The book of Malachi.
Counted among the prophets.
On site: Malachi
CCEL: Malachi (Hebrew only).
Swete LXX (Greek only).
Gateway (English only).
HTML Bible: Malachi (Hebrew and English).
HTML Bible: Malachi
(Latin Vulgate only).
Zhubert (Greek and English).
Kata Pi BHS: Malachi (Hebrew and English).
Kata Pi LXX: Malachi (Greek and English).
Sacred Texts: Malachi (polyglot).
Malachi at the OT Gateway.
Malachi in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
EJW (Peter Kirby).
Malachi at Kata Pi (Oesterly and Robinson).
Malachi from the Plymouth Brethren.
Introduction to Malachi (David Malick).
Outline of Malachi (David Malick).
Life and Literature of the Early Period
The book of Malachi ranks among the
latter prophets in the Jewish scriptures.
The book was originally written in Hebrew, but the ancient Greek
translation known as the Septuagint
(abbreviated LXX) is also a very important witness to the text. Some
versions combine the third and fourth chapters into one.
Peter Kirby (Early Jewish Writings).
Peter Kirby surveys scholars writing on the book of Malachi:
Paul D. Hanson writes: "Though undated, the book of Malachi can be placed
with confidence in the first half of the fifth century B.C. The high hopes connected
with the era of the restored Temple reflected in the prophecies of Haggai and
Zechariah clearly have been shattered. The book describes a priesthood that
has degenerated into practices violating the laws regulating ritual sacrifice
and that is lax in its responsibility of guiding and teaching the people. And
the effects of degeneration and laxity are apparent throughout the land: people
are reneging on their tithes; intermarriage is calling into question the identity
of the Jewish community; and the day laborers, widows, orphans, and sojourners
are suffering oppression. Nehemiah, whose activity in Judah began in 445 B.C.,
focused his reform efforts on ending intermarriage (Neh. 10:28-30), restoring
the practices of honest tithing (10:32, 38-39) and of proper ritual (10:33-37),
and ending exploitation of the poor (5:1-13). It is plausible to see Malachi
as active shortly before the debut of Nehemiah. Thus, the book may be placed
in the reign of Xerxes I (486-464 B.C.), when the Persians were experiencing
their first stinging defeats by Greek armies. At this time, Judah was a vassal
state of the Persians, living under a non-Davidic governor appointed by the
Persians (Mal. 1:8), and may have been searching the international conflicts
of the time for signs of divine intervention." (Harper's Bible Commentary,
Jay G. Williams writes: "Certainly, however, a date in the fifth century
seems appropriate, for the author clearly seems to be speaking to a discouraged
and somewhat doubting people. The prophet warns them, not of their idolatry,
but of their failure to perform the cultic rite properly. He particularly censures
the priests for offering in sacrifice blemished animals (1:66), for giving poor
instruction to the people (2:8), for acting faithlessly toward the brides of
their youth (2:14-15). Little is said in the Torah and Prophets about divorce.
Malachi, however, expresses God's hate of divorce (2:16) and thus seems to set
the stage for Jesus' rather radical words concerning the subject (Mark 10:11,
Matthew 5:31-32, 19:3-12). Malachi, like Ezra and Nehemiah, also criticizes
the taking of foreign wives (2:11), though this may refer to the providing of
a foreign goddess as a consort for Yahweh (cf. the Elephantine papyri)."
(Understanding the Old Testament, pp. 260-261)
Ralph L. Smith writes: "The style of the book of Malachi is that of disputations.
Some have called it 'discussions.' Others call it 'Socratic,' or 'catechetical,'
or question and answer style. But dispute is probably the best word to use to
characterize the style. The disputation style is not new or unique to Malachi.
Mic 2:6-11 is a classical example of Micah's dispute with the false prophets.
Jeremiah had his disputes with his contemporaries (2:23-25, 29-32) and the false
prophet (28:1-11; 29:24-32). Admittedly the form of the disputation passages
is more standardized than that in previous passages. The prophet or Yahweh makes
a statement containing a general premise: 'I have loved you, says Yahweh'; 'a
son honors his father and a servant his Lord.' Each premise seems to be an indictment
of Israel's failure at that point. Israel has failed to understand that God
still loves her; that God expects honor, fear, and faithfulness. In each dispute
the people ask, 'Wherein have we done, or not done what is charged?' (1:2, 6;
2:10, 14, 17; 3:7, 13). Then the prophet or Yahweh marshalls overwhelming evidence
of Israel's guilt. But Malachi has a pastoral concern for the people. The major
thrust of the book is love, comfort, assurance, and hope." (Micah-Malachi,