Background of Malachi
The exiles returning from Babylon beginning in the 530s B.C.E. worked to restore their land and rebuild the templeThe Jerusalem temple, unlike the tabernacle, was a permanent structure, although (like the tabernacle) it was a place of worship and religious activity. On one occasion Jesus felt such activity was unacceptable and, as reported in all four Gospels, drove from the temple those engaged... More. That dedication and energy was followed decades later by a period of laxity and decadence, particularly among the priesthood, the “descendants of Levi.” Inferior animals were offered for sacrificeSacrifice is commonly understood as the practice of offering or giving up something as a sign of worship, commitment, or obedience. In the Old Testament grain, wine, or animals are used as sacrifice. In some New Testament writings Jesus' death on the cross as the... More, many were intermarrying with those of other religions, divorce was common, and tithes were not being given. Malachi arrived in JudahJudah was the name of Jacob's fourth son and one of the 12 tribes. More during the first half of the fifth century B.C.E., although some think his period of prophecyProphecy is the gift, inspired by God, of speaking and interpreting the divine will. Prophets such as Amos, Isaiah, and Ezekiel spoke words of judgment and comfort to the people of Israel on behalf of God. More coincided with the work of EzraScribe who helped establish Jewish practices in Jerusalem after the exile. More and NehemiahThe governor of Jerusalem who rebuilt the city walls after the exile More in the mid 400s, when Ezra restored the law and Nehemiah oversaw the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall. In any case, the concerns of Malachi are similar to those of Ezra and Nehemiah.