Malachi

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The Prophet Malachi, painting by Duccio di Buoninsegna, c. 1310-1311 (Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena Cathedral). Duccio di Buoninsegna 066.jpg
The Prophet Malachi, painting by Duccio di Buoninsegna, c. 1310-1311 (Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena Cathedral).

Malachi, Malachias, Malache or Mal'achi ( /ˈmælək/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Hebrew : מַלְאָכִי, Modern: Malaḵi, Tiberian: Malʾāḵī, "Messenger", see malakh) was the traditional writer of the Book of Malachi, the last book of the Neviim (Prophets) section in the Hebrew Bible. According to the 1897 Easton's Bible Dictionary, it is possible that Malachi is not a proper name, but simply means "messenger of Yahweh". [1] The Greek Old Testament superscription is ἐν χειρὶ ἀγγέλου αὐτοῦ, ("by the hand of his messenger").

Contents

No allusion is made to him by Ezra, however, and he does not directly mention the restoration of the temple. The editors of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia implied that he prophesied after Haggai and Zechariah (Malachi 1:10; 3:1, 3:10) and speculated that he delivered his prophecies about 420 BC, after the second return of Nehemiah from Persia (Book of Nehemiah 13:6), or possibly before his return, comparing Malachi 2:8 with Nehemiah 13:15 (Malachi 2:10–16 with Nehemiah 13:23).

In the Septuagint, or Greek Old Testament, the Twelve Minor Prophets are placed last, making the Book of Malachi the last protocanonical book before the deuterocanonical books or the New Testament.

Name

Because Malachi's name does not occur elsewhere in the Bible, some scholars doubt whether "Malachi" is intended to be the personal name of the prophet. None of the other prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible or the Greek Old Testament are anonymous. The form mal'akhi, signifies "my messenger"; it occurs in Malachi 3:1 (compare to Malachi 2:7). But this form of itself would hardly be appropriate as a proper name without some additional syllable such as Yah, whence mal'akhiah, i.e. "messenger of Elohim." Haggai, in fact, is expressly designated "messenger of Elohim" (Haggai 1:13). Besides, the superscriptions prefixed to the book, in both the Septuagint and the Vulgate, warrant the supposition that Malachi's full name ended with the syllable -yah. At the same time the Greek Old Testament translates the last clause of Malachi 1:1, "by the hand of his messenger," and the Targum reads, "by the hand of my angel, whose name is called Ezra the scribe." [2]

Works

Malachi (watercolor circa 1896-1902 by James Tissot) Tissot Malachi.jpg
Malachi (watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot)

The Jews of his day ascribed the Book of Malachi, the last book of prophecy, to Ezra, but if Ezra's name was originally associated with the book, it would hardly have been dropped by the collectors of the prophetic canon who lived only a century or two after Ezra's time. Certain traditions ascribe the book to Zerubbabel and Nehemiah; others, still, to Malachi, whom they designate as a Levite and a member of the "Great Synagogue." Certain modern scholars, however, on the basis of the similarity of the title (compare Malachi 1:1 to Zechariah 9:1 and Zechariah 12:1), declare it to be anonymous. Professor G.G. Cameron, suggests that the termination of the word "Malachi" is adjectival, and equivalent to the Latin angelicus, signifying "one charged with a message or mission" (a missionary). The term would thus be an official title, and the thought would not be unsuitable to one whose message closed the prophetical canon of the Old Testament. [2]

Period

Opinions vary as to the prophet's exact date, but nearly all scholars agree that Malachi prophesied during the Persian period, and after the reconstruction and dedication of the second temple in 516 BC (compare Malachi 1:10; Malachi 3:1, Malachi 3:10). The prophet speaks of the "people's governor" (Hebrew "pechah", Malachi 1:8), as do Haggai and Nehemiah (Haggai 1:1; Nehemiah 5:14; Nehemiah 12:26). The social conditions portrayed appear to be those of the period of the Restoration. More specifically, Malachi probably lived and labored during the times of Ezra and Nehemiah. The abuses which Malachi mentions in his writings correspond so exactly with those which Nehemiah found on his second visit to Jerusalem in 432 BC (Nehemiah 13:7) that it seems reasonably certain that he prophesied concurrently with Nehemiah or shortly after. [2]

According to Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, "Malachi describes a priesthood that is forgetful of its duties, a Temple that is underfunded because the people have lost interest in it, and a society in which Jewish men divorce their Jewish wives to marry out of the faith." [3]

See also

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Zechariah 1

Zechariah 1 is the first chapter of the Book of Zechariah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Zechariah, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. As the first of the total 14 chapters in the book, this chapter is a part of a section consisting of Zechariah 1-8. It records an introduction and the first two of eight visions received by the prophet.

Zechariah 7

Zechariah 7 is the seventh of the total 14 chapters in the Book of Zechariah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Zechariah, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. This chapter is a part of a section consisting of Zechariah 1–8. The Jews having sent to inquire concerning the set fasts, Zechariah 7:1-3, Zechariah reproves the hypocrisy of their fasts, Zechariah 7:4-7, and they are exhorted by repentance to remove the cause of their calamity, Zechariah 7:8-14.

Ezra 5

Ezra 5 is the fifth chapter of the Book of Ezra in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, or the book of Ezra-Nehemiah in the Hebrew Bible, which treats the book of Ezra and book of Nehemiah as one book. Jewish tradition states that Ezra is the author of Ezra-Nehemiah as well as the Book of Chronicles, but modern scholars generally accept that a compiler from the 5th century BCE is the final author of these books. The section comprising chapter 1 to 6 describes the history before the arrival of Ezra to the land of Judah in 468 BCE. This chapter records the contribution of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to the temple building project and the investigation by Persian officials.

Ezra 6

Ezra 6 is the sixth chapter of the Book of Ezra in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, or the book of Ezra-Nehemiah in the Hebrew Bible, which treats the book of Ezra and book of Nehemiah as one book. Jewish tradition states that Ezra is the author of Ezra-Nehemiah as well as the Book of Chronicles, but modern scholars generally accept that a compiler from the 5th century BCE is the final author of these books. The section comprising chapter 1 to 6 describes the history before the arrival of Ezra in the land of Judah in 468 BCE. This chapter records the response of the Persian court to the report from Tattenai in the previous chapter: a search is made for the original decree by Cyrus the Great and this is confirmed with a new decree from Darius the Great allowing the temple to be built. This chapter closes this first part of the book in a "glorious conclusion with the completion of the new temple and the celebration of Passover" by the people, as their worship life is restored according to the Law of Moses.

References

  1. Malachi at the Easton's Bible Dictionary
  2. 1 2 3 "www.Bibler.org - Dictionary - Malachi". 2012-08-07.
  3. Plaut, W. Gunther. "Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi: Back in the Land", My Jewish Learning