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Introduction to Malachi

 

INTRODUCTION TO MALACHI

This book in the Hebrew copies is called "Sepher Malachi" the Book of Malachi; in the Vulgate Latin version "the Prophecy of Malachi"; in the Syriac and Arabic versions "the Prophecy of the Prophet Malachi"; According to LactantiusF1De vera Sapientia l. 4. c. 5. p. 279. Zechariah was the last of the prophets; but the more commonly received opinion and the truest is that Malachi was the last; hence Aben Ezra calls him Myaybnh Pwo "the end of the prophets"; and by Kimchi he is said to be Mbv Nwrxa "the last of them"; and sometimes by the Rabbins Myaybnh Mtwx "the seal of the prophets"F2Nizzachon p. 200. apud Hottinger. Thes. Phil. p. 489. ; by whom they are all sealed up concluded and finished. His name signifies "my angel" as is commonly said; though HillerusF3Onomastic. Sacr. p. 147 359 541. makes it to signify "the angel of the Lord"; hence some have thought that he was not a man but an angel; and so the Septuagint render ykalm dyb in the first verse Malachi 1:1 "by the hand of his angel"; and others have thought that the book takes its name not from the author of it but from the mention that is made of the messenger or angel of the Lord John the Baptist in Malachi 3:1 but the more prevailing opinion is that Malachi is the name of a man the writer of the book about whom the Jews have been divided. Rab Nachman says Malachi was Mordecai; and that he was so called because he was second to the king. R. Joshua ben Korcha contradicts him and affirms Malachi is Ezra; and to him agrees the Chaldee paraphrase on Malachi 1:1 which says that Malachi his name is called Ezra the scribe; but as Kimchi observes Ezra is never called a prophet as Malachi is only a scribe; wherefore in the TalmudF4T. Bab. Megillah fol. 15. 1. where this matter is debated it is concluded thus; but the wise men say Malachi is his name; that is it is the proper name of a man; there was a man of this name that wrote this prophecy; not Mordecai nor Ezra nor Zerubbabel nor Nehemiah as some have thought; but Malachi: and if the accounts of EpiphaniusF5De Prophet. Vita & Interitu c. 22. and IsidoreF6De Vita & Morte Sanct. c. 51. are to be credited this prophet was born at Sapho in the tribe of Zebulun; and had his name from his beautiful form and unblemished life; and that he died very young and was buried in his own field. The time of his prophesying is not agreed on: the Jews commonly make him contemporary with Haggai and Zechariah; they sayF7T. Bab. Megillah fol. 15. 1. Seder Olam Rabba c. 20. p. 55. that Haggai Zechariah and Malachi all of them prophesied in the second year of Darius; and Ganz their chronologerF8Ganz Tzemach David par. 1. fol. 18. 1. places the death of these prophets together in one year; but he seems to be later than they: Haggai prophesied before the building of the temple; Zechariah about the time of it; and Malachi after it when the temple was rebuilt and the worship of God restored and settled; and when both priests and people were become very corrupt and degenerate of which he complains; so that it is possible that he might live a century after the other prophets and about four centuries before the coming of Christ during which time prophecy ceased; though some think he lived not long before the times of Christ which is not probable. Bishop UsherF9Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3589. makes him contemporary with Nehemiah and places him in the year 416 B.C.; and Mr. WhistonF11Chronological Tables cent. 12. in the year 400 B.C.; Mr. BedfordF12Scripture Chronology p. 725. in the year 424 B.C.: however this book has been always accounted authentic and a part of the canon of the Scripture; and is confirmed by the passages cited out of it and the references made unto it in the New Testament Matthew 11:10. The general design of it is to reprove the Jews for their ingratitude to the Lord their neglect and contempt of his worship and breach of his laws; and to raise in the minds of the truly godly an expectation of the Messiah and his forerunner John the Baptist.

 

Commentator

John Gill (November 23 1697-October 14 1771) was an English Baptist a biblical scholar and a staunch Calvinist. Gill's relationship with hyper-Calvinism is a matter of academic debate.

He was born in Kettering Northamptonshire. In his youth he attended Kettering Grammar School mastering the Latin classics and learning Greek by age eleven. The young scholar continued self-study in everything from logic to Hebrew. His love for Hebrew would follow Gill throughout his life.

At the age of about twelve Gill heard a sermon from his pastor William Wallis on the text "And the Lord called unto Adam and said unto him where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9). The message stayed with Gill and eventually led to his conversion. It was not until seven years later that young John made a public profession when he was almost nineteen years of age.

His first pastoral work was as an intern assisting John Davis at Higham Ferrers in 1718 at age twenty one. He was subsequently called to pastor the Strict Baptist church at Goat Yard Chapel Horsleydown Southwark in 1719. In 1757 his congregation needed larger premises and moved to a Carter Lane St. Olave's Street Southwark. His pastorate lasted 51 years. This Baptist Church was once pastored by Benjamin Keach and would later become the New Park Street Chapel and then the Metropolitan Tabernacle pastored by Charles Spurgeon.

During Gill's ministry the church strongly supported the preaching of George Whitefield at nearby Kennington Common.

In 1748 Gill was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by the University of Aberdeen. He was a profound scholar and a prolific author. His most important works are:

John Gill is the first major writing Baptist theologian. His work retains its influence into the twenty-first century. Gill's relationship with hyper-Calvinism in English Baptist life is a matter of debate. Peter Toon has argued that Gill was himself a hyper-Calvinist which would make Gill the father of Baptist hyper-Calvinism. Tom Nettles has argued that Gill was not a hyper-Calvinist himself which would make him merely a precursor and hero to Baptist hyper-Calvinists.

 

──John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

 

New King James Version Bible NKJV

The NKJV was commissioned in 1975 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. One-hundred-and-thirty respected Bible scholars church leaders and lay Christians worked for seven years with the goal of updating the vocabulary and grammar of the King James Version while preserving the classic style of the of the 1611 version.

The task of updating the English of the KJV involved many changes in word order grammar vocabulary and spelling. One of the most significant features of the NKJV was its removal of the second person pronouns "thou" "thee" "ye " "thy " and "thine." Verb forms were also modernized in the NKJV (for example "speaks" rather than "speaketh").

 

Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

Young’s Literal Translation was completed in 1898 by Robert Young who also compiled Young’s Analytical Concordance. It is an extremely literal translation that attempts to preserve the tense and word usage as found in the original Greek and Hebrew writings. The online text is from a reprint of the 1898 edition as published by Baker Book House Grand Rapids Michigan. Obvious errors in spelling or inconsistent spellings of the same word were corrected in the online edition of the text. This text is Public Domain in the United States.