Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Minor Prophets

I am trying to keep to my so-called New Year resolution to read and study the Minor Prophets. It will not be easy since I am far from being “prophetically inclined” in the study of Scripture.

So to start it off, let’s see what this collection of twelve books called the Minor Prophets is?

The title apparently originated in Augustine's time, in the late 4th century A.D. They are called the “minor” prophets not because they are less important. They are called that by virtue of the length of the book - they are shorter than the four longer, hence major, prophetical books, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.

I don't think many of us really understood who and what prophets are. If you check a dictionary, you will find its definition in the lines of “an authoritative person who divines the future” but this is not entirely who they were. Evidence from the text in the bible show that they gave:
(1) warning of impending judgment because of Israel's sinfulness,
(2) descriptions of sin,
(3) descriptions of coming judgment,
(4) call for repentance, and
(5) promise of future deliverance.

In our English bible, the Minor Prophets are arranged mainly by length:
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

But if taken chronologically, they most probably will take this sequence (approximate dates in parentheses:

Pre-Exilic (to Nineveh)
Jonah (780-850)

Pre-Exilic (to Israel)
Amos (765-750), Hosea (755-715)

Pre-Exilic (to Judah)
Obadiah (840), Joel (835-796), Micah (740-690), Nahum (630-612), Zephaniah (625), Habakkuk (606-604)

Haggai (520), Zechariah (515), Malachi (430)

source: Bible.org, The Minor Prophets


  1. As a 'years ago' reader of the Old Testament I think it might be heavy going. Hope you can enjoy reading them. - Dave

  2. which is why i hv always kinda avoided the prophetic books - never quite get them but i can't avoid them forever :) :)

  3. As a first-time visitor here, I would like to recommend a very intriguing little book on the minor prophets written by one of my favorite authors - G. Campbell Morgan. The book is simply titled 'The Minor Prophets' (Revell), and of course it's out of print. I got my used copy though Amazon.

  4. Thanks Ken for dropping in :) and appreciate your comment.

    Another book for me to look out for! Amazon marketplace is not opened to us here in Malaysia and I checked abebooks.com - it will cost me USD21 to get a copy. A bit too pricey.

    I once saw Robert Chisholm's Interpreting the Minor Prophets in one of our bookstores here but I did not get it - one of my good friends kept insisting I get his Handbook to the Prophets instead. I am thinking about it.