Malachi or Chronicles?!

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I love the Bible that Jesus read (aka the Old Testament). I do not want to ruffle any feathers; however, the Bible that Jesus read, taught, lived and loved is not ordered the same way as our English translations.

The Hebrew Bible is arranged in three major parts, known by the acronym TaNaK.

The T stands for Torah (Pentateuch in Greek) which means either Law or Instruction. These are the five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

The stands for Nevi’im which means Prophets.  This section is divided into the “Former Prophets” which consists of Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings (in English we call these “Historical Books”) and the “Latter Prophets” Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, The Twelve (which in English we call the “Minor Prophets”).

The K stands for Ketuvim which means Writings. This large section includes Psalms, Wisdom Literature (Job, Proverbs, Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes) and Post-Exilic Writings (Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, 1-2 Chronicles).

(Please note in the Hebrew Bible: 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, Ezra-Nehemiah, 1-2 Chronicles are all one book, they are not separate books as presented in our English translations.)

Every year at Christmas we hear how Malachi ends with God’s promise to send a forerunner for the Messiah (Mal 4:6 ESV). We also hear how Malachi ends the OT and that for 400 years God did not speak until Matthew 1. However, when we look at the Hebrew order, it is not Malachi that closes the Hebrew Bible but, 1-2 Chronicles.

Why does this matter? 1-2 Chronicles begins with a long genealogy (nine chapters). The book (OT) ends with Cyrus’s decree to allow the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the Temple. While the literal physical exile was coming to a close, Israel was still in “spiritual” exile. In Matthew, the New Testament opens, with the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the long awaited Davidic king. The genealogy of Jesus Christ found in Matthew 1 is the culmination of the genealogies of 1-2 Chronicles. When we read the Bible in this order, rather than in the order of our English translations, we will see the beauty, hope, anticipation and longing for Messiah. Ultimately, when we read the Hebrew Bible in this order, we read in the same order as Jesus Himself. God willing our English translations will follow the Hebrew order sooner rather than later!

Father God, thank You for Your Word! Thank You, Jesus, for all that You have done to end our captivity and exile both in this life and the next. Thank You for the gift of salvation. Lord regardless of what theological camp we may belong, may we be mindful that people do not roam around with big “E’s” on their forehead. May we be mindful to share and show Jesus to this dark and hurting world in a way that is authentic and bold; yet, brings glory and honor to Your Name. Lord God, help us to read Your Word as You originally intended. Lord God, thank You for the gift of communication, far too often we take this for granted. Lord God, thank You for this reader. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

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Blue Collar Theologian

My name is Mandy Sweigart-Quinn, I live in Lancaster, PA and I am a “Blue Collar Theologian.” I love Jesus! I am passionate about His Word (The Holy Bible)! I come alive when I can encourage others in their walk with Jesus (whether by writing or speaking). As a “Blue Collar Theologian” it is my aim to live/practice/work out my Christian hope with sincerity, authenticity and genuineness. As a “Blue Collar Theologian,” I strive to meet people right where they are (“Incarnational Theology”). I graduated in May 2019 from Capital Seminary and Graduate School with a Master's in Biblical Studies. I am a passionate, excited and enthusiastic person! I love flowers, sports and sunsets. Since January 2, 2018 I have had the privilege of being married to Nathan.

52 thoughts on “Malachi or Chronicles?!”

  1. Good, informative article, Mandy. And here’s another point, though Malachi is the last book of the Bible regarding chronology, 1 and 2 Chronicles (or as you noted, just one book of Chronicles) was the last book written. It was written AFTER the book of Malachi was written, hence has earned its spot as the last “placed” book of the Tanach.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. By all means, Mandy, write a short follow up. Whenever my blogs are going too long, I find a way to divide them into two. You can either just write the followup as a separate entity, or refer back to “the previous post.”

        I’d like to read it!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. This really changes the perspective of how we read, understand and view the Bible! It leaves me with the question why the order of the OT was changed by translators? Thank you for this valuable post Mandy which I am reading thanks to Bruce using it as a reference.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hi, Alan! What a surprise! Thank you for reading this!!! I can email you some articles that do a really great job of showing how the Hebrew ordering of the Law Prophets and Writings highlight different aspects of God’s revelation. I have not forgotten about your message on revelation. This week and next are brutal with my course load. Nathan and I are going away for the weekend to celebrate my birthday (which had I known in July how heavy my school material would be, I would be celebrating my birthday at home!!!). I am so thankful for you Alan! Let me know if you would like me to email you some material! Lots of love and blessings to you and Susan!!!!


