Trei Asar

Tanakh >> Nevi’im >> Trei Asar

The Nevi’im (נביאים) covers the time period from the death of Moshe through the Babylonian exile (ca.1200BCE-587BCE) and contains 19 books. The Nevi’im covers the time from the Hebrews entering Eretz Yisrael, conquest of Jericho, conquest of Eretz Yisrael and division among the tribes, judicial system, Era of Saul and David, Solomon’s wisdom and the construction of the First Temple, kings of Eretz Yisrael, prophecy, messianic prophecies, and the Babylonian exile.

Books of the Nevi’im

  • Trei Asar (Twelve Prophets)
    • Hoshea (Hosea) – written by Hoshea
    • Yoel (Joel) – written by Yoel
    • ‘Amos (Amos) – written by ‘Amos
    • Ovadiah (Obadiah) – written by Ovadiah
    • Yonah (Jonah) – “written by Yonah
    • Michah (Micah) – written by Michah
    • Nachum (Nahum) – written by Nachum
    • Chavakuk (Habakkuk) – written by Chavakuk
    • Tzefaniah (Zephaniah) – written by Tzefaniah
    • Chaggai (Haggai) – written by Chaggai
    • Zechariah (Zechariah) – written by Zechariah
    • Malachi (Malachi) – written by Malachi

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Sefer Hoshea – the Book of Hosea – is the eighth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Trei Asar – Twelve Prophets.

Hosea prophesied during a time in Israel’s history where the Northern Kingdom was declining and would eventually be exiled by the Assyrians. Idolatry was rampant and the golden calves replaced the worship of G-d in the Northern Kingdom. The prophecy of Hosea centers around G-d’s unending love toward a sinful Israel. G-d agonizes over the betrayal of Israel.

Chapters one and two are an account of Hosea’s marriage with Gomer – an adulterous woman. This is seen as a metaphor for the relationship between G-d and Israel who deserted G-d and became an adulterer with idols. Hosea divorces his wife in chapter two. This divorce is symbolic of the end of the covenant between G-d and the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Chapter three is an account of Hosea’s re-marriage to Gomer. This is a metaphor of the enduring love of G-d for His people despite their unfaithfulness.We see in chapter three that Hosea remarries Gomer but he does not have intimate relations with her. This represents the fact that Israel will be without a king for many years but G-d will eventually take Israel back to Himself.

Chapters four through fourteen include a judgment upon Israel for not living up to the covenant between G-d and the people.

Chapter four is a prophetic sermon regarding the idolatrous and sinful people of Israel. There is an announcement of the ruin that will come to Israel and an additional warning to Judah.

Chapter five is the judgment on the rulers and priests who have led the people to sin. Hosea is given a description of the ruin that shall come to Ephraim and Judah.

Chapter six is an exhortation to repentance for the moral degradation of Israel – and especially of its priests.

Chapter seven calls out the rulers as being responsible for the sins of the people because they did not prevent the people from continuing to sin even after the nation has been punished.

Chapter eight contains a renewed judgment upon Israel for its sinfulness and its association with foreign Nations. The punishment will be exile for the Kingdom of Israel.

Chapter nine shows the mournful nature that will possess the exiles. Just as they turned away from G-d and turned toward idols, so G-d will turn away from them.

Chapter ten speaks of the ingratitude of Israel for G-d’s love as is shown by their continued idolatry. Their sins must be severely punished and their altars and idols will be destroyed throughout Samaria.

Chapter eleven shows that the people of Israel will be punished without delay but G-d will allow a remnant of the people to remain out of His pity for them.

Chapter twelve speaks of the early history of Israel and Judah which shows their lack of faithfulness since early times even though G-d continued to care for them.

Chapter thirteen announces that because of Israel’s idolatry, G-d must destroy her power and glory without pity. However, this will result in a purging and there will be a remaining remnant of the people.

Chapter fourteen is an appeal to Israel to return to G-d. If she repents, G-d promises to forgive the people.

Harlotry

Chapter 1: G-d calls upon Hosea to take a wife of harlotry and to have children of harlotry. Hosea is told to do this as a representation of Israel going astray after false gods. Hosea married Gomer and she bore him a son who was named Jezreel. Jezreel means “dispersed” and alludes to the coming dispersion of Israel. Gomer again conceived and she bore a daughter who was named Lo-ruhamah which means “not pitied” for G-d will show no pity upon Israel. After Lo-ruhamah was weaned, Lo-ammi was born. His name means “not my people” as a symbol of G-d’s rejection of the idolatrous people.

Chapter 2: The tribes will be scattered to the Nations due to their idolatry. However, there is a promise of redemption in a Messianic Age. All the Children of Israel will be ingathered – including the ten northern tribes. The exiled Jews will be given a sudden longing to repent for their sins. At this time, G-d will comfort the exiles and continue to give them indications that they will eventually return to their Land. At the end of this chapter we see a reason why G-d exiled the Children of Israel throughout the Nations. The reason is to have converts join the ranks of the Children of Israel.

Chapter 3: This is an account of Hosea’s re-marriage to Gomer. This is a metaphor of the enduring love of G-d for His people despite their unfaithfulness. Hosea remarries Gomer but he does not have intimate relations with her. This represents the fact that Israel will be without a king for many years but G-d will eventually take Israel back to Himself.

Condemnation of the Northern Kingdom

Chapter 4: Israel is told that she has shown neither truth nor kindness within her land. She is accused of falsehood, dishonesty, murder, theft, and adultery. Due to her wickedness, the Land will be destroyed. The priests are rebuked. They are told that since they rejected knowledge and rejected offering knowledge to the people, G-d will reject them. Judah is warned not to become corrupt like Israel and follow after idols.

