The book of Zechariah is Narrative History, Prophetic and Apocalyptic in genre. It is a post-exilic book, meaning it was written after (post) the return from captivity (exile) in Babylon. The prophet Zechariah wrote chapters 1-8 approximately 520-518 B.C. (Before the temple completed), and then wrote chapters 9-14 approximately 480 B.C. (After the temple is completed). Zechariah is among the most precisely dated books in the Bible. Key personalities are Zechariah, Zerubbabel and Joshua.
The purpose of this book is that Zechariah wrote to encourage the remnant, who had recently returned from exile. Their faith in God was weak and they were not motivated to build the temple. They needed to learn and conform to the law of God again.
The small book of Zephaniah is Narrative History and Prophetic Oracle. Zephaniah wrote it circa 630 B.C. very soon before the fall of Judah in the Southern Kingdom. The purpose of this book was to show that God raised up his prophet Zephaniah to proclaim a warning of coming judgment and to encourage repentance.
The Southern Kingdom was complacent in their wicked lives. They not only suffered under wicked kings they also would suffer under the holy judgment of God. Zephaniah was God’s method in bringing a stern warning of the day of the Lord €Near is the great day of the Lord…a day of wrath is that day€ (1:14-15). He also brought a message of hope, when the nation would be restored.
Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament and is a book of Prophetic Oracle. It is a post-exilic book, meaning it was written after the return from captivity in Babylon. The prophet Malachi wrote it approximately 430 B.C. Key personalities include Malachi and the priests. The purpose of this book is that Malachi wrote to ensure that the hearts of the Jews was right and that they were keeping God first in their lives.
The book of Micah is a Prophetic Oracle. The prophet Micah wrote it 742-686 B.C. shortly before the Northern Kingdom’s fall in 722 B.C. Key personalities are all the people of Samaria and Jerusalem.
The purpose of the book of Micah was to proclaim warning and judgment to both the Northern and the Southern Kingdoms. His message was similar to that of Isaiah and was written at about the same time. Micah described the impending judgment that would eventually exile the nation.
The book of Nahum is a Prophetic Oracle. The prophet Nahum wrote it approximately 663-612 B.C. just before the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. He was raised up to preach God’s judgment for a second time to Nineveh. Jonah was the first about 120 years earlier.
Its purpose is to pronounce the final warning and judgment upon Nineveh, and he also addresses the rest of the Assyrian empire. They returned to wickedness shortly after they repented back in Jonah’s day. They would neglect Nahum and his message.
Within fifty years, Nineveh would be completely decimated and utterly wiped from the face of the Earth.
The book of Obadiah is a book of Prophetic Oracles. The prophet Obadiah wrote it. Its authorship is difficult to date but was possibly written about 853-841 B.C. or 605-586 B.C. The key personalities are the Edomites. The purpose of Obadiah is to show that God will judge all those who are against His children, His chosen people; Edom is used as the example of this truth.
Obadiah is only one chapter (the shortest book in the Old Testament) yet it tells of God’s prophet Obadiah as he announces God’s powerful and authoritative judgment on the nation of Edom. This is the fateful end of the nation of Edom. They had been in conflict with Israel since ancient times, in reality Edom is the descendants of Esau, Jacobs’s brother.
The book of Habakkuk is Narrative History and displays Prophetic Oracle. Habakkuk wrote it approximately 612-589 B.C. just before the fall of Judah in the Southern Kingdom. Key personalities are Habakkuk and the Babylonians. As is true of the many other prophets, Habakkuk is a short book. The information in it was vital since it carried God’s message to His people. Its purpose was that Habakkuk was announcing a familiar message of judgment. He was identifying the wickedness and sin of Judah before them. Habakkuk declared that God is the €Rock€ (1:2) and that they would be judged.
The book of Haggai is Narrative History and Prophetic Oracle. The prophet Haggai wrote it approximately 520 B.C. Haggai is among the most carefully and precisely dated books in the entire Bible. It is a post-exilic book, meaning it was written after (post) the captivity (exile) in Babylon. Key personalities are Haggai, Zerubbabel, and Joshua.
The purpose of this book was that Haggai was called by God to encourage the people to finish the construction of the temple in Jerusalem. The construction had ceased because of opposition and because the neighboring countries, and the Jews were frightened.
The book of Hosea is a Narrative History and Prophetic Oracle. Hosea is the first book in the sections of Minor Prophets. They are called Minor Prophets not because their material is less important or insignificant, but because of the size of the book they wrote was shorter in length. The prophet Hosea wrote it at approximately 715 B.C. It records the events from 753-715 B.C. including the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 722. The key personalities are Hosea, Gomer, and their children.
Its purpose was to illustrate the spiritual adultery of Israel and God’s boundless love for His sinful people. Hosea brings God’s message to the wicked Northern Kingdom.
During this time, they are active in oppressing the poor in slavery and worshipping idols. God, because of His grace, sent another opportunity for Israel to repent and turn to Him. Shortly thereafter, the Northern Kingdom went into permanent captivity.
The genre of Joel is Narrative and Prophetic Oracle. The prophet Joel wrote it around 841-835 B.C. sometime before the fall and exiles of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. Key personalities are Joel and the people of Judah. Its purpose was to call the Southern Kingdom to repentance or prepare for the coming judgment. Joel describes the locust that inflicts severe damage to everything in their paths, and warns that it is only the beginning of what is to come.
The book of Jonah is Narrative History and a Prophetic Oracle. The prophet Jonah wrote it approximately 785-760 B.C. before Assyria conquered Israel’s Northern Kingdom. Key personalities include Jonah, the captain and the ship’s crew and the people of Nineveh.
The purpose of this book is to show that God is a merciful and gracious God. Although the wicked city of Nineveh deserved to be crushed immediately, God was patient towards them. A reluctant prophet, Jonah originally ran from God before delivering a message of repentance to the nation of Nineveh.
The purpose of the book of Amos was to announce God’s holy judgment on the Kingdom of Israel (the Northern Kingdom), call them to repentance, and to turn from their self-righteous sins and idolatry. God raised up the prophet Amos, as an act of His great mercy to a people who repeatedly shunned and disobeyed Him.