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JANUARY, 1908 


The Book of Malachi is commonly assigned to various 
periods of the career of Ezra or Nehemiah x . The latest 
date which has been proposed is by Torrey 2 , who attri- 
butes it to the first half of the fourth century B. c. 

The conditions described, religious and social, the per- 
version of religion by the priests and the utter demoraliza- 
tion of the people (ii. 8, iii. 5) have clearly a resemblance 
to the period of Ezra and Nehemiah, and the reference to 
the nna (i. 8) may be regarded as further indication that 
the book may belong to the Persian period. Malachi, 
however, describes also another class of persons, in his eyes 
not less worthy of censure than the gross offenders against 
the law of Yahweh (ii. 17, iii. 13 ff.), whom we should 
perhaps rather designate as honest freethinkers ; and a 
difficulty, which complicates the question of date — not yet 

1 Among those who hold that tho work belongs to a time shortly before 
the arrival of Ezra at Jerusalem, are Herzfeld, Bleek, Reuss, Stade, and 
Nowaek, while Kehler, Nftgelsbach, Schrader, Keil, v. Orelli, Kuenen, and 
Steiner refer it to the period of the second visit of Nehemiah to Jerusalem, 
or a little earlier. Driver, Introduction, p. 357, places it in the time of 
Neheiniah's absence at the Persian Court. 

2 Encyclopedia Biblica, art. " Malachi." 


satisfactorily solved — occurs in the remarkable passage 
(i. a-5) in which Edom is represented as the arch-enemy 
of Israel. 

The Book of Malachi is peculiar in its diction and the 
didactic presentation of its message. Its author was 
a man eclectic in his use of the Hebrew language, at 
a period when it was deteriorating under the increasing 
use of Aramaic. It may be observed, that among literary 
nations it is precisely at times of its decadence that men 
of learning and patriotism are at most pains to do honour 
to their own language and to maintain its original purity 
by the careful avoidance of foreign elements. 

The absence of Aramaisms cannot be regarded as — 
necessarily — an argument in favour of the early date of 
the composition of this book, especially in view of the 
suggestion which has been made that the writer was not, 
like Isaiah, a preacher to those who could be reached only 
in popular language, but who rather addressed himself to 
the few who would appreciate the use of the sacred tongue 
now fast disappearing. 

We may observe that the writer shows familiarity with 
D, as, for example, in his use of the phrase ^n ^3 for priests 
and of 3"in as the name of the place of the giving of the 
Law, and also of the deuteronomic phrase tPtiE&Q) U s ?n. 

It has been argued, upon a wrong interpretation of ii. 14 
that the Book of Malachi could not have been written 
before the proclamation of the Law, which did not occur, 
as we may gather from a comparison of Ezra ix with Neh. 
ix. a, until after the dissolution of the mixed marriages, 
which took place in the second year of Ezra, c. 430 B.C. 1 
However, the writer has a purpose entirely different from 
that of Ezra, and the passage ii. 14 does not refer merely to 
literal marriage conditions, but to the idea which is involved, 
that of the acceptance of the religion of Yahweh. The fol- 
lowing passage (ii. 15 sq.) may, however, be taken as a literal 

1 Cf. Bertholet in MartVs Hand-Commentar, p. xviii. 


reference to social conditions, opposed to the moral concep- 
tion of the writer who, as the prophet of Yahweh, forcibly 
condemns them, ver. 16. It is indeed conceivable that the 
passage may be a protest against the severity of Ezra 
rather than evidence of the author's ignorance of his proce- 
dure, a procedure which could hardly have been ignored, 
had it already taken place. In this light we may perhaps 
accept the work as later than the books of Ezra and 

The occurrence of the word nns (i. 8) has, by some, been 
regarded as positive evidence that the work belongs to the 
Persian period. That the P document was known to the 
author is evident from the stress which he lays upon 
sacrificial worship. D, as we have seen, was also known 
to him, and we may assume acquaintance with Deutero- and 
Trito-Isaiah from his use of the phrase i~\i fUB, to prepare 
the way, which occurs nowhere but in Mai. iii. 1 and in Isa. 
xl. 3, lvii. 14, lxii. 10, and yet we would not argue from 
familiarity with these authors that the writer belongs to 
any of the periods to which they are individually assigned. 
On the same analogy, are we justified in supposing that the 
use of the word nns is necessarily evidence that the book, 
as commonly alleged, belongs to the Persian period ? 

The term nns is used in the Old Testament, from the time 
of Solomon downward, to indicate various officials, at least 
by the redactor in 1 Kings x. 15 and % Chron. ix. 14. The 
LXX, however, distinguishes among these officials by the 
use of various Greek titles, as is shown by the following 

nns = 

<T<\$ 1 Kings x. 15 ; a Chron. ix. 14, Solomon's gover- 
nors ; 1 Kings xx. 24, Benhadad's captains. 

