Fox, R. Michael. A Message from the Great King: Reading Malachi in Light of Ancient Persian Royal Messenger Texts from the Time of Xerxes. Siphrut: Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures, Vol. 17. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2015.
The academy has not been kind to Malachi. Indeed, some of the most influential and seminal studies on the book denigrate its style, message, and overall artistry. This negative assessment proves extensive in the history of scholarship. Furthermore, the studies demonstrating a more positive assessment of Malachi do so without offering serious challenges to these long-standing denigrations. Complicating the matter is the observation that critical study has proffered numerous suggestions for what Malachi contains while failing to provide a viable model of what Malachi actually is.
A Message from the Great King presents serious challenges to the guild’s prior assessments and conclusions about the book. Through an interdisciplinary approach that synthesizes insights from literary theory, thorough historical reconstruction, and a close reading of the biblical text, R. Michael Fox makes a formidable case that a root messenger metaphor pervades the entire text of Malachi. Viewed and read through this new lens, Malachi’s artistry becomes more readily apparent and its theological message more intense and demanding. A Message from the Great King provides serious reassessment of the academy’s long-standing denigrations of the book and a compelling answer to what Malachi actually is. Accompanying these insights into Malachi are new methodological procedures and exercises that merit further attention and reflection.
Eisenbrauns (website: https://www.eisenbrauns.com/ECOM/_4I912H6HB.HTM)