Old Testament: The Prophets
Details and Events about the Prophets in the Old Testament of the Bible.
A Brief Overview Of The Old Testament Prophets
The history of the rise and fall of the Hebrew nation are
found in the history books (Genesis-Esther). The prophets
appeared during the days of the fall of the Hebrew nation.
At the moment of the apostasy of the 10 tribes at the close
of Solomon`s reign and Israel`s golden age the ministry of
the prophets began. The prophets gave a wake up call as
soon as people began to forget God.
Assyrian Period Prophets
Jonah, Joel, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah, and
Babylonian Period Prophets
Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Ezekiel, Obadiah, and Daniel were the
prophets of the Babylonian Period.
Persian Period Prophets
Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi were the prophets of the
The Prophet Amos
Amos (780-740 B.C.) "amos" (burden).
Amos was born in Judah but prophesied in Israel during the
reign of Jeroboam II. He condemned Israel`s neighboring
countries for their cruelty, but mostly Israel for breaking
God`s laws. He prophesied at Bethel which became the center
of idol worship and the residence of king Jeroboam II. He
warned that the Israelites would be taken captive by the
Assyrians. Amos` message was that God could no more dwell
with His people any more than a man could maintain a normal
relationship with his wife who commits adultery.
The Prophet Daniel
Daniel (606-534 B.C.) "Dani El" (My Judge is God).
Daniel was taken captive during Nebuchadnezzar`s first
attack on Jerusalem in 607 B.C., he became a chief
minister at the royal court in Babylon. God used him
mightily through dreams and interpretation of visions.
Some of the famous miracles of the Bible are found in
Daniel such as The Fiery Furnace, The Handwriting on the
Wall, and Daniel in the Lion`s Den.
Daniel was a man of incredible character and his book is
considered one of the most important prophetic books of
the Old Testament. Some of the topics mentioned are: the
antichrist, the great tribulation, the second coming of
Christ, the resurrection and the judgements. Probably the
most important passages in Daniel are in chapter 9 which
deal with the exact time of the death of the Messiah.
After 7 + 62 (69) weeks (seven year periods) the Messiah
would be "cut off" which is a clear prediction of His
The Prophet Ezekiel
Ezekiel (592-570 B.C.) "yehetzk`el" (God will strengthen).
Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah 3 times and took captives each
time. In 607 one of the captives was Daniel, in 597 Ezekiel
was taken, and in 586 Jerusalem was destroyed and all the
people taken. Ezekiel prophesied to the captives in
Babylon. The captives thought Jerusalem would be delivered
by the Lord and they would be rescued. God spoke through
Ezekiel using Words, Parables, Visions, and many
Similitudes (doing strange things as a sign of something
greater). Ezekiel was married to a woman who was "the
desire of his eyes". God told him that his wife was going
to die on the very day the armies of Babylon laid siege
against the holy city of Jerusalem and he was not to mourn,
as a sign to the people. Ezekiel was commanded not to
grieve her death; he was to brace himself for this tragedy
even as God had prepared Himself for the death of His
beloved city (24:15-22).
The Prophet Habbakkuk
Habakkuk (606-586 B.C.) "haba kuk" (embrace).
Habakkuk asked two questions to God, first: Why He
allowed such evil to continue in Judah for so long and go
unpunished? And second: How could a holy God allow the
cruel Babylonians to defeat His own people. In response
to the first question God revealed to Habakkuk: "Look
among the nations and watch-- be utterly astounded! For I
will work a work in your days which you would not
believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising
up the Chaldeans (Babylonians), a bitter and hasty nation
which marches through the breadth of the earth, to
possess dwelling places that are not theirs. They are
terrible and dreadful; their judgment and their dignity
proceed from themselves. . . they fly as the eagle that
hastens to eat. "They all come for violence; their faces
are set like the east wind. They gather captives like
sand. They scoff at kings, and princes are scorned by
them. They deride every stronghold, for they heap up
earthen mounds and seize it."