Chapter 5: Israel is told that they have become wicked and corrupt. Due to this wickedness, the Land will be destroyed. It is also prophesied that eventually, Judah will also follow in Israel’s steps and follow idols. Both Israel and Judah have turned away from G-d and toward the Nations in times of stress. However, the Nations will not be able to help them.

Chapter 6: After this rebuke by Hosea, the Israelites attempt to repent and return to G-d. However, their repentance is rebuffed because it is not a truthful repentance.

Chapter 7: G-d declares that Israel’s pervasive sins prevent her redemption. She became assimilated with the Nations and turned her back on G-d.

Chapter 8: Israel broke the covenant and transgressed G-d’s Law. They should have called out to G-d and acknowledged Him but they rejected Him. The Israelite kings appointed ministers without G-d’s blessing and set up idols. These idols will be shattered when the Israelites will be exiled. Israel misplaced their faith by choosing to rely on allies. These allies will be united by G-d to come and exile the people of Israel.

Chapter 9: Israel has been unfaithful to G-d and will have no joyous celebrations like the Nations. The day is coming says G-d when the false prophets will be unmasked. G-d curses the people of Israel. He will exile them and will cause them to mourn.

Chapter 10: Prosperity was one of the causes of Israel going astray but the altars and golden calves will be destroyed. Israel persists in her sinfulness and her stubbornness but G-d calls for them to have introspection. They are to sow righteousness and seek G-d.

Chapter 11: G-d openly declares His love for Israel from her youth. However, when prophets were sent to her she only rejected them and moved further from G-d. G-d recalls His loving kindness toward Israel yet she continued to reject Him. Even though they will be exiled for their sins, G-d promises the people that they will ultimately be redeemed and returned to the Land.

Chapter 12: Israel continues to reject G-d and His covenant while attempting to make alliances with Assyria and Egypt. Judah also will be punished for her rejection of G-d and His covenant. G-d calls Israel to return to G-d, practice kindness, and justice, and place her hope in G-d. However, Israel chooses to remain unfaithful to G-d.

Chapter 13: Israel has increased her sin and follows Baal. She made molten images and offered sacrifices to their idols. Israel betrays G-d Who has taken care of them and loved them ever since the Land of Egypt. He reiterates that He alone is their God. Israel chooses to turn toward idols and false prophets. For this transgression, Israel will experience a delayed redemption from misery and exile.

Chapter 14: G-d calls upon Israel to repent and return to G-d. If only she would repent, G-d would heal her of her rebelliousness and would love her.

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Sefer Yoel – the Book of Joel – is the ninth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Trei Asar – Twelve Prophets.

Based upon the traditional years of Joel’s life according to Judaism, the traditional dating of Sefer Yoel would be in the decades around 400 BCE. This would be during the Persian period which would make Joel one of the latest writing prophets.

Sefer Joel is divided into two separate sections.
The first section – 1:1-2:17 – is a lament over a great locust plague and a severe drought.
The second section – 2:18-4:21 – is a promise of future redemption and blessings.

Lament Over a Plague and Drought (Chapters 1:1-2:17)

Chapter 1: Joel calls upon the elders and the inhabitants of the Land to come and hear what G-d has spoken and to tell it to their children across the generations. A swarm of locusts – a reference to invading armies – will descend upon the Land and will utterly decimate the agriculture of the Land. Meal offering and libation has been cut off from the Temple and the priests and people mourn. Joel commands the people to call out to G-d and lament over the destruction of the Land.

Chapter 2: Joel sounds the shofar in an attempt to wake the people and stir them to repentance. The locusts will come and destroy the Land if the people do not repent. There is a call to national repentance. G-d declares that if sincere repentance is offered, He will protect the Land and cause the locusts to remain where they are and not invade Israel.

Promise of Future Redemption and Blessings (Chapters 2:18-4)

Chapter 2: There is a promise by G-d of banishment for the locusts and a restoration of the Land and the people if there is national repentance.

Chapter 3: During the Messianic Age, G-d will transform the hearts of those who repent and will pour out the gift of prophecy upon the people. There will be the war of Gog and Magog before the arrival of the Messianic Age. Those who will survive are those who will call out to G-d.

Chapter 4: All the exiles will be brought back to the Land and the Nations will be gathered in the Valley of Jehoshaphat to be judged for their wrongdoings against G-d’s people. G-d declares that Tyre, Zidon, and Philistia will be treated as they treated the Children of Israel. For their children shall be carried away and sold to foreigners as slaves. G-d tells of the war of Gog and Magog and how those who feel that they are mighty will be brought low and defeated. After the war, the Land will be blessed. Egypt and Edom will be desolate. Judah and Jerusalem will endure forever and G-d will once again dwell in Jerusalem.

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Sefer ‘Amos – the Book of Amos – is the tenth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Trei Asar – Twelve Prophets.

Amos prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam, ruler of Israel and Uzziah, king of Judah when both kingdoms were at the peak of their prosperity. Sefer Amos is set in a time when the people of the Northern Kingdom had reached a low point in their devotion to G-d. The people were greedy and the wealthy were becoming rich at the expense of the poor.

Sefer Amos is generally divided into three sections.
Chapters one and two open with statements of punishment for the Nations that surround Israel as well as Judah and Israel.
Chapters three through six are statements made directly to the Northern Kingdom of Israel regarding their transgressions against G-d and a call to repentance.
Chapters seven through nine are a series of visions from G-d.

Punishment for the Nations, Judah, and Israel

Chapter 1: Amos, a herdsman, is called to prophecy by G-d. G-d declares that He has forgiven Damascus of previous sins but for the sin of crushing Gilead, G-d will crush Damascus. The people of Aram will be exiled. It was declared by G-d that He has forgiven Gaza of past sins but for the sin of turning the people of Israel over to Edom, G-d will bring destruction upon Gaza. None of the Philistines will survive declares G-d. Tyre had been forgiven for past sins but since they turned the people of Israel over to Edom and forgot her pact with Israel, G-d will bring destruction upon Tyre. The previous sins of Edom had been forgiven by G-d, but He will not forgive Edom for pursuing after his brother Israel. Therefore, G-d will bring destruction to Edom. Past sins of Ammon had been forgiven by G-d. Due to Ammon’s siege and devastation upon Gilead for her own gain, G-d will bring devastation upon Ammon and exile her king and ministers.

