7 Minor Prophets
BEFORE entering on the study of the minor prophets, I will avail myself of the opportunity they afford to make a few remarks on the prophetic writings in general, pointing out the subjects of which they treat. We may divide these books into four principal classes according to the subjects on which they speak—subjects often connected with their dates.
The four principal classes of the Minor Prophets
1st. Those which speak of the great crisis of the capture of Jerusalem, and its consequences. These are Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel—all the greater prophets excepting Isaiah. I place the book of Daniel in this class, though his chief subject be the consequences under Gentile rule, till the Lord come; because, in fact, that event changed the government of the world, setting aside (in judgment) the elect people; and, while speaking of the Gentiles, he does so in connection with the substitution of the Gentile monarchy for that of God in Israel, and in view of that people’s destiny.
2nd. Those which speak of the judgment of the Gentiles as such. These are Jonah, Nahum, Obadiah.
3rd. Those which speak of the entire fall of Israel, and of the destiny that already threatened Judah, such as Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, Micah. They announced a penal judgment on the people, while unfolding with more or less extent the dealings of God in grace at the end. With the exception of Amos, who prophesied in the reign of Uzziah, earlier than the other three, they belong to the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (this last king forming an epoch in these prophecies, the Assyrian having overthrown the kingdom of Israel during the reign of Hezekiah, and threatened Jerusalem).
Lastly, we have Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, who prophesied after the captivity: the first two for the encouragement of the people; the last to bear witness to the failure of the Jews who had returned from captivity, and to announce the testimony and the judgment of the last days, which should separate the remnant from the wicked around them.
J. N. Darby, Synopsis of the Books of the Bible: Ezra to Malachi (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 507–508.