And to the second He replied that Babylon has a big
appetite so He`s gonna use them as an instrument of
judgement but their time is gonna come:
"Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, who
establishes a city by iniquity! Behold, is it not of the
LORD of hosts that the peoples labor to feed the fire,
and nations weary themselves in vain?"
The Prophet Haggai
Haggai (520-516 B.C.) "haggay" (festal).
In 520 B.C. eighteen years after the Jews had returned from exile
in Babylon, Haggai urged them to forget their own interests and
finish rebuilding the temple.
The Jews, under the leadership of Zerubbabel, started to rebuild
the Temple but somehow they became discouraged and quit. They
were more concerned with their paneled houses than the Temple
which laid desolate.
The Lord said through Haggai that they were not being blessed and
the recent drought and misfortunes were directly related to their
laziness in the things of God.
Haggai, along with the prophet Zechariah, urged them on. Within 4
years it was completed. They became courageous in the work and
the Lord told them to mark this day and to watch from now on
because they were obeying and His blessings were going to come.
The Prophet Hosea
Hosea (760-720 B.C.) "hoshea" (deliverer)
Israel`s continued unfaithfulness is dramatically
illustrated in brokenhearted Hosea`s relationship with his
unfaithful wife. God`s love is also illustrated in Hosea`s
willingness to buy back his wife after her harlotry had led
her to be sold at the slave block. In the years leading up
to the fall of Samaria, Hosea warned that the people would
become slaves in Assyria because they had forgotten God.
They had even turned to Assyria and Egypt for help. God
would later restore them but after some measure of
The Prophet Isaiah
Isaiah (745-695 B.C.) "yesha yahu" (Yaweh is salvation).
Isaiah lived in Jerusalem at the time Judah was threatened
by the Assyrians. He warned Jerusalem about idolatry and
foreign alliances, although he was usually scoffed at. He
spoke about the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from
the Assyrians. He also spoke of the destruction and
captivity of Jerusalem by the Babylonians as well as the
release of the Jews by Cyrus the Persian. Jewish tradition
records that the leaders in Jerusalem sawed the prophet
Isaiah in half between two planks. The book of Isaiah says
more about the ministry of the Messiah than any other Book
in the Old Testament.
The Prophet Jeremiah
Jeremiah (626-586 B.C.) "yeremi yauw" (Yaweh will lift up).
Prophesied to Judah and against the surrounding nations. He
emphasized the folly of idolatry as God pleaded with His
people. He continually warned that Jerusalem would be
captured and the inhabitants would be exiled to Babylon. He
also prophesied against the pagan nations around (Jer 46-
51) and foretold that after 70 years the Jews would return
from Babylon. Jeremiah`s words were vehemently rejected and
he was heavily persecuted. Jeremiah was forced to live in
Egypt after the destruction of Israel in 586 BC.
The Prophet Joel
Joel (790-770 B.C.) "yo el" (Yaweh is God).
Joel prophesied during a devastating plague of locusts that
was unparalleled in history. He warned all of the
inhabitants of the land of Israel of devastation which
would sweep across the land in the days soon to come. He
called for a season of fasting, mourning, and repentance.
Joel seized upon the imagery of the locusts as a type of
the greater judgement that would come on "the Day of the
Lord" in the last days. He also gave a message of hope and
prophesied of great blessings that would follow and the
glories of the Messiah`s kingdom.
The Prophet Jonah
Jonah (790-770 B.C.) "yonah" (dove).
Sent to warn the inhabitants of Nineveh (Capital of
Assyria) of God`s Judgement. Jonah fled his call because it
was the Assyrians who were destroying the Jews. As he was
escaping on a ship bound for Tarshish a great storm arose.
The sailors discovered that this tempest came on account of
Jonah so they threw him overboard. He was immediately
swallowed by a great sea monster prepared by God. Jonah
repented in the bowels of the creature and was released the
third morning. He came to Nineveh and said, "Yet forty
days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" As a result of his
preaching the people changed their ways and God spared the
city. Jonah was very upset at Gods mercy toward gentiles
(non-Jews) and by the lesson of a plant, God taught Jonah
about His love for all mankind and not just Israel.
The Prophet Malachi
Malachi (450-400 B.C.) "malachi" (My messenger).