TOTtapxvs a Kings xviii. %\ ; Isa. xxxvi. 9, Assyrian captains. 
rj-ye/xdv Jer. li. 23, 57 (LXX, xxviii. 23, $7), Chaldean 

governors ; Ezek. xxiii. 33, governors of various 


N % 


&PX&V Neh. iii. 7, v. 14, xii. 26, officials over a district ; 
Esther iii. 12, viii. 9, ix. 3, Persian governors. 

7)yo6lj.tvo$ Mai. i. 8 ; Jer. li. 28 (LXX, xxviii. 28), governor 
of the Medes ; Ezek. xxiii. 6, 12, Assyrian 

iirapxos Ezra v. 3, 6, vi. 6, 13, viii. 36 ; Neh. ii. 7, 9, 
Aramaic form. 

With the exception of Unapxos and fjyefuov the Hebrew 
title }5D is also rendered by these terms. 

According to our present sources, there were Governors 
in Judaea for a short time only, none indeed later than 
Nehemiah, who in the MT. is called nna and in the LXX 
apxcov. It would seem from our records that the Persian 
influence had been but little exerted in relation to the 
internal affairs of Judaea : cf. Ezra x. 14. We find that the 
people were governed by twelve heads (Ezra ii. 2 ; Neh. 
vii. 7) and by princes (Neh. xi. 1), but no appointment of any 
governor is mentioned after Nehemiah, although there 
must have been a responsible official. That a Jew should 
have been advanced to such a position seems extraordinary, 
and it is possible that Nehemiah had the foresight to give 
such a guarantee to the Persians as induced them to leave 
this little religious state unmolested, so long as there was 
a prompt delivery of the taxes. During the Greek period 
Jerusalem was under the gerusia, i. e. the Council of the 
Elders T , at the head of which was the high-priest. The 
power of the high-priest was certainly supreme not only in 
religious matters, but, as occupying a position as mediator 
between the people and their rulers, the Greeks, political 
also, the union of that of Ezra with that of Nehemiah, 
a sort of priestly governor. 

As we have seen, the word nns in the MT. is applied to 
various officials; never, however, to priests. A curious 
instance of the use of the word has been preserved in 

1 Jos., Ant. xii. 3. 3. 


Bikkurim, III, 3 1 where the plural nina is used in con- 
nexion with D'OJD and D^att, denoting priests belonging to 
the highest order. We often find b^JD and nina used 
together in the MT. : cf. Jer. li. 23, 28, 57 ; Ezek. xxiii. 6, 
12, 23, where nine is translated by the LXX by fiyepAvas and 
D'JJD by arparqyoijs (or riyavpAvovs koL orpai-r/yol/s) ; to this 
phrase corresponds 01 b.pyj.cpti$ ml crrparriyot (Luke xxii. 4, 
52) 2 . The &pxi*p€is were high-priests who retained the title 
after they had been deposed from office. Now, if the title 
nna had been gradually changed from being the designation 
of an Assyrian or Persian governor to that (in the plural) 
of the deposed high-priests of the time of Christ, may we 
not justly infer that the nna par excellence meant the 
ruling high-priest ? From this we may assume that the 
nna in Mai. i. 8 does not necessarily refer to a Persian 
satrap, but rather to some person who, at a time when 
there was no actual Persian governor in Jerusalem occu- 
pied his position and took his title ? Who, then, may have 
been this governor-priest ? 

Before answering this question it is necessary to find 
what internal evidence the book affords us for a terminus 
a quo for its possible date. Such evidence is fourfold. 

1. Evidence from language. 

2. Evidence from the position accorded to the priests. 

3. Evidence from the theological view taken by the 


4. Evidence from his eschatology. 

1. As we have seen, the author uses many terms which 
do not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament, and derives 
his technical expressions from D. The following words 
occur only here and in P : — 

ii. 2 Bna faecal matter, Exod. xxix. 14; Lev. iv. 11, viii. 
17, xvi. 27 ; Num. xix. 5. 

1 Cf. Sehurer, Geschichte, <fcc, II s , p. 266. 
s Sehurer, op. cit., ibid. 


ii. 15 nv>, in the sense of life, Gen. vi. 17, vii. 15, 22; also 
Ezek. xxxvii. 5 et al. ; Eccles. iii. 19. 

The evidence would so far seem to point to a date 
not earlier than P. It must be conceded, however, that 
the elements of P were more or less known before the final 

Other words, however, point to a date even later than P. 

We find that the writer uses words which occur else- 
where only (1) in Trito-Isaiah and other late passages : — 

i. 7, 1 2 7X3 defile, Isa. lix. 3, lxiiL 3 ; Lam. iv. 14 ; Dan. i. 8. 

The part, used as subst. occurs in Zeph. iii. 1. 
i. 12 3>i fruit, Isa. lvii. 19. 
The verb occurs only in Zech. ix. 17 ; Ps. lxii. 11, xcii. 
15; Prov. x. 31. 
iii. 19 itfp stubble, in a metaphorical sense, Isa. xxxiii. 11 ; 
Obad. v. 18. 

