In this commentary on Haggai and Malachi, Mignon Jacobs offers clear and insightful interpretation of the text while highlighting themes that are especially relevant to contemporary concerns, such as honoring or dishonoring God, the responsibilities of leaders, questioning God, and hearing the prophetic word in challenging times.
Engaging with the latest scholarship, Jacobs provides a thorough introduction to both prophets in which she addresses questions of authorship, date, purpose, structure, and theology, followed by a new translation of the biblical text and a verse-by-verse commentary. With intertextual discussions about key aspects of the text and attention to competing perspectives, this commentary offers a rich new interpretation of Haggai and Malachi.
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“The message of the book is Yahweh’s love for Israel and the fractured state of the Yahweh-Israel relationship.” (Page 129)
“Why is Mal 2:16 talking about divorce? It is because of the violated relationships within the covenant community that have resulted from marrying worshipers of deities other than Yahweh. In that context, divorce is viewed as a path toward idolatry; taking a wife who does not share the covenant of Yahweh takes one further along the path.” (Page 261)
“There is no biographical information about the prophet in the book and no consensus about whether the designation malʾākî is the name of a person or a title.” (Page 129)
“Commentators’ views on the date of the Malachi prophecies are, from the most ancient to the most recent (605–333 BCE): (1) before or during the time of Haggai and Zechariah;5 (2) before either Ezra or Nehemiah;6 (3) after Ezra but before Nehemiah;7 (4) contemporary with Ezra and Nehemiah;8 (5) during Nehemiah’s first governorship;9 (6) between Nehemiah’s first and second governorship;10 (7) during Nehemiah’s second governorship;12 and (8) during the late Persian or Hellenistic period.13 At issue is understanding the historical context of the prophecies and the first audience of the message.” (Pages 131–132)
“That the two nations to whom Yahweh had given land were destroyed speaks to the similarities between Edom and Israel. However, the difference between the two nations is their response to their destruction and Yahweh’s plan for each nation. One initiates its own return (Edom); the other’s return is orchestrated and prophesied (Judah/Israel).” (Page 168)
A commentary on Haggai and Malachi from a wise and experienced scholar like Mignon Jacobs is to be welcomed. . . . Those who may be unsure of what two shorter prophetic books have to say to the modern reader need look no further. This is an excellent contribution to an increasingly important commentary series.
—Daniel L. Smith-Christopher, Loyola Marymount University
Mignon Jacobs offers fresh readings of Haggai and Malachi for pastors and students. Her work has an accessible style, and the voluminous footnotes list alternative positions within the scholarly discussions. Her introductions to these prophets emphasize their social location at different points in the Persian period, and her exegetical treatments in the commentary proper include extensive exploration of biblical contexts to explain the concepts, phrases, and idioms that shape the message.
—James Nogalski, Baylor University
Jacobs provides an in-depth treatment of these two oft-neglected prophetic works, always with close attention to the Hebrew text.
—Marvin A. Sweeney, Claremont School of Theology, Academy for Jewish Religion California
One of the most readable commentaries on Haggai and Malachi I have ever read. Jacobs’s achievement is even more admirable in that she often presents her readers with multiple interpretative options, and she brings to bear numerous intertextual references and much material to engender further discussion. This commentary on two important—though often overlooked—prophetic books will be very helpful to the main target readership of the series and beyond.
—Ehud Ben Zvi, University of Alberta
Associate Professor of Old Testament Mignon R. Jacobs joined the School of Theology faculty in 1997. Courses she teaches include Hebrew Prophets, Pentateuch, The Writings, Critical Approaches to the Old Testament, and the exegetical courses Psalms and Minor Prophets. Jacobs’ publications include Gender, Power, and Persuasion (2007), The Conceptual Coherence of the Book of Micah (2001), and book chapters “Sin, Silence, and Suffering in the Conceptual Landscape of Psalm 32â€ in Text and Community (2007) and “Toward an Old Testament Theology of Concern for the Underprivileged” in Reading the Hebrew Bible for a New Millennium: Form, Concept and Theological Perspective (2000). Articles she has authored include “Conceptual Dynamics of Good and Evil in the Joseph Storyâ€ (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament), “Love, Honor, and Violence” (Semeia), “Bridging the Times: Trends in Micah Studies Since 1985” (Currents in Research), and “Parameters of Justice: Ideological Challenges Regarding Persons and Practices in Lev 25:25-55” (Ex Auditu). Jacobs is the current president of the Western Commission for the Study of Religion and regional coordinator of the Pacific Coast Region of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). She served as 2007-2008 president of the Regional SBL.