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The Books of Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi

The Book of Micah

Micah of Moresheth had visions during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. He had a vision of the judgement of God on Samaria and Jerusalem and he lamented over the ruins and the destruction of these lands. He prophesied the ruin of Zion, the ruin of the House of Jacob. He then had a vision of the return of the people to Yahweh’s Temple Mountain. But later many nations would again lay siege to Zion.

Micah prophesied that a future ruler would come, whose origins would come from Betlehem, from Ephrathah, the least of the clans of Judah. Thus Micah wrote one of the clearest predictions of the Messianic message. Yahweh would destroy Assyria and destroy then all Israel’s enemies. Yahweh would bring his vengeance over the nations that disobeyed him. Micah prayed for the confusion of Zion’s enemies and he expressed his hopes fro forgiveness and for a wonderful future in God’s love for his people.

The Book of Nahum

This Book of the Bible holds a short poem written or spoken by Nahum of Elhosh. The prophecy contains a psalm on the wrath of the jealous and vengeful Yahweh, God of the Israelites. Nahum delivered a prophetic judgement on Assyria, Judah and Nineveh. The poem dwells on the fall of Nineveh and on Yahweh’s sentence brought over the Lion of Assyria. It is a lament on the destruction of Nineveh, dating from around 612 BC when Nineveh was taken.

The Book of Habakkuk

Habakkuk’s vision is also a short text, dating from around 600 BC. Habakkuk offers a dialogue between the Prophet and Yahweh. Yahweh tells that he saw wrongs being done, violence and lawlessness in the world. So Yahweh stirred up the Chaldaeans to march and conquer Israel. These were just the instrument of God’s anger. But the Prophet complained to Yahweh on the tyranny of the Babylonians, and he cursed the oppressors of Israel. Habakkuk then prayed to Yahweh for deliverance and in a last vision he was an enraging battle of Yahweh, who now marches to save his people. This vision inspired faith in God and Habakkuk ended his prophecy with a rejoicing in the strength of Israel’s God.

The Book of Zephaniah

Zephaniah, son of Cushi, prophesied in the reign of Josiah, King of Judah, somewhat earlier than Habakkuk. His text is also very short and Zephaniah proclaimed through Yahweh judgements on all nations. He preached against idols like Baal, against unbelievers and against the merchants of Jerusalem. He predicted that the great days of Yahweh was near, the day when Yahweh would bring ruin on those who sinned against Yahweh. Zephaniah called on the Judaeans to convert. He spoke against the Philistines, against Moab and Edom in the east, against Ethiopia and Assyria. But he also predicted disasters for Judah. Lastly, he drew a picture of an ideal Zion of humble people that take refuge in Yahweh. His last lines are a psalm of joy in Zion and a promise of Yahweh to bring back the people from exile.

The Book of Haggai

Haggai received a message from God that he addressed to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Josiah son of Jehozadak, the high priest, in the second year of the reign of King Darius, around 520 BC. Haggai asked to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. He said that the Israelites had returned from exile, sown much but harvested little because they had not fully honoured Yahweh. Yahweh’s house was left in ruins and Yahweh therefore brought droughts on the land. Zerubbabel and Josiah then started to work on the reconstruction of the Temple. Yahweh now promised prosperity for the people, and Zerubbabel would be the chosen leader for which Yahweh would destroy the power of the other nations that confronted Israel.

The Book of Zechariah

Like the book of Haggai, the Book of Zechariah is in prose and it offers also prophecies given in the second year of Darius’ reign. The prophecies are given to Zechariah, son of Berechiah. Like in Haggai, its first part is a text from just after the return from exile. In the first part of the text, Zechariah told his eight visions.

In his first vision Zechariah saw a man riding a red horse among the myrtles. Other horses in red, white and brown colours followed on him. An Angel told Zechariah that these men were sent out by Yahweh to patrol the earth. The men reported that the earth was at peace. The Angel then addressed Yahweh and asked him how long he would inflict the cities of Judah with his anger. Yahweh answered that he was now jealous for Jerusalem and dissatisfied with the nations that were at peace. Yahweh would therefore restore prosperity to Jerusalem and see to it that his temple would be rebuilt there.

In a second vision, Zechariah saw four horns. Then Yahweh showed him four smiths. The Angel told Zechariah that the four horns were the horns that scattered Israel. The smiths came to throw down these horns, these nations.

In a third vision, a man was measuring Jerusalem. Another Angel arrived however, telling that Jerusalem was to remain un-walled for the moment because of the large number of men and animals that were in the city. Yahweh declared that he would be himself the wall of fire around Jerusalem.