We may also consider here the words which occur only 
in Malachi and Deut.- and Trito-Isaiah \ 

ii. 17 in* to weary, occurs in the Hiph. only here and Isa. 

xliii. 23, 24. 
iii. 1 TWfUB to prepare the way, Isa. xl. 3, lvii. 14, lxii. 


(2) In the Psalms and Wisdom Literature : — 
i. 4 ?12S territory, in a figurative sense, occurs elsewhere 

only in Job xxxviii. 20, Ps. lxxviii. 54. 
i. 7 bm to defile, Pual. only here and Ezra ii. 62 || Neh. 
vii. 64. 

i. 10, 13 mn to be pleased with, accept, c. ace. of sacrifice. 

The following references may be regarded as containing 
words and phrases, peculiar to the writer : — 

1 It is a well-known fact that Trito-Isaiah writes on the whole in the 
same metre as Deut. -Isaiah with whom he also agrees in many things. The 
idea, therefore, that these two books are the work of one man, namely, 
Trito-Isaiah, yet written at different periods of his life, is well worth con- 


i. 2 3HN to love, used in the first person by Yahweh (cf. 

Prov. iii. 12 ; Deut. vii. 8, 13). 
i. 4 Eteh to be beaten down, Pual. (only other passage Jer. 

v. 17 Po'el). 
nytih haa territory of wickedness : cf. Job xxxviii. 20 

and Ps. lxxviii. 54. 
i. 13 HBi to sniff at. 

bsn that which has been rescued after seizure, hence, 

mutilated 1 . 

i. 14 !>313 deceiver. 

ii. 5 ab&ni D^nn life and peace : cf. Prov. iii. 2. 

ii. 6 nros min faithful instruction : cf. Neh. ix. 13 ; Ps. 
cxix. 1, 2. 

ii. 13 pK followed by the Infinitive. 

iii. 10 spti /<x«2 in Yahweh's house. 

tfDtfn nuns sluices of heaven, as a figure of blessing. 

iii. 12 pan ps Zcmc? of delight. 

iii. 16 piDt *1BD &oo& 0/ remembrance. 

Compare also: — 
ii. 2, iii. 9 mt*» cwrse, Prov. iii. 33, xxviii. 27, and Deut. 

xxviii. 20. 
ii. 3 in festive sacrifice, Ps. cxviii. 27. 
ii. 9 *JB Ntw to show partiality, Job xiii. 8, 10, xxxiv. 19 ; 

Prov. xviii. 5; Ps. lxxxii. 2; Deut. x. 17 ; Lev. 

xix. 15 ff. Cf. also Job xxxii. 21 ; Prov. vi. 35. 
ii. 13 npJN groaning, Ps. xii. 6, lxxix. 11, cii. 21. 
iii. 6 apjp-^a as a form of address only here and Ps. cv. 6 : 

cf. 1 Chron. xvi. 13. 
iii. 10 ppD food ; this idea is late and occurs elsewhere 

only in Ps. cxi. 5 ; Prov. xxxi. 15 : cf. Job xxiv. 5. 

The word is old in its primary meaning of prey, 

literal or metaphorical. 

1 Cf. Prof. F. Brown in the New Rebr. Lex. 


iii. 17 J^PiO possession, Ps. cxxxv. 4. 

iii. ao npTi BW sun of righteousness, Ps. li. 1 8, cxix. 108, 

and Deut. xxxiii. 11. 
With the possible exception of two or three passages, all 
here cited belong to a very late date, many of the Psalms 
to a late Greek and even Maccabean period. The diction 
of the book would therefore seem to point to a date long 
subsequent to that of Ezra and Nehemiah, and, as we shall 
see, there are certain indications which may suggest a time 
not far removed from the Maccabean, if not the Maccabean 
period itself. 

%. The importance of the priesthood. This can be ex- 
plained only as a result of the new organization of the cult 
personel set forth in the P code. The reference to the 
tithes payable to the priests, iii. 8, points to a time after 
the public introduction of the P code by Ezra and Nehe- 
miah, for, according to Deut. xiv. a a, 29, the tithes were to 
be paid every third year to the Levites, while according 
to Num. xviii. ai ff. P requires that payment be made to 
the priests. 

3. The theological view taken by the writer. 
The conception of God in Malachi is pre-eminently that 
of Yahweh, the father and creator of the individual Jew, 
ii. 10. The Jews, therefore, are his Q\J3 and, as such, are 

Yahweh's power is not limited to the land of Israel, but 
extends far beyond it, i. 5 ; his name is great among the 
peoples, i. J4; and everywhere pure sacrifices are brought 
to him, i. 11. It is his universal rule which Malachi 

The conception of Yahweh as " Father " is not an old 
one. In Exod. iv. 22 JE ; Hos. xi. 1, Israel is called " Son," 
but Yahweh is not spoken of as "Father." In the few 
references which exist as to this fatherhood, we can trace 
a gradual broadening of the idea. In Deut. xxxii. 6 
Yahweh is called " the father of Israel " because, by the 
redemption from Egypt he called Israel into being as 


a nation (cf. Exod. iv. 22 ; Hos. xi. 1), and afterwards 
watched over them with the tenderness of a parent, Exod. 
xix. 4 JE; Deut. xxxii. 11. This idea of the sonship of 
Israel includes that of obligation toward Yahweh as father, 
i. e. owner and master of his people. Cf. 2 Kings xvi. 2 : 
" Thy servant and thy son am I." The same idea is ex- 
pressed in Jer. xxxi. 9, 20, according to which Yahweh is 
the creator of his people. 

