by Glen H. Jones
Richard Taylor, professor of Old Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, and Ray Clendenen, associate editor of the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, have combined their gifts to complete a conservative and scholarly commentary on two of the lesser-known prophets. This volume is one of a set comprising The New American Commentary.
In addition to their exegetical comments, the authors have given us abundant information on the life and times of Haggai and Malachi. The reader will also find insightful information on the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian empires and their rulers.
Nebuchadnezzar's forces sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Jewish Temple in 586 BC. Many Jews were carried away into captivity. In 539 BC the Persians defeated Babylon. The Persians subsequently allowed many Jews to return to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. It was in this time period that Haggai lived and wrote. The authors date Haggai's prophecy about 520 BC.
Haggai delivers two messages to the returning exiles under the governorship of Zerubbabel: "It is now time to build the house of the Lord. You have built for yourselves fine houses, but the Temple lies in ruins," declares Haggai. "If you do not listen to this instruction, the Lord will visit you with drought and poverty."
After the exiles began rebuilding the Temple, Haggai delivers a sermon of encouragement. "Do not give up the task of rebuilding even if it is hard work. The Lord will reward your labors."
Malachi, the last book in the Hebrew canon, was probably written about 435 BC. About 100 years had transpired since the first exiles had returned to Jerusalem. Malachi was sent to remind the people that God still loves them, but they must repent of their wicked ways. The leaders must live upright lives, the priests must honorably perform the service of the Lord, and families must live according to God's ordained plan. All must honor the Lord with their tithes and offerings. Those who refuse to heed these warning will surely experience the judgment of God.
Those who want to know more of these lesser-known prophets will appreciate the scholarly research that has gone into the writing of this volume. Knowledge of biblical Hebrew will enrich one's study, but even without this language skill one will gain helpful information from this book.
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