Discovering the Macrostructure of the Book of Malachi: Mal. 1:1–12 as a Test Case -- By: Rand Michael Muender

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 18:3 (Summer 2001)
Article: Discovering the Macrostructure of the Book of Malachi: Mal. 1:1–12 as a Test Case
Author: Rand Michael Muender


Discovering the Macrostructure of the Book of Malachi:
Mal. 1:1–12 as a Test Case1

Rand Michael Muender

M.Div. with Advanced Biblical Studies Student
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587

משׂא רבר־יהוה אל־ישׂראל ביר מלאכי2

Introduction

Malachi’s three short chapters, unlike other prophetic texts, have invoked no great scholarly debates.3 However, the Book of Malachi has several issues which need to be dealt with, before analyzing its literary structure. First, concerning Malachi’s relation to the materials of the preceding OT prophets, there are various theories of interdependence between Malachi and the last two sections of Zechariah and the interdependence between the message of Haggai, Zachariah, and Malachi.4 Because the superscription of Malachi (1:1) is the same formula as that found in Zech. 9:1 and 12:1, it has been assumed that these three “anonymous oracles” were arbitrarily placed within the canon in succession.5 If this is true, then Malachi would lose its “status of an independent book” in the canon.6 However, Childs argues that this issue is more complex; e.g., he believes the Hebrew word משׂא (oracle) in Mal. 1:1 is used primarily to separate the messages of these two books.7 In addition, these last three prophetic books are classified as postexilic whereas Ezekiel and Daniel would be exilic prophets and Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea through Zephaniah would be pre-exilic.8 Second, there are those who question the distinctive genre of Malachi’s “assertion plus question-and-answer-style” as the definitive issue of the compositional structure of the book.9 Nevertheless, most scholars divide up the main body of Malachi in a series of six units (1:2–5; 1:6–2:9; 2:10–16; 2:17–3:5; 3...

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