" My Father," as used in Jer. iii. 4, 19, is an " honourable 
form of address " which does not necessarily express any 
spiritual relationship, yet here for the first time Israel is 
desired to give that name to Yahweh. 

A still more developed conception appears in Isa. lxiii. 
16, where Yahweh is contrasted with the patriarchs, the 
physical fathers of Israel. Yahweh is often declared to be 
the one by whom Israel was created and formed : cf. Isa. 
xliii. 1, xliv. 2, 24, xlv. 11, xlix. 5, &c, yet he has never 
been regarded by Israel as their ap^y-yins, but as having 
elected them through their fathers : cf. e. g. Deut. vii. 8, 
ix. 5, x. 15. Such fatherhood as is here contrasted must 
mean something other than that of Deut. xxxii. 6, and 
I cannot but think that the reference in Isa. lxiii. 16 is 
rather to an ethical conception of fatherhood than to that 
of mere ownership as in Deut. xxxii. 6. Yahweh redeemed 
the Israelites, and therefore, according to oriental thought, 
owns them, and is their father. Here, however, such an 
idea is secondary, while the primary reference is to the 
characteristics of a father, the beginnings of the spiritual 
conception of the fatherhood of Yahweh. This, however, 
remains as yet the relation to the people as a whole, and 
not to the individual. In Malachi, on the other hand, 
Yahweh is regarded as the father of the individual Israelite 
(ii. 10), and the inference follows that all Israelites are 
brethren. Ezra's policy was, if anything, opposed to this 
teaching of a divine fatherhood, even to such as is pre- 
sented in the first chapter of Genesis 1 . 

1 Cheyne, Jewish Religious Life after the Exile, p. 60. 


This conception of the fatherhood of Yahweh as uni- 
versal, and not merely Jewish, is confined to Malachi 
and is very late. His monotheism and conception of 
Yahweh transcends that of the earlier prophets, and in its 
general character is analogous to that presented in the 
Book of Jonah, which, however, it surpasses in this 

While the older writers present the mal'ak Yahweh as 
the form under which Yahweh appeared to man, the writer 
of the Book of Malachi mentions the two as separate beings, 
iii. 1. He speaks also, for the first time, of a mal'ak beHth 
by which we may perhaps understand the protecting angel 
of the congregation 1 . It seems that two angels with 
separate functions are here mentioned. The mal'ak Yahweh 
as a particular angel occurs first in Zech.' i. 11 f., the 
mal'ak berith, the forerunner of Yahweh 2 , only in Malachi. 
The mention of two special angels who were carrying out 
the plans of Yahweh points to a time when angels so 
employed played a prominent part in theology. The 
incipient stages of this new theology, due in part to a more 
transcendental conception of the deity, may be found in 
Zech. i. 1 a ; Job v. 1, xxxiii. 23 ; Eccles. v. 5> where it is 
intimated that angels intercede for mankind ; in the Book 
of Daniel, iii. 38, as well as often in the Psalms, they are 
represented as helpera of mankind. The standard litera- 
ture on Jewish angelology, however, is that of the 
apocryphal and New Testament writings ; as for example, 

1 Cf. Kraetzschmar, Die Bundesvorstellung im A. T., pp. 237 ff. ; Nowack, 
Handkommentar, in loco. 

a The interpretation of the mal'ak berith, iii. 1, as Elijah in iii. 23 sq. 
may be due to a misunderstanding of Deut. xviii. 15 sqq., a passage which 
does not refer to the Messiah. As the maVak berith is the forerunner of 
Yahweh, and not of the Messiah, the expected Messiah, according to these 
verses, iii. 1 and 23 sq., if genuine, must be Elijah — a conception which 
we find expressed in Jes. Sirach xlviii. 4, 10-11. In the New Testament, 
Matt. xi. 10-14, Mark i. 2, John i. 21, &c, Elijah is the forerunner of the 
Messiah : cf. especially Luke i. 17. Cf. also Bousset, Die Religion desJuden- 
turns, p. 219 sq., 1903. 


Enoch liii. 3, lxi. 1, lxii. 11, lxiii. 1, &c. ; Bel and the 
Dragon 34-39 ; Heb. i. 14 ; Rev. vi. sq., &c. Any such 
specific references as we find in Malachi must, therefore, 
belong to a late period, a time when angelology was a 
recognized feature in Jewish theological thought. 

