Book of Malachi

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Malachi (or Malachias, Hebrew: מַלְאָכִי‎, Malʾaḫi, Mál'akhî) is a book of the Hebrew Bible, written by the prophet Malachi. Possibly this is not the name of the author, since Malachi means 'my messenger' or 'my angel' in Hebrew. The last of the twelve minor prophets (canonically), the final book of the Hebrew Bible in Christian, but not Jewish tradition is commonly attributed to a prophet by the name of Malachi. Although the appellation Malachi has frequently been understood as a proper name, its Hebrew meaning is simply "My [i.e., God's] messenger" (or 'His messenger' in the Septuagint). This sobriquet occurs in the superscription at 1:1 and in 3:1, although it is highly unlikely that the word refers to the same character in both of these references. Thus, there is substantial debate regarding the identity of the author of the biblical book of Malachi. The Jewish Targum identifies Ezra (or Esdras) as the author of Malachi. St. Jerome suggests this may be because Ezra is seen as an intermediary between the prophets and the 'great synagogue'. There is, however, no historical evidence to support this claim.

Some scholars note affinities between Zechariah 9-14 and the book of Malachi. Zechariah 9, Zechariah 12, and Malachi 1 are all introduced as "Oracle, the word of Yahweh." Many scholars argue that this collection originally consisted of three independent and anonymous prophecies. Two were subsequently appended to the book of Zechariah (as what scholars refer to as Deutero-Zechariah) and the third became the book of Malachi. As a result, most scholars consider the book of Malachi to be the work of a single author who may or may not have been identified by the title Malachi. The present division of the oracles results in a total of twelve books of minor prophets – a number parallelling the sons of Jacob who became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Catholic Encyclopedia asserts that "We are no doubt in presence of an abbreviation of the name Mál'akhîyah, that is 'Messenger of Yah'".

Contents

The author

Nothing is known of the biography of the author of the book of Malachi although it has been suggested that he may have been Levitical (which is curious, considering that Ezra was a priest.) The books of Zechariah and Haggai were written during the lifetime of Ezra (see 5:1), perhaps this may explain the similarities in style. Although the Ezra theory is disputed, no other authorship theories are dominant.[citation needed]

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