Chapter 2: Moab was pardoned for previous sins but for the sin of burning the king of Edom alive, G-d will bring complete destruction upon Moab. Judah was forgiven for past sins but for her renunciation of Torah and mitzvot, G-d will bring a fire of destruction upon Jerusalem. G-d declares that even though Israel was pardoned for previous sins, her lack of morality, idolatry, injustice, and perversions will lead to her destruction.

Israel’s Transgressions

Chapter 3: G-d declares that since Israel is His chosen, He will punish Israel for all her transgressions. Israel has been warned through the prophets of what will happen if they turn their backs on G-d. G-d declares that Egypt and the Philistines will march against Samaria and will destroy the altars of Beit-El and the houses of the kings and the wealthy.

Chapter 4: G-d declares that Israel will be turned over to the Nations and brought into exile. Due to the continuous idolatry that Israel practices, G-d will bring a drought upon the Land along with a blight of locusts and pestilence.

Chapter 5: G-d mourns for Israel and all her sinfulness. G-d calls for Israel to repent and return to Him instead of the continuance of sinfulness that will lead to destruction. G-d tells the people of Israel to love good and despise evil and establish justice so they may live. However, if the people refuse to repent, G-d will reject them and their offerings. They will cause themselves to mourn and the Land will be brought to destruction.

Chapter 6: Israel is warned against believing in her own strength. Since Israel continues in her injustice and refuses to repent, they will be the first to be exiled and their feasts will come to an end with great destruction.

Visions of Amos

Chapter 7: Amos sees a vision of locusts that will utterly devastate the crops. However due to the prayer of Amos, G-d does not carry out this punishment. Amos sees a vision of fire – of a drought that will destroy the Land. Again, due to the intervention of Amos, G-d does not carry out this punishment. Amos sees a vision of a plumb line. G-d declares that He will no longer forgive Israel. The sanctuaries of Israel will be destroyed and G-d will raise up a sword against the house of King Jeroboam. Amaziah, the priest of Beit-El, sends word to Jeroboam about the prophecies of Amos. Amaziah tells Amos to take his prophecies and tell them in the Land of Judah. Amos tells Amaziah that he is no prophet but he was called by G-d to prophesy to Israel. Due to Amaziah’s threats, Amos prophesies that Amaziah’s wife will commit adultery, his children will die by the sword, his land will be taken by Israel’s enemies, and he will die in exile.

Chapter 8: Amos is shown a vision of summer fruit. G-d declares that the end of Israel has come. G-d declares that He will never forget the unjust deeds of Israel and her injustice toward the poor. G-d declares that due to the sinfulness of the people and their antipathy toward the prophets, prophecy will be taken away from the Children of Israel after Malachi.

Chapter 9: G-d tells Amos that there is no escape from G-d’s wrath. However, G-d will not completely destroy the people of Israel but will leave a remnant. G-d declares that there will be a future redemption where all the people of Israel will once again return to the Land.

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Sefer Ovadiah – the Book of Obadiah – is the eleventh book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Trei Asar – Twelve Prophets.

Sefer Obadiah is a prophetic book that concerns itself with the divine judgment of Edom and the restoration of Israel.

The text consists of a single chapter that is divided into 21 verses which makes it the shortest book in the Tanach.

Edom’s Judgment and Israel’s Restoration

Various Nations will come together via messengers to organize and attack against Edom. The other Nations despised Edom because Edom was seen as primitive. Edom despised his brother Jacob and became arrogant – believing that no one could defeat them. G-d however declares just the opposite. Edom’s allies will inspire her to attack another Nation. However, the allies have deceived Edom, for once the battle has started, the allies will cross to the enemy’s side and battle against Edom. On that day, G-d declares that Edom will come to destruction and Mount Esau will be annihilated. Since Edom warred against Jacob and stood alongside those who waged war against Jacob, Edom will be destroyed.

The House of Jacob and the House of Joseph will however be redeemed back to Zion. Their inheritance will be taken back. The Moshiach and his ministers will rule from Mount Zion – and will also rule over Mount Esau.

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Sefer Yonah – the Book of Jonah – is the twelfth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Trei Asar – Twelve Prophets.

Sefer Jonah is set during the reign of Jeroboam in the eighth century BCE. The sefer is the story of Jonah who is sent to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh and his attempts to escape this calling. Sefer Jonah is unlike the other books of the nevi’im. It is almost entirely written as a narrative with the exception of Jonah’s prayer in chapter two. The actual prophetic word against Nineveh is given only in passing within the narrative.

Sefer Jonah can be divided into two sections. The first section consists of G-d’s first commission to Jonah and his rebellion. The second section consists of G-d’s second commission to Jonah and his obedience.

First Commission and Rebellion

Chapter 1: G-d calls upon Jonah to go to Nineveh and prophesy against it. Jonah was to entreat the inhabitants to repent of their sins. Instead of obeying G-d, Jonah attempts to flee to Tarshish. He goes to Jaffa and procures passage on a ship. G-d brought up a great wind and the sailors became afraid. As they attempted to plead with their gods to save them, Jonah went below deck and fell asleep. The captain came to wake him and tell Jonah to plead for help from G-d. The sailors cast lots to see on whose account the storm was produced. The lot fell upon Jonah. They asked Jonah who he was and where he came from. He answered them truthfully and told them that he was running away from G-d’s command. The sailors became frightened and asked Jonah how he could do such a thing. When asked by the sailors what they should do in order to calm the storm, Jonah responded that they should throw him overboard. Jonah reasoned that the storm was due to his disobedience and if they threw him overboard the seas would calm. The sailors called out to G-d and then threw Jonah overboard. Immediately the seas calmed and the sailors offered a sacrifice to G-d and made vows to Him.

