538 B.C. Cyrus, King of Persia, issues a decree allowing Israel to return to the land. (II Chron. 36:22-23, Ezra 1)
538 B.C. First return to Israel takes place under Zerubbabel. (Ezra 1-6)
536 B.C. Restoration of the temple begins, but stalls.
520 B.C. Haggai and Zechariah are sent by God to encourage Israel to finish building the temple. (Ezra 5:1-2)
515 B.C. The temple is finished.
460 B.C. God sends Malachi to prepare the people for the ministry of Ezra and Nehemiah.
458 B.C. Ezra returns to the land. (Ezra 7-10)
445 B.C. Nehemiah returns to help rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
The general dating of Malachi is pretty clear. He prophesied during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. This can be seen from the following facts. First, he prophesied during a time when the temple and priesthood were established and things had become routine. Thus he had to prophesy following the rebuilding of the temple under Zerubbabel, Haggai, and Zechariah. Second, he uses the term “governor” in 1:8. This is a Persian term, again indicating a period when Israel was under Persian rule. Persia ruled from 550 B.C. until around 360 B.C. Finally, Malachi addresses many of the same issues found in Ezra and Nehemiah. For example, the issue of marriage to foreign wives is addressed in Ezra 9-10, Nehemiah 13:23-27 and Malachi 2:11-16. Also both Nehemiah and Malachi address the misuse of the tithe. (Nehemiah 13:10-13 and Malachi 3:8-10) All of this is to say that Malachi probably prophesied during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. Continue reading