Jeremiah 46-52

Throughout the prophecy of Jeremiah the reader can follow at least two themes: first, God is sovereign over the nations of humankind and He alone has power over their leaders and success; and second, the exiles should thus trust His word despite any threat they may encounter.  In this way, … Continue reading

Malachi

Most likely Malachi prophesied to the descendants of those who, under the decree of King Cyrus (cf. Ezra 1.1-5), returned from exile. Haggai and Zachariah preached to those who had returned, exhorting them to finish the task of building the temple—because the LORD was with them and would one day … Continue reading

Zechariah 7-14

Zechariah preached to a discouraged audience. The returned exiles had traveled a great distance, labored in reconstructing the temple—done what they thought to be God’s will—only to experience opposition from those who had taken their place in Canaan (cf. Ezra 4.1-5). The latter half of Zechariah deals with both the … Continue reading

Zechariah 1-6

Zechariah, like Haggai, was called to preach to the exiles that, under the decree of Cyrus king of Persia (cf. Ezra 1.1-5; 6.14-15), had returned from captivity to build the temple in Jerusalem. The people who occupied Canaan in the absence of God’s people were not excited to see them … Continue reading

Haggai

Haggai and Zechariah preached to the exiles who had returned to build the temple during the days when King Darius was ruling the Persian Empire (cf. Hag 1.1; Zech 1.1). Darius’ predecessor, Cyrus, had given a decree that any who wished to return and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem were … Continue reading

Zephaniah

Zephaniah ministered during the reign of Josiah (1.1). The fact that pagan worship was yet practiced in Judah may indicate that Zephaniah’s prophecy was given just before Josiah’s more prominent reforms (1.4-5; cf. 2 Ch 34.29ff.). As a member of the royal family, Zephaniah enjoyed a place of prominence amongst … Continue reading

Habakkuk

The prophet Habakkuk did not state those who reigned in Judah during his ministry, but the themes and tone of his writing parallel the events following the death of Josiah, when Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem (cf. 2 Kgs 23.31ff). Habakkuk was an insightful, prayerful preacher who knew the character … Continue reading

Nahum

The prophet’s name means ‘He comforted, took pity.’ Although, like Jonah, Nahum mentioned the infamous city of Nineveh, his prophetic ministry was later than Jonah’s by about 150 years. Nineveh’s repentance was short lived (cf. Jonah 3-4); after revival during Jonah’s ministry, the Assyrian empire—whose capital city was the notorious … Continue reading

Micah

Micah, a contemporary of Isaiah, preached in Judah during the reigns of Jotham (2 Kgs 15.32-38), Ahaz (2 Kgs 16.1-20) and Hezekiah (2 Kgs 18-20). It was a down-and-up period of Judah’s history. During Micah’s ministry, Assyria had come against Israel and the northern kingdom had been taken captive. In … Continue reading

Jonah

The book of Jonah is the focus of many children’s stories and no little scholarly debate; the former are fascinated with a fish large enough to swallow a man, and the latter are perplexed, most often doubtful, over the same. Once one moves beyond the childhood intrigue and scholarly inquiry, … Continue reading

Obadiah

The prophecy attributed to Obadiah may seem obscure to the contemporary reader; why speak so strongly against just one nation, the Edomites? Obadiah’s prophecy provides the opportunity to synthesize a few significant Old Testament passages regarding the relationship between the Israel and the Edom: The Edomites were the descendants of … Continue reading

Amos 7-9

Amos, a Judean herdsman (cf. 1.1), was called to preach a message of judgment to the northern kingdom and her king, the powerful Jeroboam II (cf. 2 Kgs 14.23-29), during a period of socioeconomic success in Israel. Amos’ courageous sermons provide a composite of prophetic ministry: divine visions, proclamations of … Continue reading

Amos 3-6

Amos had the difficult task of preaching a message of judgment to upper-middle class folk who were enjoying political stability second only to that experienced during the days of David and Solomon. During the reigns of Jeroboam II in Israel (2 Kgs 14.23-29) and Uzziah in Judah (2 Kgs 15.1-7) … Continue reading

Amos 1-2

While dating some Old Testament prophecies is a difficult task, Amos does not leave the interpreter wondering. His prophetic writing begins, “The words of Amos, who was one of the sheep breeders from Tekoa—what he saw regarding Israel in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and Jeroboam son of … Continue reading

Joel

Joel spoke of the Day of the LORD—a time when God’s people would understand His justice. The prophet employed agricultural, militaristic and cultic metaphors to persuade God’s people to recognize the signs of the times and get right with God—the One gracious and ready to save His own. Although Joel … Continue reading