A Thematic Development Of The Haggai/Zechariah/Malachi Corpus -- By: Ronald W. Pierce

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 27:4 (Dec 1984)
Article: A Thematic Development Of The Haggai/Zechariah/Malachi Corpus
Author: Ronald W. Pierce

A Thematic Development Of The Haggai/Zechariah/Malachi Corpus

Ronald W. Pierce*

In a previously published article the thesis was proposed that the last three books of the canon of the twelve form a useful literary unit not only for the study of early postexilic Judaism (sixth-fifth centuries B.c.) but, more importantly, for a clearer understanding of the messages of the books themselves. More specifically, it was suggested that the books of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi (together referred to as “the HZM corpus”) have been tied together in form and message with five literary connectors that are discernible in the present form of the text.1

The purpose of the present study is to go further in this direction by developing the theme of the HZM corpus—that is, the unified message of what has traditionally been called Haggai through Malachi. Through a style of rhetorical questioning, the messages of the prophets of the return are closely related to each other. The author begins with the inquiries of Haggai’s sermons (1:4; 2:3, 11–12), moves to the curious prophet of the night visions, Zechariah (chaps. 1–6), who preaches his sermons with a style much like that of his contemporary (cf. Zech 7:5–7; 8:6) then concludes his work with the six sermons of YHWH’s mysterious “messenger,” in which the audience asks the questions and the prophet responds (Mal 1:2, 6–7; 2:10, 14, 17; 3:7, 13). The question/answer schema is broken periodically by several brief interludes (Hag 1:12–15; 2:20–23; Zech 6:9–15; Mal 4:4–5) and one major oracular section (Zechariah 9–14).

The method utilized herein is to examine the thematic development of the interrogative material, noticing especially where that pattern is broken by narrative interludes.2 In this regard it is maintained that the major interruption, Zechariah 9–14, holds an important key ...

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