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The Minor Post Exilic Prophets

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Essay title: The Minor Post Exilic Prophets

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 greater than the former, and in this

place I shall give peace." (Haggai 2:3,9) He also talks of a time of

political upheaval and reform, when he promises to "overthrow the

thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms and nations;

and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders, and the horses and

their riders will go down, every one by the sword of another." (Haggai

2:22)

The "latter glory" foretold in Haggai's prophesy is emphasized in

the book of Zechariah. Zechariah prophesied in the shadow of Haggai,

but gave his words a slightly different spin. He emphasizes, like the

pre-exilic prophets, the importance of a moral reform among the

Israelites. Zechariah's way of receiving

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