging to the tribe of Levi; others [PSEUDO EPIPHANIUS], to that of Simeon. The inscription to Bel and the dragon in the Septuagint asserts the former; and Habakkuk 3:19 perhaps favors this. EUSEBIUS [Ecclesiastical History, 7.29] states that in his time Habakkuk's tomb was shown at Ceila in Palestine.

The time seems to have been about 610 B.C. For the Chaldeans attacked Jerusalem in the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim, 605 B.C. ( 2 Kings 24:1 ; 2 Chronicles 36:6 ; Jeremiah 46:2 ; 36:9 ( Habakkuk 1:5 Habakkuk 1:6 speaks of the Chaldeans as about to invade Judah, but not as having actually done so. In the second chapter he proceeds to comfort his people by foretelling the humiliation of their conquerors, and that the vision will soon have its fulfilment. In the third chapter the prophet in a sublime ode celebrates the deliverances wrought by Jehovah for His people in times past, as the ground of assurance, notwithstanding all their existing calamities, that He will deliver them again. Habakkuk 3:16 arrived; so that the whole refers to the invasion in Jehoiakim's times, not those under Jehoiachin and Zedekiah. The Apocryphal appendix to Daniel states that he lived to see the Babylonian exile (588 B.C), which accords with his prophesying early in Jehoiakim's reign, about 610 B.C.

The position of the book immediately after Nahum is appropriate; as Nahum treated of the judgments of the Lord on Assyria, for its violence against Israel, so Habakkuk, those inflicted by, and on, the Chaldeans for the same reason.

The style is poetical and sublime. The parallelisms are generally regular. Borrowed ideas occur (compare Habakkuk 3:19 Habakkuk 2:6 spelcom.net/bible?passage=Isa+11:9">Isa 11:9). The ancient catalogues imply that his book is part of the canon of Scripture. In the New Testament, Romans 1:17 not naming him); compare also Galatians 3:11 ; Hebrews 10:38 quotes Habakkuk 1:5 ( Habakkuk 1:9 ; Habakkuk 2:6 Habakkuk 2:16

 

Tz’fanyah (Zephaniah)

INTRODUCTION

ZEPHANIAH, ninth in order of the minor prophets, prophesied "in the days of Josiah" ( Zephaniah 1:1 B.C. The name means "Jehovah hath guarded," literally, "hidden" ( Psalms 27:5 Psalms 83:3 his father, but also his grandfather, and great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather, implies that the latter were persons of note, or else the design was to distinguish him from another Zephaniah of note at the time of the captivity. The Jews' supposition, that persons recorded as a prophet's ancestors were themselves endowed with the prophetic spirit, seems groundless. There is no impossibility of the Hezekiah, who was Zephaniah's great-great-grandfather, being King Hezekiah as to the number of generations; for Hezekiah's reign of twenty-nine years, and his successor's reign of fifty-five years, admit of four generations interposing between. Yet the omission of the designation, "king of Judah," is fatal to the theory (compare Proverbs 25:1 ; Isaiah 38:9

He must have flourished in the earlier part of Josiah's reign. In Zephaniah 2:13-15 B.C.; and in Zephaniah 1:4 specially that of Baal. Now Josiah's reformation began in the twelfth and was completed in the eighteenth year of his reign. Zephaniah, therefore, in denouncing Baal worship, co-operated with that good king in his efforts, and so must have prophesied somewhere between the twelfth and eighteenth years of his reign. The silence of the historical books is no argument against this, as it would equally apply against Jeremiah's prophetical existence at the same time. Jewish tradition says that Zephaniah had for his colleagues Jeremiah, whose sphere of labor was the thoroughfares and market places, and Huldah the prophetess, who exercised her vocation in the college in Jerusalem. The prophecy begins with the nation's sin and the fearful retribution coming at the hands of the Chaldeans. These are not mentioned by name, as in Jeremiah; for the prophecies of the latter, being nearer the fulfilment, become more explicit than those of an earlier date. The second chapter dooms the persecuting states in the neighborhood as well as Judea itself. The third chapter denounces Jerusalem, but concludes with the promise of her joyful re-establishment in the theocracy.