4. The eschatology of the writer. Contrary to Haggai 
(ii. 5 sqq., 21 sqq.) and Zecbariah (i. 15, ii. 1 sqq., vi. 1 sqq.), 
who expect a severe judgment of Yahweh upon the 
heathen, the writer of Malachi declares, ii. 1 7 sqq., iii. 1 , 
13 sqq., that it is the Jews whom he will severely chastise. 
How is so great a change of opinion to be historically 
accounted for? It would indeed be impossible if we 
assume the writer to have lived in the middle of the 
fifth century. Haggai and Zechariah were suffering, not 
only from the public disasters which had fallen upon the 
Jews in 586 B.C., but from the vicious personal attacks of 
their neighbours. If we assume, from the above arguments, 
linguistic and theological, that the writer of the Book of 
Malachi belonged to a period later than Ezra and Nehemiah, 
things in his time had greatly changed. So far as the 
Jews were concerned times were fairly peaceful, although 
the great nations outside were engaged in mutual strife. 
Malachi had therefore no ground for calling down the 
vengeance of Yahweh upon the heathen, he had no 
dreams of a Jewish world-empire ; the desire of his heart 
was for a spiritual and universal dominion of Yahweh, and 
to this he gives expression when he declares that Yahweh's 
name was great among the peoples, i. 5, 11, which could not 
be said in regard to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, i. ia; 
therefore, if any punishment were to fall, it was solely 
upon the Jews. This teaching, so completely opposed to 
that of Haggai and Zechariah, could be due only to extra- 
ordinary conditions among the Jewish community, such as 
may indeed have existed in the times of Ezra and Nehemiah, 
but did certainly exist, as we shall see, at a later period. 

We have thus seen that the evidences of language, 
theology, and eschatology point to a time later than Ezra 


nnd Nehemiah, and that the theology finds its counterpart 
in the Book of Jonah. 

But the book affords still other evidences of a date later 
than that of Ezra-Nehemiah. 

In ii. 1 sq. the priests, the givers of the Torah, are said 
to be upon the verge of themselves forgetting it. This 
allegation, taken in conjunction with the phrase ^"On, 
iii. 3, has been considered as sufficient evidence of the 
period of Ezra as that of the authorship, for we find 
that the degeneracy of the priesthood is one of the evils 
of his time, and it is asserted that, had the writer lived 
after the publication of P, he would have referred to the 
priests as pis 'oa. This seems a priori probable, but an 
investigation of the actual circumstances may perhaps 
lead us to another conclusion. 

We may observe that, throughout the book, a sharp 
contrast is drawn between the conduct of the priests and 
that of the Levites : cf. ii. 1, 8 with ii. 4 sqq. While the 
priests are accused of having led the people astray by 
false teaching, and of having broken the covenant with 
Levi *, the Levites, on the contrary, so long as they were in 
power, ii. 4 sqq., had been well-pleasing to Yahweh, ii. 6, 
as having led the people in the right path 2 . This division 
of priests and Levites did not exist in Deuteronomy : cf. x. 8, 
xviii. 7 ; nor even in the time of Ezekiel, cf. xl. 45 with xliv. 
10 sq., 14, xlv. 5 ; and was first formally established by Ezra : 
cf. the lists, Ezra ii || Neh. vii ; 1 Esdras v, although, accord- 
ing to Ezek. xliv. 5 sq., especially ver. 10 sqq., the Levites, 
who had sacrificed before the local shrines, were to be 
punished by exclusion from proper priestly functions in 
the new Temple. Though the Levites were well provided 
for in P as recipients of tithes, of which they in turn had 

1 Levi is here the name for the priestly tribe as in D, not for the 

3 The identification of priests with Levites (cf . ii. 6 with iii. 3) is due to 
a correction in iii. 3, where we must read mro priests ; for the writer always 
contrasts the priests of his time with the Levites who officiated in former 


to give a portion to the priests, Num. xviii. ai sqq., is it 
likely that they would submit without opposition to new 
conditions which were actual degradation? We have, 
however, no evidence beyond that of human analogy for 
such opposition, none is recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah. 
May we not, however, suppose that the Book of Malachi 
points to some such opposition on the part of the Levites, 
though it be only that of the weak against the strong? 
May we not regard it as a Tendenzschrift pointing out 
how much more pleasure Yahweh had taken in the service 
of the old Levites than in that of the new order of priests, 
who were not only evil in themselves, but exerted a 
demoralizing influence over the people, ii. 8, in contrast to 
their predecessors, whose conduct and example were alike 
upright, ii. 6 ? 

We can hardly assume that a man of so strong a per- 
sonality as that of Nehemiah would have entirely ignored 
teaching and ideas so utterly at variance with his own, had 
this book appeared but a short time, comparatively, before 
his return to Jerusalem. On the other hand, we may see 
many reasons for disi'egard of the priest-code on the part 
of the author of the Book of Malachi ; that he knew it is 
shown by several references, especially by unmistakable 
allusion to the existence of a priestly guild, the creation of 
Ezra, and to its points of difference from the conditions of 
the earlier Levites, cf. ii. i, 8 with ii. 4 sqq., &c. The 
writer may even have himself belonged to one of the older 
families which had been deposed. If we accept, therefore, 
this distinction as made by the author, we must assign the 
Book of Malachi to a period after the publication of P and 
of the memoirs of Ezra and Nehemiah. 

