The twelve Minor Prophets

The twelve minor writing prophets have shorter books than the major prophets.  These writing prophets range from the 8th to the 5th century BCE.  These include Hosea from the 8th century BCE, Joel from the 8th -5th century BCE, Amos from the 8th century BCE, Obadiah and Jonah from the 6th century BCE, Micah and Nahum from the 8th century BCE, Habakkuk and Zephaniah from the 7th century BCE, Haggai and Zechariah from the 6th century BCE, and Malachi from the 5th century BCE.  Some of these prophets had an influence on New Testament Christian writers.

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Title (Zech 1:1-1:1)

“In the eighth month,

In the second year

Of King Darius,

The word of Yahweh

Came to the prophet Zechariah,

The son of Berechiah,

The son of Iddo.”

The word of Yahweh came to the prophet Zechariah in the same year as it had come to Haggai, the second year of Persian King Darius I in 520 BCE.  However, this was the 8th month and not the 6th month as with Haggai, so that it was 2 month later.  Zechariah was the son of Berechiah and the grandson of Iddo.  In the Book of Ezra, chapter 5, there is an explicit mention of Haggai and Zechariah, the son of Iddo.  Nehemiah, chapter 12, mentioned Iddo as one of the high priests who came with Zerubbabel when he left Babylon in 538 BCE.  Thus, Iddo would have been an important person.  Berechiah seemed to be less important, but could be the father of the young Zechariah.  Nehemiah mentioned Berechiah as the son of Meshezabel, in chapter 3.

The importance of Zerubbabel (Hag 2:21-2:23)

“‘Speak to Zerubbabel,

The governor of Judah,

Saying.

‘I am about

To shake the heavens.

I am about

To shake the earth.

I am about

To overthrow

The throne of kingdoms.

I am about

To destroy

The strength

Of the kingdoms

Of the nations.

I am about

To overthrow

The chariots,

With their riders.

The horses,

With their riders,

Shall also fall.

Everyone shall fall

By the sword of a comrade.’

‘On that day,’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will take you,

O Zerubbabel,

My servant,

The son of Shealtiel.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will make you

Like a signet ring.

I have chosen you!’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh said that Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, would have a special role in the new kingdom of Israel.  Yahweh was going to shake up heaven and earth.  He was going to overthrow all the kingdoms and countries on the earth.  All the chariots, with their riders, as well as the cavalry with their horses would all fall.  Zerubbabel, the servant of Yahweh, would have a signet ring because Yahweh had chosen him.  His grandfather would have been a king as part of the Davidic lineage

The future good harvests (Hag 2:18-2:19)

“Consider from this day on,

From the twenty-fourth day

Of the ninth month!

Consider since the day

That the foundation

Of Yahweh’s temple

Was laid!

Is there any seed

Left in the barn?

Does the vine

Still yield nothing?

Does the fig tree

Still yield nothing?

Does the pomegranate tree

Still yield nothing?

Does the olive tree

Still yield nothing?

From this day on,

I will bless you.”

As opposed to the bad harvests of the past, the harvests of the future would be good from this day forward, because this 24th day of the 9th month was the day of the foundation laying for the Second Temple of Yahweh.  Then in a series of questions, Yahweh indicated that there would be no seeds left in the barn.  The vines, the fig trees, the pomegranate trees, and the olive trees would yield great harvests rather than nothing.  From this day on, they were going to be blessed.

The poor crops (Hag 2:16-2:17)

“‘How did you fare?

When one came

To a heap

Of twenty measures,

There were but ten.

When one came

To the wine vat

To draw fifty measures,

There were but twenty.

I struck you!

I struck all the products

Of your toil

With blight,

With mildew,

With hail!

Yet you did not return

To me!’

Says Yahweh.”

Haggai has this oracle of Yahweh about their poor crops.  When they were expecting 20 measures of a crop, they only got 10 measures.  When they were expecting 50 measures for the wine vat, they only got 20.  Thus, even when they had some crops in the fields, they were below expectations.  Yahweh had struck them and all their products.  Despite their hard labor, their crops were hit with blight, mildew, and hail.  Why did this happen?  They had not returned to Yahweh, pure and simple.

Preparing to build the Temple (Hag 2:15-2:15)

“But now,

Consider what will come to pass

From this day on!

Before a stone was placed

Upon a stone

In the Yahweh’s temple!”

They were to prepare themselves to build the Temple of Yahweh.  They should think what they were about to do, before they starting putting the stones together.