Malachi -The Last of the Prophets

  • Written by Malachi (1:1), the last of the Old Testament prophets.
  • Written to the nation of Israel (1:1).
  • Malachi, a prophet in the days of Nehemiah, directed his message of judgment to a people plagued with corrupt priests, wicked practices, and a false sense of security in their privileged relationship with God.
  • The book of Malachi marks the close of Old Testament prophecy and the beginning of four hundred years of silence between the Old and New Testaments.
  • Using a question and answer format, Malachi highlighted Judah’s hardheartedness and pronounced God’s curse upon all who would practice such things
  • These were all the Jewish people who returned to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel after the Babylonian captivity (Ezra 1) in 536 B.C.
  • Malachi was a contemporary of Nehemiah. The books of Nehemiah and Ezra give the history of events taking place during this time.
  • Malachi rebuked the priests for malpractice in the temple (chapter 2). This is evidence that the temple had been rebuilt and was being used (3:10). The temple was completed and dedicated in 515 B.C. (Ezra 6:15-16).
  • The fact that the people of Israel were unfaithful in their worship of God suggests that considerable time had passed since the temple was completed. For these reasons, most scholars agree that this book was written around 450-430 B.C., or one hundred years after the Jews had returned to Palestine. Evidences of their unfaithfulness are:
  1. They were unwilling to part with money for temple funds (3:8).
  2. They took advantage of the poor, the strangers, the orphans, and the widows (3:5).
  3. They were intermarrying with Gentiles who followed other gods (2:11).

A suggested outline:

  1. Care of God: Past (chapter 1:1-5).
  2. Complaint of God: Present (chapters 1:6-3:15).
  3. Coming of God: Future (chapters 3:16-4:6).