Another protest which the writer raises against the 
teaching of Ezra 1 is that as to divorce, ii. 16. This, he 
declares, is hated by Yahweh, whereas, according to Ezra's 
presentation, ix. a, he demanded it as essential to the 

1 Cf. Ezra ix. a, x. 3, 16-44; Neh. x. 30, 32 sqq., xiii. 4 sqq., 15 sqq., 
a 3 si*!-) s8 S< 1 ( 1' 


preservation of the purity of the Jewish people. Malachi's 
point of view was that Yahweh, being in honour among 
the nations, and receiving from them pure sacrifice, i. ii, 
14 — a conception contrary to that of Ezra, — a marriage, 
even between a Jew and a non-Jew, was nevertheless 
productive of holy seed, DTi^N JJ1T, ii. 15. Only in this 
light can we understand Mai. ii. 15, which should, perhaps, 
follow ver. 16. The passage ii. 14 should be taken as 
setting forth that a marriage entered into by a Jew is 
always sacred, Yahweh himself being the witness, because 
the woman, whoever she may be, enters into the man's 
covenant, and stands to the religion of Yahweh in the 
same relation as that of a wife to her husband, just 
as that of the man to his religion, is that of a husband to 
a wife : cf. ii. 11. The woman's attitude towards Yahweh 
is thus precisely that of her husband who is already a 
believer. The nobility of soul of the writer thus appears 
in a new light, he condemns divorce, not only because he 
regards the grounds given by Ezra as inadequate, but 
because he accords to the wife of a Jew, be she whom 
she may, a religious position equal to that of her husband, 
an idea wholly new among Old Testament prophets, until 
we come to that turning-point in the religious history of 
mankind ushered in by Paul : fjyiao-Tai yc\p 6 avrip 6 &ttuttos 
kv tjj yvvaiKl, Kal ^yiaorai ^ yvvr\ fj AiriaTos iv t$ d8eA$<3, 
I Cor. vii. 14. 

This view receives additional support if taken in con- 
nexion with the statement in i. 11, where the prophet 
speaks of a universal worship of Yahweh. 

The meaning of ii. 13-16 has been understood as depict- 
ing the same relation of Yahweh to his people as is so 
touchingly set forth by Hosea; but this is not the case. 
The writer is condemning, upon religious grounds, a great 
social evil, originating, in great degree, in the inferior 
position accorded to the woman in the cult, an evil which 
must cease if the man has been wedded to Yahwism as to 
a bride, ii. 11, and the woman also as to a husband, ii. 14, 


by means of her relation to the man. It is this decay of 
all nobler impulse in the people, culminating, as it did, in 
divorce upon frivolous pretexts, ii. 13 sq., and exhibiting 
itself in the oppression of the widow and the orphan, in 
sorcery, perjury, and adultery, iii. 5, which the prophet 
declares to be the reason of Yahweh's rejection of their 
sacrifices, ii. 13. 

As we have seen, the indignation of the writer against 
the principle of divorce may be, moreover, a special protest 
against that procedure on the part of Ezra which served 
perhaps as a convenient precedent to many of a later 
generation, and may have been used to conceal, under 
a semblance of propriety and a shadow of justification, 
such immoral conduct as we read of in later times 1 . 

We now return to our question, To what date are we 
to assign the Book of Malachi, a date which must be 
subsequent to that of Ezra-Nehemiah if we accept the 
above arguments drawn from internal evidence 1 

The key to the date is furnished by the reference in 
Mai. i. 4, which has caused so much difficulty to com- 

We have seen that the writer holds to the historical 
position of the Levites as priests, but that he differs in 
regard to the Edomites from D 2 , who calls them the 
brothers of Israel, whose rights, as to land, should be 
respected, whereas our present author condemns them 
unconditionally. The exilic and post-exilic prophets also 
denounced them, and foretold a visitation by Yahweh in 
punishment for their impious deeds 3 . We find that, as 

1 Jes. Sirach vii. 26, xxv. 25 : cf. also Matt. v. 3a. 

8 Cf. Deut. ii. 5-8, xxiii. 7. 

3 Jer. xlix; Ezek.xxv. 12-14, xxxv. 15, xxxvi. 5 ; Obad. w. 1-14 ; Lam. 
iv. 21 ; Isa. xxxiv. 5 sqq., Ixiii. 1-4 ; Ps. lx. 8, lxxxiii. 6-9, cviii. 9, 
cxxxvii. 7. 

