The last three books of the Old Testament, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, have not always received the attention they deserve from the church. This is in some ways surprising, since the Gospel writers quote Zechariah 9-14 more often than any other biblical source in explaining Christ's sufferings and death. One reason for the tendency to neglect these three books lies in the fact that they address a community who were living in a day of small things, with little glory and no great triumphs to show off to a watching world. In a day like ours, which puts such a premium on charismatic leaders whose ministries exude glory and success, they may be viewed as something of an embarrassment. But if, like the apostle Paul, we are content to be broken vessels without glory in ourselves so that the glory of Christ crucified may be all the more plainly displayed, then we shall find much blessing in these books.
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- Publisher: Evangelical Press
- ISBN: 978-0852347126
- Pages: 258
- Price: £6.99
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.