The Twelve Minor Prophets:
The Minor Prophets is a collection of twelve short books in the Christian Old Testament which date from the 9th to 5th centuries before Christ.
Hosea is the longest book of the twelve. He prophesies from Israel in the 8th c. about deliverance and salvation by offering his story as an allegory of God?s love for His people. Hosea?s wife, Gomer, was beautiful but unfaithful. She eventually abandoned him for material gratification. She became ugly and was sold into slavery. Hosea bought her back and loved her as his wife after a period of cleansing. He suggests that God will again accept and love His people.
Joel prophesied in the mid 9th c. in Judah a period of desolation caused by locusts, drought, and fire. Joel spoke of a need for repentance and God?s judgment. Joel foresaw the Pentecost when the Lord would pour out his Holy Spirit in Jerusalem offering salvation and deliverance to His people
Amos lived in the wilderness of Judah as a herdsman in the 8th c. BC and prophesied in Israel as an uneducated prophet but who had been sent to deliver God?s word. The people of Israel lived comfortably and peacefully under the rule of Jerobam II who had incorporated calf worship into worship of the Lord and spread material luxury throughout the classes. Amos spoke against this heathen worship and reminded his people of the blessings God had bestowed upon them, probably without much acceptance by the people of Israel. Amos also foretold a large earthquake some 200 years before its catastrophic occurrence.
Obadiah, the shortest book of the twelve, prophesied in the 9th (or possibly the 6th) century BC of the divine punishment of the people of Edom because they had become enemies of the people of Judah by aiding the looters of Jerusalem, possibly the Philistines of the Babylonians
Jonah prophesied in the 8th century BC in Israel. He was called by God to warn the people of Ninevah, the capital of Assyria, of His impending judgment upon the inhabitants of the city who served a greedy King. Jonah ran away from God?s call and while on a ship sailing from Israel, God sent a storm. Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by a large fish. When Jonah repented his sin of rebellion, the fish expelled him onto land and Jonah went to Ninevah to share God?s word. All the people of Ninevah repented while Jonah awaited its destruction. The Lord saw their repentance Ninevah and did not destroy the city. While Jonah was angry at God?s easy forgiveness, readers can see that God is the Lord of the whole world and loves all the people in it.
Micah was an uneducated prophet who spoke God?s word in the 8th c. BC to the people of Judah who were materialistic and served a corrupt government. Micah spoke that allegiance to God needed to be heartfelt and complete. He spoke out against the lackluster devotion to God and idolatry exhibited by the people of Judah and the multitude of false prophets. Micah also prophesied the birth of a Messiah in Bethlehem seven hundred years before the birth of Christ
Nahum was the second prophet God sent to Ninevah , nearly 200 years after Jonah, to warn of their judgment and beg repentance for their cruel and wicked ways.
Habakkuk prophesied in the 7th c. BC the invasion of Judah by the Babylonians. Habakkuk questioned God as to why he did not punish His people who had gone astray and he questioned God?s use of one wicked nation to punish another (ie. punishing the people of Judah with invasion by the Babylonians). God punished the people of Judah and allowed their repentance just as he would punish the people of Babylon (ie. a later invasion by Medes) and allow their repentance.
Zephaniah prophesied in the 7th century BC mentioning several times the coming Day of the Lord when the Lord would destroy evil and deliver His people. Zephaniah speaks against the corruption of the Judean government and prophesies that the Lord will bring together His worshippers from the world over in a new government.Haggai prophesied in the 6th century BC after a period of captivity by the Babylonians. He urges the rebuilding of the temple in four separate prophesies. Previously, the temple reconstruction had begun followed by a 15 year pause, until the time of Haggai.
Zechariah prophesied in the 6th century BC. He retells the history of Israel and shares eight visions which mirror her history, meant to warn the people of past pitfalls (government by ungodly kings) and bring hope to recently returned exiles of the nation. Zechariah foretells a time of God?s kingdom but so angers the people with his condemnation of their rebellion against God that he is stoned to death
Malachi prophesied in the 5th century BC in rebuke of the people and leadership of Israel for turning from God and reminds them of God?s everlasting love for His people. Malachi warns against the dangers of intermarriage with heathens or non-Hebrews and prophesies of the coming Messiah and a day of judgment.