Chapter 2: After Jonah was thrown overboard, G-d sent a great fish to swallow him. He remained in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. Jonah prayed to G-d from the belly of the fish. Jonah offered a prayer of thanksgiving for G-d’s mercy. Due to Jonah’s sincere prayer, G-d commanded the great fish to release Jonah onto dry land.

Second Commission and Obedience

Chapter 3: G-d again told Jonah to go to Nineveh and prophecy against it. Jonah did as G-d told him. Upon entering the city of Nineveh, Jonah declared that in forty days the city will be overturned. The people of Nineveh headed Jonah’s words. They all donned sackcloth and fasted. When the word of Jonah reached the king of Nineveh he donned sackcloth, sat on ashes, and called for fasting and repentance of the entire population. G-d saw what the people of Nineveh did and accepted their sincere repentance. G-d declared that the evil that was to be brought against Nineveh would not come to pass.

Chapter 4: Jonah was upset by G-d’s decision and asked G-d to take his life so that he did not have to live any longer. Jonah sat outside the city and G-d caused a castor-oil plant to grow and give shade to Jonah. The next day, G-d sent a worm that destroyed the plant. He then sent a strong wind and heat which caused Jonah to cry out again for death. G-d asked Jonah why he was upset over a plant that he did not plant nor tend. If Jonah should be so upset over the plant than G-d asked him why He should not be merciful to the people of Nineveh whom He created and who do not have the knowledge to judge right from wrong.

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Sefer Michah – the Book of Micah – is the thirteenth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Trei Asar – Twelve Prophets.

Micah prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam, ruler of Israel and kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah when both kingdoms were at the peak of their prosperity. Micah was a native of the Kingdom of Israel. He prophesied against Israel but his prophecies were seen as being mostly targeting Judah.

Sefer Micah is generally divided into three sections. Chapters one through three are a divine judgment against Samaria and Judah. Chapters four and five reference the Messianic Age. Chapters six and seven deal with the corruption of Israel and Micah’s lamentation over her destruction.

Divine Judgment of Samaria and Judah

Chapter 1: Micah calls upon Samaria and Jerusalem to come and listen to the prophecies from G-d. G-d will bring about punishment for the idolatrous practices of Samaria and Jerusalem. G-d declares that He will destroy Samaria for her sins and idolatrous practices. Micah tells the people that he will lament over the destruction of Samaria as a man who has lost his mind due to personal tragedy. Micah also laments over the fact that he sees Judah taking the same path as Samaria which will also lead to their destruction.

Chapter 2: Micah declares that Samaria has sinned by coveting the property of others and then acting upon these thoughts by committing theft and robbery. For these sinful actions, G-d declares that He will bring about an enemy occupation and destruction of the Land. G-d does tell Micah that there will be a time in the future where the exiled people will be redeemed and brought back to the Land.

Chapter 3: Micah calls to the leaders of the people – declaring that they hate good and love evil. They torture and rob the poor and when the people rise up against these leaders, they will call out to G-d but He will not respond to them. Micah also tells the people that when they see war, they will come to know that the prophets that prophesy peace are indeed false prophets. Micah then turns to Jerusalem who commits injustice yet feels protected since the city is G-d’s residence. However, Jerusalem is told that due to their sins, they will also be destroyed.

Messianic Age

Chapter 4: In the End of Days, G-d’s Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. At this time, the Nations will come to worship in Jerusalem, settle disputes before the Moshiach, and learn Torah. There will be no more war. The Nations will be at peace with each other during this age. The throne will be re-established in Jerusalem. The exiles will be brought back to the Land and G-d will reign on Mount Zion. In the end of days the Nations will be anticipating the final destruction of Israel for her sins. However, G-d will gather the Nations to the Valley of Jehoshaphat so that Israel can destroy them.

Chapter 5: G-d declares that the end times Moshiach will come from the line of David. His fame will grow and he will lead the people under the guidance of G-d. The people of Israel will only rely upon G-d during the war of Gog and Magog. After the war, the people of Israel will live in eternal peace. They will come to realize that they must put their faith only in G-d and not in man.

Israel’s Corruption and Redemption

Chapter 6: Micah levels accusations against Israel for her sins. However, she is told that all she needs to do in order to repent is to do justice, act in loving kindness, and walk modestly with G-d. Micah asks the people how it is possible for evilness to continue to exist within the community after hearing the admonishments from G-d. Due to the continued disobedience, Israel will be destroyed.

Chapter 7: Micah laments over the coming destruction. He despairs that there are no pious people left in the Land. However, he knows that even in exile there will be people who will turn to G-d. There is an indication that even though Israel has fallen and her enemies rejoice, she will be redeemed by G-d and brought back to the Land. Micah prays that G-d will have mercy upon Israel. He asks that she be brought back from the Nations and restored to her homeland.

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Sefer Nachum – the Book of Nahum – is the fourteenth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Trei Asar – Twelve Prophets.

Nahum prophesied during the reign of Manasseh, king of Judah approximately 70 years before the destruction of Solomon’s Temple.

Sefer Nahum reveals the prophecy about the destruction of Assyria.

Prophecy Against Assyria

Chapter 1: Nahum declares that G-d is a forgiving God – slow to anger. However, he will bring about his vengeance upon those who oppress His people. In this case, the oppressor is Assyria who exiled the tribes of Israel. G-d declares that the destruction of Assyria will be complete. There will be no need for a second wave of destruction because the first will completely destroy Assyria. Nahum declares that due to Sennacherib’s desire to destroy the Jerusalem Temple and his desecration of G-d’s Name, Assyria will be destroyed.

