The Minor Prophets
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Hosea | Joel | Amos | Obadiah | Jonah | Micah | Nahum
Habakkuk | Zephaniah | Haggai | Zechariah | Malachi

This is data concerning the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament of the Bible. The information is divided under these headings:

For the headings (except "Variations" and "Outline") the following sources are being used: NAB, NJB, TDB, SBD, and TBA.

For the comparisons, I have selected at random one verse from each of the books. Then, I have listed each of these from eight Bible versions, which are from differing religious backgrounds.


Versions Compared

 

AAT An American Translation (Beck) Lutheran
IV Inspired Version Reorganized Latter Day Saint
LB Living Bible Evangelical Protestant
LBP Lamsa Bible Christian Church of the East
LXX The Septuagint Ancient Greek-speaking Jew
NAB New American Bible Roman Catholic
NJPS New JPS Version English-speaking Jew
NWT New World Translation Jehovah's Witness

 

Other Versions Used

 

NJB New Jerusalem Bible
SBD Smith's Bible Dictionary
TBA The Bible Almanac
TDB The Dartmouth Bible


Hosea

Who: Son of Beeri; possibly a priest.

Meaning: Jehovah is help.

Other Forms: Osee.

Time Period: When Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah; when Jeroboam, son of Joash, was king of Israel; prophetic career 784 B.C. - 725 B.C.

Theme: Mercy and forgiveness.

Chapters and Verses: 14 chapters and 197 verses.

Variations:
LXX: Chapter 6 begins 5:15b; chapter 11 begins 10:15b; chapter 14 begins 13:16.
NJPS: Chapter 2 begins 1:10; chapter 12 begins 11:12; chapter 14 begins 13:16.

Comments:
SBD: His discourse is like a garland woven of a multiplicity of flowers; images are woven upon images, metaphor strung upon metaphor. Like a bee he flies from one flower to another, that he may suck his honey from the most varied pieces.
TBA: Hosea's prophecies are obscure and difficult because of their brief and condensed style, their sudden transitions from one subject to another, and the indistinct nature of their allusions.

Outline:
1: 2 Hosea Marries a Prostitute
2: 2 Israel Is an Unfaithful Wife
2: 14 God Is Faithful
3: 1 The Lord Wants to Bless His People
4: 1 More Sinning
5: 1 Unfaithful People
5: 8 God Will Be a Lion
5: 14 Superficial Repentance
8: 1 A Warning Trumpet
9: 1 Israel Will Go into Exile
11: 1 God Loves Israel
11: 12 Lies, Deceit and Violence
14: 1 Repent and Return

Hosea 10: 7

AAT Samaria and her king will be cut off
      and be like a piece of wood on the water.
IV As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water.
LB As for Samaria, her king shall disappear like a chip of wood upon an ocean wave.
LBP Samaria has cast away her king like a chip on the face of the water.
LXX Samaria has cast off her king as a twig on the surface of the water.
NAB The king of Samaria shall disappear,
      like foam upon the waters.
NJPS Samaria's monarchy is vanishing
Like foam upon water,
NWT Samaria [and] her king will certainly be silenced, like a snapped-off twig on the surface of waters.
TOP


Joel

Who: Son of Bethuel.

Meaning: To whom Jehovah is God.

Other Forms: [None listed.]

Time Period: Some disagreement about dates; about 400 B.C. when Uzziah was king.

Theme: The day of the Lord.

Chapters and Verses: 4 chapters, 73 verses.

Variations:
NJPS: Chapter 3 begins 2:28; chapter 4 begins 3:1.

Comments:
NAB: This prophecy is rich in apocalyptic imagery and strongly eschatological in tone.
SBD: The book of Joel contains a grand outline of the whole terrible scene [during the reign of Uzziah], which was to be depicted more and more in detail by subsequent prophets.

Outline:
1: 2 The Plague of Locusts
1: 13 A Call for Repentance
2: 1 An Invasion Is Coming
2: 12 A Call to Repentance
2: 18 The Lord's Answer
2: 28 God's Spirit to Be Poured Out
3: 1 The Day of Judgment

Joel 1: 15

AAT Oh what a day this is!
The day of the Lord is near
and it comes as destruction from the Almighty.
IV Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
LB Alas, this terrible day of punishment is on the way. Destruction from the Almighty is almost here!
LBP Alas, alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as plunder from God shall it come.
LXX Alas, alas, alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is nigh, and it will come as trouble on trouble.
NAB Alas, the day!
      for near is the day of the Lord,
      and it comes as ruin from the Almighty.
NJPS Alas for the day!
      For the day of the Lord is near;
      It will come like havoc from Shaddai.
NWT "Alas for the day; because the day of Jehovah is near, and like a despoiling from the Almighty One it will come!"
TOP


Amos

Who: Sheep farmer from Tekoah; gatherer of sycamore fruit.

