The last book of the old dispensation mingles remonstrations against the sins of priests and people with threats of judgments, exhortations to repentance, and prophecies of the calling of the Gentiles and the coming of Christ. The burden or oracle of the word of the Lord was addressed to the small colony of Jews who had returned to Judea after the captivity of 70 years. Under the leadership of Nehemiah and Ezra, Jerusalem and its temple had been rebuilt. The prophecy of Nehemiah informs us of a great revival that occurred after Ezra expounded the law. Later, however, the people lapsed into careless worship and developed an ungrateful spirit.
Authorship And Date
The name Malachi means “my messenger.” Whether this was the actual name of the prophet has been a matter of debate among commentators. Some contend that it is the actual name of the prophet since the other prophetic books of the Old Testament are not anonymous; some feel that it was a self-designated title; and others conjecture it to be bestowed by an unknown editor. To maintain that Malachi is not a proper name and that the book is anonymous comes under the head of speculation and has no substantial proof. No historical proof has been advanced that the name was added by an editor. But whether personal or official, the name is significant in that the Lord has a revelation of great significance to the chosen people.
The date of writing has also been the subject of difference of opinion. There is general agreement, however, that Malachi prophesied during the Persian period and after the exile. Internal evidence indicates that the temple was rebuilt and the ritual restored. The second temple was dedicated in 516 B.C. Many scholars allow that the prophet was a contemporary ...1
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