Yahweh gave a fourth vision to the Prophet. Zechariah saw Joshua standing before the Angel. The Angel told to Satan, who was standing there also, that he was rebuked. Joshua was dressed in dirty clothes. The Angel offered splendid clothes to Joshua and said that his guilt was taken away. Yahweh said that if Joshua obeyed to his orders, Joshua could govern the temple, God’s House. Yahweh would then hold a stone with seven eyes before Joshua with the inscription that Joshua was truly the Temple’s governor, so ordained by God.

The Angel asked Zechariah for the fifth time to see. Zechariah saw a golden lamp-stand with seven lamps. To each side of the lamp-stand stood an olive tree: one on the left, one on the right. The Angel told Zechariah that the seven lamps were the eyes of Yahweh that looked at the whole world. The two olive branches that poured oil through two openings of gold were the two anointed people that attended on Yahweh: Joshua the priest and Zerubbabel the governor. Yahweh praised Zerubbabel and called him the keystone that had founded and rebuilt the Temple of Jerusalem.

In a sixth vision, Zechariah saw a very long flying scroll. The Angel said that the scroll was Yahweh’s curse over the country. Yahweh sent the curse into the house of every thief and perjurer.

Zechariah had a seventh vision of several successive scenes. He saw a bushel measure happening and the Angel said that this was the measuring of the guilt of the country. Then a disc of lead raised and Zechariah saw a woman seated inside a barrel. The Angel called her Wickedness. The Angel rammed the lead disc hard down on the woman and closed the barrel with it. Then two women appeared. They had wings and lifted the barrel in mid-air. The Angel they were taken to the land of Shinar in Babylon and would build a temple for it there, so that purity only would remain in Israel.

Zechariah then saw his eighth and last vision. He saw four chariots coming from between two mountains of bronze. The chariots had horses of different colours and the Angel told that these chariots were the four winds of heaven that were leaving after having attended on Yahweh. Each set of horses was leaving for one of the four corners of the land, to patrol the world. Yahweh said that the horses that went north brought his spirit to rest on the land of the north. Yahweh then ordered Zechariah to collect gold from the exiles and make with that a crown for Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Joshua would be the man who would rebuild the Temple, as sent by God. Finally, Yahweh told Zechariah that there would be a time in the future when many peoples and cities would come to Jerusalem. All these would entreat favours of Yahweh and in these days ten men from nations of every language would take a Jew by the sleeve and ask to go with him because they had learnt that God was with the Jew.

The second part of the Book of Zechariah is a proclamation against the enemies of Israel, against the Philistines. This part must have been added much later. It tells about the restoration of Israel, about its deliverance and on the strength of the New Jerusalem. Zechariah thus also told about the Day of Judgement, the Day of Yahweh, when God would gather all the nations to fight Jerusalem. But Yahweh would protect Israel and strike down all the nations that rose against Jerusalem. Later, all the survivors of the nations that attacked Israel would come each year to worship Yahweh Sabaoth at the Feast of Shelters.

The Book of Malachi

The Book of Malachi is a short text in prose of six parts. ‘Malachi’ means ‘Messenger’, so this last text of the Old Testament is anonymous. It was written shortly after the return from the Babylonian exile of the Jews.

In the Book of Malachi, Yahweh calls the land of Esau, which is Edom, the land of Wickedness or the Nation-with-which-Yahweh-is-always-in-anger. Yahweh therefore turned Edom into a desert.

Yahweh told the priests to offer respectful sacrifices and he complaints that the priests had not honoured him justly. He promised to lay a curse on the priests that did not sincerely glorify his name.

The Book of Malachi contains a short text that speaks against mixed marriages. Yahweh urged the Jews not to marry the daughters of foreign gods. He also said not to break faith with the wives of their youth, so not to divorce.

Malachi’s text also tells of the Day of Yahweh, the day of his coming, when god would take the seat of a purifier.

Yahweh said that the Jews were still the children of Jacob, so although the Jews had evaded statues of Yahweh and had not observed his rules, he promised that if the Jews returned to Yahweh, God would return to them. God urged the Jews to bring tithes in full to the treasury of the Temple, and not to cheat on the tithes. On the Day of the Yahweh, the upright people would be rewarded.

The last words of the Old Testament are on Moses. Yahweh asks to remember the Law given at Horeb to Moses, in which Yahweh prescribed decrees and rulings for Israel. Yahweh says he will send the Prophet Elijah before the coming of the Day of Yahweh. Elijah will reconcile parents to their children and children to their parents, to save the country from the curse of destruction.

Copyright: René Dewil Back to the navigation screen (if that screen has been closed) Last updated: January 2007
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