Chapter 2: The kingdom of Judah will be redeemed and restored to the Land. Although Assyria will make preparations for any impending war, these preparations will come to nothing. The Babylonians will overtake Assyria. Even though Nineveh has been a city of peace the Babylonians will overtake her and ransack her treasures.

Chapter 3: Nahum continues to deride Assyria for her constant warfare and murder of her own citizens. G-d declares that He will bring warriors against Assyria to bring about her shame and destruction. Assyria is asked if she feels that Assyria is powerful and protected like Noh Amon. For even the people of Noh Amon and her allies were defeated by those mightier than them. Just as Noh Amon and her allies were destroyed and exiled, so will Assyria be destroyed and exiled by those mightier than her.

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Sefer Chavakuk – the Book of Habakkuk – is the fifteenth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Trei Asar – Twelve Prophets.

Habakkuk prophesied during the reign of Manasseh, king of Judah approximately 70 years before the destruction of Solomon’s Temple.

The Book of Habakkuk can be divided into three sections according to the three chapters. The first section is a discussion between Habakkuk and G-d. The second section is a prophecy against Babylon. The last section is Habakkuk’s prayer.

Habakkuk’s Question of God

Chapter 1: Habakkuk complains to G-d asking why He continues to show him a prophetic vision of Israel’s transgressions and their subsequent punishment. G-d responds to Habakkuk and tells him that G-d will raise up the Chaldeans and they will possess land and people that does not belong to them. However, Nebuchadnezzar will become arrogant because of his victories. Nebuchadnezzar will attribute his victories to his false god but he will be deposed and Belshazzar will succeed him. Habakkuk pleads to G-d not to permit the Babylonians to destroy the entirety of Israel. He pleads with G-d to not allow the wicked to go unpunished.

Prophecy Against Babylon

Chapter 2: Habakkuk remains as a sentry on guard and continues to wait for G-d’s answer to his questions. He knows that many others are also waiting for answers to this line of questioning. Habakkuk is ordered to write down this prophecy so it may be readable by the people. The Babylonians will not be satisfied with their victories. Nebuchadnezzar will act erratically and attack nations that are at peace with Babylonia. These nations will talk out against Nebuchadnezzar for his wickedness. Due to the oppression of the nations by Babylonia, Persia and Media will rise up against her.
15. The violence and pillaging that Babylonia did to the other nations will be done to Babylonia and her false idols will not save her.

Habakkuk’s Prayer

Chapter 3: Habakkuk offers up a prayer to G-d due to the remorse he felt for criticizing G-d. Habakkuk asks for forgiveness and to show him mercy for his unintentional transgression. Habakkuk praises G-d for his mercy and his future redemption of His people.

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Sefer Tzefaniah – the Book of Zephaniah – is the sixteenth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Trei Asar – Twelve Prophets.

Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of King Josiah, king of Judah, in the seventh century BCE, before the religious reform of King Josiah were established. Zephaniah was a contemporary of the prophet Yirmiyahu.

The Book of Zephaniah can be divided into two broad sections. The first part speaks about the coming judgment upon the world. The second section is the promise of a universal salvation.

Judgment of the World (Chapters 1-3:7)

Chapter 1: The Word of Hashem came to Zephaniah. He was told by Hashem that everything on the face of the world will be destroyed – including mankind. Hashem declares that he will stretch out His hand and wipe out Judah and Jerusalem. He will destroy every trace of the foreign gods and those who worship them. He will also wipe out those who swore falsely in Hashem’s Name and those who never sought Hashem. On that day Hashem will cause a great cry to come forth from Jerusalem. People who are comfortable and do not fear Hashem will have their property, family, and lives taken from them. The land will be consumed by fire. Hashem will cause a sudden end of all the land’s inhabitants.

Chapter 2: Hashem calls upon Judah to seek Him out through introspection and return to His Laws before the day of destruction. If they return to Him they will find protection from Hashem’s anger on that day. Hashem declares that the Philistine cities will be uprooted and the people destroyed. The land will become a pasture for shepherds. Hashem will remember His people and bring them back from exile where they will take over the Philistine lands and live in peace. The cities of Ammon and Moab will be uprooted and overtaken by the Children of Israel. Ammon and Moab will be punished for their chiding of Hashem’s people and their wars against them. The people of Ammon and Moab will come to know that Hashem is the true God and they will worship Him. Assyria will be laid to waste by Hashem. Nineveh will become a wasteland and as a wilderness. Everyone who passes by will jeer at her.

Chapter 3: Jerusalem is filled with wickedness for she did not heed the words of the prophets. Her ministers, prophets, and priests have all become defiled. Hashem declares that He gave warnings to the people yet they refused to listen. Hashem has caused the destruction of those around Israel in hope that Israel would learn from the mistakes of others. However, the people of Israel remained stubborn, refused to listen to the prophets, and did not repent.

Universal Salvation (Chapter 3:8-20)

Chapter 3: Hashem declares that Israel must wait for the ultimate redemption just as all the other Nations will be forced to do. During the final redemption all the earth will be judged. All Nations will come to know Hashem and declare that He is the only God and the only One to be worshipped. In that day, Israel will no longer reject Hashem and no longer reject his statutes that He has made with them. They will live in peace and take refuge in Hashem. During the final redemption Hashem declares that He will cause all His people to return to the Land before the very eyes of those who have held them captive.

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Sefer Chaggai – the Book of Haggai – is the seventeenth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Trei Asar – Twelve Prophets.

Haggai prophesied in the sixth century BCE with Sefer Haggai begin written in 520 BCE. He prophesied during the time when the Jews were permitted to return to Jerusalem and begin rebuilding the Temple by decree of the Persian King Cyrus.

In the Book of Ezra we read that in the second year after the return of the exiles, the Samaritans brought the rebuilding of the Temple to a standstill. For this reason Haggai was forced to plead for the resumption – not the undertaking – of the interrupted rebuilding of the Temple.

