Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
God longs for the return of backsliders, pleads with them and makes every inducement for their repentance.
Hosea was probably a native and a subject of the Northern Kingdom, and exercised his ministry during the turbulent reigns of the last six or seven of its kings – a period of about sixty years. The moral and religious condition of Israel was very corrupt. God and his Word were ignored; the kings and princes were murderers and profligates; idolatrous priests maintained their shamful rites in all parts of the country; the great political parties applied for help now from Assyria and then from Egypt.
It has been supposed that the domestic incidents referred to in the first 3 chapters are parabolic; but to hold this view is to miss the most moving lesson of the suffering which love, whether human or divine, is prepared to undergo, if only the lost can be found and the erring brought back to life and home. (Meyer)
God’s Love for His Apostate People
How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I cast thee off, Israel? Hosea 11:8
I. Gomer, Unfaithful but Beloved, a Symbol of Israel, Hosea 1-3
1. The Prophet’s Wife and Family, Hosea 1
2. Israel to Be Judged and Restored, Hosea 2
3. The Return of the Prophet’s Wife, Hosea 3:1-3
4. The Return of Israel, Hosea 3:4-5
II. The Divine Judgment and Mercy, Hosea 4-14
1. Israel Ripe for Punishment, Hosea 4
2. The Guilt of King and Priests, Hosea 5:1-6:3
3. Israel’s Depravity and Stubbornness, Hosea 6:4-7:16
4. Reaping the Whirlwind, Hosea 8:1-9:9
5. The History of Israel’s Apostasies, Hosea 9:10-11:12
6. The Triumph of Mercy, Hosea 12-14 —Through the Bible Day by Day
Repentance, a heart broken for sin and from sin, is necessary, if the judgments of God are to be averted.
Of the prophet Joel almost nothing is known. No details of his personal life have come down to us. Even the time when he lived is not known with certainty, though it seems probable that he was one of the first of the prophets. From the frequent references to Judah and Jerusalem it would appear that he was a prophet of the Southern Kingdom.
The general subject of his prophecy is divine judgment, or the Day of Jehovah. There is first a judgment upon the Chosen People, inflicted through locusts. This is removed through fasting and intercession. A terrible day of final judgment embracing all nations is then described. The faithful will be rewarded while evil-doers will be punished. The fulfillment of one of Joel’s predictions by the scenes of the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:17-21, has given his book a prominent place in Christian thought. – Through the Bible Day by Day
Judah’s Judgment and Exaltation
I. The Infliction of Judgment, Joel 1:1-2:17
1. An Unparalleled Brought and Locust Plague, Joel 1:1-7
2. A Call to Lamentation, Joel 1:8-13
3. A Call to Repentance, Joel 1:14-20
4. The Sound of Alarm, Joel 2:1-11
5. The Hope of Forgiveness, Joel 2:12-17
II. The Manifestation of Mercy, Joel 2:18-32
1. The Destruction of the Destroyer, Joel 2:18-20
2. The Restoration of the Wasted Tears, Joel 2:21-27
3. The Outpouring of the Divine Spirit, Joel 2:28-32
III. Judah and the Nations, Joel 3
1. The Nations Summoned to Judgment, Joel 3:1-1-5
2. The Exaltation of Judah, Joel 3:16-21 – Through the Bible Day by Day
National sin inevitably spells national judgment.
Amos was not a prophet or a prophet’s son, but a shepherd and husbandman (Amos 7:14). He was conscious of an irresistible commission (Amos 3:8; 7:15). To this he bore witness when Amaziah, the high priest of idolatry, charged him with conspiracy. God is sovereign and selects as His messengers whom He will. Tekoa, still known by that name, was situated on a noble elevation, six miles south of Bethlehem. From this Judean village Amos was sent on a prophetic mission into the land of Israel. Under the rule of Jeroboam II the nation had reached the high tide of power and prosperity, but corruption and oppression prevailed.
