Intro to Malachi

Posted by Matt Lane on April 20th, 2008 filed in Bible, Bible Reading

Malachi is one of the minor prophets and for the most part, does not foretell the future but rather decries the height of the current state of Israel’s disobedience.  Scholars have difficulty placing the book in history because the book is for the most part void of any historical references.  The one mention of Edom sheds a tiny bit of light and so the two prevailing theories is that Malachi was either written before Ezra/Nehemiah or during the time that Nehemiah went back to serve the king and left the newly built walls and the running of the city of Jerusalem to those he had appointed.  If you remember, he went back after a time of being gone and cleaned house (literally) in the city and temple.

What we do know about the culture when Malachi was written is that there had been a period of time where the people of Israel had not obeyed the commandments of God and the priests had not taken care of the workings of the temple.  We also know that at this time, Israel was a conquered nation as the Babylonians had defeated them and then the Meads and Persians.  If you remember, there were three kings of an undivided Israel :  Saul, David, Solomon.  Solomon’s son Rehoboam took the reigns next but after he decided to continue the heavy taxes and did not heed the council of his father’s advisors, 10 tribes left and formed the northern kingdom named Israel .  Rehoboam was left with two tribes and they were called Judah (southern kingdom).  Both eventually fell to the foreign nations and were conquered at the time that Malachi was written.  Some other things we know:

  • Priests had the law of Moses and knew God commands
  • Priests were responsible for the temple and for leading the people
  • God had demonstrated his love for Israel over and over
    • Exile and Exodus in Egypt
    • Wandering in the wilderness
    • The period of Judges and Kings
    • Building of the Temple

Okay, enough of the history lesson and on to some genealogy.  To understand Malachi, you must also remember the descendants of Abraham.  Below is a chart to remind you.


Abraham Chart

So from the above map we can see Abraham’s descendants.   The nation of Israel comes down the line of Isaac and then Jacob.  From Jacob we can see his 12 sons and then the names of the 12 tribes that came from each on of them.  In chart form that looks like:

Children of Jacob by wife in order of birth (D = Daughter)


Reuben (1) Simeon (2) Levi (3) Judah (4) Issachar (9) Zebulun (10) Dinah (D)


Joseph (11) Benjamin (12)

Bilhah (Rachel’s servant)

Dan (5) Naphtali (6)

Zilpah (Leah’s servant)

Gad (7) Asher

Some things to remember: Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for food and also Jacob along with his mother tricked Isaac into giving Jacob the firstborn blessing instead of Esau. God chose Jacob’s line to make the nation of Israel out of.  The fact that God chose that line is significant in the study of Malachi.

One note:  Edom (1:4) is a reference to the descendants of Esau who are not part of the nation of Israel .

This is long I know but knowing the background to Malachi is critical to understanding the full meaning behind the text.  Spend the time digging into the culture and you will be astounded at the profound lessons found in Malachi.

God bless you as you dig in!


One Response to “Intro to Malachi”

  1. Says:

    Аppreciate this post. Let me try it out.

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