The style, though not generally sublime, is graphic and vivid in details (compare Zephaniah 1:4-12 Aramaisms. There are occasional coincidences with former prophets (compare Zephaniah 2:14 Zephaniah 2:15 Zephaniah 3:10 Zephaniah 2:8 Zephaniah 1:5 Zephaniah 1:12 the phraseology of Hebrew prophetic poetry bei

 

Chagai (Haggai)

THE name Haggai means "my feast"; given, according to COCCEIUS, in anticipation of the joyous return from exile. He probably was one of the Jewish exiles (of the tribes Judah, Benjamin, and Levi) who returned under Zerubbabel, the civil head of the people, and Joshua, the high priest, 536 B.C., when Cyrus (actuated by the striking prophecies as to himself, Isaiah 44:28 ; 45:1 and furnished them with the necessaries for restoring the temple ( 2 Chronicles 36:23 ; Ezra 1:1 ; 2:2 and his successor Cambyses (called Ahasuerus in Ezra 4:6 of opposition from the Samaritans, who, when their offers of help were declined, began to try to hinder it. These at last obtained an interdict from the usurper Smerdis the Magian (called Artaxerxes in Ezra 4:7-23 became so indifferent to the work that when Darius came to the throne (521 B.C.), virtually setting aside the prohibitions of the usurper, instead of recommencing their labors, they pretended that as the prophecy of the seventy years applied to the temple as well as to the captivity in Babylon ( Haggai 1:2 year of it [HENDERSON]; so that, the proper time not having yet arrived, they might devote themselves to building splendid mansions for themselves. Haggai and Zechariah were commissioned by Jehovah ( Haggai 1:1 B.C., sixteen years after the return under Zerubbabel, to rouse them from their selfishness to resume the work which for fourteen years had been suspended. Haggai preceded Zechariah in the work by two months.

The dates of his four distinct prophecies are accurately given: (1) The first ( Haggai 1:1-15 second year of Darius, 520 B.C., reproved the people for their apathy in allowing the temple to lie in ruins and reminded them of their ill success in everything because of their not honoring God as to His house. The result was that twenty-four days afterwards they commenced building under Zerubbabel ( Haggai 1:12-15 twenty-first day of the seventh month ( Haggai 2:1-9 the glory of the new temple would be greater than that of Solomon's, so that the people need not be discouraged by the inferiority in outward splendor of the new, as compared with the old temple, which had so moved to tears the elders who had remembered the old ( Ezra 3:12 Ezra 3:13 Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel had implied the same prediction, whence some had doubted whether they ought to proceed with a building so inferior to the former one; but Haggai shows wherein the superior glory was to consist, namely, in the presence of Him who is the "desire of all nations" ( Haggai 2:7 the ninth month ( Haggai 2:10-19 materials had been collected, and the workmen had begun to put them together, from which time forth God promises His blessing; it begins with removing their past error as to the efficacy of mere outward observances to cleanse from the taint of disobedience as to the temple building. (4) The fourth ( Haggai 2:20-23 preceding, was addressed to Zerubbabel, as the representative of the theocratic people, and as having asked as to the national revolutions spoken of in the second prophecy ( Haggai 2:7

The prophecies are all so brief as to suggest the supposition that they are only a summary of the original discourses. The space occupied is but three months from the first to the last.

The Jews' adversaries, on the resumption of the work under Zerubbabel, Haggai, and Zechariah, tried to set Darius against it; but that monarch confirmed Cyrus' decree and ordered all help to be given to the building of the temple ( Ezra 5:3 the temple was completed in the sixth year of Darius' reign 516-515 B.C. ( Ezra 6:14

The style of Haggai is consonant with his messages: pathetic in exhortation, vehement in reproofs, elevated in contemplating the glorious future. The repetition of the same phrases (for example, "saith the Lord," or "the Lord of hosts," Haggai 1:2 Haggai 1:5 Haggai 1:7 in one verse, Haggai 2:4 Haggai 1:14 awaken the solemn attention of the people, and to awaken them from their apathy, to which also the interrogatory form, often adopted, especially tends. Chaldaisms occur ( Haggai 2:3 ; 2:6 ; 2:16 been expected in a writer who was so long in Chaldea. Parts are purely prose history; the rest is somewhat rhythmical, and observant of poetic parallelism.

