Malachi

Good morning! Malachi is our reading for today, and so we finish the Old Testament today! Malachi dates from sometime during the reign of the Persians, after the release of Babylonian captives and the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s temple. The book critiques the religious leadership in the decades afterward, adopting the voice of God to denounce the half-hearted way that the temple priests uphold God’s ways.

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Zechariah 7-9

Good morning! Today’s middle portion of Zechariah (chapters 7-9) finishes out the first section of this book with commentary on the spirit of fasting, then the universal promise of Jerusalem. With chapter nine we start the second portion of Zechariah, which was written some years after the temple’s successful reconstruction, according to biblical scholars.

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Zechariah 1-6

Good morning! Today we start our second-to-last book of the Old Testament, that of Zechariah. This book gathers together two separate voices (or more likely, communities). We’ll start to hear from “Second Zechariah” tomorrow, but the prophet in focus today comes from an educated, priestly background (attested by his pedigree in 1:1 and 1:7). He makes common cause with Haggai, advocating for rebuilding at the site of the temple in Jerusalem. Almost twenty years after returning from Babylon with Cyrus the Persian’s permission to rebuild, the temple was still unfinished. Haggai and Zechariah were active at the same time, but Zechariah prophesied for somewhat longer if we take the historical references in the text at face value. These men succeeded in their advocacy, because historians believe the temple was fully restored and rededicated just a couple years after Zechariah’s time.

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Zephaniah and Haggai

Good morning! It’s hard to believe in this rush through the final “minor” prophets, but we only have five more days of reading the Hebrew Scriptures! We start the New Testament this Saturday (October 1st), when we will again be on to something very new (yet rooted in all that has been so far). This week would be a great time to invite others to consider joining Daily Bible for the three months we have left! But before we get there, today we read two other small prophetic books, Zephaniah and Haggai.

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Nahum and Habakkuk

Good morning! Before we get started with the books of today’s passage (Nahum and Habakkuk), I want to take a moment and remember what a daunting and daring project we are part of. Those who have been along this Daily Bible journey for the past nearly-nine months (!) probably share with me the sense that we didn’t really know what we were getting into. Over the past few months especially, I have found myself overwhelmed by the thought of how much of the Bible I really don’t know, even though I’ve read through it before. If you have struggled—like me—to get a deeper sense of Scripture in this format which calls for engagement with others as well as the biblical text, I salute you for accepting the challenge and doing your best day by day. In the midst of what could feel like a daily slog, let’s pause to remember what a remarkable thing we are about, and the ways this common commitment has brought us together. Whether you are a daily reader and commenter, or you’re able to participate very occasionally—thank you for your efforts! Often-overlooked books like Nahum and Habakkuk are some of the texts we take time to consider in this middle part between famous Old Testament and New Testament books.

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Micah

Good morning! The seven chapters of Micah compose our full reading today. This prophet comes from Judah in the south, around the same time as Isaiah, Amos and Hosea. He experiences the fall of Israel, and is familiar enough with its cities to invoke them in these chapters. We may be most familiar with Micah 6:8 (a powerful and compact summary of God’s desire for human behavior), but there’s more to this prophet. He entwines oracles about divine judgment with others of divine restoration, conveying trust that though the path of righteousness leads to hardship sometimes, God will see the righteous through to a pleasant reward.

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