Minor Prophets

All of the issues that produced the Major Prophets are the same for the coming of the Minor Prophets.  They are called “minor” for several reasons in my opinion.

First of all they are generally very brief in length.  Next, they are generally narrow in their application and audience.  For example, the Major Prophets spoke to the nations around them as well as to Israel.  Minor prophets focus on one area or nation as a rule.

Next their subject material is focused on a limited time era.  They generally are not dealing with a broad period of time.  And lastly, it is my opinion many of them played a supporting role to the Major Prophets.  Many of them were contemporaries with the Major Prophets.

They also, like the Major Prophets are diverse in background and ministry.  One thing is startlingly clear; God dealt with a world, not just Israel.  What an amazing revelation to all the Bible scholars who insist God was exclusively interested in the nation of Israel.  Some of these men of God spoke solely to Gentile nations.  There is the example of Jonah and Nahum to Nineveh, and Obadiah to Edom.

A poor analogy is, these men were short stories compared to the novels the Major Prophets wrote.  They are short, concise diatribes to very particular audiences.  They played an important role in the moment of their existence, but did not have the distilled major contribution that the Major Prophets had.

The Minor Prophets are God speaking a brief conversation with Israel, while the Major Prophets were a long involved discourse for many years.

However, do not let yourself think for even a moment they are less in importance.  To take that opinion would strip from you their magnificent contribution to God’s overall plan.  The Bible was written by Holy Men of God, and the spirit of God included each of these “minor” books for a reason that God saw need for.

The pageantry and principals in these books span from the Assyrian empire to the end of the Old Testament under the Persian Empire.

In the Hebrew writings these twelve books were one book called the book of the twelve.  There were actually twenty-one segments broken at different places without stopping at the books beginnings.

If read as one continuous book like the Hebrews do, it is quite a journey!  You will visit palaces and market places.  You will go from world capitals to country dells and villages.

You will read of Kings and harlots, siege and famine, plagues and songs of victory.  You will read of war and envy, of conquest and human endurance.

Above the din of this cacophony of human existence, you will hear the voice of a loving God, desperately in love with His people.  It is the voice of God weeping, wooing, and willing His people to return to Him.

The key to your automobile may seem small and easily replaced, but without it you aren’t going anywhere.  God saw they were needed and served a purpose, and we would be incomplete without them.

When studying one of these small brief conversations with God, I suggest you remember that the Creator saw the need for this to complete the Book of the ages.  Words from God called men, brief and pointed, that are forever settled in Heaven!

Could not all of us take encouragement from this, knowing that God included us in His master plan?

No matter how large or small our part on the grand stage of time, we are still important.

Without our part, the whole would be lacking.  While it is true that taking Obadiah out of the Bible would not have the same effect as removing Isaiah, it was God who decided Obadiah needed to be in the book that is forever settled in heaven.

It is apparent that God placed value on each man who contributed to the Bible.  What a lesson!  Will any of us refuse to do our part because it seems small and less important than that of others?

Here are my thoughts on the Minor Prophets as to who they spoke to and when:

  • Hosea, Wrote to Israel the northern kingdom, about 700 BC
  • Joel, wrote to northern kingdom about 800 BC
  • Amos, spoke to northern kingdom during Jeroboam II reign, 700 BC
  • Obadiah, spoke to Edom (Esau’s decendants), His date is very controversial
  • Jonah, spoke to Nineveh (world empire), 200 years before Nahum
  • Micah, spoke to northern kingdom, same time as Isaiah
  • Nahum, second voice to Nineveh
  • Habakkuk, spoke only to God, his book is a Theodicy, after the captivity
  • Zephaniah, spoke to the repatriated nation, after the captivity
  • Haggai, same as Zephaniah, spoke to the nation after the captivity
  • Zechariah, spoke to the nation after captivity and rebuilding of the temple
  • Malachi, spoke to the repatriates at the close of the Old Testament

One of my most helpful thoughts has been to think of about ten ministers you know.  Think of how they preach.  Think of how they approach a subject.  Think about their vocabulary, their illustrations, and their message.  That will give you a good appreciation of the Minor Prophets and their diversity.

They were  courageous men who devoted their life to delivering God’s message.  It was almost universal that their message was unwanted and unheard.  Yet, they obeyed their call and completed their message.

I look forward to the day when I can sit and talk with them and learn the rest of their story.

They were a magnificent breed indeed!

Thanks for reading today.