THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET MALACHI.
Concerning the person of Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament, so little is known that some people have even insisted that it was not the name of a person at all, but only a title, for Malachi means messenger of Jehovah. However, all the reasons advanced for this supposition are so weak that it seems best to hold, with the majority of orthodox teachers, that there was actually a prophet who bore that name, and that he wrote under his own name. The period of Malachiís activity must be placed in the days of Nehemiah, very likely before the second visit of Nehemiah in Jerusalem. Cp. Neh. 13. His rebukes and admonitions evidently concern the same deplorable conditions which the leaders of the people found it necessary to correct with such emphasis, among these being sacrifices of a poor quality, neglect in paying tithes, marriages with heathen women. All this is further substantiated by the fact that Malachi refers to himself as the last prophet of the Old Covenant, chiefly in prophesying of the forerunner of the Messiah and in stating that the New Dispensation was to be expected very soon.
The Book of Malachi may readily be divided into two parts, chapters 1 and 2 dealing of the love of God to the children of Israel and reproving the sins of the priests and of the people, and chapters 3 and 4 comforting the God-fearing Jews with promises of the twofold coming of Christ. The style of the book is animated, but less grand and the rhythm less marked than in some of the older prophets.1)