Meaning: Burden-bearer.

Other Forms: [None listed.]

Time Period: When Uzziah and Jeroboam were kings; mid-eighth century B.C.

Theme: Warning of God's anger and judgment because of neglect of worship and of indulgence in extravagant luxury.

Chapters and Verses: 9 chapters and 146 verses.

Variations: [No variations.]

Comments:
SBD: The chief peculiarity of his style consists in the number of allusions to natural objects and agricultural occupations; as might be expected from the early life of the author.
TDB: Whence his superb mastery of classical Hebrew, his soaring imagination, his gifts as a poet and an orator? These were the inscrutable powers of genius.

Outline:
1: 3 God Will Punish Nations
3: 1 Doom to the Nation
3: 9 Doom to Samaria
4: 4 You Didn't Return to Me
5: 1 A Funeral Song
5: 4 "Search for Me"
5: 18 The Lord's Day
6: 1 Woe to the Nation's Leaders
7: 1 The Vision of Locusts
7: 4 The Vision of Fire
7: 7 The Vision of the Plumb Line
7: 10 Amos and Amaziah
8: 1 The Vision of the Late Summer Fruit
8: 4 Judgment Is Coming
9: 1 The Vision of a Destruction None Will Escape
9: 11 "I Will Restore My People"

Amos 3: 3

AAT Do two men walk together
if they aren't agreed?
IV Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
LB For how can we walk together with your sins between us?
LBP Will two men go on a journey together unless they have made an appointment?
LXX Shall two walk together at all, if they do not know one another?
NAB Do two walk together
      unless they have agreed?
NJPS Can two walk together
      Without having met?
NWT "Will two walk together unless they have met by appointment?"
TOP


Obadiah

Who: Nothing known about the prophet.

Meaning: Servant of Jehovah.

Other Forms: Obdias.

Time Period: Sometime in the fifth century B.C.

Theme: Bitter cry for vengeance against Edom, and future glories for Zion.

Chapters and Verses: 1 chapter and 21 verses.

Variations: [No variations.]

Comments:
NAB: The twenty-one verses of this book contain the shortest and sternest prophecy in the Old Testament.
SBD: The book of Obadiah is a sustained denunciation of the Edomites, melting into a vision of the future glories of Zion when the arm of the Lord should have wrought her deliverance and have repaid double upon her enemies.

Outline:
1: 1 Edom's Doom
1: 15 The Day of the Lord

Obadiah 1: 6

AAT Oh how Esau will be ransacked
and his hidden treasures plundered!
IV How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up!
LB Every nook and cranny will be searched and robbed, and every treasure found and taken.
LBP How Esau is searched out! how are his hidden things sought out!
LXX How has Esau been searched out, and how have his hidden things been detected?
NAB How they search Esau,
      seek out his hiding places!
NJPS How thoroughly rifled is Esau,
How ransacked his hoards!
NWT O the extent to which those of Esau have been searched out! [How] his concealed treasures have been sought out!
TOP


Jonah

Who: First Hebrew prophet sent to a heathen nation; son of Amittai; from Geth-hepher.

Meaning: Dove.

Other Forms: Jona; Jonas.

Time Period: Eighth century B.C.; difference of opinion on date of writing, to as late as 300 B.C. by another person.

Theme: Universality of God.

Chapters and Verses: 4 chapters and 47 verses.

Variations:
LXX: Chapter 2 begins 1:17.
NJPS: Chapter 2 begins 1:17.

Comments:
NJB: A light satire, with no pretensions to being historical, it teaches the universality of God's love, probably to correct the exclusiveness of the post-exilic community.
TDB: Jonah is now generally accepted as an allegory, or, by some as a parable, with imagery common to its time.