Haggai is referred to in Ezra 5:1 ; 6:14 ( Hebrews 12:26

 

Z’kharyah (Zechariah)

THE name Zechariah means one whom Jehovah remembers: a common name, four others of the same name occurring in the Old Testament. Like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, he was a priest as well as a prophet, which adapts him for the sacerdotal character of some of his prophecies ( Zechariah 6:13 ( Zechariah 1:1 his father died when he was young; and hence, as sometimes occurs in Jewish genealogies, he is called "the son of Iddo," his grandfather. Iddo was one of the priests who returned to Zerubbabel and Joshua from Babylon ( Nehemiah 12:4

Zechariah entered early on his prophetic functions ( Zechariah 2:4 two months later than Haggai, in the second year of Darius' reign, 520 B.C. The design of both prophets was to encourage the people and their religious and civil leaders, Joshua and Zerubbabel, in their work of rebuilding the temple, after the interruption caused by the Samaritans especially by unfolding in detail the glorious future in connection with the present depressed appearance of the theocracy, and its visible symbol, the temple. He must have been very young in leaving Babylonia, where he was born. The Zechariah, son of Barachias, mentioned by our Lord ( Matthew 23:35 been the one called the son of Jehoiada in 2 Chronicles 24:21 perished: the same person often had two names; and our Lord, in referring to the Hebrew Bible, of which Second Chronicles is the last book, would naturally mention the last martyr in the Hebrew order of the canon, as He had instanced Abel as the first. Owing to Matthew 27:9 quoting Zechariah 11:12 Zechariah 11:13 authenticity of the ninth through the fourteenth chapters, and ascribes them to Jeremiah: he thinks that these chapters were not found till after the return from the captivity, and being approved by Zechariah, were added to his prophecies, as Agur's Proverbs were added to those of Solomon. All the oldest authorities, except two manuscripts of the old Italian or Pre-Vulgate version, read Jeremiah in Matthew 27:9 quotation there is not to the letter copied from Zechariah, Jeremiah 18:1 Jeremiah 18:2 ; 32:6-12 perhaps in the mind of Zechariah, whence the former mentions Jeremiah. HENGSTENBERG similarly thinks that Matthew names Jeremiah, rather than Zechariah, to turn attention to the fact that Zechariah's prophecy is but a reiteration of the fearful oracle in Jeremiah 18:1-19:15 nation. Jeremiah had already, by the image of a potter's vessel, portrayed their ruin in Nebuchadnezzar's invasion; and as Zechariah virtually repeats this threat, to be inflicted again under Messiah for the nation's rejection of Him, Matthew, virtually, by mentioning Jeremiah, implies that the "field of blood" ( Matthew 27:8 Matthew 27:9 bought by "the reward of iniquity" ( Acts 1:18 was long ago a scene of prophetic doom in which awful disaster had been symbolically predicted: that the present purchase of that field with the traitor's price renewed the prophecy and revived the curse--a curse pronounced of old by Jeremiah, and once fulfilled in the Babylonian siege--a curse reiterated by Zechariah, and again to be verified in the Roman desolation. LIGHTFOOT (referring to B. BATHRA and KIMCHI) less probably thinks the third division of Scripture, the prophets, began with Jeremiah, and that the whole body of prophets is thus quoted by the name "Jeremiah." The mention of "Ephraim" and "Israel" in these chapters as distinct from Judah, does not prove that the prophecy was written while the ten tribes existed as a separate kingdom. It rather implies that hereafter not only Judah, but the ten tribes also, shall be restored, the earnest of which was given in the numbers out of the ten tribes who returned with their brethren the Jews from captivity under Cyrus. There is nothing in these characters to imply that a king reigned in Judah at that time. The editor of the Hebrew canon joined these chapters to Zechariah, not to Jeremiah; the Septuagint, three hundred years B.C., confirms this.

The prophecy consists of four parts: (1) Introductory, Zechariah 1:1-6 (2) Symbolical, Zechariah 1:7 nine visions; all these were vouchsafed in one night, and are of a symbolical character. (3) Didactic, the seventh and eighth chapters containing an answer to a query of the Beth-elites concerning a certain feast. And (4) Prophetic, the ninth chapter to the end. These six last chapters predict Alexander's expedition along the west coast of Palestine to Egypt; God's protection of the Jews, both at that time and under the Maccabees; the advent, sufferings, and reign of Messiah; the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome, and dissolution of the Jews' polity; their conversion and restoration; the overthrow of the wicked confederacy which assailed them in Canaan; and the Gentiles' joining in their holy worship [HENDERSON]. The difference in style between the former and the latter chapters is due to the difference of subject; the first six chapters being of a symbolical and peculiar character, while the poetical style of the concluding chapters is adapted admirably to the subjects treated. The titles ( Zechariah 9:1 ; 12:1 prophetic matter which follows; nor is it necessary for unity of authorship that the introductory formulas occurring in the first eight chapters should occur in the last six. The non-reference in the last six chapters to the completion of the temple and the Jews' restoration after the captivity is just what we should expect, if, as seems likely, these chapters were written long after the completion of the temple and the restoration of the Jews polity after the captivity, in circumstances different from those which engaged the prophet when he wrote the earlier chapters.