      4. Hi Mandy, I had a small idea of the differences in scriptures between our modern version and the Jewish version. But it was today as I read your post it really hit me how much a difference the reading order makes; we can apply this to any book or series of books, and more so to scripture. I would appreciate any reading material on this subject that you could kindly email, thank you!
        At first when I read your response I found myself asking “what message on revelation? ” … then my memory kicked into gear.😆
        Happy birthday wee sister! 🎉🍾
        Twenty-one again I presume 😉
        May God bless you both on your weekend break.


  2. I attend two Messianic (Jewish-Christian) congregations. There’s no way I can tell you how much I’ve learned while under the teaching there. What you posted here is one of them. Truly the “begats” are so compelling to pull the reader, the thinking reader, to Messiah. So glad you pointed this out, Mandy. Always look forward to your posts. Hugs & God’s grip – Alan

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Another great clue to the order was the very last line of Malachi. It talks about a curse and the Hebrews would never end their Book like that!…Great post! God Bless

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Very interesting insights, Mandy! Appreciate the perspective this puts on the Bible as a whole. I love approaching it with the thought it is truly one narrative beginning to end, the story of God’s plan for reconciliation to mankind. This cements that for me in a way I had never known before. Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Robert! I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this! Do you think that Jesus taught from the LXX? The LXX helps us learn about Jewish theology as well as the NT use of the OT. Again, I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this when you have time! Blessings, Mandy

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jesus’s mother tongue would have been Aramaic I understand. I suspect it would have been the Hebrew rather than the Greek Scriptures that He was familiar with. I think it was Paul and the apostles who probably went with the Septuagint more.

        As you can probably gather I’m not too clued up on it.

        I do want to emphasise, so that I don’t seem to be pouring cold water upon your post, that I’m sure there’s value in reading the Old Testament in the traditional order of books.

        Having said that, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reading the Old Testament in the newer form, which I assume came with the Septuagint…

        God bless 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Hi, Robert! I wasn’t being argumentative in the least nor did I think you were “pouring cold water” on my post! I am sincerely interested in your thinking! I am learning Aramaic in my OT background class right now and yes, this is Jesus’s mother tongue! It’s similar yet different than Hebrew. There are quite a few loanwords from Akkadian and Persian languages (which isn’t surprising because of the Babylonian captivity/exile). Anyway, there are many books and articles written on the NT use of OT and the statistics of NT quotes from the MT and the LXX. To be honest, I have not given much thought at all to the LXX ordering of the texts so I genuinely appreciate you mentioning this! I will be reading this article later today, maybe it would interest you as well?! ( I do know the LXX includes some of the apocryphal books. There is nothing wrong with reading the OT in the order of our English translations; however, a reader may pick up different themes when they read the OT in the Hebrew order. Thank you, Robert, for your time and sharing your thoughts! Blessings, Mandy

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’d love to understand the Biblical languages better. Sadly, I live in a spiritual wilderness here in the north east of England (although thankfully there are oases!). So I’ve downloaded an interlinear app to help me a bit 🙂

        I’ll check out that article…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hey, Robert! I am glad to hear you downloaded an interlinear app. I do not know if you have ever checked out Logos or Accordance. I do not know anything about Accordance other than a guy in my cohort uses it. I know with Logos you can download it for free and just pay for books as you go rather than buying a package.


      5. I’ve definitely heard of Logos. I didn’t know it was free to download. People from my region (myself included!) are stereotypically stingy!

        The app I downloaded is from some other people who I hope and assume are legitimate!


      6. Hey, Robert! People say the same about the area where I am from! I don’t consider myself cheap or stingy, rather thrifty! Fyi I absolutely love England! If I may ask, since your from North East England and in light of your Ps 81 post, are you a Newcastle United supporter?!


  5. Talk Old Testament to me! It’s fascinating! I just discovered that there’s a translation of the Bible that places the name YAHWEH in place of Lord or God…. I love hearing about how the Hebrew can change our reading and understanding. Good post!


  6. Though I knew Chronicles closed the Tanakh, I totally forgot about the genealogies! (I’ve spent much time of late in the NT exclusively.) And I would have never thought to correlate the Matthean genealogy with the Chronicles. Interesting connection!

    Liked by 1 person

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