from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Twelve Prophets of the Tanakh
Minor Prophets of the Old Testament
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zefanja
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi
Names according to the ÖVBE

Malachias; altar depiction from 1308-1311


מלאכי, Greek Μαλαχίας

) refers to a biblical prophet and the book of the Hebrew Tanakh attributed to him. There it belongs to the Book of the Twelve Prophets and thus forms the conclusion of the collection of the Nevi’im. In the Septuagint and in the Eastern Churches it was placed as the last of the “minor” prophets before the “major” prophets. In the Western Church and Protestant Old Testament (OT), on the other hand, it is in last place


Since the Middle Ages, the book has been divided into three, but sometimes also into four chapters.

Outline according to Erich Zenger:[1]

  • heading (1,1 EU)
  • God’s love for Israel (1:2-5 EU)
  • Against the spiritual transgressions of the priests (1:6 EU – – 2,9 EU)
  • Condemnation of mixed marriages and divorces (2:10-16 EU)
  • The Day of the Lord as the Day of Judgment (2:17 EU – – 3,5 EU)
  • Accusation against Israel for withholding tithes from God (3:6-12 EU)
  • Divine justice will be vindicated (3:13-21 EU)
  • Conclusion: The Return of Elijah Before the Day of the Lord (3:22-24 EU)

Author and time of origin

Nothing is known about the author. The Hebrew word מלאכי (mal’aki) means “my messenger.” As a personal name Malachi is not attested. In the Greek and Latin Bibles he is called Malachias. In the rabbinic tradition, the last prophet of the Tanakh is identified with Ezra, the scribe.[2]

A clue to the dating is offered by the Persian term for governor (pehâ) in 1:8 EU. Before the exile Judah had a king. Traditionally, scholars saw Malachi as a prophet of the 5th or 4th century BC. Kessler cites the late Persian period in the 4th century B.C. as the period of composition because he assumes that the author of Malachi’s poetry had the Torah and the prophetic books in writing. In the Hellenistic period, in the 3rd century B.C., he dates the conclusion Mal 3: 22-24EUsince this already presupposes the canon of the Torah and the entire prophecy.[3] The majority of exegetes, however, continues to assume that the entire book was written in the 5th century B.C. and concludes this from the religious and social conflicts mentioned there, for example, the controversy about the problem of mixed marriages (2,10-16 EU).[4]

Possibly there is no single figure behind the book, but scripturally learned interpretation (compare, among other things, the structural analogies to Zechariah 9:1 EU and 12,1 EU). The name would then be a derivation from 2,7 EU and 3,1 EU and could refer programmatically to the mission and office of the prophet. The clear interest of Malachi’s writing in temple and priesthood points to a milieu in this environment; the group of Levites as caretakers of the scriptural tradition is obvious.[4]


Malachi describes, laments, and condemns the same problems that characterize the preaching of other prophets: unjust handling of money, spiritual decay and sloth, social injustice, and intermarriage with pagans – especially mixing with pagan religions.

The diverse theological themes of Malachi’s writing can only be discerned from an interpretation of the whole book. The themes can be grouped under the headings of “blessing,” “gift,” and “righteousness.” From their interplay, an end-time perspective emerges. “True, YHWH’s blessing stands at the beginning and is predetermined. But because the gift is presently corrupted, the coming day must first bring the cleansing that makes pure gift and renewed blessing possible.” And because this righteousness is not presently visible, seemingly even the violent have the upper hand, through YHWH’s coming to justice(Mal 3:5EU) and by the coming day, the separation of the righteous from the wicked must be made.[5]


Malachi on the portal (1139) of Verona Cathedral with quotation from Malachi 3

New Testament

  • At the beginning of Mark’s Gospel 3:1 EU is given as a quotation from Isaiah, and the messenger mentioned in Malachi is identified with John the Baptist(Mk 1:2-4EU).
  • Malachi 3:23 EU points to an eschatological appearance of Elijah, which is also referred to John the Baptist in the New Testament(Mt 11:13-14EU).

Christian tradition

  • The messenger in Malachi 3 EU is also identified in the Christian interpretation with Jesus himself, who will cleanse the people from their guilt.
  • Malachi 1:11 EU is interpreted in the Catholic and Orthodox Church as an announcement of the Eucharistic sacrifice.


