Malachi

Malachi 1:1  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Malachi closes the writings of the minor prophets, as they are called, and with them the volume of the Old Testament. This suggests and warrants a short review of things in the previous story of Israel.
From the beginning the Lord had been, in various ways, testing and proving that people, whom He had made His people. After having delivered them from Egypt, and borne them through the wilderness, under Joshua, He set them in the land promised to their fathers; and then, in a certain sense, began afresh with them. This is seen in the days of the Judges who succeeded Joshua. But what was the story? The people transgressed; the Lord chastened; the people wept under the rod; the Lord raised up a deliverer. Thus it was, again and again.
But during all this time the Lord kept Israel before and under Himself. In those days there was no captivity of the people, or conquest of the land. Israel was still at home. The land was still their own, and Jehovah their king as well as their God.
In due season, the Lord gave them the house and the throne of David. They flourished into a kingdom. But the kingdom became untrue to Him as the nation had been. Much longsuffering towards the house of David the Lord exercised, as before He had exercised towards the nation. The books of Judges and of 2 Chronicles show us all this. But at length, loss of home and country, with sore captivity, ensued; and a worse condition than had been known under the rod of the Philistines, Midianites or Canaanites, was now known under the kings of Assyria and Babylon. Scattering of the people among the Gentiles, and possession of their land by the Gentiles now takes place.
This was fearful. There is, however, restoration. There is a return of captives from Babylon. Jerusalem is regained, rebuilt, re-peopled. The house of God is raised up again, and the worship of His name and the service of His altar are observed again. But this state of things was something quite new. Israel was not now a nation set in their own land, as they had been under Joshua and the Judges; nor a kingdom with one of their own children on the throne, (such a throne as the glory could accompany) as under David and David’s sons. The people were now the vassals of the Gentile. They were debtors to the Gentile for permission to occupy the land of their fathers, and to observe the laws and do the service of their God. They were the subjects of the Persian, and their ruler was his vicegerent.