The style of this book is simple, picturesque, and striking. Its illustrations are borrowed from rural employments and breathe the fresh atmosphere of the country. The allusions to history, such as found in Amos 9:7, as well as the power of consecutive thought here shown, prove that, despite the responsible duties of shepherd, Amos found time for mental as well as spiritual culture. (Meyer)
“Prepare to Meet thy God, O Israel”
I. God’s Impending Judgments, Amos 1-2
1. Upon the Surrounding Nations, Amos 1:1-2:5
2. Upon Israel, Amos 2:6-16
II. The Statement of Israel’s Accusation, Amos 3-6
1. Sins That Demand Rebuke, Amos 3
2. Defiance of God’s Judgments, Amos 4
3. Substitution of Religious Forms for Righteousness, Amos 5
4. Luxurious Self-Indulgence, Amos 6
III. Symbolic Visions of Israel’s Future, Amos 7-9
1. Locusts, Fire, the Plumb-Line, Amos 7:1-9
(Amos’ Prophesying Provokes Resistance), Amos 7:10-17
2. The Basket of Summer Fruit, Amos 8:1-3
(The Accusation Renewed), Amos 8:4-10
3. The Famine of the Word of God, Amos 8:11-14
4. The Smiting of the Temple Pillars, Amos 9:1-10
5. Israel’s Final Restoration, Amos 9:11-15 – Through the Bible Day by Day
We should take solemn warning against the perils of pride and Antisemitism.
With regard to the personal life of Obadiah, information is lacking. His prophecy was probably delivered about the time of the fall of Jerusalem, b.c. 586. It is the shortest of the prophetical writings, containing but twenty-one verses. Its theme is the doom of Edom, because that nation mocked Jerusalem when the latter was destroyed. Its predictions have been completely fulfilled. – Through the Bible Day by Day
The Doom of Edom
I. The Destruction of the Nation, Obadiah 1-9
II. Edom’s Heartlessness toward Israel, Obadiah 10-16
III. Israel’s Exaltation, Obadiah 17-21 – Through the Bible Day by Day
God is the God of the Gentiles as well as of the Jew.
Jonah was a native of Gath-hepher in Zebulun. Some think that he was a contemporary and disciple of Elijah, and that he therefore lived about 850 b.c. He is the oldest of the prophets whose writings have come down to us. That the book is historical may be gathered from the references of our Lord in Matthew 12:39-41 and Matthew 16:4.
The narrative presents a most striking contrast between the long-suffering mercy of God and the hard indifference of a good man to the fate of a great Gentile city. Probably it indicates the dawn of a better era, when the Chosen People shall enter upon that long education, the results of which Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:19-22; 3:1-8. —Through the Bible Day by Day
An Unwilling Prophet of the Merciful God
I. Jonah’s Disobedience, Jonah 1:1-14
II. His Punishment, Jonah 1:15-17
III. His Prayer and Rescue, Jonah 2
IV. His Preaching in Nineveh, Jonah 3:1-4
V. The City’s Repentance, Jonah 3:5-10
VI. Jonah’s Displeasure; God’s Mercy, Jonah 4 —Through the Bible Day by Day
God abhors injustice and ritualism. He takes delight in pardoning penitent sinners.
Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah, but their activities lay apart. Micah lived in the country and was concerned with both Israel and Judah, while Isaiah’s career is closely associated with the fortunes of Jerusalem.
The book of Micah shows a clear understanding of the events of the time. He foresaw the invasions of Shalmaneser and Sennacherib, the dispersion of Israel, and the destruction of Jerusalem. Alone among the prophets he foretells the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, Micah 5:2. “His special office, as a herald of coming judgment, causes a predominant severity of tone; but all harshness is softened into exquisite beauty at the close.” —Through the Bible Day by Day
Judgment Sent Forth unto Victory
I. Judgment, Micah 1-3
1. For Idolatry, Micah 1
2. For Oppression, Micah 2
3. False Kings, Prophets, and Priests, Micah 3
II. Salvation, Micah 4-5
1. God’s Reign in Zion, Micah 4
2. The Ruler from Bethlehem, Micah 5
III. God’s Controversy with His People, Micah 6
1. A Summons to Contend before the Mountains, Micah 6:1-8
2. Condemnation and Judgment, Micah 6:9-16
IV. Judgment unto Victory, Micah 7
1. The Appalling National Depravity, Micah 7:1-13
2. The Triumph of Mercy, Micah 7:14-20 —Through the Bible Day by Day
An awful doom awaits the apostate.
The theme of the prophecy of Nahum is the complete and final destruction of Nineveh. Jonah had already warned the city of its danger, and a temporary respite had been gained by repentance. But the people soon returned to their evil ways, and Nahum was sent to declare the doom of the city, without promise of relief.
