Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
EP Books, 255 pages, £16.99
This Study Commentary provides a good introduction to the place of these three prophecies in the history of the Jews as God’s chosen nation.
It provides a helpful outline of the books’ leading theological themes and shows that the return of the Jews from exile in Babylon was clear evidence of the Lord’s unfailing love for Israel.
Mr Duguid provides both exegetical comments and relevant applications that are usually helpful and linked to the Christian church. For example, he comments on Zechariah 1:18-19: ‘the horns are thus depicted as God’s covenant agents of judgement who have devastated his people on his instructions’.
On the Spirit’s gift of favour and supplication, he says Zechariah 12:10 ‘implies both repentance on the part of the people and forgiveness from the Lord’. And ‘it is in Christ that the covenant of life and peace made with Levi finds its fulfilment’ (Malachi 2:4-7).
There are, however, some weaknesses. A comment on Zechariah 3:1-10 makes the strange contrast, ‘Joshua received a clean turban on his head. Jesus was crowned with thorns’ (p.103); and his statement on page 177 is puzzling, ‘Our sins have not merely pierced the Lord’s heart metaphorically but literally’.
However the teaching of this commentary is grounded in clearly expressed convictions, ‘The word of the prophets endures for ever because it is God’s Word’ (p.72). On Malachi 1:1-5 he makes the valuable comments, ‘Love is a covenantal term’ and ‘God’s sovereign election is not an abstract idea, but works its way out in redemptive history’. This book is commended to all readers.
W. John Cook