Duhm considers Ps. cxxxvii — on account of ver. 8 — as belonging to 
a time shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem, but it may be equally 
considered as reflecting the renewed humiliation of Jerusalem by Arta- 
xerxes Ochus and the rejoicing and aggression of the Edomites, partly from 


early aB the year 31a B.C. Southern Judaea was in the 
hands of the Edomites, and was known as Idumea 1 , and 
that in the second century Hebron 2 was an Idumean 
town. Between the denunciations of Ezekiel and those 
of our prophet there is a long silence in regard to Edom. 
The memoirs of Ezra-Nehemiah make no reference to the 
Idumeans, but later we hear of them frequently, especially 
in the later Psalms. The wrath of the Jews must have 
received increased occasion by renewed encroachment upon 
their territory, which can have occurred only at some 
period of national disaster, and not in the time of Ezra- 
Nehemiah, when the Jews enjoyed the protection of the 
powerful Persian empire, and when an incursion into 
Judaea would have been severely visited upon the 

We know that the Jews joined in an unsuccessful revolt 
against Artaxerxes Ochus 3 , who led many of them captive 
to Hyrcania on the Caspian Sea, about 350 b. 0. The 
Jews, in consequence, fell into disgrace, and being helpless 
had probably to suffer from the renewed attacks of their 
old enemies the Edomites, who in turn had been pressed 
forward by the Nabateans *, and were compelled to seize 

mere self-preservation, though not so regarded by the Jews, and partly by 
the desire to retaliate upon the Jews for former enmities. To the Persian 
Empire, as the heir of the Assyrian world, would naturally be transferred 
all the hatred against Babylon which the Jews had long stored up, cf. Isa. 
x. 16, 23 ; so that, in the phraseology of Ps. cxxxvii. 8, we may look for 
a recollection of the ignominy which they had suffered at the hands of 
the Babylonian kings, and which they were in some degree still suffering 
from their heir and successor Artaxerxes Ochus. The kindness of his 
predecessors had long been forgotten. The other Psalms belong un- 
doubtedly to the Maccabean period ; Ps. lxxxiii is a reflection of i Mac- 
cabees v. 

Isa. lxiii. 1-4 contains no reference to Edom. Read with Lag. Du. 
DJHO, cf. Kahum ii. 4 instead of DVwo, and isao, cf. LXX instead of 

1 Diod. Sic. xix. 98, cf. Noldeke, Encyc. Bib., art. "Edom." 

a 1 Mace. v. 65. 

* Eusebius, Chron., cf. Schfirer, op. cit., Ill, p 6. 

4 Schfirer, op. cit., I, p. 730. 


upon Jewish territory. To this time of Artaxerxes Ochus 
we may refer some of those utterances against Edom in 
which the Edomites are charged with malicious joy in the 
catastrophe which had befallen Judah ; we may perhaps 
also assign Obad. vv. 1-14, and Lam. iv. 21 sqq. to this 
period. With the exception of the condemnation of Edom 
in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, which points to a different period 
of history in the life of Judah, most of the prophecies 
against Edom are found in very late literature. The 
time at which the Jews were harassed by the Edomites 
being, thus, the middle of the fourth century, the events 
referred to by Malachi (i. 4) cannot belong to this period, 
for we hear of no reverses borne by the Idumeans (for as 
such they were known since the fourth century) until we 
come to the Maccabean period, when Judas (1 65-161) 
defeated them 1 . To this time the expression used in Mai. 
i. 4 may well apply, as the fortune of the Jews was then 
very varied and when, so far from being able to sustain 
their mastery over the Idumeans, they were themselves 
defeated by Lysias at Beth-Zacharyah 2 . This defeat, and 
the subsequent fate of Judas, gave to the Idumeans an 
opportunity to " build up " again, and in the time of 
Jonathan, the successor of Judas, we hear nothing of them, 
for the internal complications in Judaea, and his constant 
warfare with the Syrian kings, left him no time to 
subjugate the Idumeans who, therefore, had again a 
breathing space. The growing power of the new Jewish 
state and the imperialistic policy of the successors of Judas 
would naturally lead any observant Jew to ask how long 
would his native land of southern Judaea remain in the 
hands of the impious Idumeans? In the success of the 
Maccabees such a question found its answer ; the Idumeans 
might build, but Yahweh, through the instrumentality of 
the Maccabees would destroy. It is therefore to the time 
of Jonathan that this prophecy must be assigned, for 

1 1 Maec. v. 3, 65. Bead in 1 Mace. v. 3 iv 'ISov/iai^ N. Old Lat. 
s Schurer, op. cit., I, p. 213. 


under John Hyrcanus (135-104) that catastrophe overtook 
the Idumeans 1 . 

We now return to the question who was the Pins of 
Mai. i. 8 ? 

As we saw ahove, the term mr© was applied in Talmudic 
times to the displaced high-priests. Now in the year 
1 53 b. c. Jonathan assumed the office of high-priest, being 
appointed by Alexander Balas 2 . In the year 150 b. a, 
moreover, he was appointed <ny>ar>;yos and ixepibdpxns 3 . 
This was a mere form, as he was practically an indepen- 
dent ruler ; but to both Balas and Jonathan it served a 
practical purpose. Apart from the dignity of high-priest 
we find Jonathan bearing two titles, errpanyyos = JJD *, 
prefect or military governor and p.epi.hdpxr]s = civil governor t 
1 Mace. x. 65, which exactly describes the office of 
Nehemiah, to whom the title nns is given in the MT. 5 , 
which the LXX renders enap^os, so that his official titles 
were |JD and nrfi of Judah, thus uniting both offices in his 
own person. 