There are four discourses that are written in the Book of Haggai.
1. The first discourse is dated the first day of the sixth month of the second year of Darius.
2. The second discourse is dated the twenty-first day of the seventh month of Darius.
3. The third discourse is dated the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of Darius.
4. The fourth discourse is also dated the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of Darius.

First Discourse

Chapter 1: The first discourse is dated the first day of the sixth month of the second year of Darius. This discourse is directed to the governor Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua. The message is designed to arouse the people and remove from them their indifference toward rebuilding the Temple. Haggai asks how the people can rightfully live in their own homes that are clean and comfortable while the House of Hashem lies in ruins. Due to the indifference shown toward the rebuilding of the Temple, Hashem has withheld the rains which cause a drought in the land. Destruction of the land, produce, man, and beast was declared by Hashem for the people’s negligence. Led by Zerubbabel and Joshua, the people came to Haggai and declared their change of heart. The people began to prepare the needed items for the reconstruction of the Temple on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month of the second year of Darius.

Second Discourse (Chapter 2:1-9)

Chapter 2: The second discourse is dated to the twenty-first day of the seventh month. This discourse is directed to Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the people. This message is a message of encouragement for the leaders and the people. Hashem promises that if the people would restore the Temple that they would have no need to fear anyone because He would be with them. Hashem declares that His power will become manifest and all the Nations will bring tributes to make the Temple into a glorious house. This Temple will be greater than the former and peace will permeate the land.

Third Discourse (Chapter 2:10-19)

Chapter 2: The third discourse is dated to the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of the second year of Darius. This discourse is directed to the priests. Haggai is told to direct questions regarded purity laws to the priests. The answers that were offered by the priests furnish the text for Haggai’s discourse regarding the people’s sin in not rebuilding the Temple. This sin is the cause of the drought and plight of the land, produce, people, and beasts. However, once the foundation stone is laid and the rebuilding has begun, Hashem promises to bring blessings to the land, beasts, and people.

Fourth Discourse (Chapter 2:20-23)

Chapter 2: The fourth discourse is dated to the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of the second year of Darius. This discourse is directed to Zerubbabel. Through Haggai, Hashem declares to Zerubbabel that great political upheavals will result in the dethronement of kings and the defeat of armies. Zerubbabel will become the crowned king of an independent Judea. Peace will reign throughout the land and Zerubbabel will become the sign of the everlasting covenant and chosenness of the Children of Israel.

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Sefer Zechariah – the Book of Zechariah – is the eighteenth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Trei Asar – Twelve Prophets.

Zechariah prophesied during the reign of Darius the Great and was a contemporary with Chaggai. Zechariah emerged as a leader of the Exiles and his leadership centered around the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Sefer Zechariah can be divided into four sections.
Introduction (1:1-6)
Set of Visions (Chapters 1:7-6)
Seed of Peace (Chapters 7-8)
Further Prophecies (Chapters 9-14)

Introduction (Chapter 1:1-6)

Chapter 1: Sefer Zechariah begins with a preface that is dated the eighth month of Darius’ second year. This introduction recalls Israel’s past history as a solemn warning to the present generation.

Set of Visions (Chapters 1:7-6)

Chapter 1: Zechariah records his visions that are dated to the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month (the month of Shevat) during Darius’ second year. The first vision of Zechariah is a man (who is in fact an angel) on a red horse standing among myrtles. Behind this man are horses of the colors red, sorrel, and white. Zechariah asked who these horses were. He was answered that these horses were sent to roam the earth and observe what is taking place on the earth. The angel asks Hashem how long He will withhold mercy from Jerusalem. Hashem responds that His mercy will arrive soon and the Children of Israel will be redeemed and the Land freed from tyranny.

Chapter 2: Zechariah’s second vision is of four horns and four craftsmen. Zechariah asked the angel what these four horns were. He was answered that these were the horns that dispersed Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. Zechariah then saw four craftsmen. The angel told Zechariah that these craftsmen were there to scare away the four horns which scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. The third vision of Zechariah is of the fiery walls of Jerusalem. Zechariah sees a vision of a man holding a measuring string. The man declares to Zechariah that he is to use the measuring string to determine the length and breadth of Jerusalem. Another angel came and told the angel who is speaking to Zechariah to inform Zechariah that there will be a great population in Jerusalem. He also stated that even though there will be no stone walls, there is no need to fear for Hashem Himself will protect Jerusalem. Hashem calls upon the Exiles to flee the Northern Lands and return to the Holy Land. Those who exiled the Children of Israel will be oppressed so that they know that it was Hashem who did this. Hashem declares that He will be among His people and many Nations will come and attach themselves to Hashem. Jerusalem and Judea will once again be Hashem’s hereditary portion of the Holy Land.

Chapter 3: Zechariah’s fourth vision is of the Satan accusing the Kohen Gadol Joshua. Joshua stands before Hashem’s angel with the Satan standing to his right to accuse him. Hashem declares that He will denounce the Satan for accusing Joshua since he is one who was rescued from the exile. The angel commanded that Joshua’s filthy clothes and headdress be removed and replaced with clean ones – thus symbolizing the removal of his sins. Joshua was told that if he kept the mitzvot and walked in the ways of Hashem that he would be redeemed and earn a place in Olam Haba (the World to Come).

Chapter 4: The fifth vision of Zechariah is of the menorah, the Temple, and the olive trees. Zechariah was shown the menorah. The angel told Zechariah that this is a sign that only by the will of Hashem – and not through his own might – will Zerubbabel begin the rebuilding of the Temple. Zerubbabel will lay the foundations of the Temple and he will see it complete. Everyone will know that it was Hashem who laid out this plan and everyone will rejoice when they see the work complete. Zechariah asked the angel what the two olive trees – one to the right and one to the left of the menorah – mean. He also asked what the two clusters of olives and the two golden flasks pouring out gold mean. The angel replied that they represent the two anointed ones – Zerubbabel and Joshua – who are ready to fulfill all the commands of Hashem.

