The Minor Prophets

Hosea

1:1 Prophesied during Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, (Kings of Judah) – Prophesied during Jeroboam, (King of Israel).

1:1  (see Dake’s footnote D)

1:1 Not knowing exactly when he prophesied in Jeroboam’s and Hezekiah’s reigns makes identifying Hosea ministry time difficult.  If he prophesied in the last 2 years of Jeroboams reign and stopped by the 3rd year into Hezekiah’s, it would have been a 70 year period.

*  Although Hosea 1:1 states the book was written during 4 southern kingdom kings and only 1 northern kingdom king, the book is written to the northern kingdom (Judah) as seen in 1:4-5.

 Joel

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown – “… OEL (meaning “one to whom Jehovah is God,” that is, worshipper of Jehovah) seems to have belonged to Judah, as no reference occurs to Israel; whereas he speaks of Jerusalem, the temple, the priests, and the ceremonies, as if he were intimately familiar with them (compare Joe 1:14 2:1, 15, 323:1, 2, 6, 16, 17, 20, 21 ). His predictions were probably delivered in the early days of Joash 870-865 B.C.; for no reference is made in them to the Babylonian, Assyrian, or even the Syrian invasion; and the only enemies mentioned are the Philistines, Phoenicians, Edomites, and Egyptians ( Joe 3:4, 19 ). Had he lived after Joash, he would doubtless have mentioned the Syrians among the enemies whom he enumerates since they took Jerusalem and carried off immense spoil to Damascus ( 2Ch 24:23, 24 ). No idolatry is mentioned; and the temple services, the priesthood, and other institutions of the theocracy, are represented as flourishing. This all answers to the state of things under the high priesthood of Jehoiada, through whom Joash had been placed on the throne and who lived in the early years of Joash ( 2Ki 11:17, 18 12:2-16 2Ch 24:4-14 ).

 Amos

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown, “The time of his prophesying was in the reigns of Uzziah king of Judea, and Jeroboam II, son of Joash, king of Israel ( Amo 1:1 ), that is, in part of the time in which the two kings were contemporary; probably in Jeroboam’s latter years, after that monarch had recovered from Syria “the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath to the sea of the plain” ( 2Ki 14:25-27 ); for Amos foretells that these same coasts, “from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of the wilderness,” should be the scene of Israel’s being afflicted ( Amo 6:14 ); also his references to the state of luxurious security then existing ( Amo 6:1, 4, 13), and to the speedy termination of it by the Assyrian foe ( Amo 1:53:12, 15 5:27 8:2 ), point to the latter part of Jeroboam’s reign, which terminated in 784 B.C., the twenty-seventh year of Uzziah’s reign, which continued down to 759 B.C. He was contemporary with Hosea, only that the latter continued to prophesy in reigns subsequent to Uzziah ( Hsa 1:1 ); whereas Amos ceased to prophesy in the reign of that monarch. The scene of his ministry was Beth-el, where the idol calves were set up ( Amo 7:10-13 ). There his prophecies roused Amaziah, the idol priest, to accuse him of conspiracy and to try to drive him back to Judah.

Obadiah

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown – “This is the shortest book in the Old Testament. The name means “servant of Jehovah.” Obadiah stands fourth among the minor prophets according to the Hebrew arrangement of the canon, the fifth according to the Greek. Some consider him to be the same as the Obadiah who superintended the restoration of the temple under Josiah, 627 B.C. ( 2Ch 34:12 ). But Oba 1:11-16, 20 imply that Jerusalem was by this time overthrown by the Chaldeans, and that he refers to the cruelty of Edom towards the Jews on that occasion, which is referred to also in Lam 4:21, 22 Eze 25:12-14 35:1-15 Psa 137:7 . From comparing Oba 1:5 , Oba 1:6 , Oba 1:8, it appears that Jeremiah embodied in his prophecies part of Obadiah’s, as he had done in the case of other prophets also (compare Isa 15:1 – 16:14 ). The reason for the present position of Obadiah before other of the minor prophets anterior in date is: Amos at the close of his prophecies foretells the subjugation of Edom hereafter by the Jews; the arranger of the minor prophets in one volume, therefore, placed Obadiah next, as being a fuller statement, and, as it were, a commentary on the foregoing briefer prophecy of Amos as to Edom [MAURER]. (Compare Amo 1:11 ). The date of Obadiah’s prophecies was probably immediately after the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, 588 B.C. Five years afterwards (583 B.C.). Edom was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah must have incorporated part of Obadiah’s prophecies with his own immediately after they were uttered, thus stamping his canonicity … The probable capture of Jerusalem alluded to by Obadiah is that by Joash and the Israelites in the reign of Amaziah. For as, a little before, in the reign of the same Amaziah, the Jews had treated harshly the Edomites after conquering them in battle ( 2Ch 25:11-23 ), it is probable that the Edomites, in revenge, joined the Israelites in the attack on Jerusalem [JAEGER].”.