The conditions of life, political and religious, which 
prevailed in Jerusalem in the earlier part of Jonathan's 
rule, give us the historical justification for the accusation 
brought against the priests in Mai. ii. 7 sqq. 

Alkimus, the high-priest, was himself the leader of the 
Greek party in Jerusalem 6 , a fact which would naturally 
add to the influence of Greek thought in the expression 
of religious belief, and of Greek culture in the Temple 
worship. This was doubtless an offence in the eyes of the 
Jewish legalist and national party, and resulted in scorn 
of the priests who followed him as their head. They 
regarded the death of Alkimus as a divine punishment for 
his impiety, especially for his destruction of the temple- 

1 Jos., Ant, xiii. 9. 1, Bell. Iud., i. a. 6, of. Ant, xv. 7. 9. 

2 1 Mace. x. 15, 21, Jos., Ant, xiii. 2. 1, Schiirer, op. cit., I, p. 238. 

3 1 Mace. x. 51-66, Jos., Ant, xiii. 4. 1, 2 ; Schiirer, op. cit., I, p. 231. 

4 Cf. Jer. lvii. 23, 57 ; Ezek. xxiii. 6, 12, 23, MT. and LXX. 

5 Neh. v. 14, 18, xii. a6. 6 1 Mace. ix. 54-6. 


wall. This introduction of Greek philosophy and culture 
into the worship of Yahweh explains the phrase 7&P"fi ?JD* 
"IM, Mai. ii. 11, while the situation presented in ii. 10 
is made clear by the fact that the two contending parties, 
the Greek-Jewish and the National-Jewish, were alike 
Jews, children of one God, although in vehement opposi- 
tion. The writer of the Book of Malachi does not seek 
to widen the breach already existing, but rather to heal it 
by reminding the two parties of their common origin, 
while at the same time forcibly denouncing those who 
follow a corrupt worship, and who thereby desecrate the 
Temple ; for at heart he is a Jew of the old type, at least 
so far as the cult is concerned, though all the time holding 
to a spiritual conception of Yahwism. 

Where two religious parties contend together there is 
often a third, that of the honest free-thinker who, however, 
can exist only under some influence in itself ennobling, 
although, it may be, antagonistic to some form or expression 
of the faith in which he has been brought up, ii. 1 7 seq., iii. 
13 sqq., such an influence as made itself felt pre-eminently 
in the Greek period, when a higher and more philosophical 
conception of God was disseminated among the learned 
Jews, and when the aesthetic idea gained hold of the 
educated classes. Both aspects of thought were new to 
Judaism, and served to prepare the Jews for ethical and 
aesthetical pleasure, mental and physical, such as did not 
enter into the severe view of life taken by the Mosaic law, 
and which introduced into their religion a deepened sense 
of spirituality. This enrichment of their soul-life demanded 
the struggle with which the butterfly breaks from the 
chrysalis. To the Jewish party they were renegades ; even 
by a man of so lofty a type as our prophet they were 
misunderstood, in spite of his teaching that even the 
sacrifices of the heathen were acceptable to Yahweh, and 
indeed that sacrifice was a mere means to the attainment 
of a higher and more spiritual faith. 

The writer of the Book of Malachi gives us — in theological 



terms— a rapid summary of the great struggle between 
the National-Jewish party — which believed that the return 
to former glory could be achieved only by a more strict 
observance of Law and Custom and the exclusion of foreign 
elements — and the Graecised- Jewish party which desired 
the adoption of Greek thought and culture as a means 
of national advancement and prosperity, as well as of 
a life of wider activity, mental and spiritual. The writer 
himself belongs to neither party. Although his inclination 
toward a stricter Judaism is evident, he is personally free 
from an unspiritual ritualism and his teaching is, in a 
sense, a forecast of that later outlook which has brought 
its healing message of the sonship and brotherhood of man. 

Note. — Since writing this article my attention has been 
drawn, by a reference in Marfci's Dodeka Propheton, to 
Winkler's suggestion that the Book of Malachi belongs 
to the middle of the second century, to which Marti objects 
that Malachi must be earlier than 180, since his words 
(iii. 24) are quoted by Jesus Sirach, xlviii. 10. The 
passage beginning at ver. 22 is regarded as a later addition 
by Marti himself, as well as by others, and the parallelism 
may be otherwise accounted for, either (1) as a quotation 
by Malachi from Sirach or (2) by both from a common 
source. The passage in Sirach occurs in a chapter referring 
to the coming of Elijah, and ver. 10 is hence in its proper 
connexion, whereas, as occurring in Mai. iii. 34, obvious 
connexion is absolutely lacking. 

Hans H. Spoee.