Chapter 5: Zechariah’s sixth vision is a flying scroll that is twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide. The angel tells Zechariah that when a person sins his or her name is added to the scroll. The scroll has now been released and all those whose names appear on this scroll will be punished for their sins. The seventh vision of Zechariah is of a woman in a container and two bird-women. Zechariah is told that the woman represents the evil deeds of the wicked. A lead weight is placed upon the lid of the container representing the idea that the wicked will be punished in accordance to their sins. Two bird-women are seen by Zechariah who pick up the woman and the container and take her to Shinar where she will be fixed and settled.

Chapter 6: Zechariah’s eighth vision is of four chariots emerging from between to copper mountains. The horse of the first chariot was red and the second chariot had a horse of black. The third chariot’s horse was white and the fourth chariot’s horse was spotted. These four chariots – the angel explained – are the four empires that would rule over the world, each in its own time. Zechariah is instructed by Hashem to make two crowns. He is to place one on the head of Joshua to symbolize the fact that Joshua’s descendants are the eternal inheritors of the priesthood. The other crown is to be placed on the head of Zerubbabel indicating that his descendant will be the Moshiach who will be the redeemer on earth. There will be mutual respect and admiration between the priests and the kings.

Seed of Peace

Chapter 7: Hashem again came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month – Kislev – during Darius’ fourth year. Men were sent to Beth-El to ask the priests of the Temple and the prophets whether the people should continue to commemorate and mourn on Tisha B’Av (the Ninth of Av) as they have done in the past. Hashem states that those who mourned on Tisha B’Av did so only for themselves. They refused to turn back to Hashem, Torah, and mitzvot. They continued to sin and Tisha B’Av is a direct result of those sins.

Chapter 8: Hashem states that when the final redemption comes Tisha B’Av will be abolished as a day of mourning. Jerusalem will again be the center of the earth and there will be peace throughout the Land. Hashem brings assurances to those rebuilding the Temple. They will be protected and Hashem will not treat the remnant of His people as in days past. There will be a perfect peace, a bountiful harvest, and rains in their proper time. Those who cursed the Children of Israel shall be cursed and the Children of Israel will be blessed. The people are commanded to speak truth, render justice, not plot evil in their hearts, or swear falsely for these are detestable to Hashem. Hashem declares that the fast days will be turned into days of joyous occasions during the final redemption. During the End Times many Nations and peoples will come to pray and worship Hashem. There will be a time when the Nations will grab hold of the Children of Israel and learn from them.

Further Prophecies

Chapter 9: Zechariah is told that the borders of Israel will become expanded and include Chamath, Tyre, Sidon, and the land of the Philistines. Hashem promises to protect the Land and His people. Hashem calls upon His people to rejoice when the End Times come for peace will rule over the Land and the Moshiach will come to rule. The imprisoned will be released and they will return to the Land. The Children of Israel will destroy their enemies and fill themselves with the riches of the enemies. Hashem promises to save His people on that day.

Chapter 10: Hashem promises to protect His people and give them enough rain to sustain themselves and their land. Hashem tells the people that it was due to their belief in the soothsayers that said the First Temple would not be destroyed, that they were sent into exile. Hashem declares that Israel will become a military power once again and they will ultimately defeat their enemies. The exiles will be gathered into the Land for Hashem will take pity on them. He will redeem them and they will shout for joy and rely only upon Hashem.

Chapter 11: In hopes of convincing the Children of Israel to follow Hashem and His commands, Zechariah tells the people that Hashem declares that the Second Temple will also be destroyed. Hashem commands Zechariah to prophecy about the future leaders of Israel who will ultimately lead the people away from Hashem and toward their own destruction. Hashem declares that He has tended to His people in the past but when they became wicked He removed Himself from them. Hashem has declared that since the Children of Israel did not follow His precepts that he annulled His promise to not remove the people from the Land. Hashem asks if the people are not satisfied with all the good that He has done for them. If they are satisfied then Hashem calls upon them to repent and turn back to Torah. If they are not satisfied then Hashem declares that He will refuse to protect them from their enemies. The thirty righteous of Zechariah’s time gave themselves in order to sanctify Hashem’s Name and honor His commands. However, this is not enough to save Israel from being exiled. Hashem declares to Zechariah that He will raise up leaders in Israel who will not tend to the people in their care. They will show no concern for the people and they will seize the possessions of the wealthy.

Chapter 12: During the Last Days, Israel will become powerful against her enemies and will defeat them. Hashem will curse Israel’s enemies but protect and defend Israel. The Judeans who assisted Gog and Magog will come to realize that they were only saved because the Jerusalemites prayed for their deliverance. The Judeans will be the first to be redeemed so the imprisoned Jerusalemites will not think the Judeans were saved only due to the merits of the Jerusalemites. Hashem declares that He Himself will then protect Jerusalem instead of a protecting angel. The inhabitants of Jerusalem will be shown kindness for their return to Hashem. The Children of Israel will lament to Hashem and cry over those who perished in exile.

Chapter 13: During the Last Days Hashem declares that the Children of Israel and the Land will be purified of idolatry, evilness, and false prophets. The people will be able to discern between false and true prophets. The false prophets will become ashamed and fearful and attempt to cover their past misdeeds. Many wars will precede the age of the Moshiach. The descendants of Esau and Ishmael will be cut off and only a third of the remainder of the world will survive the wars. The survivors will be the ones who come to truly worship only Hashem.