Outline:
1: 3 Jonah Runs Away
1: 17 Jonah and the Fish
3: 1 Nineveh Repents
4: 1 Jonah's Anger and God's Answer

Jonah 2: 3

AAT You threw me into the deep water,
into the middle of the sea,
and the floods surrounded me.
All Your waves and billows went over me.
IV For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about; all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
LB You threw me into the ocean depths; I sank down into the floods of waters and was covered by your wild and stormy waves.
LBP For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the sea; and the flood compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves have passed over me.
LXX Thou didst cast me into the depths of the heart of the sea, and the floods compassed me: all thy billows and thy waves have passed upon me. (Verse 4)
NAB For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the sea,
      and the flood enveloped me;
All your breakers and your billows
      passed over me.
NJPS He said:
In my trouble I called to the Lord,
And He answered me;
From the belly of Sheol I cried out,
And You heard my voice. (Verse 4)
NWT When you threw me [to] the depths, into the heart of the open sea,
Then a very river encircled me,
All your breakers and your waves -- over me they passed on.
TOP


Micah

Who: From Mareshah; nothing else known.

Meaning: Who is like Jehovah?

Other Forms: Mica, Micaiah, Micha, Michæas, Michah.

Time Period: When Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, sometime between 756 B.C. and 697 B.C.; contemporary with Hosea, Amos, and Isaiah.

Theme: Impending judgment, the glory of restored Zion, and the case against Israel, all ending with a note of hope and promise.

Chapters and Verses: 7 chapters and 105 verses.

Variations:
NJPS: Chapter 5 begins 5:2.

Comments:
SBD: His diction is vigorous and forcible, sometimes obscure from the abruptness of its transitions, but varied and rich.
TDB: Although a short and little-known book, Micah is so full of significant content that it becomes more interesting every time it is read.

Outline:
1: 5 Samaria to Be Destroyed
1: 10 Disaster for Jerusalem and Eleven Towns of Judah
2: 1 Disaster Coming
2: 6 The Prophet Rebuked
2: 12 Restoration Promised
3: 1 The Rulers Rebuked
3: 5 The Prophets Rebuked
3: 9 Her Leaders Bring Ruin to Zion
4: 1 The Lord to Rule from Zion
4: 6 Exiles to Be Gathered In
4: 10 The Nations to Be Crushed
5: 1 Messiah Will Come from Bethlehem to Rule
5: 5b Deliverance from Assyria
5: 7 The Remnant Among the Nations
6: 1 The Lord Brings Israel to Trial
6: 3 The Lord
6: 6 His People
6: 9 The Dishonest Rich Rebuked
7: 1 Micah
7: 8 Zion's Future

Micah 7: 11

AAT That will be a day to build your walls,
a day when your border will be extended,
IV In the day that thy walls are to be built, in that day shall the decree be far removed.
LB Your cities, people of God, will be rebuilt, much larger and more prosperous than before.
LBP It is a day to build your walls; it is a day to be lifted up.
LXX It is the day of making of brick; that day shall be thine utter destruction, and that day shall utterly abolish thine ordinances.
NAB It is the day for building your walls;
      on that day the boundary shall be taken away.
NJPS A day for mending your walls --
That is a far-off day.
NWT The day for building your stone walls, at that day [the] decree will be far away.
TOP


Nahum

Who: From Elkosh; nothing else known.

Meaning: Comforter.

Other Forms: Naum.

Time Period: Possibly when Hezekiah was king (726 B.C. - 698 B.C.); before fall of Nineveh in 625 B.C.

Theme: The burden of Nineveh -- its coming destruction.

Chapters and Verses: 3 chapters and 47 verses.

Variations:
NJPS: Chapter 2 begins 1:15.

Comments:
TBA: The prophecy of Nahum is a single poem of great eloquence, sublimity, and ardor.
TDB: His vivid imagery has won for him enthusiastic praise, placing him among the most gifted poets of ancient times.

Outline:
1: 2 The Lord's Anger
1: 15 Comfort for Judah
2: 3 The Destruction of Nineveh
3: 1 Woe to Nineveh

Nahum 1: 13

AAT For now I'll break the rod he used on you
and tear his bonds off you.
IV For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder.
LB Now I will break your chains and release you from the yoke of slavery to this Assyrian king.
LBP For now I will break his yoke from off you, and will burst your bonds asunder.
LXX And now will I break his rod from off thee, and will burst thy bonds.
NAB Now will I break his yoke from off you,
      and burst asunder your bonds.
NJPS And now
I will break off his yoke bar from you
And burst your cords apart.
NWT And now I shall break his carrying bar from upon you, and the bands upon you I shall tear in two.
TOP


Habakkuk

Who: No certain information.

Meaning: Love's embrace.

Other Forms: Ambacum.

Time Period: When Jehoiakim and Josiah were kings; just before Jerusalem was captured by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C.; contemporary with Nahum and Zephaniah.