Handel, Georg Friedrich: Oratorio Messiah (HWV 56, Eng. The Messiah)

No. Title German text version by Christoph Daniel Ebeling Form / Cast Text basis Audio
Part I [Promise and Birth of the Savior]
5. Thus saith the Lord Thus saith the Lord Accompagnato (bass) Hag 2:6-7KJV; Mal 3,1KJV
6. But who may abide But who may bear the day of his coming Aria (contralto) Times 3.2KJV
7. And He shall purify And he shall purify the children of Levi Choir Times 3.3KJV


Encyclopedia articles and introductions
  • Arndt Meinhold: Maleachi/Maleachibuch. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie 22 (1992), pp. 6-11 (introduction and literature).
  • Klaus Grünwaldt: Malachi. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Band 5, Bautz, Herzberg 1993, ISBN 3-88309-043-3, Sp. 615-619.
  • William MacDonald: Malachi/Maleachibuch. In: Commentary on the Old Testament (2003), pp. 1162-1164 (Introduction).
  • Gerhard Maier: Maleachi/Maleachibuch. In: Wuppertaler Studienbibel (2004), pp. 87-89 (introduction).
  • Erich Zenger: The Book of Malachi. In: Introduction to the Old Testament. 6. Auflage. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-17-019526-3, pp. 583-586.
  • Alfons Deissler: Twelve Prophets 3. Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. The new Echter Bible. 21. Echter-Verl., Würzburg 1988 ISBN 3-429-01138-8.
  • Gerhard Maier: The Prophet Haggai and the Prophet Malachi. Wuppertal Study Bible. AT. 2. Aufl. Brockhaus, Wuppertal 1990, ISBN 3-417-25212-1 (applied).
  • Karl Heinen: The Books of Malachi, Joel, and Jonah. Spiritual Scripture Reading 13. Patmos Verlag, Düsseldorf 1991, ISBN 3-491-77169-2 (applied).
  • Henning Graf Reventlow: Die Propheten Haggai, Zechariah und Maleachi. Das Alte Testament Deutsch 25, 2. 9. completely new edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1993, ISBN 3-525-51238-4.
  • Andrew E. Hill: Malachi. A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. The Anchor Bible 25D. Doubleday, New York et al. 1998, ISBN 0-385-46892-X.
  • Arndt Meinhold: Maleachi. Biblical Commentary 14/8. Neukirchener Verlag, Neukirchen-Vluyn 2000, ISBN 3-7887-1715-7.
  • Ina Willi-Plein: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Zurich Bible Commentaries. Old Testament 24.3. Theologischer Verlag, Zurich 2006, ISBN 3-290-17360-7.
  • Rainer Kessler: Maleachi. Herder’s Theological Commentary on the Old Testament. Verlag Herder, Freiburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-451-26854-0.
Individual studies

Prophet Malachias (1330), Basilica St.Laurenz (Enns/Upper Austria)

  • Lutz Bauer: Time of the Second Temple – Time of Justice. Zur socio-economic conception im Haggai-Sacharja-Maleachi-Korpus. Beiträge zur Erforschung des Alten Testaments und des antiken Judentums 31. Lang, Frankfurt am Main u. a. 1992, ISBN 3-631-45230-6.
  • Theodor Lescow: The Book of Malachi. Text Theory – Interpretation – Canon Theory. With an excursus on Jeremiah 8:8-9, Studies in Theology 75, Calwer-Verl., Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-7668-3224-7.
  • Matthias Krieg: Conjectures on Malachi. A Monograph. Abhandlungen zur Theologie des Alten und Neuen Testaments 80. Theol. Verl., Zürich 1993, ISBN 3-290-10858-9.
  • Gordon Paul Hugenberger: Marriage as a Covenant. A Study of Biblical Law and Ethics Governing Marriage Developed from the Perspective of Malachi. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum 52, Brill, Leiden, 1994, ISBN 90-04-09977-8.
  • Karl William Weyde: Prophecy and Teaching. Prophetic Authority, Form Problems, and the Use of Traditions in the Book of Malachi. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 288. de Gruyter, Berlin u. a. 2000, ISBN 3-11-016692-5.
  • Stephan Lauber: “But unto you shall arise the sun of righteousness” (cf. Mal 3,20). An exegesis of Mal 3,13-21. Studies on Text and Language in the Old Testament 78. St. Ottilien 2006, ISBN 3-8306-7234-9.

Web links

Individual references

  1. Erich Zenger: The Book of Malachi. S. 583
  2. Isidore Singer, Adolf Guttmacher:Malachi, Book of. In: Isidore Singer (ed.): Jewish Encyclopedia. Vol. 8, Funk and Wagnalls, New York 1901-1906, pp. 275-276.
  3. Kessler, Malachi, 75ff.
  4. a b Erich Zenger: The Book of Malachi. S. 583f.
  5. Kessler, Malachi, 86.