Study Guide

The Twelve Prophets in The Twelve Minor Prophets

The Twelve Prophets

The twelve Minor Prophets are the Seven Dwarves of the Hebrew Bible. Sure, they don’t match the size of their prophetic counterparts and they’re far less well known to the world at large, but they work hard to keep Israel and Judah safe from harm. And every so often, they even break into song.

Another similarity with their fairy tale counterparts is particularly helpful for the diligent Shmooper trying to suss out the deeper meaning of their message: the name of virtually every Minor Prophet reveals a core theme in his book. 

  • Hosea: “Yahweh saves”
  • Joel: “Yahweh is God”
  • Amos: “Burden carrier”
  • Jonah: “Dove”
  • Obadiah: “Servant of Yahweh”
  • Micah: “Who is like Yahweh”
  • Nahum: “Comfort”
  • Zephaniah: “Yahweh has hidden / Yahweh has treasured”
  • Haggai: “My festival”
  • Zechariah: “Yahweh has remembered”
  • Malachi: “My messenger”

The one apparent outlier, Habakkuk, is a distinctive name with debatable significance, which, come to think of it, is lot like his book as well.

Some scholars believe that the first verse of each book, which gives the prophet’s name and occasionally some pertinent details, was added later by editors and may not reflect that actual name of the prophets themselves. In other words, we might only have their stage names. Behind these Pee Wee Hermans may lie a dozen Paul Reubenses.

But even if some experts aren’t sure whether these twelve guys are all the real Slim Shady, they do have distinct personalities—and sometimes more than one. Not only do some of the books send out mixed messages, but it’s often not clear who’s doing the speaking: the prophet or God.

Either way, straight from the Book of Listicles in the Buzzfeed Bible, here are The Top Twelve Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Bible: