This volume comprises the last seven books of Trei Asar, the Twelve Prophets, beginning with the prophecies of Micah and concluding with those of Malachi.
In its entirety, Trei Asar includes prophetic messages to the Jewish people – and to their neighbors and oppressors – spanning over two centuries. Most of these prophecies are stark, warning Israel of the destruction and exile that await it if it does not mend its sinful ways and it foretells the punishments that will befall Israel’s enemies. These same prophets of a bitter future speak glowingly and movingly of God’s indelible love of Israel and its eventual return to its Land – first with the building of the Second Temple and finally with the coming of Messiah and the eternal Third Temple.
But these prophets speak not only to their contemporaries. They speak to us, for our Sages teach that though there were hundreds of thousands of prophets in ancient times, the only prophecies that were recorded and canonized in Scripture were those that were needed for future generations – for us! The chastisements for those who flout the commands of the Torah and the rewards awaiting those who obey are timeless.
The prophecies are lyrical and profound, and the translation and commentary of Rabbi Yitzchok Stavsky does them justice. He presents us with another jewel in the crown of commentary that has made the ArtScroll Tanach Series so appreciated by those who seek to understand the Torah as our sages and teachers have understood it through the centuries.
The last three prophets in this volume – Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi – were members of the Great Assembly, which led the return to Eretz Yisrael and the construction of the Second Temple. Thus, the volume ends with an exultant harbinger of the future, when in the stirring, concluding words of Malachi: Remember the Torah of Moses My servant . . . Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of Hashem. May this prophecy be fulfilled speedily in our days.