from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Book of the Twelve Prophets of the Tanakh Old Testament
Minor Prophets
Names after the ÖVBE
Malachias; Altar depiction from 1308–1311

Malachi ( Hebrew מלאכי, Greek Μαλαχίας Malachias ) denotes a biblical prophet and the book of the Hebrew Tanach ascribed to him . It belongs there to the Book of the Twelve Prophets and thus forms the conclusion of the collection of the Nevi'im . In the Septuagint and Eastern Churches , it was placed last of the "minor" prophets before the "great" prophets . In the western church and evangelical Old Testament (OT), however, it comes last.


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

Structure according to Erich Zenger :

  • 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 Lord's Day as Judgment Day (2.17 EU - 3.5 EU )
  • Charges against Israel for tithing withheld from God ( EU 3.6-12 )
  • Divine justice is proved right (3.13-21 EU )
  • Conclusion: The Second Coming of Elijah before the Lord's Day (3.22–24 EU )

Author and date of origin

Nothing is known about the author. The Hebrew wordמלאכי (mal'aki) means "my messenger". Malachi is not used as a personal name. In the Greek and Latin Bibles he is called Malachias . In the rabbinical tradition, the last prophet of the Tanakh is identified with Ezra , the scribe.

The Persian term for governor (pehâ) in 1.8 EU provides an indication of the dating . Before the exile, Judah had a king. Traditionally, research saw Malachi as a prophet of the 5th or 4th century BC. Kessler calls the late Persian period in the 4th century BC. BC as the period of origin because he assumes that the author of the Malachi poetry had the Torah and the books of the prophets in writing. In the Hellenistic period, in the 3rd century BC He dates the end of Mal 3, 22–24  EU , as this already presupposes the canon from Torah and the entire prophecy. In contrast, the majority of exegetes continue to assume that the entire book was in the 5th century BC. BC, and it follows from the religious and social conflicts mentioned there, such as the conflict over the mixed marriages problem (2.10–16 EU ).

Possibly there is no individual figure behind the book, but a scriptural interpretation (cf. among others the structural analogies to Zechariah 9.1  EU and 12.1 EU ). The name would then be derived from 2.7 EU and 3.1 EU and could programmatically refer to the mission and office of the Prophet. The clear interest of the Malachi scriptures in temples and priesthood indicates a milieu in this environment; the group of the Levites as the keeper of the scriptural tradition is obvious.


Malachi describes, laments and condemns the same problems that shape the preaching of other prophets: unjust use of money, spiritual decline and indolence, social injustice and mixed marriages with pagans - especially mixing with pagan religions.

The diverse theological themes of the Malachi script can only be recognized from the interpretation of the entire book. The topics can be summarized under the headings "Blessing", "Gift" and "Justice". An eschatological perspective emerges from their interplay. “ YHWH's blessing is at the beginning and is predetermined. But because the gift is currently corrupted, the coming day must first bring the purification, which makes pure gift and renewed blessing possible. ”And because this justice is currently not visible, even the violent perpetrators seem to have the upper hand, YHWH's coming must lead to justice ( Times 3.5  EU ) and by the coming day the separation of the righteous from the wicked will be made.


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

New Testament

Christian tradition

  • In the Christian interpretation, the messenger in Malachi 3 EU is also identified with Jesus himself, who will cleanse 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, German The Messiah)

No. title German text version by Christoph Daniel Ebeling Form / occupation Text basis Audio
part One [Promise and Birth of the Savior ]
5. Thus saith the Lord So says the Lord Accompagnato (bass) Hag 2,6-7  KJV ; Times 3.1  KJV
6th But who may abide Yet who can endure the day of his arrival Aria (alto) Times 3.2  KJV
7th And He shall purify And he will cleanse the Levi children Choir Times 3.3  KJV


Lexicon articles and introductions
  • Alfons Deissler : Twelve Prophets 3. Zefanja, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. The New Real Bible. 21. Echter-Verl., Würzburg 1988 ISBN 3-429-01138-8 .
  • Gerhard Maier : The Prophet Haggai and the Prophet Malachi. Wuppertal Study Bible. AT. 2nd edition Brockhaus, Wuppertal 1990, ISBN 3-417-25212-1 (application-related).
  • Karl Heinen: The books Malachi, Joel and Jona. Spiritual script reading 13. Patmos Verlag, Düsseldorf 1991, ISBN 3-491-77169-2 (application-related).
  • Henning Graf Reventlow : The prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. The Old Testament German 25, 2. 9. Completely revised. 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. a. 1998, ISBN 0-385-46892-X .
  • Arndt Meinhold: Malachi. 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 3/24 Theological Publishing House, Zurich 2006, ISBN 3-290-17360-7 .
  • Rainer Kessler : Malachi. Herder's Theological Commentary on the Old Testament. Herder Verlag, Freiburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-451-26854-0 .
Individual studies
Prophet Malachias (1330), Basilica of St.Laurenz (Enns / Upper Austria)
  • Lutz Bauer: Time of the Second Temple - Time of Justice. On the socio-economic conception in the Haggai-Zechariah-Malachi corpus. Contributions to the study of the Old Testament and ancient Judaism 31. Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. 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. Works on theology 75th Calwer-Verl., Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-7668-3224-7 .
  • Matthias Krieg: Conjectures about Malachi. A monograph. Treatises on theology of the Old and New Testaments 80. Theol. Verl., Zurich 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 u. a. 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. Supplements to the journal for Old Testament science 288. de Gruyter, Berlin a. a. 2000, ISBN 3-11-016692-5 .
  • Stephan Lauber : “The sun of justice will rise for you” (cf. Mal 3.20). An exegesis from Mal 3: 13-21. Works on text and language in the Old Testament 78th St. Ottilien 2006, ISBN 3-8306-7234-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

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