Theme: A man questions the ways of God, and God replies.

Chapters and Verses: 3 chapters and 56 verses.

Variations: [No variations.]

Comments:
NJB: This carefully composed book contains a dialogue between the prophet and his God, curses on the oppressor, and a liturgical psalm celebrating God's victory.
TDB: Habakkuk's meditations seem to have led him to a conclusion which, perhaps unintentionally, has made his tiny contribution one of the most distinctive in the history of religious thought.

Outline:
1: 2 Habakkuk
1: 5 The Lord
1: 12 Habakkuk
2: 2 The Lord
2: 5 Troubles for the Oppressor
3: 1 Habakkuk's Prayer

Habakkuk 3: 12

AAT In Your wrath You marched through the earth;
in Your anger You thresh the nations.
IV Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger.
LB You marched across the land in awesome anger, and trampled down the nations in your wrath.
LBP Thou didst tread upon the earth in thy indignation, thou didst thresh the nations in thine anger.
LXX Thou wilt bring low the land with threatening, and in wrath thou wilt break down the nations.
NAB In wrath you bestride the earth,
      in fury you trample the nations.
NJPS You tread the earth in rage,
You trample nations in fury.
NWT With denunciation you went marching [through] the earth. In anger you went threshing [the] nations.
TOP


Zephaniah

Who: Son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah.

Meaning: Jehovah has treasured.

Other Forms: Sophonias.

Time Period: When Josiah, son of Amon, was king (40 B.C. - 609 B.C.); contemporary with Jeremiah.

Theme: The day of the Lord, and a promise.

Chapters and Verses: 3 chapters and 53 verses.

Variations: [No variations.]

Comments:
SBD: The chief characteristics of the book are the unity and harmony of the composition, the grace, energy, and dignity of style, and the rapid and effective alternations of threats and promises.
TDB: In a Latin rendering, Zephaniah's poem became one of the most famous hymns of the Middle Ages, the Dies Irae, Dies Illa.

Outline:
1: 2 The Whole World to Be Judged
1: 4 Judah to Be Judged
1: 14 The Day of the Lord Is Coming
2: 1 Look for the Lord!
2: 4 Against the Philistines
2: 8 Against Moab and Ammon
2: 12 Against Ethiopia
2: 13 Against Assyria
3: 1 Jerusalem's Doom
3: 6 Respect Me
3: 10 The Humble Remnant
3: 14 Zion Will Be Happy
3: 18 The Exiles Will Return

Zephaniah 3: 10

AAT From the other side of the rivers of Ethiopia
the scattered people who pray to Me
will bring Me a present.
IV From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.
LB Those who live far beyond the rivers of Ethiopia will come with their offerings, asking me to be their God again.
LBP From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia they shall bring me sacrifices.
LXX From the boundaries of the rivers of Ethiopia will I receive my dispersed ones; they shall offer sacrifices to me.
NAB From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
      and as far as the recesses of the North,
      they shall bring me offerings.
NJPS From beyond the rivers of Cush, My suppliants
Shall bring offerings to Me in Fair Puzai.
NWT "From the region of the rivers of Ethiopia the ones entreating me, [namely,] the daughter of my scattered ones, will bring a gift to me."
TOP


Haggai

Who: Post-exilic layman; reported later to have been a member of the Great Synagogue.

Meaning: Festive.

Other Forms: Aggæus.

Time Period: Sixth month of the second year of King Darius; a contemporary with Zechariah.

Theme: An appeal to the self-respect of the people, and a strengthening of their faith in God.

Chapters and Verses: 2 chapters and 37 verses.

Variations:
LXX: Chapter 2 begins 1:15.

Comments:
SBD: The brevity of the prophecies is so great, and the poverty of expression which characterizes them so striking, as to give rise to a conjecture, not without reason, that in their present form, they are but the outline or summary of the original discourses.
TDB: His address, a post-exilic epic of an heroic people, inspired such resolute leadership that the Temple construction began at once.