Chapter 14: Gog and Magog will declare war and ultimately invade the city of Jerusalem. The city will be plundered and one-half of the inhabitants will be taken into captivity by Gog and Magog. However, Hashem will step in and stop the second half of Jerusalem from being captured. Hashem will save the other half of Jerusalem. He will cause the Mount of Olives to split and thereby permit the remaining people of Jerusalem to escape. A spring will come forth after the splitting of the Mount of Olives. The Nations will renounce their false beliefs and false gods and instead turn only to Hashem. The surrounding hills of Jerusalem will become flat plains yet Jerusalem itself will be elevated. During the redemption, people will again inhabit Jerusalem and dwell there in safety. Hashem declares that He will bring a plague against Gog and Magog and the one-half of Jerusalem who were saved will be able to battle against the enemies. They will also gather all the Nations’ possessions that are strewn about on the battlefield. During the redemption, all the Nations will come on a yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem on Sukkot where they will all worship Hashem. If any Nation fails to come on the pilgrimage, Hashem will withhold the rain from that Nation. The people of Jerusalem and Judea will consecrate their bowls to be used for the sacrificial offerings. The Nations will all come and be offered these bowls in order to fulfill their pilgrimage obligations.

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Sefer Malachi – the Book of Malachi – is the nineteenth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Trei Asar – Twelve Prophets.

Sefer Malachi was written as a response to the lax religious and social behaviors of the Israelites – especially the priests – in post-exilic Jerusalem. The people’s commitment to Hashem and Torah began to wane and Malachi was conscripted to rebuke the people.

Sefer Malachi can be divided into six sections.
Introduction (Chapter 1:1)
Preference of Israel Over Edom (Chapters 1:2-2:9)
The Covenant Profaned by Judah (Chapter 2:10-17)
The Coming Angel (Chapter 3:1-6)
Plea for Return (Chapter 3:7-18)
The Day of the Lord (Chapter 3:19-24)

Introduction (Chapter 1:1)

Chapter 1: Malachi reveals the Word of Hashem to Israel through prophecy.

Preference of Israel over Edom (Chapters 1:2-2:9)

Chapter 1: Hashem reminds the people of His love for the Children of Israel yet the people do not believe that Hashem loves them for themselves but only due to the merits of the patriarchs and matriarchs. In response, Hashem reminds the people that Esau is Jacob’s brother yet He has come to despise Esau’s descendants for their rejoicing over Israel’s destructions. Hashem will permit Esau to rebuild but He will then destroy their land and those in Israel will rejoice. If a father and a master are honored then Hashem asks why the priests do not honor Him who is their father and master. Hashem asks why the priests scorn His name yet they claim that they do not scorn His name. Hashem asks the priests how they can have brought defiled offerings before Him yet claim that they do not scorn His name.

Chapter 2: The priests are called upon to plead before Hashem to forgive the people and the curse on the people may be lifted. Hashem says that he would prefer that the gates of the Temple would be shut rather than the priests continue to offer defiled sacrifices. Hashem will not accept offerings from the priests. Hashem admonishes the priests for scorning Hashem’s name and offering sacrifices that are unfit for even the idolaters recognize the Hashem is the supreme God. Hashem warns the priests that unless they obey the mitzvot and honor His name a curse will be sent to the priests and their blessings will turn into curses. Hashem declares that He gave the commands of the offerings so that the covenant with the Levites would remain. The Torah was in his mouth and there was no falsehood on his lips. However, the current priests have strayed from the path and the covenant with the Levites. They have caused others to also stray from the Law. In return, Hashem caused the priests to become contemptible and weak before the people.

The Covenant Profaned by Judah (Chapter 2:10-17)

Chapter 2: Malachi admonishes the Israelite men who married foreign women. He asks how they could be unfaithful to the Israelite women by marrying foreign women. He admonishes them for desecrating the covenant given at Sinai. Not only did the Israelites marry foreign women but also the priests. Hashem has declared that the descendants of the priests and the foreign women would not perform the priestly duties in the Temple. The second offense that Hashem declares that the priests have committed is to cause the sorrow and tears of the Israelite women by marrying foreign women. As a result Hashem will no longer accept their offerings. Hashem declares that He is a witness that the people and priests have cause distress to their Israelite wives by being unfaithful. They chose to marry foreign wives or younger Israelites wives without their first wives’ consent and gave the foreign and younger wives domain over the household. Hashem declares that if the men do not wish to be married to the wives of their youth then they need to divorce their wives and free them rather than continue the animosity toward them.

The Coming Angel (Chapter 3:1-6)

Chapter 3: Hashem declares that the angel of the End Times will come to clear the way for Hashem to return to His Temple. Along with this angel, Elijah will also arrive to announce the coming of the Moshiach. Hashem declares that on this day, Hashem will destroy the wicked and the people’s deeds will be carefully examined. The priests will be refined and their offerings will once again be accepted by Hashem. Hashem however warns that those who do not fear Him and who perform wicked deeds will be judged by Hashem for their deeds.

Plea for Return (Chapter 3:7-18)

Chapter 3: Hashem pleads for the people to return to Him and His statutes. If the people would only return to Him He would return to them. The people question why they need to repent. Hashem declared that by the people only bringing the priestly tithes and not the tithes for the Levites, they were in fact stealing from Hashem himself. If the people would only bring the proper tithes to the priests and Levites Hashem would rain down blessings upon the people and the Land. The Israelites declared that it is pointless to follow Hashem and serve Him. As a result they began to praise the evil ones who turned on Hashem and refused to serve Him. The truly God-fearing people heard these words and gathered to discuss the speech of these evildoers. They determined that Hashem is just and faithful. Hashem declares that He will remember these faithful people on the Day of Judgment.

The Day of the Lord (Chapter 3:19-24)

Chapter 3: The day of Final Judgment will come declares Hashem. The wicked will be judged and the righteous will be healed. Malachi urges the people to continue to follow Torah. He pronounces that Elijah will come before the Day of the Lord. He will bring back the parents and the children who turned their backs upon Hashem and Torah.