The style varies with the subject: at one time conversational, at another poetical. His symbols are enigmatical and are therefore accompanied with explanations. His prose is like that of Ezekiel--diffuse, uniform, and repetitious. The rhythm is somewhat unequal, and the parallelisms are not altogether symmetrical. Still, there is found often much of the elevation met with in the earlier prophets, and a general congruity between the style and the subjects. Graphic vividness is his peculiar merit. Chaldæisms occur occasionally. Another special characteristic of Zechariah is his introduction of spiritual beings into his prophetic scenes.

Mal’akhi (Malachi)

MALACHI forms the transition link between the two dispensations, the Old and the New, "the skirt and boundary of Christianity" [TERTULLIAN], to which perhaps is due the abrupt earnestness which characterizes his prophecies. His very name is somewhat uncertain. Malachi is the name of an office, rather than a person, "My messenger," and as such is found in Malachi 3:1 translate, not "by Malachi," but "by the hand of His messenger" (compare Haggai 1:13 Testament, announcing the advent of the Great Messenger of the New Testament. The Chaldee paraphrase identifies him with Ezra wrongly, as Ezra is never called a prophet but a scribe, and Malachi never a scribe but a prophet. Still it hence appears that Malachi was by some old authorities not regarded as a proper name. The analogy of the headings of other prophets, however, favors the common view that Malachi is a proper name. As Haggai and Zechariah, the contemporary prophets, supported Joshua and Zerubbabel in the building of the temple, so he at a subsequent period supported the priest Ezra and the governor Nehemiah. Like that ruler, he presupposes the temple to have been already built ( Malachi 1:10 ; 3:1-10 unreformed ( Nehemiah 13:5 Nehemiah 13:15-22 Nehemiah 13:23-30 of the priests, the people's marriages contracted with foreigners, the non-payment of the tithes, and want of sympathy towards the poor on the part of the rich ( Nehemiah 6:7 prophets in his work of reformation. The date thus will be about 420 B.C., or later. Both the periods after the captivity (that of Haggai and Zechariah, and that of Malachi) were marked by royal, priestly, and prophetic men at the head of God's people. The former period was that of the building of the temple; the latter, that of the restoration of the people and rebuilding of the city. It is characteristic of the people of God that the first period after the restoration was exclusively devoted to the rebuilding of the temple; the political restoration came secondarily. Only a colony of fifty thousand settled with Joshua and Zerubbabel in Palestine ( Ezra 2:64 intermingled with the heathen around during the sixty years passed over by Ezra in silence ( Ezra 9:6-15 ; Nehemiah 1:3 needed which should mould the national life into a Jewish form, re-establishing the holy law and the holy city--a work effected by Ezra and Nehemiah, with the aid of Malachi, in a period of about half a century, ending with the deaths of Malachi and Nehemiah in the last ten years of the fifth century B.C.; that is, the "seven weeks" ( Daniel 9:25 put in the beginning of the "seventy" by themselves, to mark the fundamental difference between them, the last period of Old Testament revelation, and the period which followed without any revelation (the sixty-two weeks), preceding the final week standing out in unrivalled dignity by itself as the time of Messiah's appearing. The seventy weeks thus begin with the seventh year of Artaxerxes who allowed Ezra to go to Jerusalem, 457 B.C., in accordance with the commandment which then went forth from God. Ezra the priest performed the inner work of purifying the nation from heathenish elements and reintroducing the law; while Nehemiah did the outer work of rebuilding the city and restoring the national polity [AUBERLEN]. VITRINGA makes the date of Malachi's prophecies to be about the second return of Nehemiah from Persia, not later than 424 B.C., the date of Artaxerxes' death ( Nehemiah 13:6 a pure morality which corrupt Athens ever knew. MOORE distinguishes six portions: (1) Charge against Israel for insensibility to God's love, which so distinguished Israel above Edom ( Malachi 1:1-5 are reproved for neglect and profanation ( Malachi 1:6-2:9 marriages, and the wrongs done to Jewish wives, are reproved ( Malachi 2:10-16 ( Malachi 2:17-3:6 (6) Contrast between the godly and the ungodly at the present time, and in the future judgment; exhortation, therefore, to return to the law ( Malachi 3:13-4:6

The style is animated, but less grand, and the rhythm less marked, than in some of the older prophets.

The canonicity of the book is established by the references to it in the New Testament ( Matthew 11:10 ; 17:12 ; Mark 1:2 ; Mark 9:11 Mark 9:12 ; Luke 1:17 ; Romans 9:13

 

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Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!