 Jonah

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown – “JONAH was the son of Amittai, of Gath-hepher in Zebulun (called Gittah-hepher in Jos 19:10-13 ), so that he belonged to the kingdom of the ten tribes, not to Judah. His date is to be gathered from 2Ki 14:25-27 , “He (Jeroboam II) restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He spake by the hand of His servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher. For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. And the Lord said not that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.” Now as this prophecy of Jonah was given at a time when Israel was at the lowest point of depression, when “there was not any shut up or left,” that is, confined or left at large, none to act as a helper for Israel, it cannot have been given in Jeroboam’s reign, which was marked by prosperity, for in it Syria was worsted in fulfilment of the prophecy, and Israel raised to its former “greatness.” It must have been, therefore, in the early part of the reign of Joash, Jeroboam’s father, who had found Israel in subjection to Syria, but had raised it by victories which were followed up so successfully by Jeroboam. Thus Jonah was the earliest of the prophets, and close upon Elisha, who died in Joash’s reign, having just before his death given a token prophetical of the thrice defeat of Syria ( 2Ki 13:14-21 ). Hosea and Amos prophesied also in the reign of Jeroboam II, but towards the closing part of his forty-one years’ reign. The transactions in the Book of Jonah probably occurred in the latter part of his life; if so, the book is not much older than part of the writings of Hosea and Amos. The use of the third person is no argument against Jonah himself being the writer: for the sacred writers in mentioning themselves do so in the third person (compare Jhn 19:26 ). Nor is the use of the past tense ( Jon 3:3 , “Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city”) a proof that Nineveh’s greatness was past when the Book of Jonah was being written; it is simply used to carry on the negative uniformly,–“the word of the Lord came to Jonah . . . so Jonah arose. . . now Nineveh was,” &c. ( Jon 1:1 3:3 ). The mention of its greatness proves rather that the book was written at an early date, before the Israelites had that intimate knowledge of it which they must have had soon afterwards through frequent Assyrian inroads”.

Micah

Nahum

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown – “His graphic description of Sennacherib and his army ( Nah 1:9-12 ) makes it not unlikely that he was in or near Jerusalem at the time: hence the number of phrases corresponding to those of Isaiah (compare Nah 1:8, 9 , with Isa 8:8 10:23 ; Nah 2:10 , with Isa 24:1 21:3 ; Nah 1:15 , with Isa 52:7 ). The prophecy in Nah 1:14 probably refers to the murder of Sennacherib twenty years after his return from Palestine ( Isa 37:38 ). The date of his prophecies, thus, seems to be about the former years of Hezekiah. So JEROME thinks. He plainly writes while the Assyrian power was yet unbroken ( Nah 1:12 2:11-13 Nah 3:15-17 ). The correspondence between the sentiments of Nahum and those of Isaiah and Hezekiah, as recorded in Second Kings and Isaiah, proves the likelihood of Nahum’s prophecies belonging to the time when Sennacherib was demanding the surrender of Jerusalem, and had not yet raised the siege(compare Nah 1:2 , &c., with 2Ki 19:14, 15 ; Nah 1:7 , with 2Ki 18:22 19:19, 31 2Ch 32:7, 8 ; Nah 1:9, 11, with 2Ki 19:22, 27, 28 ; Nah 1:14 , with 2Ki 19:6, 7 ; Nah 1:152:1, 2 , with 2Ki 19:32, 33 ; Nah 2:13 , with 2Ki 19:22, 23). The historical data in the book itself are the humiliation of Israel and Judah by Assyria ( Nah 2:2 ); the invasion of Judah ( Nah 1:9, 11 ); and the conquest of No-ammon, or Thebes, in Upper Egypt ( Nah 3:8-10 ). Tiglath-pileser and Shalmaneser had carried away Israel. The Jews were harassed by the Syrians, and impoverished by Ahaz’ payments to Tiglath-pileser ( 2Ch 28:1-27 Isa 7:9 ). Sargon, Shalmaneser’s successor, after the reduction of Phoenicia by the latter, fearing lest Egypt should join Palestine against him, undertook an expedition to Africa ( Isa 20:1-6 ), and took Thebes; the latter fact we know only from Nahum, but the success of the expedition in general is corroborated in Isa 20:1-6 . Sennacherib, Sargon’s successor, made the last Assyrian attempt against Judea, ending in the destruction of his army in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah (713-710 B.C.). As Nahum refers to this in part prophetically, in part as matter of history ( Nah 1:9-13 2:13 ), he must have lived about 720-714 B.C., that is, almost a hundred years before the event foretold, namely, the overthrow of Nineveh by the joint forces of Cyaxares and Nabopolassar in the reign of Chyniladanus, 625 or 603 B.C.”.