A prophet who lived in the fifth century B.C. By this
time the Jews had become disillusioned and apathetic.
Things were not as good as they had hoped. Drought and
crop failures along with opposition from various enemies
had made life difficult. They were neglecting the things
of God and offering imperfect sacrifices as well as
failing to give their tithes. The priests were lax and
did not encourage them. Mixed marriages and divorce had
The heart of Malachi`s message was to point to the fact
that as long as they neglected the things of God, they
could never expect to prosper. If they would repent, then
God would bless them. Then he speaks of the approaching
day of the Lord which will be ushered in by Elijah, who
will be a forerunner of the Messiah, and then Messiah
would come. The New Testament identifies Elijah as John
the Baptizer and Jesus as the Messiah (Matt. 3:1-12;
The book of Malachi closes the Old Testament and a
prophet is not revealed in the Scriptures for
approximately 400 years until the beginning of the New
The Prophet Micah
Micah (740-700 B.C.) "mika yahu" (who is like Yaweh).
Warned of the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions and
predicted the fall of both Samaria and Jerusalem, the
capital cities of both the northern and southern kingdoms.
It is set forth in the form of a lawsuit by God with Micah
as the prosecuting attorney and the mountains and hills
(places of idolatry) as the silent judges. He says, "her
wounds are incurable," because the people are corrupt and
also the leaders were described as "butchering the people."
Micah also proclaimed the birthplace of the Messiah and the
glories of the future kingdom.
The Prophet Nahum
Nahum (630-610 B.C.) "nahum" (compassionate).
Nahum`s main message was the destruction of Nineveh as a
judgement on the Assyrians for their cruel treatment of
other nations. He revealed much about the majesty and
goodness of God as well as God`s anger and wrath. Nah 1:7
The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and
He knows those who trust in Him. God is jealous, and the
LORD avenges; the LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD
will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves
wrath for His enemies;
The Prophet Obadiah
Obadiah (586-583 B.C.) "obadi yah" (servant of Yaweh).
Obadiah prophesied judgement against Edom for attacking
Judah at the time of the Babylonian invasion and for
rejoicing over the misfortunes that befell Jerusalem.
You should not have entered the gate of My people in the
day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed
on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor
laid hands on their substance in the day of their
calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads to
cut off those among them who escaped; nor should you have
delivered up those among them who remained in the day of
distress. "For the day of the LORD upon all the nations
is near; as you have done, it shall be done to you; your
reprisal shall return upon your own head.
The Edomites were the descendants of Esau, the twin
brother of Jacob. The Edomites were always in conflict
with Israel. They thought they were impregnable in their
mountain strongholds high up in the rocky gorges (Petra).
Obadiah predicted their doom. Within 4 years after
Jerusalem was burned, Edom was raided and desolated (582
B.C.), by the same Babylonians whom they had helped
The Prophet Zechariah
Zechariah (520-516 B.C.) "zekari yah" (Yahweh is my
Zechariah, along with Haggai prophesied to the returned
Jewish exiles between 520 and 518 B.C. The message begins
with a reminder that the captivity had been a result of
disobedience. He then has a series of visions revealing
that God is in control of history and will bring a glorious
blessing to the faithful remnant of His people.
Jerusalem is pictured as so prosperous that it must be
enlarged to contain all the people (ch. 2). The vision of
Joshua, the high priest, clothed in filthy rags (ch. 3)
apparently is a vision of the future cleansing of the
nation at the return of Christ. Other visions in the book
point to the coming judgement of God, His ultimate victory
over sin, and culminates in the coming of the Messiah.
The Prophet Zephaniah
Zephaniah (639-608 B.C.) "tzephani yah" (Yaweh is my
Watched Judah revert back to their evil ways under Manasseh
and Amon. He prophesied during the revival under good king
Josiah`s reign. Condemned the worship of Canaanite and
Assyrian gods and predicted disaster for the pagan nations
around such as Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Ethiopia, and
Assyria. He also foretold the destruction and restoration
of Jerusalem, and also prophesied of blessings in the
future for both the gentiles and the Jews.
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