MALACHI , the name assigned to the last
See also:book of the Old Testament in
See also:English (the last of the " prophets " in the
See also:Hebrew Bible), which according to the title (Mal. i . I) contains the " word of Yahweh to
See also:Israel by the
See also:hand of Malachi." In
See also:form the word means " my messenger." It could be explained as a contraction of Malachiah, " messenger of Yahweh "; but the Septuagint is probably right in not regarding it as a proper name (" by the hand of His messenger ") . Not only do we know nothing from
See also:internal or
See also:external evidence of the existence of a
See also:prophet of this name,' but the occurrence of the word in the title is naturally explained as derived from iii . 1: " Behold, I send my messenger " (cf. ii . 7) . The prophecy must, therefore, be regarded as
See also:anonymous; the title was added by the compiler ' A Hebrew tradition given in the
See also:Targum of Jonathan, and approved by
See also:Jerome, identifies Malachi with
See also:Ezra the
See also:priest and
See also:scribe.who wrote similar editorial titles to the anonymous prophecies beginning Zech. ix . 1, xii . 1 . The contents of the prophecy fall into a series of clearly marked sections, as in the
See also:paragraph division of the Revised Version . These apply, in various ways, the truth emphasized at the outset: Yahweh's love for Israel in contrast with his treatment of
See also:Edom (i . 2-5) . Israel's response should be a proper regard for the ritual of His worship; yet any offering, however imperfect, is thought
See also:good enough for Yahweh's
See also:altar (i .
6-14) . Let the priests, who are responsible, take warning, and return to their
See also:ancient ideals (ii . 1-9) . Again, the
See also:common Fatherhood of
See also:God should inspire a right relation among
See also:fellow Israelites, not such conduct as the
See also:divorce of Israelite wives in
See also:order to marry non-Israelite
See also:women (ii . Io-16).2 The prevalence of wrong-doing has provoked scepticism as to righteous
See also:judgment; but the messenger of Yahweh is at hand to purge away indifferentism from worship and immorality from conduct (ii . 6) . The payment of
See also:tithes now withheld will be followed by the return of prosperity (iii . 7-12) . Religion may seem useless, but Yahweh remembers His own, and will soon in open judgment distinguish them from the irreligious (iii . 13-iv . 3) . The book closes with an
See also:appeal to observe the
See also:law of Moses, and with a promise that Elijah shall come before the threatened judgment.' The topics noticed clearly relate the prophecy to the
See also:period of Ezra and Nehemiah, when the
See also:Temple had been rebuilt (i. to; iii .
1, 1o), theprovince of
See also:Judah was under a Persian
See also:governor (i . 8), and there had been
See also:time enough for the loss of earlier
See also:enthusiasm . The majority of
See also:modern scholars are agreed that the prophet prepares for the
See also:work of those reformers (Ezra, 458; Nehemiah, 444, 432 B.C.) . The abuses of which he particularly complains are such as were found rampant by Ezra and Nehemiah—marriage with
See also:foreign women (ii . 1i; cf . Ezra ix.; Neh. xiii . 23 seq.; Deut. vii . 3) and failure in payment of sacred dues (iii . 8 seq.; cf . Neh. x . 34 seq.; xiii. roseq:; Deut.
See also:xxvi . 12 seq.) .
The priests have fallen into contempt (ii . 9) and have neglected what is still one of theirchief
See also:trusts, the oral law (ii . 6 seq.) . The priestly
See also:code of written law was not promulgated until 444 B.C . (Neh. viii.–x.) ; " Malachi " writes under the influence of the earlier Code of
See also:Deuteronomy only,4 and must therefore belong to a date
See also:prior to 444 . The
See also:independent character of the attack on current abuses also suggests priority to the work of Ezra in 458 . The prophecy affords an interesting and valuable glimpse of the
See also:post-exilic community, with its various currents of thought and
See also:life . The completion of the second Temple (516 B.C.) has been followed by disillusionment as to the anticipated prosperity, by indifference to worship, scepticism as to
See also:providence, and moral laxity.' In view of these conditions, the prophet's
See also:message is to reassert the true relation of Israel to Yahweh, and to
See also:call for a corresponding holiness, especially in regard to questions of ritual and of
See also:marriage . He saw that " the disobedience of 2
See also:Torrey (Ency . Bib. c . 2908) holds that the reference here is purely figurative; " Judah has dealt falsely with the wife of his youth, the
See also:covenant religion, and is
See also:wedding a
See also:strange cult." But he assigns the book to the 4th century . ' This closing prophecy may possibly be a later addition (so
See also:Marti) rounding off the prophetic
See also:canon by reference to the two
See also:great names of Moses and Elijah, and their characteristic activities .
In thiscase, " Elijah " will represent an early
See also:interpretation (cf . Ecclus. xlviii. to) of the " messenger," originally conceived as a purely ideal figure . The only other passage in the book whose originality is not generally accepted is that referring to mixed marriages (ii . II, 12) . ° It is the Deuteronomic law that is most
See also:familiar to him, as appears from his use of the name
See also:Horeb for the
See also:mountain of the law, and the Deuteronomic phrase " statutes and judgments " (iv . 4), from his language as to tithes and offerings (iii . 8, to; cf . Deut. xii . I I ; xxvi . 12), and especially from his conception of the priesthood as resting on a covenant with Levi (ii . 4 seq.) . Malachi indeed assumes that the " whole tithe "—the Deuteronomic phrase for the tithe in which the
See also:Levites shared—is not stored in each township, but brought into the
See also:treasury at the Temple .
But this was a modification of the Deuteronomic law naturally called for under the circumstances of the return from
See also:Babylon, and Neh. x. and xiii. produce the impression that it was not introduced for the first time by Ezra and Nehemiah, though the collection of the tithe was enforced by them . See further, W.R.S. in O.T.J.C. ii . 425-427 . ' Cf . Stade's reconstruction, G.V.I. ii . 128-138 . the brotherhood of all Israelites under their one
See also:Father (ii. so), not merely as a ground of separation from the
See also:heathen, but as inconsistent with the selfish and cruel freedom of divorce current in his time .3 The book is a significant landmark in the religious
See also:history of Israel . Its emphasis on the observance of ritual finds fullest development in the Priestly Code, subsequently promulgated; its protest against foreign marriages is made effective through the reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah;' the influence of its closing words on later expectation is familiar to every reader of the new Testament.5 The
See also:style of Malachi, like his
See also:argument, corresponds in its generally prosaic character to that transformation or decay of prophecy which began with Ezekiel; and Ewald rightly called
See also:attention to the fact that the conduct of the argument already shows traces of the
See also:dialectic manner of the
See also:schools . Yet there is a
See also:simple dignity in the manner not unworthy of a prophet, and rising from time to time to poetical rhythm .
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