The Minor Prophets (the shorter books)

Hosea
(730 BC)

God told Hosea to get married, even though his wife would be unfaithful. When she had lovers he must continue to love her as a illustration of God's constant love for his people. They too had been unfaithful to him by violence, idolatry and heathen alliances, but he would accept them again.

Quotes from Hosea
6:6I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
14:4I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for my anger is turned away from him.




Joel
(300 - 400 BC)

This was a response to famine caused by a plague of locusts. Joel said the final days of the world would be like this. The prophet called for national abstinence from food, praying and turning from evil. He promised future abundant harvests, great blessings and security for Israel.

Quotes from Joel
2:25,28I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you ... and it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.




Amos
(750 BC)

Amos thunders against national sins and warns of God's punishment for: cruelty, taking slaves, breaking a treaty of alliance, mercilessness, enslaving the poor, incest, extortion from debtors, forcing people to act against their consciences, oppressing the weak and the poor, corruption in the courts, depriving people of their just wage. The prophet calls them to change their ways and promises a future time of prosperity and stability.

Quotes from Amos
5:24Let judgement run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
8:4-6Hear this, O you that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, saying, "When will the new moon (and sabbath) be over ... that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes?




Obadiah
(580 BC or later)

This prophet comforts Israel that their bitter enemy, Edom, will one day be no more.

Quotes from Obadiah
v17Upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness, and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.




Jonah

God told Jonah to warn the city Nineveh of destruction because of their wicked ways. Jonah ran away on a ship from the nearest port. A fierce storm blew up, Jonah claimed it was his fault and was thrown overboard, then found himself inside a large marine creature for 72 hours. When it threw up and he landed near the shore he gave in and preached in Nineveh. They all lamented for their wrongdoing and God spared them. Jonah sulked: he wanted to see them destroyed, but God reprimanded him for his bad attitude.

Quotes from Jonah
2:5The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.
2:11Should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore (120) thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand, and also much cattle?




Micah

Invasion and exile await Judah (part of Israel) because of their idolatry, fraud, exploitation, corruption and injustice at law. However, there was future hope as Micah predicted God's universal reign of peace: Israel would be re-established and a ruler was promised who would come from Bethlehem.

Quotes from Micah
4:3-4They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken it.
6:8He has showed you, O man, what is good: and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?




Nahum
(about 700 BC)

A poem celebrating the fall of Nineveh, the capital city of Israel's ancient and oppressive enemy, the Assyrians. Its fall is seen as God's judgement upon and cruel and arrogant nation.

Quotes from Nahum
1:7-8The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knows them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.




Habakkuk
(about 700 BC)

The prophet complained to God that violence was rife and justice was perverted. God told him the Babylonian army would come, destroying all in its path. Habakkuk complained even more. God then assured him that soon those who exploited the poor and enriched themselves through forced debt repayments and violence would be on the receiving end. The prophet concludes with a song about God's power and justice prevailing at last.

Quotes from Habakkuk
3:17-19Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield not meat; though the flock be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation, the Lord God is my strength.




Zephaniah
(about 630 BC)

The people worshipped false gods and killed and stole in their name. This angered God so much he would destroy all life on earth with fire. If they changed their ways they might escape but neighbouring Moab and Ammon, which insulted and threatened Israel, would vanish. God would give peace and gather the diaspora.

Quotes from Zephaniah
1:14-15The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hastes greatly ... that day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.
3:19At that time I will undo all that afflict you, and I will save her that halts, and gather her that was driven out, and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.




Haggai
(520 BC)

A call to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem which lay in ruins after return from exile and resettlement.

Quotes from Haggai
2:6-7Thus says the Lord of hosts, "Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land, and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory.”




Zechariah
(520 - 518 BC)

God said that the temple would be rebuilt. The exile occurred because they ignored God's laws ("Do not oppress widows, orphans, immigrants or anyone else in need.” 7:10.) But now the nation would be restored and protected, and purged of false prophets. The people would be purified and finally God would set up his universal reign.

Quotes from Zechariah
9:9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: for, behold your king comes to you: he is just and having salvation: lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.
12:2-3I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people round about ... and in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.




Malachi
(400 - 500 BC)

The offerings to God were of poor quality, worship was seen as a burden and the priests were not impartial. Men were abandoning their first wives for pagan women, but God said he hated to see this cruelty. There were witchcraft, adultery, perjury, unfair wages and mistreatment of the disadvantaged. People didn't take the right proportion of the earnings and crops (tithes) to the temple. Some of Malachi's listeners heeded the message and changed their ways. Then the prophet said that in the future good people would be free of their oppressors. He concluded that before the ‘day of the Lord' God would send a prophet who would bring reconciliation within families and between generations.

Quotes from Malachi
1:11From the rising of the sun, even to the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles.
3:16Then they that feared the Lord spoke often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.


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Introduction and Index     Books of Moses     Books about the time of the Judges     History of the Era of the Kings      The Exile in Babylon     Songs and Wisdom     The Major Prophets     The Minor Prophets     The Gospels     Acts of the Apostles     Letters (Epistles) from Paul the Apostle     Letters (Epistles) from Other People     Revelation     Ten Commandments     Selection From Psalms     Selection From Proverbs     Jesus's teachings and sayings

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