The Minor Post Exilic Prophets

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Before the Babylonian exile, Biblical prophesy reached its highest point. Prophets such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel changed and molded the scope of Israelite religion. Their writings were intelligent, insightful, well developed, and contained a great spiritual meaning. Following the Babylonian exile, however, prophesy took a depressing downward turn. There are many post exilic prophets, yet their writings are usually short, mostly irrelevant, repetitive, and, for the most part, anonymous. Though this is the case for many of these prophets, their works cannot be overlooked. Haggai and Zechariah were leaders in the cultic reform of the Israelite people. Malachai calmed their fears, and assured them of God's love. Still other prophets told of a new, Messianic time when the word of the Lord would be held in its former glory. These were the most important works, as post exilic Israel needed not only protection, but spiritual guidance to sustain their society. The prophet Haggai was in integral figure in uniting the Israelite people. Upon return to their homeland, the Israelites found most of the infrastructure in a state of disrepair, with the people uncaring for their moral and social responsibilities, to say nothing for their religious practices. (OVC) Even the temple of the Lord had been destroyed. Haggai emphasized the return to a more cultic society. Through Haggai, God explained the plight of the Israelite people, as in Haggai 1:6: "You have sown much, but harvested little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough...Why? Because of My house which lies desolate while each of you runs to his own house." (Haggai 1:9) The word of Haggai is accepted as the word of God, and the temple is rebuilt in less than four years. "I am with you," said the Lord,in Haggai 1:13 when the temple was finally built. (EIB) The prophesy of Haggai did not end with the building of the Lord's temple. He offered a message of hope to the people of Israel. Haggai said that the promises made by God would be kept, now that He had a dwelling place within the city. God inspired the people of the newly reformed city, saying: "Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory?...Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? The latter glory of this house will be grea... ... middle of paper ... ...he post-exilic period have lasted in Israel for hundreds of years. I found it ironic, however, that after the nation healed itself, it immediatly began to discuss plans for war with other nations. Throughout the Bible, there are discussions of prosperity and pease, but does it have to come at the expense of other nations? It would have been more economical for the Israelites to at least establish a solid medium for trade, and a constant source of manpower and funds before they began to wage war on other cities. In researching this paper, I found the OVC to be especially helpful. It contained a verse by verse breakdown of the entire book, as well as historical backgrounds. Scripture quotations are from my New American Standard Bible. Works Cited Carstensen, Roger N. The Book of Zechariah. From The Interpreter's One Volume Commentary on the Bible. Abingdon Press, 1971. Achtemeier, Paul J. Harper's Bible Dictionary. Harper and Row, 1985. Carey, Gary. Cliff's Notes on Old Testament. Cliffs Notes, Inc, 1995. Barker, William P. Everyone in the Bible. Fleming H. Revell, 1966. Brownrigg, Ronald and Comay, Joan. Who's Who in the Bible. Crown Publishers, Inc, 1946 and 1952.

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