 Habakkuk

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown – “The time seems to have been about 610 B.C. For the Chaldeans attacked Jerusalem in the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim, 605 B.C. ( 2Ki 24:1 2Ch 36:6 Jer 46:2 36:9 ). And Habakkuk ( Hab 1:5, 6 , &c.) speaks of the Chaldeans as about to invade Judah, but not as having actually done so. In the second chapter he proceeds to comfort his people by foretelling the humiliation of their conquerors, and that the vision will soon have its fulfilment. In the third chapter the prophet in a sublime ode celebrates the deliverances wrought by Jehovah for His people in times past, as the ground of assurance, notwithstanding all their existing calamities, that He will deliver them again. Hab 3:16 shows that the invader is still coming, and not yet arrived; so that the whole refers to the invasion in Jehoiakim’s times, not those under Jehoiachin and Zedekiah. The Apocryphal appendix to Daniel states that he lived to see the Babylonian exile (588 B.C.), which accords with his prophesying early in Jehoiakim’s reign, about 610 B.C.”.

 Zephaniah

1:1 In the days of Josiah, king of Judah

Haggai

1:1 In the 2nd year of Darius

Zachariah

1:1 In the 2nd year of Darius

1:12 These 3 score and 10 years (70 years)

–        These 70 years are referring to the 70 years of captivity in Babylon.  However, Judah had already returned from captivity 17 years prior.  Zachariah, as Haggai, wrote to the return already exiles from Babylon.  This passage does not place its writing before the return.  However, it would appear, that God saw it necessary to cause this first of ten visions in the book to be a historical one that would set the stage for the remaining.

–        Matthew Henry – “The objects of compassion recommended to the divine mercies are, Jerusalem, the holy city, and the other cities of Judah that were now in ruins; for God had had indignation against them now threescore and ten years. He mentions seventy years because that was the time fixed in the divine councils for the continuance of the captivity; so long the indignation lasted, and though now for a little space grace had been shown them from the Lord their God, to give them some reviving (Ezra 9:8), yet the scars of those seventy years’ captivity still remained so deep, so painful, that this is the melancholy string they still harp upon-the divine indignation during those seventy years. Dr. Lightfoot thinks that whereas the seventy years of the captivity were reckoned from Jehoiakim’s fourth year, and ended in the first of Cyrus, these seventy years are to be computed from the eleventh of Zedekiah, when Jerusalem and the temple were burnt, about nineteen years after the first captivity, and which ended in this second year of Darius Hystaspes, about seventeen years after Cyrus’s proclamation, as that seventy years mentioned ch. 7:5 was about nineteen years after; the captivity went off, as it came on, gradually. “Lord, we are still under the burden of the seventy years’ wrath, and wilt thou be angry with us for ever?” (Matthew Henry Whole Bible Commentary: Zachariah 1:7-17).

7:1 In the 4th year of Darius

Malachi

Matthew Henry – “The scope of the prophecy. Haggai and Zechariah were sent to reprove the people for delaying to build the temple; Malachi was sent to reprove them for the neglect of it when it was built, and for their profanation of the temple-service (for from idolatry and superstition they ran into the other extreme of impiety and irreligion), and the sins he witnesses against are the same that we find complained of in Nehemiah’s time, with whom, it is probable, he was contemporary. (Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary:  Introduction to Malachi)