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by Thomas Coke
THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET MALACHI.
MALACHI, the last of the twelve lesser prophets, is so much unknown, that it is doubted whether the name be a proper name, or only a generical name, signifying the angel of the Lord, a messenger, a prophet; for it appears by Haggai, chap. Mal 1:13 and by this prophet, whom we cite by the name of Malachi, chap. Mal 3:1 that in these times the name of Malach-Jehovah, or the messenger of the Lord, was given to the prophets. The LXX have rendered the Hebrew word מלאכי malachi, by his angel, instead of my angel; and several of the fathers have quoted Malachi under the name of the angel of the Lord. It is thought probable by many, that Malachi was no other than Ezra: but why should there not have been a real person of this name, which is not more expressive than many other names of the prophets and sacred writers? We cannot help thinking therefore, with Justin Martyr, and with most of the primitive fathers, that Malachi is a proper name; and that this prophet was contemporary with Haggai, Zechariah, or Nehemiah, as he speaks of the temple as already built. It appears, that he prophesied when great disorders reigned among the priests and people of Judah, who are reproved by him. He inveighs against the priests; he reproaches the people with having taken strange wives: he reproves them for their inhumanity towards their brethren; their too frequently divorcing their wives, and their neglecting to pay their tithes and first-fruits. He seems to allude to the covenant which Nehemiah renewed with the Lord, assisted by the priests and the chief of the nation. See chap. Malachi 2:4-5. He prophesies of the coming of John the Baptist, and of the twofold coming of the Saviour, in very express terms. He is the last of the prophets of the synagogue, and lived about four hundred years before Christ. Bishop Lowth says of him, that his style is such as intimates him to have lived in the decline of the Hebrew poetry, which decayed very much after the Babylonish captivity. See his 21st Prelection, and Calmet.
the First Week of Advent