IVIALACHI, (Heb., my messenger).
Commonly regarded as the name of the author of the last book of the Minor Prophets in the Jewish canon. ft is probable, however, that Malachi is neither a proper name nor an appella tive of the author of the book, but is used in chap. i. I in the literal sense. Hence this pas sage is to be translated. "The word of Yahweh to Israel by my messenger." This view is borne out by the use of the same word "my messenger" in chap. iii. 1. The prophecy of _Malachi is therefore anonymous. The book falls into two divisions: (a) a general presentation of the main theme, followed by a rebuke to the priests (i.-ii. 9), and .(b) a rebuke of the people with occasional references again to the sins of the priests (ii. 10-iv. 6). After a brief introduction emphasizing God's love to Israel as proved by histdry. the prophet addresses the priests. rebuk ing them for their heartless. mereenary. and corrupt services. He threatens them with judg ments if they persist in their sins, and describes the character of a trite priest in eontrast with their own. The second part consists of a series of oracles, addressed to all the people, who are rebuked for their marriages with the Gentiles and their rejection of the lawful wives of their youth, who were left to weep at the altars of Yahweh. It is maintained by some scholars that this rebuke of unlawful marriages is a sim ile for the disloyalty of the people toward Yahweh, but the interpretation is forced. The prophet continues by the announcement of the sudden coming of Yahweh, whom the people claimed to seek, but who, iu an unexpected com ing, would sit in judgment against all trans gressors, supplying by 11 is own omniscience swift testimony against them. This represents the prophet's answer to those who declared that God did not concern Himself with the affairs of the individual. He calls the people to
repentance, with the promise of abundant bless ings to all who obey. To those who already fear God he gives the assurance that they shall al way), be precious in His sight, and closes with the renewed announcement of the appointed judg ment, before which great and dreadful day Elijah. the prophet. will come calling fathers and chil dren to repentance as the only way of avoiding the hastening iloom. The Book of Malachi is a production of the Persian period. The Exile lies so far in the past that it is not even referred to. The temple has been rebuilt and the cult i, regularly carried on, but the adoption of the Priestly Code has not fulfilled the hope, of its advocates. Mixed marriages were still going on, and the priests used their sacred office for per sonal aggrandizement. The people. too, were not conscientious in paying their tithes (iii. 8-12). We are therefore transported by this hook to the first half of the fourth century- B.C., when the evils described. which ultimately led to internal conflicts. terminating in the division of the people into several parties, were beginning to set in. The diction of the Book of Malachi is as pure as in any of the earlier prophetical and the style is vigorous without approaching in vividness some of its predecessors. The book is referred to no less than four times in the New Testament (Mark i. 2: ix. 11; Luke i. 17; Rom. ix. 131. Consult, besides the general work, ou the Minor Prophets. especially the •ommen taries of G. A. Smith, Nowack, and Cullhausen: Kohler, Der Prophet Malcachi (Erlangen, 1865) ; Perowne. Book of Malachi," in the Cam bridge Bible for Schools owl Colleges (Cam bridge, 1889) : Torrey, in the Journal of Biblical Literature (1898).