Who Were the 12 Minor Prophets?

In the Jewish tradition, the 12 minor prophets is a reference to a single book of the Old Testament, containing the stories of twelve prophets of Israel, including Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah and Jonah. Rounding out the 12 minor prophets are Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah, in addition to Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. They are called the minor prophets because their books are much shorter than those of the four major prophets: Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Jeremiah.

The 12 minor prophets can be grouped based on the time period during which they lived. First come Jonah, Amos, and Hosea, who were prophets of Israel prior to the period of exile. Obadiah, Jonah and Micah, as well as Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah were all prophets of Judah. Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi were prophets among those who returned after the Exile.

In general, each of the 12 portions contains three parts: autobiographical material, presumed to be written by the prophet in question; biographical material, written in the third person by editors and compilers; and the prophecies and speeches of the prophet, typically in poetic form.

Scholars generally agree that the Book of the 12 Prophets was completed by the time of the Persian rule over Jerusalem, between the fourth and sixth centuries B.C.E. The book of the 12 minor prophets is typically split into 12 individual books in the Christian Bible.