Nineveh was one of the greatest cities of ancient times, the capital of the flourishing Assyrian empire. At the time when Nahum delivered his prophecy, Assurbanipal was at the height of his power. His capital was the center of the trade and commerce of the world. Yet it was a “bloody city, all full of lies and robbery,” having plundered the neighboring nations, and was ripe for destruction. Within a short time the prophet’s words came true; the great city was laid low, scattered ruins still marking the place where it stood. —Through the Bible Day by Day
The Doom of Nineveh
I. God Reserves Wrath tor His Adversaries, Nahum 1:1-2:2
1. The Resistless Power of God’s Judgments, Nahum 1:1-8
2. Warning to Assyria; Comfort for Judah, Nahum 1:9-2:2
II. The Capital or Assyria Shall Perish, 2:3-3:19
1. The Siege, Capture, and Sack of the City, Nahum 2:3-12
2. “Behold, I Am Against Thee,” Nahum 2:13-3:19 —Through the Bible Day by Day
God is perfectly consistent with Himself, even though evil is long permitted.
The prophecy of Habakkuk is concerned with the rise of the Chaldeans to power. Habakkuk had seen this mighty people used in inflicting judgment upon Nineveh, and they appeared to be the very instrument of God. But a problem arose when they were seen to be as the Assyrians whom they had destroyed. How could God use for any purpose a heartless, cruel nation, bent wholly upon evil? The prophet’s answer is that God will make all His dealings clear if we but wait for Him. “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). When the issues appear confused, the righteous can still remain steadfast and loyal to God—that is their life. “Be true; light will dawn.”
Habakkuk 3 is a poem of great beauty, remarkable for its expression of unwavering faith. Though all gifts fail, the Giver Himself abides, and in Him the prophet will rejoice. —Through the Bible Day by Day
“The Just Shall Live by Faith”
I. The Prophet’s Expostulation, Habakkuk 1-2
1. Why Are Iniquity and Injustice Permitted to Prevail? Habakkuk 1:1-4
Reply: The Chaldeans Will Execute Judgment, Habakkuk 1:5-11
2. How Can Power Be Given to So Wicked a People? Habakkuk 1:12-17
Reply: Their Exaltation Is but Temporary, Habakkuk 2:1-4
3. Five Woes against the Chaldeans, Habakkuk 2:5-20
II. The Prophet’s Prayer, Habakkuk 3
1. God’s Mighty Works a Ground of Hope, Habakkuk 3:1-15
2. A Declaration of Unwavering Faith, Habakkuk 3:16-19 —Through the Bible Day by Day
Our God is a jealous God.
Zephaniah may have been a great-great-grandson of Hezekiah, Zephaniah 1:1. He prophesied during the reign of Josiah, probably before the discovery of the Book of the Law, as the evils which he denounced were then removed by the king.
Zephaniah is the prophet of the Day of the Lord. He does not, like Obadiah, Nahum, or Habakkuk, deal with the downfall of any one nation; he is instead a prophet of universal judgment. His message to the nations is parallel to the words of Jesus: “Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” Luke 13:4-5.
Zephaniah declares that all nations, even Judah itself, will fall under the divine wrath if they continue to defy the divine law. But his message is more than one of judgment. He shows that God is working for the salvation of mankind and that following judgment there will be revealed new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. —Through the Bible Day by Day
I. A Day of Judgment, Zephaniah 1:1-3:8
1. Upon the Whole Earth, Zephaniah 1:1-3
2. Upon Particular Nations, Zephaniah 1:4-3:8
(1) Judah and Jerusalem, Zephaniah 1:4-18
(Call to Repentance), Zephaniah 2:1-3
(2) Philistia, Moab, Amnion, Ethiopia, and Assyria, Zephaniah 2:4-15
(3) Princes, Prophets, and Priests of Jerusalem, Zephaniah 3:1-7
(Call to Repentance), Zephaniah 3:8
II. A Day op Hope, Zephaniah 3:9-20
1. All Nations to Be Taught the Worship of God, Zephaniah 3:9-10
2. The Cleansing of Israel, Zephaniah 3:11-13
3. God’s Gracious Reign, Zephaniah 3:14-20
God demands first place in life and in service.
Haggai returned from exile in Babylon, under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua, in the year 536 b.c., when Cyrus, moved by the striking prophecies about himself, which had probably been brought under his notice by Daniel, granted the Jews their liberty, and provided them with materials for restoring their Temple. This work of rebuilding went on under Cyrus and his successor, in spite of the opposition of the Samaritans; but, finally, these inveterate foes of the returned exiles obtained an edict from Artaxerxes to stay the progress of the rebuilding of the Temple, Ezra 4:7-23. The Jews gave up the work, and began to build splendid mansions for themselves, so that the operations on the Temple site were not recommenced, even when there was opportunity for them. For fourteen years the work was discontinued, until Haggai uttered his burning message. He seems to have been an old man when summoned to the prophet’s office, and his term of service lasted for only four months. But when a man speaks in the power of God, you cannot measure the effect by chronology. His brief ministry had immediate effect, for within three weeks the people were once more at work. —Through the Bible Day by Day
The Rebuilding of the Temple
I. Appeal and Response, Haggai 1
1. The People Admonished for Their Neglect, Haggai 1:1-11
2. Their Purpose to Make Amends, Haggai 1:12-15
II. Contrast between the Two Temples, Haggai 2:1-9
1. As Seen by the People, Haggai 2:1-3
2. As Promised by God, Haggai 2:4-9
III. Rebuke and Encouragement, Haggai 2:10-19
1. Why God’s Favor Has Been Denied, Haggai 2:10-17
2. How It May Be Restored, Haggai 2:18, 19
IV. The Times or the End, Haggai 2:20-23
1. The Overthrow of the Nations, Haggai 2:20-22
2. The Establishment of the House of David, Haggai 2:23 —Through the Bible Day by Day
The infinite care and love of God is over His people through the centuries.
The prophet Zechariah lived at the same time as Haggai and was interested in the same effort to induce the Jews to carry on the rebuilding of their neglected Temple. The prophecies are dated a few years later than those of Haggai. In contrast to the direct and simple language of Haggai, Zechariah employs many figures and symbols to enforce his message. He especially wished to give encouragement and help to the leader and governor of the people, Zerubbabel, and the priest Joshua.
In the latter part of the book there are many pictures of the glorious and happy future, which God had in store for His people and of the Deliverer, who was to come to rule over them. There will come a great day when “the LORD shall be king over all the earth” (Zechariah 14:9). —Through the Bible Day by Day
The Oracle of the Lord of Hosts
Introduction, Zechariah 1:1-6
I. Eight Visions Concerning Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem, Zechariah 1:7-6:15
1. The Horses among the Myrtles, Zechariah 1:7-17
2. The Four Horns and Four Smiths, Zechariah 1:18-21
3. The Man with a Measuring Line, Zechariah 2
4. The High Priest and the Adversary, Zechariah 3
5. The Candelabrum and Two Olive Trees, Zechariah 4
6. The Flying Roll, Zechariah 5:1-4
7. The Ephah, Zechariah 5:5-11
8. The Four Chariots, Zechariah 6:1-8
(The Coronation of Joshua), Zechariah 6:9-15
II. Reply to Deputation from Bethel, Zechariah 7-8
1. God Demands Obedience, Not Fasting, Zechariah 7:1-7
2. Warnings from the Past, Zechariah 7:8-14
3. God Waiting To Show Mercy, Zechariah 8:1-17
4. The Nations to Worship in Jerusalem, Zechariah 8:18-23
III. Judgment and Redemption, Zechariah 9-14
1. Judgments on the Nations; the King of Peace, Zechariah 9
2. Israel to be Saved and Strengthened, Zechariah 10
3. The Parable of the Shepherds, Zechariah 11
4. The Siege and Deliverance of Jerusalem, Zechariah 12
5. The Remnant Purified by Chastisement, Zechariah 13
6. The Exaltation of Jerusalem, Zechariah 14 —Through the Bible Day by Day
Remember Jehovah, repent toward Him, return to Him and render to Him that which is His due.
The name Malachi means “my messenger,” so that, perhaps we do not know the name of the real author of this book, who hides himself behind his office and his message. Sixty years had passed since the first return of Israel from the land of captivity, under Joshua and Zerubbabel, and during this time the holy seed had become mingled with the people of the land. It was necessary, therefore, for a compelling voice to demand the purging and cleansing of the priesthood and the people.
The moral and religious condition of Israel was at a low ebb. They were the slaves of formalism and self-righteousness; satisfied with themselves, and not hesitating to blaspheme God’s name. Therefore instead of the language of promise and encouragement used by Haggai and Zechariah, there was need to substitute the reproofs and warnings of this last of the prophets, between whom and the New Testament four hundred years were destined to intervene. —Through the Bible Day by Day
“The Lord’s Messenger”
I. God’s Unwearied Love for His People, Malachi 1:1-5
II. The Sins of the Priests, Malachi 1:6-2:9
III. The Evils of Idolatry and Divorce, Malachi 2:10-16
IV. The Coming Judgment, Malachi 2:17-3:6
VI. The Book of Remembrance, Malachi 3:13-18
VII. The Day of the Lord, Malachi 4 —Through the Bible Day by Day