Outline:
1: 1 Rebuild the Temple
2: 1 The Lord's Glory Will Fill the Temple
2: 10 A Curse Turned to Blessing

Haggai 1: 8

AAT "Go up into the mountains, get wood, and build the temple. I will be delighted with it and honored," says the Lord.
IV Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.
LB "Then go up into the mountains and bring down timber, and rebuild my Temple, and I will be pleased with it and appear there in my glory," says the Lord.
LBP Go up to the mountain, and bring timber and build this house; and I will take pleasure in it and I will be glorified in it, says the Lord.
LXX Go up to the mountain, and cut timber; build the house, and I will take pleasure in it, and be glorified, saith the Lord.
NAB Go up into the hill country;
      bring timber, and build the house
That I may take pleasure in it
      and receive my glory, says the Lord.
NJPS Go up to the hills and get timber, and rebuild the House; then I will look on it with favor and I will be glorified -- said the Lord.
NWT "Go up to the mountain, and you must bring in lumber. And build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and I may be glorified," Jehovah has said.
TOP


Zechariah

Who: Son of Berechiah, son of Iddo; a priest; reported later to have been a member of Great Synagogue.

Meaning: Jehovah my righteousness.

Other Forms: Zachariah, Zacharias, Zacher.

Time Period: Eighth month of the second year of King Darius; contemporary with Haggai.

Theme: The promotion of the rebuilding of the temple, encouragement of returned exiles, and a messianic vision.

Chapters and Verses: 14 chapters and 211 verses.

Variations:
NJPS: Chapter 2 begins 1:18.

Comments:
TBA: He was a visionary prophet to whom was given vivid insight into God's plans for the future.
TDB: This book includes two contrasting types of expression, one of straightforward exhortation like that of previous prophets, and the other of fantastic and mysterious visions, known as apocalyptic writing.

Outline:
1: 7 Vision 1: Myrtles in the Valley
1: 18 Vision 2: 4 Horns and 4 Smiths
2: 1 Vision 3: Jerusalem Without Walls
3: 1 Vision 4: The Highpriest Is Cleansed
4: 1 Vision 5: Oil for the Lamps
5: 1 Vision 6: The Flying Curse
5: 5 Vision 7: Putting Away Sin
6: 1 Vision 8: God's Chariots
6: 9 Priest and King
7: 1 Better Than Fasting
8: 1 10 Promises
9: 1 A Revelation from the Lord
9: 9 The Messiah Is Coming
10: 1 "I Will Gather My People"
11: 4 The Good Shepherd
11: 15 The Worthless Shepherd
12: 1 Jerusalem's Victory
12: 10 The Spirit Makes People Weep
13: 1 A Fountain Opened
14: 1 The Day of the Lord

Zechariah 14: 3

AAT Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations as He used to do when there was a battle.
IV Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
LB Then the Lord will go out fully armed for war, to fight against those nations.
LBP Then the Lord shall go forth and fight against those nations as when he fought in the day of battle.
LXX And the Lord shall go forth, and fight with those Gentiles as when he fought in the days of war.
NAB Then the Lord shall go forth and fight against those nations, fighting as on a day of battle.
NJPS Then the Lord will come forth and make war on those nations as He is wont to make war on a day of battle.
NWT "And Jehovah will certainly go forth and war against those nations as in the day of his warring, in the day of fight."
TOP


Malachi

Who: Pseudonym; author of a series of prophetic utterances; nothing else known.

Meaning: My messenger.

Other Forms: Malachias.

Time Period: Just before the reorganization of the Jewish community; contemporary with Nehemiah.

Theme: Reflection of the condition of an impoverished nation, and a demand for a faithful ministry dedicated to Israel's holy mission.

Chapters and Verses: 4 chapters and 55 verses.

Variations:
NJPS: Chapter 3 includes 3:1 - 4:15.

Comments:
NJB: The book consists of six short passages, alternately on the Day of Yahweh and on purity of observance.
TDB: The most attractive note to the book, to many readers, is in the lines of chapter 2, verse 10.

Outline:
1: 2 The Lord's Love Despised
2: 1 A Warning to the Priests
2: 10 A Warning to the People
3: 1 The Day of the Lord's Coming
3: 6 Return to Me

Malachi 3: 2

AAT But when He comes, who can bear it? When He shows Himself, who can stand it? He is like a refiner's fire, like cleaners' soap.
IV But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap;
LB "But who can live when he appears? Who can endure his coming? For he is like a blazing fire refining precious metal and he can bleach the dirtiest garments!"
LBP But who can endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap;
LXX And who will abide the day of his coming? or who will withstand at his appearing? for he is coming in as the fire of a furnace and as the herb of fullers.
NAB But who can endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner's fire, or like the fuller's lye.
NJPS But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can hold out when he appears? For he is like a smelter's fire and like fuller's lye.
NWT "But who will be putting up with the day of his coming, and who will be the one standing when he appears? For he will be like the fire of a refiner and like the lye of laundrymen."